Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch

I have taken the liberty of expanding the net of "ladies" here to net in almost all ladies I have come across in my career, as colleagues, as research respondents , as friends and as Indian women in general.

And no, this isn't about ladies.
It is about the Lunches.

So there are the mothers who wake up at 5.30 in the morning, pack "tiffins" for the kids, make chapati, sabzi for breakfast and pack "boxes" for husband and is a whirlwind of  cooking, chopping, running to drop kid in busstop, back to cooking, packing till the clock strikes ten. Lunch for such mothers are usually alone, or a women only affair in joint families. Which means shortcuts. So a quick serving of chapatis, chawal and sabzi , dahi ( or its eastern or southern equivalent) had while listening to the favourite FM dj belting out songs or the favourite reruns on TV. In fact one of the leading FM stations even had a promo where lucky mums could win a Subway lunch for herself.

Cut to the Working Women. Lunch means picking up the packed lunch or office thali  or dabba and plonking down at the usual ring round the table with other friends at work. Nibbling off each other's food. Food complementing the lively chatter and gossip that makes the lunch hour so relaxing. Appreciating the thepla, the choclate cake slice handed generously around, the rice and bhindi ki sabzi cooked in the morning. Lunch  is a mix of food that's pot pourri, iced with laughter and fun.

Occasionally, these lunches happen out of work in a favourite joint. Food different, same liveliness and masti.

Of course, we have the Kitty Party lunches. Lucky ladies with lucky kitties. In a favourite cool joint. Where four tables have been joined together and a "Reserved" placard sits proudly amidst cut glass vases with single stemmed roses. Mexican, Chinese, Pan Asian, Indian rules the roost.   Or the best in the Fine Dining Menu.

Then we have those other Lunches where the ladies usually meet for a late lunch and discuss serious community welfare issues- maybe the next travel book they are helping edit and co-author, the Teach India sessions in Pahaganj, the blankets to be collected for the Home for the Aged. Food here fuels productive social welfare initiatives.

On certain days of the week, we have the Fast Lunches. Sabudana khichri, fruits, sweets, banana chips. Nothing else. Women who follow this  stick to this religiously. Its great tasting food as well.

And to  end on a high, we have the Great Indian Sunday Lunches. Where the wives and mothers make special dishes and the family waits with eager anticipation. Sanjeev Kapoor,  Sananda and Grihasobha recipes  dominate the table. So does the new Ready To Cook range dishes innovatively dished out- matar paneer, pindi chana, hyderabadi biryani, chicken chettinad, kashmiri rajma and more.
 The Eastern ( also rest of India but writing more from experience) sweat out the ritualistic Sunday Mutton Curry.

Lunches are indeed special- for both Homemakers and Working Women. It is a time to relax, to talk, to connect and reconnect. A time when the woman truly plays herself and not necessarily a wife or a mom.