Monday, May 28, 2012

Atlanta Amarkalam!



Atlanta Amarkalam!

“Raji, did you get the mallipoo from Ganapathi Flowers?  Please do keep that in a ice Pack and Check them In.  Kaalavarathadi, please!” exclaimed Sambandhamoorthi to his sister Swarna.  The poo Maalais were delivered directly on a overnight flight from Nungambaakam to New Jersey’s Ganapathi Flower shops.  Swarna had just discovered that such a store exists and was all excited to bring the much desiered mallipoo for her Manni’s Seemandham.  Mallipoo was the highlight among the Maamis, of course.

Sambandhamoorthi had way too many things to deal for the 30+ guests that he had invited and the 20+ that showed up uninvited.  His mom and dad came from Delhi, his mamanar and mamiyar from Chennai, brother-in-law No.1 with his family from Chicago, brother-in-law No.2 from Arizona, Sister & Maaplai from New Jersey, his close friend from London on a business visit and the vaadhiyaar varadhachari from south carolina.  It was almost like a United Nations meeting organized in Atlanta

 “Sambandh, I missed the previous two episodes of Selvi.  Do you have SunTV here?” Sambandh’s amma Atlandam, err..Akilandam was worried.  Luckily for her, he had just purchased a Mega-Maga-Super Package from YuppTV and got her covered for Mangai, selvi, thaali baagyam, thirumanam, karbam and Valaikaapu serials! 

Vaadyaar Varadhachari was very adaptable.  Even his slokams were. "Gangesa Yamune seva Godhavari Saraswathi" became "Missori, Columbia river seva Hudson, Missisipi"! Ok, I made that up.  But he was very adaptable in every other aspect like not minding the buffet and sharing the guest house with the rest of the relatives.

Rangaachari’s  bakshanam (seeru murku, mysore paaku and laddu) was a delight.  Sambandam specially went on a 4 day lookout to find a vegetarian, iyer, tamil speaking, non-drinking and clean (ok, I over-did that) cook all over Atlanta and found Rangaachari around 40 miles from his home.  “You initially paid me 600 dollars, then you added 10 more people, so you totally owe me 675 dollars.  Please verify all the 10 items that you have ordered.  Be careful with the Aviyal and the Paayasam, they might spill in your car” told the cook, counting the dollars while Sambandh collected the lunch items from Rangaachari’s home/restaurant. 

“Maami, everyone was talking about the paayasam this morning, but I never had anything left for me” complained Keerthi maami.  “Who was the cook?” was the most asked question of the day.  The food was that popular and the cook Rangaachari was more popular, thanks to his Andra style Katrikaai curry in the morning and his rasmalai in the evening.  Just after that function, Rangaachar got catering orders for 2 more seemanthams, 3 Grahapravesams, 1 Aandunaraivu and 4 Satyanarayan pooja.  He planned to upgrade his small Nissan Sentra to a spacious Honda Accord after that week.  That was the impact of his food for the Seemandham.

“Mama, have you seen the Coca-Cola factory in Atlanta?  I can take you there if you want to.  I work there, so if you need free passes let me know” one of Sambanth’s friends Murali was busy chatting with his appa.  “I even brought 5 liters of Coke for the evening party, mama” he continued! 

The function went well with house filled with guests and relatives with people making plans for Atlanta aquarium while munching their Athirasam and guys trying to dodge those plans to watch the Sunday movie on Sun TV constituted some of the discussions during lunch.

“Appa, we had to go for Sambandhamoorthi’s house function tomorrow.  His parents are here, so we can invite them for your Shashtiyapthapoorthi next week” said the neighbor Sainath with excitement.  One could sense the desperation on getting hold of guests for a function in the United States.  Afterall, any of our function is never complete without playing kids (Only the Indian variety screams for some odd reason), your manni persuading her crying infant, your athai and chitti complimenting each other on their pattu podavai, that one very social athimber who lightens up the occasion, brother-in-laws discussing the housing market and their investment plans and of course friends who keep us going.  People make up the occasion, and Sai did realize that. 

Sainath had now got one mami and a mama for his function and is now on the lookout for the rest in his neighbourhood.  After all, people make up the occasions and they are always a rarity in this part of the world!  Luckily that was not the case for Sambandhamoorthy!

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