Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Power trip

Finally, I witnessed my first 100% South Indian wedding. (Actually, my own wedding would have been one too, except for one little factor that didn't meet the specifications -- the bride.)

Every now and then, I'd be overcome with amazement that I was at the wedding of someone whom I met through my blog! I liked this conversation between Pizzadude and Urv (fellow blogger-attendees at the wedding):

Urv - "How crazy is it on a scale of 1 to 10 to attend someone's wedding whom you have just met?"
Pizzadude - "19."

Of course, trying to explain to Shub's and Sumanth's surprised relatives how exactly I know the bride and groom without bringing in the blogs was a bit tricky, but most of the time, we got out of it by saying, "We're their friends from Singapore."

The wedding also proved to be a bloggers' meet of sorts, as I finally met Urv and Ved (technically not a blogger yet, but that will soon change -- *pauses to muahahaha* -- as Pizzadude and I have already started the brainwash process). Wait and watch.

Poor Urv and Ved. Where there are two Gujjus, will the Gujju jokes be behind? Viv and Sumanth were making plans for go-karting at this place called Patel's Inn. Urv had also expressed interest and so when he called to confirm he was joining, all of us yelled out at the same time, "Gujju discount!" Sheesh. Oh, by the way, Pizzadude and I have decided to do the 'G-U-J-J-U' dance from Kal Ho Na Ho at the next Gujju wedding we attend.

The wedding was great fun, especially for me, because I was considered as being from the groom's side (*ducks to avoid bridal chappal thrown by Shub*) and so got to partake in many of the ceremonies such as dousing him in turmeric, pouring rice over his hair and other such fun stuff. Fun for me, not him, of course. It is also noteworthy that Pizzadude, Viv and I woke up at 5 am, even before the bride and the groom did, just so we could be sure not to miss even the slightest detail of the early-morning wedding.

On the wedding day, I was feeling like the odd one out in my chiffon sari, surrounded by all the Kanjeevaram ones. I instantly felt better when my friend V looked at me and said, "If you were single, some 5-6 mamis would have surrounded you, asking you for your horoscope!" Heh heh!

I know I am digressing but speaking of the mamis, I got the pottu (bindi) lecture from one of them the other day. The pottu lecture is a lecture given to every non-pottu-wearing girl at some point in time or the other. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for pottus. But I only wear them with a sari or a salwar kameez. On this rather fateful day, I was in jeans and a T-shirt. The T-shirt had some text -- I’m not quite sure what as I had bought the T-shirt because I liked the colour -- but I’m sure it must have been something T-shirty (read rude). Point being – that’s the last outfit you would want to wear a pottu with. But as soon as this mami found out I had married a south Indian, out came the pottu lecture and how I should always wear a pottu no matter what clothes I’m wearing. So I smiled and nodded as I always do whenever I get the pottu lecture. Insincere, yes, but better than saying “Are you kidding me??” isn’t it?

Anyway, going back to the wedding, Viv and Pizzadude had decided to turn up in veshtis for the wedding. Pizzadude was so comfortable it seemed like he was born in one, earning himself the nickname 'Veshti-man' (We actually sang the theme song about the friendly neighbourhood Veshti-man whose veshti doubles up as his cape). Viv, however, had a tough time managing his, which almost fell off four times. So much for his proud "Of-course-I-don't-need-a-belt-I-can-handle-this."

During one of the ceremonies, the aunties had to nazar utaaro the bride and groom with laddoos and then gently toss the laddoos, one each in the four directions. Some aunties got a bit too excited and started hurling them like cricket balls. One of them went and hit a guy on the nose, while the other crossed the wall and landed on the road, prompting everyone to raise both hands and yell "Sixer!" How we laughed!

No marriage is complete without food. I do not even know how to begin talking about the food. Let''s just say I have never had so many banana leaf meals in my entire life as I had during the wedding. While I was almost dying of shock looking at the quantities, Viv was slurping away. In fact, he was the cook's clear favourite. Everyone kept telling him that he was the only one doing justice to the food, which prompted him to crack this food court joke.

Q - What do you do in a food court?
A - Justice to food.

As he wiped off the third helping of rice and rasam within seconds, somebody made a cricket joke, "Power play, eh, Viv?" Next thing I know, the guy serving me (obviously a cricket fan too) is grinning at everyone, pointing at me and saying, "But Madam here has declared." Sheesh.

At times, I felt like the guys who were serving the food were invisible! You don't even see them coming and suddenly you find yourself facing a rather large model of Mount Everest, made entirely of rice. Viv's very crucial advice to me was, "Watch your banana leaf, or it will auto-refresh." Very true. These guys just don't take no for an answer. In fact, there was this time, the offended cook himself marched all the way to my seat to teach me a thing or two, because I had refused the seventeenth helping of rasam.

If you are faced with one of these banana leaf serving guys, only the secret password can come to your rescue. One word. In fact, the only Kannada word I learnt in this trip. The life-saving "solpa" ("a little").

The wedding also had babies galore whom we subjected to our weird facial expressions in an attempt to make them laugh, but more often than not, reducing them to tears. Sumanth's 5-month-old niece, however, was quite receptive towards me and would often smile when she saw me. Of course, there were times she'd burst out crying, but it looked like she wasn't quite sure why exactly she had started crying in the first place. However, being a baby of principle, she'd ensure she finished what she'd started and conclude the crying in proper fashion.

Shub's elder niece of about three was initially shy, but after I put henna on her hands, she got all chatty and even declared that she liked me the most. I was instantly warned not to relate the incident to Vidya, one of Shub's best friends, upon whom the kid had bestowed the same title earlier. Oh by the way, Vidya reads this blog and I believe she is now fuming at the big fat thenga I am showing her. Muahahaha!

Then there was Shub's younger niece who had the most amazing hair-o-dynamics I have ever seen on a 6-month-old! And last, but not the least was another cousin of Sumanth's, also of about the same age, but with the amazing ability to drink from a steel tumbler. The baby finished two tumblerfuls of coconut water, and did not even pause to breathe or burp even once as she gulped them down. You had to see it to believe it!

Throughout the wedding, we came up with corny nicknames for the bride and groom. S2 (for obvious reasons), D2 (Dulha-Dulhan), P2 (Pati-Patni), and my favourite - husbandu and oifu! :D

Sumanth was such an awesomely DIY dulha. He was on his toes the entire time and yet, made time for us and drove us around, still maintaining his characteristic sense of humour, which is actually quite uncharacteristic of Indian weddings. Great guy. (Shub, you are also OK.)

Speaking of driving around, holy shit, Bangalore is all dug up for the metro, eh? As Viv says, the theme song for Bangalore should be 'Khudaya khair' from Billu. The traffic is more insane than what I remember from my trip there last year. But the drives were made so much more fun by Indian radio! Corny as it may be, I totally love the Ulfat 'Seekho mere saathu, Englis ki do baatu' Sultan chap, as he tries to teach the difference between 'motion' and 'emotion', 'shy' and 'cry' and 'propose' and 'dispose'.

Over the radio, we also managed to catch this uberly hilarious Kannada song. I don't know the lyrics, but it went something like:

"Australia, Nigeria, Cambodia,
Columbia, Malaysia, Namibia,
India Mandya India."

The guy just continued churning out country names ending with 'ia' with every stanza of the song, till I felt he was going to run out of countries and start singing "Malaria, Diphtheria, Diarrhoea!"

As if all the food we had at the wedding wasn't enough, we went on a food trip around Bangalore under the able guidance of the biggest foodie I know - Pizzadude. Of course, the highlight was Food Street, a quaint galli located in V. V. Puram, with stalls selling everything from masala Thums Up to masala dosa. We started off at the dosa stall, where the dosa-maker was holding a packet of ghee over the dosas. The packet had a tiny slit, and he was squirting ghee over the dosas like nobody's business. The dosas were so yummy we couldn't care less. We also had pani puri, pav bhaji, some sweet yellow pancake thingy (which I just learnt from Pizzadude's blog is called holige), and my favourite gobi manchurian! Yummy!

We didn't have too much time as we also had to visit Viv's cousin that evening (he has three sets of relatives in Bangalore) otherwise I'd have gone for another round of pani puri. Like I say, "Pani puri ke liye jagah pet mein nahin, dil mein hona mangta hai!" Till the day I left Bangalore, I had pani puri every single day. To the point that I shamelessly had pani puri on two consecutive days at a stall right outside the wedding mandap, in my heavy sari and lehenga respectively! I even had a rating system for the various locations where I had it, and Gullu's came tops. Of course, I deducted 1 point because Gullu junior dared to shoot the offensive "Medium?" question at me when asking me how spicy I wanted my pani puris. Medium meri jooti!

I had also been looking forward to McDonald's. Who looks forward to McDonald's, you ask. Well, when they have something as awesome as the paneer salsa wrap, there is not much you can do but give in. I also OD'ed quite a bit on... Maaza hi Maaza! Shaam sawere hun Maaza hi Maaaaazaaaaaaa! :D

Ooh, I almost forgot the shopping. When we got back to Shub's place after our shopping, and Shub asked, "So how was it?" Viv answered, "Let's just say Commercial Street has relocated to the boot of the car." True true.

We also went DVD shopping to Landmark, and at the sight of the thousands of Bollywood DVDs in front of me, I went quite nuts. We actually looked through every single DVD they had before picking out 13. In fact, I think they suspected something fishy was happening in the DVD section over their security cameras and actually sent a guard over to watch us. Sheesh.

After the wedding, we made a short trip to Puttur (took an overnight train, and talked into the wee hours of the morning), where we got to see plantations of araca nuts, vanilla and cocoa, and also cow farms. I actually touched the forehead of a cow! The last and only time I had touched a cow was when I was about 6 years old and was visiting my Dad’s ancestral home in his village. I had gone on a brave venture to attempt to milk a cow, who had almost whip-lashed me into oblivion with her offended tail. The cows at Puttur, however, seemed more respectful towards curious visitors like us.

We visited three of Sumanth’s relatives who fed us and fed us and fed us until they could feed us no more. We started off with mango juice made from mangoes grown in the backyard, followed by idlis that were twice the size of normal idlis, then mango payasam, then bananas, then a full banana leaf lunch. I believe that at some point in time, there were jalebis, pies and pineapple juice too, but my mind had blanked out by then so I don’t quite remember where we had them. And after all of that, we went to this ice-cream place because Sumanth insisted we had to try this sundae called ‘gadbad’. Gadbad was truly worth it, even though the next day my stomach experienced an emotion of the same name.

The trip was full of insane levels of travelling. We pretty much covered all modes of travel - plane, train, bus, car, cab, scooter and autorickshaw. Speaking of scooters, I was so amused at how offended Pizzadude got when I called his Activa a scooter.

Pizzadude (very offended) - "It's not a scooter. It's an Activa."
Me - "But Activa is a scooter, no?"
Pizzadude - No, it's not a scooter! It's an Activa.
Me - Then what is a scooter?
Pizzadude - Scooter is like... Bajaj!
Me - And Activa is not a scooter?
Pizzadude - No.
Ok this could have gone on forever.
Me - Erm... okay, do you have to tilt it when it doesn't start?
Pizzadude - NO!
Me - Ok then, that's settled. It's not a scooter.
Pizzadude - *big grin*

Shub also took me on a ride around her place on her scoo... I mean Activa. And then she actually let me ride it for a while! Under Viv's supervision, of course. Sheesh. The closest thing to an Activa I'd ridden was a jet ski in Bintan so at first I thought the brake was the accelerator as in the jet ski. If you have been on a jet ski, you'll know what I mean. No wonder I kept wondering why the scoo... Activa kept stopping when I wanted it to go faster! :P

All right, back to Puttur. After about half a day at Puttur, we set off for Mangalore where I finally tasted the famous Mangalore fish curry (yes, we ate. Again.) Finally, to the newlyweds’ relief, Pizzadude, Viv and I left them alone and made our way back to Singapore. We have been depressed since.

The warmth and hospitality you see in India is one of its kind. And it’s uniform across the country. Both the bride's and groom's parents behaved exactly like my parents do -- take in their children's friends as their own children. Incredibly heart-warming. We spent some 9 nights in India and almost every night, we found ourselves in a different house. And everywhere, we were greeted with the same warm and welcoming smiles.

The trip was all about greeting, meeting and eating. I resisted the urge to switch on my phone and also put a restraining order on myself when it came to computers.

I had no connectivity. But I didn't give a damn. I'd still managed to connect.


PS: That was not a pottu. That was a kala teeka for the husbandu and oifu.


PizzaDude said...

Ohh!! Loved it completely. What a trip!!!

Btw, can't stop laughing at the statement "But as soon as this mami found out I had married a south India". Bwahahaha!!! :P Okay, now don't change it. Its more fun this way :P

PizzaDude said...

We should so do that G-U-J-J-U dance! Let's start practicing from tomorrow ;)

Anonymous said...


PizzaDude said...

I still can't believe that we went all the way till Mangalore and didn't eat neer dose or buns:(

PizzaDude said...

Ok, I couldn't stop myself. I went and youtubed the G-U-J-J-U sequence. Here it is for the interested ones.

Gotta go now before Urv and Ved hunt me down!

Prithi Shetty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stone said...

Awesome post....great details, now we demand photographs :-)

Prithi Shetty said...

Awww ... just finished the post ... so you have gone back ...

Prithi Shetty said...

But hey awesome post. All the food and your exp, so nice to read.

Jass said...

What fun! All that food! :)

Makes me want all that food NOW! :-|

Swathy said...

what!!*eyes popped out
bhai mlore aur puttur gaye the!!
mlore s my hometown, pehle batate to kuch aur hogging karate..:D
waise this did sound like a 200% complete south indian wedding,shadi ke baad that s wat d2 and khas ppl around do.. visit relatives and eat eat eat..:P :P

Gardener said...

Ha ha..Looks like you had really a gr*eat* time :P .. Next time, you come to india, try coming to chennai too..btw how much wt u gained by the time you returned to SG??

Dont wonder much. It's akshaya here!

Gardener said...

Ha ha..Looks like you had really a gr*eat* time :P .. Next time, you come to india, try coming to chennai too..btw how much wt u gained by the time you returned to SG??

Dont wonder much. It's akshaya here!

smalltown_girl said...

uber funny!!!
all the best wishes to s2/d2/p2
and you in twitter??

Shraddha said...

Hi Sayesha,

I've been reading your blog since the past 3 years now (and yeah, i've gone through all ur archives too...). I've thoroughly enjoyed everyone one of your posts... Though i hardly commented on any, i just couldnt resist today!

Reason... simple, you just gave me a lovely read on my native! I'm from Mlore and have worked in Blore for years... And all the things you wrote in this post just gave me a flash back on my days in both places! Am all nostalgic right now :(

Guess you missed out some more yummy Mlorean stuff... like Neer Dosa, Shell Curry and the Ice Creams in Mlore...

Lovely post and am lost in my memories now...


Unknown said...

Supper Supper post!!
South Indian food is the best!!! (My mom is Kannada.....so I know :D :D :D)

And still, mu knowledge of Kannada is limited to,
Saree - get aside
Solpa - :D (It's actually Swalpa though)
Huli - curry
and the ever useful - Kannda Barangilla - I don't know Kannada!

Urv said...

I miss you guys :(

You are treading on dangerous terms Mr Veshtiman :P I am going to hunt you down! You better start running away on your Scooter :P

Anonymous said...

God, a good one, good humor. Liked Khudaya Khair one! :-)

Vidya Hemraj said...

Hey!! Soooper write up as always :D! and here's a thumbs up for that ... But guess what - here's a thenga back to you!!! Niece 1 called me a sweetie-pie .. Muhaaa haaaaaa Muhaaaa haaaaa Muhaaaa haaaaa Muhaaaa haaaaa .... OK I think I'm overdoing it now ... :))!

Technofun said...

wow.. Nice write up.. Trip ho toh aisi :D

Enjoy Do post pics too :)

rt said...

how could you not have gadbad at Mangalore?!!!
its most awesome there...

sounds an amazing trip and definitely a very interesting post looking like a multi-multi starrer movie!!

Sanchit said...

thaaaat was a looong read... and a delightful one too... i missed quite some thing.. * sigh *

Unknown said...

I have been an avid reader of your blog ever since a friend introduced me to it.I have hardly commented before.But how can I possibly resist now? A post about Bangalore! And about Kannadiga cuisine (you had a chance to taste the Bangalore food-it must have been cooked in the Mysore style as wedding feasts usually are in South Karnataka and the Mangalore food-the Karavali cuisine. Lucky you)! The post was brilliant-you have captured the essence and soul so beautifully.

Yeah..I know that "ia" song. It goes on to say that there might be hundreds of countries (I guess the names of the countries had to rhyme..explains the weird selections) but the girl he (the guy who sings the song) loves is from Mand"ya" (which is a disctrict that you can find en route to Mysore). That song was hugely popular-we used to be greeted by it everywhere.Sigh! Thankfully-people forget..

I am from Bangalore and love it to death. Sad that your second visit and the chaos reigning in the city at present coincided. But nevertheless,looks like you had fun..

And I have to end this very long comment.Sorry..I got carried away :)

~ Lopa said...

I have been reading your posts since last few months.
And was a bit disappointed on why the next post took so long...but all i say is this was worth the wait... !!
Excellent post.

Thousif Raza said...

Oji sayesha ji where r u yaar? ur suprise is still at my blog forgot abt it kya??

visit it and i guarentee you, that u will like it

and excellent post as usual, lengthy though :D, but you really have kept us blog readers waiting bcoz of ur late posting, you had me worried you know, dont u ever do that again

take care and keep writing.......

Unknown said...

Hey, I have been reading your blog for quite some time now.. i never posted a comment though I really love each of your post. But I have to say this one takes the cake.. :)
I missed India a lot after reading this..

I had an activa back in India and I am glad Pizzadude makes a point to stress its not a scooter. That was kind of a deja vu for me.. :)

take care and keep blogging

Navya said...

You called an Activa a Scooter !!!! Grrrr !

Awesome trip btw, makes me miss India terribly now - all the food, people, kids, weddings ...

VIDYA said...

Colourful entry this!
How'd you like Bengalooru? :)
I love the English teaching Sultan too.There are other spoofs as well,but what amuses me most is the inane raps they air sometimes...have ya heard the "Bang-bang-bang-bangalore" one? *chuckle*
Welcome back to blogdom BHAI!

PizzaDude said...

@Urv:Yeah yeah.. aap pehle yahan aaiye toh sahi :P

Unknown said...

I am so on the side of Pizzadude! Activa and Kinetic Honda are NOT scooters!!!!

Anusha said...

Man, what a trip it must've been! And what a post. Wah, bhai, wah. I can't even get myself to write a detailed report of a 5 day trip to Malaysia.

Also, it's a REALLY good thing the scoo ... erm, Activa, wasn't wired the other way round. :/

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Sayesha said...

HA! I had corrected it before you could comment. And I'd said to Viv, "Let me correct this before some idiot brings it up in the comments section!" HAHAHA! :D

Yes, we should totally do the G-U-J-J-U dance some time! :D


Yeah man! Next one then! :)

Thanks for the youtube link, I have added it in the post itself! Urv and Ved are gonna kill both of us! :P

Yes I was in Bangalore! I thought I'd mentioned it in my previous post! :D

Thanks! Photos? Errr... husbandu and oifu may object so no photos! :P

Thanks! :)

Hehehehe! Food Street jao, sab kha jao! :D :D :D

Hahahaha! I am still reeling from all that food! :D

Will visit Chennai some time too. :)

#smalltown girl,
Thank you! :)
Nope, I'm not on twitter, I can barely manage Facebook! :)

Welcome and thanks! I can't believe you have been lurking in the bar for 3 years now!! :O

Okay this is the second time I have heard neer dosa... I HAVE to try it the next time! :/

Hehehe... thanks! :D

We miss you too!! When are you getting here?????

LOL @ veshtiman! :D :D :D

Thanks! :D

Okay let's put things in perspective here. Vidya - lives in Bangalore and has 24-7 access to said niece. Sayesha - lives in Singapore and had never met said niece before. Check and mate! ;)

Thanks! Pics are mostly of the wedding and I need permission from S2D2P2 for that! :)

Sheesh! I was already all gadbad! Couldn't even think about food for like 2 days! :P

Thanks! Bola tha na? Aana tha na? Ab bhugto! :P

Thanks so much for your comment! Never mind the length, I enjoyed it thoroughly! :)

Thanks! :D

Thank you for the honour! :)

Wow, all the chhupa bewdas are delurking at this post. Awesome! :D Thanks! :)

Hahahahaha! Scooter scooter scooter! :P

Thanks! :)
I haven't heard the bang-bang one! :(

*sits back with a bag of popcorn*

Hahahahaha! :D

//I can't even get myself to write a detailed report of a 5 day trip to Malaysia.

Reminds me... weren't you supposed to write a report of your previous trip? ;)

//Also, it's a REALLY good thing the scoo ... erm, Activa, wasn't wired the other way round. :/


#anamika and riya,
No pamphlets in the bar, please! Thank you.

Sw33t.p0150n said...

hey Sayesha, you good at blogs.. Liked your blog.. Specially that NAZAR UTAROO SECTION ;)
Scotter and Activa .. ROFL.. I too have one activa at my place.. lol..

Shraddha said...

Yup! I've been reading n re-reading your posts for almost 3 years now... There r times when I read your posts and think to myself "didnt something similar happen to me too!" I too had an all boyz gang in college, and i was considered a guy between them... I moved schools 4 times, (though not 7 like you!) I too am an engineer by degree but a writer by profession! my first boss was almost as crazy as your first boss! he would make me write all his emails, check spellings for him, make calculations for him, keep a telephone directory for him and wat not! well, well... i guess i must stop comparing us, i may just freak you out!

Its always great to read your posts... esply when i am low... they have this magic of bringing back my lost spirits...


Shraddha said...

BTW, i have just gotten myself a new blog account... inspired by you to start writing online... though, i am yet to post my first post :P


Sravanthi said...

Another lurker here!

Didn't you also like Chamrajpet Charles??

Unknown said...

Hey can we have a community on facebook just for this blog. It would be fun then interacting with everyone.

Think about it. And yeah you can post your pics on hopscotch, A more details account of trip.

Cheers !

Bigfoot said...

Wow! what a blog! loved this one. And oh! yes i totally understand the pottu lecture, having got it from vedagiri uncle himself. once he even went to the extent of asking another colleague if she had one, took it from her and gave it to me. now the other colleagues make sure to give me the lecture from time to time to keep up with the tradition.
and happy to know you had a great time :)

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