A matter of no taste


I love the foodie shows on T&L and NDTV Good Times, though most if not all of the dishes shown are items I’ll never touch.

So we(sis and I) watch a Chinese lady with a Brit accent go through China, chopping tofu, cooking lotus roots…  and then watch another lady whip up desserts all rich in chocolate, Kunal Vijaykar chat with a chef in Pondicherry as he buys spices, vegetables and meat and prepares a godawesome-looking meal, another guy sample street-food in different parts of the world…

And then we watch Vir Sanghvi. He doesn’t think too much of the Udupi restaurants in Mumbai. He doesn’t like the exotic seafood he gets in Kerala. He somehow manages to eat the fare on a trawler in Mangalore without making too wry a face. He doesn’t have too high an esteem of the Rajputs – ‘they were the stupidest in my school’.

Why, he doesn’t even spare the Udupi Temple. There they were, the temple staff piling his leaf with more and more, while he couldn’t manage past a few mouthfuls and rather disgracefully said he’s had enough.

In contrast, Padma Lakshmi did the Udupi temple too, and was excited as hell about the food, she went into the kitchen, showed us the spices they use, the wood fires… and even tried her Iyer Tamil on the folks in the kitchen.

Maybe I’d’ve not minded so much if he didn’t sound all condescending. His condiness knows no bounds. The Rajputs got stripped of their titles. They were stupid in school – bad at both sports and studies. So what sort of careers do they pursue? Why, they turn their palaces to Heritage Hotels, of course …And this is how you are introduced to Rajasthan and its heritage hotels.

All the other food show hosts seem to be adventurous in terms of sampling cuisines, open to new experiences, and having as open a mind as possible. And if they have reservations, they are careful to stick to their comfort zone.

And not just food show hosts are this accomodating.. I remember an MTV VJ getting a large tattoo done on her lower back just for the sake of the show. It was painful, but she smiled for the camera, and managed to even joke about it.

It’s painful to watch an old (he’s crossed the half century mark) man trudge over the country, sampling foods he doesn’t like, meeting people he doesn’t try to get to know, and passing through lands that’ll always seem inferior to him. A joke comes to mind:

When the lights in the cinema dimmed and the opening credits of the film appeared on screen, one of the viewers leaned closer to his neighbour and asked:
“Excuse me, but can you tell me what’s written on the screen?”

“The opening titles…”

“I see…can you tell me the name of the producer? My eyesight isn’t too good…”

“But the translator is reading them over the mike!”

“The thing is, my hearing isn’t what it should be, either. By the way is the film in colour?”

“Do you suffer from Dalton’s disease?”

“As a matter of fact — yes. Why do you ask?”

“I don’t see why you go to the movies, under the circumstances. What pleasure can you get?”

“Pleasure’s got nothing to do with it. I have to write a review!”

About wanderlust

just your average books-and-music person who wants to change the world.
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16 Responses to A matter of no taste

  1. Logik says:

    Is that old man fat as well?… I love that show, the chief reason being that it’s probably the wonderfullest way of trying out delicious stuff from all sorta places. Hotels, dhabas, sweet shops get their 15 seconds of fame, and the host, his share of Indian food goodies. Man, that chap does some amazing expressions when he is trying out syrupy sweets. But, you never know whether he is doing it in good humour, or whether he actually liked the stuff.

    And, thnx for reminding ‘condiness’, one of the useful words to come out of nitk lingo. [ there is where I first heard it ].
    And the joke, well, … I “chuckle and guffaw”..

  2. wanderlust says:

    did you mean this man?
    or kunal vijaykar of mtv fame?
    coz if you are watching vir sanghvi, you get pissed off pretty soon… maybe less than fifteen seconds even.
    as for nitk lingo… convo ’round the corner 😀

  3. Tuna Fish says:

    Speaking of lingo, arbit, juggaad/jugg and ditch are probably my favorites… And Oh! I like Con too… Engi and Inci are irritating short forms but, convenient I suppose…

  4. ego says:

    I saw only one episode of Vir-Sanghvi’s show.. The one where his quest for the success of Udupi hotels brings him to the coast of Mangalore. I thought he was oversimplifying stuff. But then, he always does that, doesn’t he ?

  5. wanderlust says:

    @tuna:
    i like saying ‘incineer’ to collectively refer to nitk fests. i use -yard suffixes to nounify verbs. though now that im not at nitk, people don’t follow what i’m saying.
    oh, and only nitkians say GPL. everyone else uses the rather stupid-sounding ‘bumps’.
    @ego:
    well, oversimplifying is inevitable when you are hosting a tv show where you compress everything into forty or twenty minutes. it’s about the attitude with which you present it that im talking about. you should make the audience want to travel to wherever that you are, or atleast attempt to sample the delicacy you’re tasting when they are in that region next.

  6. Logik says:

    I meant Kunal Vijaykar…This chap is a great sidekick to Cyrus Broacha…And, you can’t call Vir Sanghvi fat I suppose..
    Kunal Vijaykar looks a lot like Mandip Rai, a kannada actor.

    And hurrah to the convo finally happening.. As one chap said, we must be grateful that they didn’t combine the junior convo with ours.

  7. wanderlust says:

    no, you can’t call him ‘fat’. pudgy, yes, thickset, yes… not fat.
    convo… the senti restarts. let the sentiblogging begin!!!

  8. harish says:

    Hehe Rajputs bagge oLLe ansgt idyeno nimage? By the way does Vir Sanghwi also do food show hosting?

    Well said about reviewers. We had a bad experience a couple of weeks back when a Deccan Herald reviewer who reviewed our play didn’t understand anything in an absolutely simple Kannada play that ours was and criticized people, characters and things that were not at all in the play. We then came to know that she knew very little Kannada. What irony!

  9. wanderlust says:

    aiyo rama… that was not my angst for rajputs. that was how vir sanghvi introduced the concept of heritage hotels.
    vir sanghvi hosts a show called “a matter of taste” on travel and living. it’s best kept away from.
    oh yes, your play 🙂 I’d read about it on Arjun’s blog, wanted to watch it, but sadly had some other engagements on that day.
    that was really idiotic on DH’s part to send a non-kannada-knowing journo to review a kannada play. I expected better out of them.
    btw which day’s edition carries the review?

  10. wanderlust says:

    oh, was it this one?
    going by your saying that this lady understands very little kannada, it’s ironic she calls your kannada ‘rugged’ and says you do not understand the importance of kuvempu et. al.
    are you staging another show anytime soon?

  11. Logik says:

    @the DH review: Bollocks…Rugged it seems.

    I saw the Mastermind India spoof and it was absolutely topnotch. Maybe not of Yamana Solu levels, but on stage requires a level of maturity and that was kinda present. All of youtube goofiness can’t come up on stage. As for the allegations that the group is insulting the masters, maybe the journo should look into this area of humour called Parodies. Maybe, starting with the area called Humour, would be a good start. I’m pretty sure the entire group of Mindryin hold the Kannada scholars in the highest esteem. I remember seeing the singer Sri.Ashwath’s parody. You guys were so respectful, fearful, etcetcfullfull, that almost after each joke, you were issuing an apology.

    And I’ve a doubt.Shouldn’t all instances of “Mindryin” have been beeped out on stage, in keeping up with the venerable traditionsu of Dramaticsu?

  12. wanderlust says:

    and another thing… your poster explicitly says ‘NOT starring swaroop”.. but this lady mentions swaroop among the cast… looks like she got her review material from google.

  13. harish says:

    @Wanderlust: Yes that’s the one. Not only did she call our Kannada rugged but hurled wild allegations against us. We did not mock, not even indirectly, Master Hiranniah whom we consider as one of our inspirations. No mention or reference whatsoever was made to Kuvempu. There was a Banumiah in the play who was an ordinary old Mysorean. There was and is no litterateur by that name in Kannada. Same is the case with Purniah – another old Mysorean in our play. There was no Krishna Shastri at all in the drama. Adenu artha maaDkonDro eno karma! And as you have said she couldn’t even understand what was so boldly written on the poster about Swaroop.
    Yes, we are staging another play on Feb 15th in JSS auditorium, Jayanagar. Do make it to that if possible. And pardon me for this bit of self-publicity on your blog.

    @Logik:Hehe yes, they should be given a crash course on things like parody and humour. They should be made to realise that there are genres other than serious pretentious stuff.
    Hehe yes, we have issued a disclaimer many times. Haakde iddre elli en anaahuta aagutto anta ondu bhaya. Exaggerated fears anbodu.
    And ‘mindryin’ as such didn’t appear in the play. Apart from that we were Mindry = Mind Dry for the outer world. We still are. If you think about any other meaning, please forget it. 🙂

  14. Logik says:

    Mindry, that too with a perfectly fitting, and sounding .in domain ending… The mind tends to think of more common possibilities, you know. Don’t mind maaDkoLbeDi…
    As for exaggerated fears, yes. Rakshana vedikegaLu bahalashtive, company-ge bandu gaaju puDi maaDidare kashta…

  15. wanderlust says:

    @harish:
    whoa, serious allegations without substance. how irresponsible! i’ve lost even the little respect i had for the print media.
    as for the rakshana vedikes, ondu saththi nimma venue-alli gaju pudi-pudi maadidre, rest assured the rest of your performances will run to packed houses.

  16. Logik says:

    @priya-maybe the same reviewer will then hail freedom of speech, and goofiness… And talk stuff like liberalization of democratic space etc etc…(y’know the source of that, i suppose, maybe there could be a random a’roy quote generator as well .it really isn’t difficult, actually.. She is now the gold standard in poor criticism, i feel.)

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