BangaLore #12: Southern (Indian) hospitality

Feb. 10, 2009, 1:30 p.m. | By Sonalee Rau | 15 years ago

Bangalorean dinner parties are seriously time-consuming. If you've ever been to one, you know what I mean. Here's the basic schedule:

First of all, the guests have to actually show up. This takes a while, particularly in Bangalore, where everyone runs on IST (Indian Standard Time) - budget in an extra couple of hours for their arrival.

Guests at an Indian dinner party get talking. Photo courtesy of Sonalee Rau.

Next, snacks have to be prepared and offered to guests. I'm not talking Trader Joe's frozen blinis; there's a formula for the snacks served at Indian dinner parties, and I believe there's an unwritten rule that they must include salted peanuts, spicy chickpeas and a savory Indian trail mix. Aforementioned snacks must then be offered to all guests in order of seniority, oldest to youngest.

Then there is a part where old friends discuss how their second cousin's niece's uncle thrice removed is doing (yes, everyone's related in India).

After all conversation matter is exhausted, all children in attendance who are musically trained are requested commanded to perform. Those lucky enough to play unwieldy or non-portable instruments are grudgingly exempted.

At some point during the party, the power (or "current," as it's called here) is bound to go out. Cue panic on the part of all five-year-olds present and relief on the part of the kids who were being forced to perform and now have an excuse not to do so.

The climax of the party…time to eat. Need I say more?

Post-dinner: wait for all the guests to leave. (It's roughly 1 a.m. by this time.) The party will eventually move out onto the doorstep and…oh, just as you think they're going home, someone launches into another anecdote. Utilize this time to pack up some of the leftovers to shove off onto unsuspecting guests.

Finally, pack up remaining food and prepare to eat it for a few weeks, or until the next dinner party.

A predictable process, but always exciting. It's a different kind of Southern hospitality - take that, Paula Deen.

Tags: BangaLore

Sonalee Rau. Sonalee (suh-NAH-lee) is a chipper Chipper and a would-be magnet junior. She spends a great deal of time playing tennis (Blair is red hot), doodling, reading, quoting famous people, quoting not-so-famous people and lamenting her inability to play the piano. She is also a big … More »

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