Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Sabha canteen chit-chats 23/12 and 25/12
After the exquisite lunch on Friday, I had no two thoughts about where to go when I decided to have lunch outside on Sunday 23/12. When I walked into Vidhya Bharathi Kalyana Mahal, I thought I heard a very familiar voice on the speakers. I was in for a shock when I peeped in because I thought for a moment that I saw the late Maharajapuram Santhanam singing. Then I told myself it must be one of his sons at sat down. After listening to an elaborate "Bhayami Raghuramam" by Maharajapuram Ramachandran, which took me back in time, I walked straight to the canteen.
After a few minutes I realized that I had got caught between two extremes. The guy on the left was repeating every thing and took a long time to move out of Sambar rice. The elderly gentleman on the right however was more a sanyasi who was shooing away everything. This had a real frustrating effect on the waiters and I had to put my foot down to prevent getting impacted and I did just that.
MM did not disappoint. It was another special feast with the likes of Uralai vadhakkal, Cabbage Poriyal, Paal Payasam, Kadhamba Sambar, Kariveppilai Kuzhambu, Paal Payasam. Even after 2 helpings of Kariveppilai Kuzhambu, the banana leaf was wiped clean. I stood up after having one more go at Pal Payasam, really "stuffed to the gills", if those are the right words.
On Christmas day, after the TN.Krishnan concert, I thought I should give Iyengar another chance. I walked down from the balcony and took a look at the menu board. I was glad to see traditional Iyengar items on the menu. the likes of Aviyal, More Kuzhambu. Maybe because of Vaikunta Dwadesi, there was no onion in the food. Puliyodharai would have made it a perfect combination but even with lemon rice it was good food. Aval Payasam was really special and worth a second attempt.
This time I was caught between two old couples who knew each other. The second couple came a bit late and I had started eating, otherwise I would shifted to a different seat. It is really irritating when you have to listen to people talking behind your back! If only there were an option to switch off your ears, I guess life would be a lot better. It was only the ladies who were talking. The men were busy lapping up the Iyengar fare. Unfortunately for me, these 2 ladies had been looking out for each other from day 1 of the music season both in canteens and the halls but met only today. By the time the ladies turned to their food and asked for Sambhar, the men around were having rasam after finishing More Kuzhambu. In the time that had elapsed, they had been talking non stop as they moved from concerts to lecture demo by Shriram Kumar to dance jugal bhandhis to sabhas and even the evening traffic on the way to music academy. Wonder how these old ladies go on an on. So much so for the Sabha / Canteen experience! Tomorrow is another day :-)