Monday, October 15, 2012

India 17: The Lunchpot Sessions

The Lunchpot Sessions

          Lunch at Vindhya is a communal, pot luck affair in which staff share food brought from home while sitting on the bottom floor of the office building.  I’ve eaten with them there but I’ve usually eaten around a conference table on the management floor--except when we went out to lunch, the restaurant at Hari Krishna Temple being the best meal I’ve had in India.  But in the last couple of week’s I’ve eaten at “Lunchpot Sessions” put on by teams working for one or more clients.  The latest was the most splendid, put on by the Ujjivan and Wipro team.

          There were 30 different things to eat.  I counted, thirty.  I would say, oh, no, thank you I’m full but everyone pretended they didn’t speak English and served me anyway.  And I’m told that this something dish goes with that something sdish o of course I must have both.  Everything is strictly vegetarian which is the standard fare in South India.  We eat on banana leaves which is traditional and also for special occasions.  We eat with our hands but I'm allowed a fork and spoon as well.  This picture is of about half way through.

          After 76 years I would have thought there would be few new tastes or foods left to experience.  Quite wrong.  There are breads laced with seeds; sweet bread thin as paper; seeds, vegetables and nuts in a crunch mix; carrots that taste like desert; tiny droplets of something that transform rice; and this: a leaf wrapped into a triangle which you pop in your mouth.  It then explodes with spices racing into every taste bud. 
Here are Vindhya's co-founders who run the show, Pavithra and Ashok Giri at the Lunchpot, taking pictures with his I-Pad:
 We are being served by those doing the work in these teams, all women.  We should be serving you, not the other way around, I suggest.  Nonetheless, I’m eating away with such concentration that I wake up to discover I’m almost alone.  We are eating in shifts.  It’s time to say goodbye to what has now become the best meal I’ve had in India. 

But that title could change.  There's another Lunchpot Session tomorrow and yet another on Friday!



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