My Indian Dining Table and the Lunch that Went Ahead
|All Indian–Rajathani embroidered pieces,copper utensils,hydrangeas in candle stands ,Khurja pottery glasses,Fabindia napkins|
When the Indian ambassador is not in town, the embassy decides, following conventional protocol, that the next person in charge will attend all diplomatic functions like National Days, exhibition openings,etc. So all of a sudden , the ambassador’s wife finds her name ,along with that of her husband’s,who is not there anyway but she is,struck off the ‘programmes’ chart. Almost as if the wife has to be in mourning !
Debashish had to go to India and I found myself in a similar situation. Not that I would die if I did not attend any of these functions as I really have a lot to do–just that it is someone else who is deciding for you.
This time, however, one lunch scheduled at the residence stayed not cancelled and went ahead.
An invitation to a lunch had been issued through the embassy a long time ago. The invitee accepted on his return from his holiday which was at almost exactly the same time as my husband decided to go to India. I could either cancel or postpone it awkwardly or just go ahead with it . Instead of going through my husband’s very nice social secretary ,I phoned the invitee’s wife and asked if they would like the lunch postponed because my husband was not in town or if they would like to still come as I would love to have their family over either now or later.( I have discovered that phoning directly makes things much simpler than the back and forth-ing of emails or phoning formally through secretaries).They accepted and the lunch happened.
|The lunch table ,the people,the light filled dining room at India House|
|Papri chaat and rose petals|
A lunch probably always feels less formal especially ,of course,if you have lovely people who are part of it. I enjoyed doing up the table with as many Indian things as I could manage.And I did a bit of Indian cooking. I don’t think I will be assuming too much if I say everyone ,including myself, enjoyed it quite a lot, aided a little, maybe, by Cobra beer.
At least,no one can accuse me of not trying to fly India’s flag in my husband’s absence !
Photos- thanks to Clelia Zanini