Successful marriages are results of compatibility and compromise. There’s a lot of that to be done in an inter-caste marriage or an inter- religion marriage. In fact, even an inter-state marriage calls for a lot of adjustment… especially in your food habits. I throve on the ‘Palghat Iyer culture’ for 23 years and marriage uprooted and replanted me in Kannada soil… in a North Indian orchard called Bokaro. Far away from home ground, I felt the pressure of adjustment to a new family with new social culture and way of life. Now I am one of them…the hybrid variety of Iyers speaking a combo- lingo of Tamil, Kannada and Hindi peppered liberally with English. Languages were no problem…I loved learning new ones. The food was the main bone of contention for my taste buds nurtured on typical ‘palakkaattaan shappadu’ as my Appa calls it. The first time Amma served 3 or 4 discs of cucumbers and raw onions, I was astounded. Back home, salad meant finely shredded cabbage, mixed with finely chopped tomato and onion, seasoned with salt, green chillies and lemon juice. For a minute I wondered if I would ever be able to adjust to the new eating habits at all…Well, adjust I did… and as Appa, remarks, after all these years of marriage you look like you belong to a ‘khaathe peethe khaandaan!’ The first time I ate Bisi Bele Huliyanna, I thought, so what’s the big deal? It is what we call Sambhar Chadam! Only later did I realize just how difficult is to make a truly palatable, well balanced spicy dish. I still haven’t mastered the art and depend on MTR’s ready made powder, if at all I attempt at preparing it. Another area of discomfort was during the chirotti experiences. Chirotti is considered a delicacy and served on special occasions. I somehow did not like the idea of crunching the flaky pooris and then mixing it with the badam - flavoured milk and sugar and eat the ‘runny –lumpy’ outcome. For the paalakkaattaan in me, there is nothing to beat a ‘paalada pradhaman’ or our own ‘paal payasam’. I considered the chirotti as a frivolous excuse of a dessert… to be ignored as much as another sweet dish called ‘ gazagaza paysa’…a payasam made of poppy seeds. Till now I have not compromised on this one thing. I simply can not stand the stuff! I know I am ruffling a lot of feathers of kannada makkalu…and I hope Vatal Nagaraj doesn’t come across this blog of mine for obvious reasons or I may be answerable to the Kerala Govt…! Well, don’t brand me as a diehard non conformist. I love Vangi Bhath, Gojjavalakki, Akki roti, the various gojjus, kollu rasam and usli and kosambaris. Eating ‘ragi mudde’ is another nightmare for me. In fact I don’t. I just can’t get the hang of swallowing a morsel of food without chewing first. My attempts at trying to eat ‘mudde’ ended up in me being choked up… literally…and mercifully I can avoid it on the occasions it is prepared on demand. Rest assured my marriage has been successful in spite of my ‘hitherto hidden’ lack of affinity for these things. Watching me eat those pieces of cucumber or trying to do justice to chirottees , you’d never guess my inner turmoil. (yeah…You are right! Bollywood and Kollywood’s loss… V.V. Aiyer family’s gain!) I have not forced my preferences on my own family. As a result I have a spouse who just refuses to eat ‘puttu and kadala’ or ‘aappams and stew’( I seldom prepare those items) …and kids who dislike ‘avial’ and pappadaam.- but that is the fault of their hostel. I’ll celebrate my silver wedding anniversary in 2008. Knowing me, you can expect a combo menu… minus ‘poppy-payasa’ and ‘lumpy chirotti’, of course! ‘Of course’? I mean ‘perhaps’, for, if the celebrations are in Bhadravathi…I’ll call up all my histrionic talents to assist me.