Get­ting to the heart of the mat­ter

Friday - - HUMOUR - Suresh Menon is a writer based in In­dia. In his youth he set out to change the world but later de­cided to leave it as it is.

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. This is not from the in­struc­tion man­ual of heart surgeons, who know bet­ter ways of get­ting there. It is merely a way of en­cour­ag­ing culi­nar­ily chal­lenged brides to spend time in the kitchen.

Wikipedia cred­its the quote to Fanny Fern, a 19th-century Amer­i­can news­pa­per colum­nist. No, I hadn’t heard of her ei­ther, but let’s not get dis­tracted.

The im­por­tant thing to keep in mind is the con­nec­tion be­tween love and food. Or food and a march­ing army. Napoleon (now there’s a colum­nist I have heard of) said that an army marches on its stomach, leading to many quaint car­toons in his time no doubt, but his think­ing was sound.

By a happy co­in­ci­dence, a wed­ding party too is like a march­ing army – it marches on its stomach. Some of us know it, oth­ers find out the hard way.

Take the case of an al­most-wed­ding in Ban­ga­lore re­cently. The bride’s side sent 30kg of chicken biryani to the groom’s side. Al­ready that sounds like a com­pe­ti­tion, with the two teams lined up and the na­tional an­them be­ing played. But this was noth­ing like that. It was a ges­ture not of war, but of peace.

Sadly, they had mis­cal­cu­lated. No, 30kg was fine. It was just that chicken was not. The groom’s side were mut­ton biryani afi­ciona­dos. His­tor­i­cally, the mut­ton people have not been anti-chicken to any great ex­tent. Of­ten they are happy to ac­cept one or the other. But not in this case. To cut a long story short, a heated ar­gu­ment en­sued, com­par­isons were made be­tween the bird in the biryani and the tem­per­a­ment of the gift-givers, and be­fore you could say “bas­mati rice”, the wed­ding was called off.

It is worth­while quot­ing the news­pa­per re­port here: “See­ing the groom’s fam­ily’s be­hav­iour prior to the wed­ding, the bride won­dered how

A wed­ding party is like an army – it marches on its stomach. Some find this out the hard way…

she would be treated af­ter mar­riage,” and she dis­played sturdy good sense in not wait­ing around to find out.

Per­haps she had read the story of the one who did get mar­ried, a few thou­sand kilo­me­tres north, in Dehra Dun. Here, a man killed his wife in a fit of rage “when he found that the veg­etable dish served to him in his meal did not have toma­toes in it”.

Not be­ing a tomato-lover (had I been served a veg­etable dish with­out tomato in it, I would have given the chef a spe­cial apron), I fail to see, etc… One man’s tomato is an­other man’s chicken biryani, as the old say­ing goes.

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, brides must train them­selves, as rec­om­mended by a TV an­chor, to thrust up­ward through his ribcage.

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