To our great honor we were invited to the famous Diwali feast by our Indian friends in the beginning of November. Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights and it is so important for Indian people such as for the Americans the Thanksgiving. We accepted happily the invitation partly because it was a great opportunity to participate in a “live” Indian feast, instead of only watching on the TV. When I rang the bell of the neat little house, Bharti and her husband had already stood at the entrance path, with their few Indian friends, all in festively dressed. A few invited non-Indian guests sat and listened to some music in the lounge. After admiring the apartment and their vitrine where for the main location was displayed the wedding pillow, I was offered a non-alcoholic drink with a sweet snack (sweetened grated carrot with a mixture of cashew nuts). We were just drinking our refresher when the men suddenly stood up and ran out. -Now a little presentation will come-explained Bharti, and put an Indian CD into their computer – “We may go out into the yard now,” she gave us the instruction. Rose petals were scattered away, the men lined up, and formed a circle according to the sounds of music, and began to dance. The story of the song could be something funny, as we puzzled from their gestures, probably about some fishing adventure because I guessed there was an imaginary net scooped into the sea ….or it could be any other funny hunting event, anyway they laughed through the whole thing, while we could only speculate what could the story be as we didn’t speak the Marathi language. After the dance show we returned to the dining room. Just captured our place at the table when Bharti had brought the dishes, appetizers, main dishes, desserts all at once, rice, with coriander yogurt sauce, decorated with a large green leaf, (to me it was unknown) then the famous pakora (fried flour breaded chickpeas), with hot sauce, and the orange juice and boiled milk, flavored with cashew and star anis. Alcohol, meat according to their religions were not allowed on the table, as Bharti came from the vegetarian region of India and her husband too. We rioted in the flavors, but we felt ourselves a bit like being in the tales of La Fontaine: in The Stork and the Fox story, to the effect that we were so illiterate about Indian cuisine. The coriander yogurt sauce, the rice were harmonized, I loved pakora very much so the dinner was very enjoyable. When we finished the dinner we adjourned to the parlor and then Vaihbao, as a good host asked us whether we liked the taste of Indian cuisine or not? It was very nice and I’d like to have all recipes of the saoji cuisine-because I want to enrich my vegetarian repertoir–I replied. In San Francisco in the Indian restaurants we ate dishes only with meat such as Tandori chicken, and some Hungarian stew-alike dish (do not remember of its name) with the famous idli so it was a very interesting new experience.
-Do you like idli? Then I will prepare it next time with some other woman stuff such as the poha, just for us -winked Bharti. And she did!