The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Apr 16, 2007

Marwaris and Malloos

Pit a Marwari against a Malloo and the outcome is always certain. The latter will be beaten comprehensively.

Consider our Malloo friend V. He has a couple of Marwari colleagues at work. Let's call them M1 and M2. M1 invited V. and his family for dinner the other day. "Pot luck", said M1 beatifically. "Can you bring the dessert?"

V. wanted to know how many guests there would be, so as to prepare the appropriate quantity.

"Including you and your family, and the other guests, there will be 11 adults and six kids", said M1.

Now V.'s wife A. is a mighty fine cook, and she hustled enthusiastically to prepare two pies: one full of rich apricot, and the other a divine pear and apple melange. V and A (and their little boy J.) then went to M1's with much anticipation.

They spent the next few hours with their jaws sagging in disbelief (and hunger). It turned out that everybody else at the party was from M1 and M2's families - parents, in-laws, kids and some indeterminate animals. Another couple who had also been invited were unable to make it.

The hosts spoke Marwari all the time. V. and A. pointed out once or twice that they couldn't understand any of the conversation. This didn't faze the clans one bit. Our Malloos were left to their own devices. The host's wife, especially, ignored them.

For the pot-luck, M2 had brought some samosas. Not fresh ones, mind you, but frozen ones. From Tesco. M1's wife had prepared rice and ghee. Both were execrable. Neither V. nor A. enjoyed the meal, but they did look forward to taking the remains of the dessert back with them.

Anticipating this, M1 cunningly informed them that it was traditional to swap the left-overs with their guests.

So V. and A. went home with the detritus of the rice and ghee, while the Marwaris exulted over the pies.

It later turned out that the invitees who hadn't showed were also Malloos. Let's call them S.

The next day at work, Mr S. rushed up to V.

"I hear that you were invited to pot-luck at M1's?" said S., grinning from ear to ear. "We didn't go because of our experience with them the last time they invited us. Tell me, did they ask you to bring the dessert?"


Balaji Sowmyanarayanan said...


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