Our kind and indulgent landlord invited us to his son’s wedding reception, and never having been to a Hyderabadi Muslim wedding before, The Roommate and I eagerly accepted. I had the added thrill of finally having a place to wear my violently shiny yellow sari with the lovely blouse, and after convincing The Roommate that her ever so tasteful, restrained, exquisite handloom fabric sari would never do and bundled her into a fairly shiny sari, we hired a cab and took off.
The invitation said 9.00 and we got there at 9.30.
We didn’t eat dinner beforehand, and so, by the time dinner was served at oh 1030pm, we were STARVING.
Now I’m ambidextrous and usually eat left-handed, but I know how it upsets people and am fairly dextrous with the right hand as well, so I usually remember to eat right-handed at public gatherings. This time I forgot.
Cut to MinCat and The Roommate seated at a table of women, eating dinner.
Strange Lady on MinCat’s Left: Why are you eating with your left hand?
MinCat: Er…I just do.
SL: Hmmm… Why aren’t you eating any of the meat? (There were about 9 dishes at the table, the only vegetarian thing there was the Russian salad and we all know that doesn’t count. Even the rotis were stuffed with mince.)
MC: Um… I’m vegetarian, I don’t eat meat. *helping herself to green chicken that later turned out to be VERY well cooked mutton*
Old Lady on Strange LAdy’s left (probably mother-in-law from the interaction): *loudly and waving a food-encrusted hand at me* seeeedhe haath se khana khaten hai!! (One eats food with the right hand!)
MC: *smiles politely* I’ve always eaten left-handed, from childhood.
OL: *screeching a bit* seedhe haath se khana khaten hai!!
SL: *stage whisper* nahi nahi, BRAHMAN hai, isliye! (she’s a brahmin, that’s why she eats left handed)
MC: *choking on her biryani* (since it’s ever such a terrible thing to be left-handed among brahmins)
TR: *choking on her kabab*
MC and TR: *doing their best to keep straight face while whispering to each other in English*
SL: Are you from outside? (the country)
MC: Er…no…we’re from here…well I am, but she’s from —
SL: No you’re talking in some language you see.
SL: So, are you Brahman?
MC: Who meee? I don’t know. I’m Hindu though if that helps.
SL: No, I thought you were Brahman.
MC: We might be (knowing full well we are), I wouldn’t know.
SL: So do you two share a room?
MC: *choking on her paneer* Er…no..that’s to say we share a flat, but we have separate rooms.
SL: Ah, so you and your family have one room and she and hers have the other.
MC: Um…no, it’s just us. She has her room, and I have mine.
SL: And you have your men eh?
MC: *pretends not to understand* he he I didn’t get that *turning to TR* TALK TO ME SO I DON’T HAVE TO TALK TO HER!