An Ode to forgotten Hospitality 

I love house parties. The madness that prevails before the guests arrive to ensure one puts their best foot forward- silverware polished, best China laid out, wine cellar stacked and the glassware spotless. It’s a lovely feeling to have close ones over on a pre planned date to ensure all is in order just like clockwork. 

What happens when one saunters over to a friends uninvited on a working day in bustling Mumbai is when the real McCoy presents itself- a simple yet elegant home cooked meal with a few last minute additions. 

It’s funny how friends meet, especially with the friend in question- Madhu. I resonate guarded attributes amongst my friend circle and in this case I shall just leave it at the name due to privacy clause I hold ever so dear. Madhu and I happened to meet all by chance at a furniture shop in Goa and hit it off instantly. Ever since then there has been no turning back and I can carelessly invite myself over to her place- unannounced only to incur the wrath of her in iron curls post a long jog on the beach. The simplicity and uninhibited warm and welcome feeling reciprocated is something not even family members can live upto in this day and age and I speak from experience. 

There was nothing earth shattering or ground breaking to report except chatter and then some more for a lazy afternoon ahead. A lady who knows her art, is refined and poised with grace yet throws the most elegant and subliminal parties filled with aplomb and panache. It’s a heady concoction to be in the presence off and we rage in theory from drapes to silverware with a hint of stocks and shares with artwork openings thrown in good measure. It’s stimulating and drives my grey cells into a frenzy. We were in hope of her son joining us for a meal but he had a rather ‘working’ late night and decided to sleep in. Catch you on the next one buddy. 

So, after all the fancy dining options in the past few days, this was a meal worth ‘gate crashing’ for. Home made and filled with love and presented ever so effortlessly. The flavor of Indian spices in the all vegetarian meal, tickled my tastebuds beyond measure. From Arbi Fry, Okra (bhendi) masala, Panchmel daal and some dum Aloo, i was in seventh heaven. Let’s not forget the Dahi Bhala with Paratha. 

But this is not about the meal at hand. It’s about the hospitality which is seldom practiced in these times. An uninvited guest these days, irks the criticisms of all and sundry between family members and becomes pillow talk long after the guest is gone. Sure it’s all about priorities and so called fast friendships these days and ‘time is of the essence’. Heck, I confess to having done it a long time ago and I am not proud to say so. 

It’s the simple things that go a long way to forge bonds of steel that can never be broken. An expression of surprise for sure, with a hint of twinkle in the eye to cook up ‘left overs’ and ordering some ice cream to the elaborate daily meal consumed by members of the family is what was presented to me and this by far outdoes some of the parties I have been invited too over the years. It’s that spontaneity, which is cherished. The meal was fabulous and here’s a BIG thank you my dearest Madhu. 

The Mini Grand Indian Thali  Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography 

Shot on Iphone6 

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