Blog A feast, a feast!! (and a glorious saree)

A feast, a feast!! (and a glorious saree)

Posted by Author on in Blog 49

Last week, Mom and I went to Matunga to buy a saree.
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Not any old saree, but an ombudu-gajam, that Queen of Sarees, all of nine yards long, the ultimate, definitive, TamBram garment.
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We got there a little early, and the saree shop hadn't opened yet. So in keeping with our TamBram roots, we decided to have coffee at Manis Lunch Home. As we went in, both Mom and I stopped in our tracks - there was this giant 10 foot poster outside:

Mani's Lunch Home - Invitation to the Onam Feast on Sep 2
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Talk about authentic food! This is about as good as it gets!
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I wanted to go eat there today, but the morning was manic, so I was stuck at my desk. I have to be content instead, with posting a picture of *another* feast I went to yesterday.
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Palakkad Wedding Meal - and this is only the first course!!

My cousin Ravi got married at Bangalore, and this is the photo of the main muhurtham meal. Very similar to the Onam sadya, in fact, most of the items listed in the menu above were served. We all ate until we burst.
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As for the ombodu-gajam saree, here is mom, looking resplendent in it! I don't know how to drape this saree, so I have promised myself I am going to learn it. I want to look like this some day!
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Mom and Dad with Aishwarya.

The ombudu-gajam is from Lakshmi Silks, another venerable Matunga institution. My grandmother used to buy there, and so does my mom. My sister and I have been sensibly following in their footsteps. The South Cottons at Lakshmi Silks are fantastic.

By the way, if you overhear a conversation between two TamBram women in Matunga, it will likely go something like this:

"Nalla irrukey! Enga vaanginai podavai?". This saree looks good! Where did you buy it?

"Iyengaaru-kadai daan, vera engai!" (this said with a smile). At Iyengaar's shop, where else!

If you are part of the inner coterie, then you'll know that 'Iyengaar' refers to the owner of Lakshmi Silks, a man responsible for much female happiness in the Matunga area.
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Lakshmi Silks is a tiny shop near the kabutarkhana in Matunga Market. Business is done the old fashioned way. You leave footwear outside, step into a small airconditioned area. You sit on the floor, on mats. You explain what you are looking for. Soon, the sarees emerge, silk and cotton, exquisite Kancheevarams, beautiful Mangalagiris, checked Chettinaads...your head reels with pleasure. You take your time. You examine everything.
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Perhaps it is that arresting maroon that calls out to you, the one with the temple motif and the glorious golden pallu. Or perhaps it is that beautfiful mango yellow, the one with the green and gold border.
Eventually, you make a selection. You fork out money, watch as the precious saree is wrapped...and then you walk out, clutching your bundle of silken happiness, plotting when to wear it.

Ah, Matunga, Matunga! Long may your shops thrive!

  1. Ananva
    And then on the way back home while clutching the precious saree, one also stops and buys some appams and filter coffee powder (with chicory) from the small stores along Matunga Market, not to mention inhaling the fragrance of the mogra and other flowers
    September 1, 2009