Foodless at the feast

Maybe marriages are made in heaven but the feast connected with the mega event is laid out on the terra firma. Most of those invited are not much concerned with the rituals that go on but look forward eagerly to the call from the dining hall. The moment the gentleman, invariably from the bride’s side, announces that the food is ready — or ‘ele haakide’ (in Kannada) — everyone’s face is lit up and all dash to the gourmet arena. It is the action replay at every wedding, big, fat or otherwise. But at two weddings I had to go foodless.  

First was in Kodagu where we had gone for the wedding of a colleague. The mahurat of the Kodava wedding was set in the night. Knowing little what was in store for my tummy we all walked in and watched the goings on at the ceremony. Finally, at around 9 pm everyone was called in for the feast. I too stepped into the dining hall only to find that it was a pure non-vegetarian spread. I was a persona non grata there as I had not graduated beyond eggs. There was nothing on the platter that I could lay my hands on.

The hosts had not thought of a sworn vegetarian guest like me and so I quietly slipped out hoping to find some food, hot or otherwise but edible in the town. The place was sleepy, dark and desolate. No eatery was in sight. While my colleagues relished the hot Kodava dinner I had a glass of water to fill the stomach. Till today my colleague doesn’t know of my ordeal on her wedding day. It is a closely guarded secret.

Now cut to Raichur where a Rajput friend tied the knot and he had invited us all to witness the event. We did watch him in action and when we stepped out for the customary lunch it was all mayhem at the dining site. Rajputs being warriors were fighting it out for the food. We were a docile lot and not inclined to join the battle for the plate. We lost the appetite but not the hunger in the belly. The bridegroom was all apologetic but helpless. We did not embarrass him further and left the place to find food elsewhere. Raichur was not Kodagu. It was not 9 pm. We had our wedding meal off the wedding site.

Wedding meals normally are lavish and sumptuous. Even the highly diabetic finds it tough the resist the spread and drops the guard if the spouse is not by the side. But here again, I met with an exception. At a wedding, the lunch was the executive type that is served in darshinis. I was pleasantly surprised at the frugal spread but was happy that my host was treading a lonely furrow and was avoiding waste. But such examples are a rarity.

Weddings are there to splurge, that is the rule, but this host was an exception. And it requires courage to be such an exception, which most of us lack.

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Foodless at the feast

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