Pot luck party

Aunty, when is our pot luck party, asked my niece who had come down from London to join college here.

I didn’t know for sure myself because the date had to be fixed after consulting the dozen families from our inner circle. As the “organising secretary,” a portfolio I had been holding ever since the concept of pot luck get-togethers was universally approved by our circle, I had to start with the first round of contacting each of the contributors. 

I promised Prithika that the date would be finalised in a day or two and that she would be the first to know about it.

After several rounds of phone calls the date for the party was fixed for a Saturday. Next was deciding the menu, which was the job of the “menu expert” among us.

She reeled out at least a dozen items for the pot luck – beginning with starters, followed by an appetizer, a mix of the south, north and Chinese as well to appease the youngsters’ taste. 

Next came the allocation – who should bring what item which was decided by the “allocation expert” among us and who would in turn confirm it to me as per our protocol which we rigidly followed.

I eagerly waited for her phone call but as it didn’t come even after two days, I decided to give the protocol the go-by and called her.

She said she was still not in a position to confirm either about the contributors or their contributions as she had not yet got over the discussion/arguments stage with them leave alone arriving at a consensus. 

What is the problem? I asked as her voice betrayed her helplessness.

Oh, the usual arguments regarding the number of courses and the dessert. They want a change from the usual menu , some of them think the menu expert is running out of ideas, she lamented.

But I thought the menu included Chinese which is an add-on to the stock menu at our pot luck parties, I said.

That is not the problem, they don’t seem to like the idea of being thrust with the items they should prepare. They feel they must have a say in deciding the menu since they are the contributors of the dishes.

Now I am in a fix, tell me, how can we bypass the menu expert, lamented the allocation expert.

Oh is that the problem, then perhaps the best thing would be to leave them to bring what they want, I suggested after much deliberation.

I could literally hear her sigh with relief.

Thanks for coming to my rescue, let me begin rightaway by calling them all up all over again, said the allocation expert.

The day of the party arrived and slowly our contributors started trickling in along with casseroles of various shapes and sizes and they laid them on the dining table.

We had a couple of rounds of party games as was our practice to work up an appetite for the pot luck dinner.

One by one the lids of the casseroles were lifted and the aroma permeated all over the room. Everyone eagerly had a peep at the contents and sighed.

You guessed it right – the menu comprised a dozen dishes all right, including salt brought by one of them – there were a minimum of twos and threes of – fried rice, mixed vegetable and curd rice, just two courses and the third was a dessert, a freshly made mysore pak from the shop well known for its mouth watering and melting-in-the-mouth sweet!

An emergency meeting followed the “dinner” and promptly our portfolios were shuffled –

That left me without a portfolio and I was glad at the decision, more so was my husband – because he was paying the exorbitant telephone bills.

Aunty, is this what you call a pot luck party? Our parties back home in London have a larger spread, quipped my niece. 

N Meera Raghavendra Rao

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