my dinner invitations
  • my dinner invitees would be large-about 10 people,
    1.mahatma gandhi ofcourse
    2.ramalinga vallalar
    3.rk narayan
    4.bertrand russell
    6.meykandar(author of sivagnanabodham)
    7.confuscius(of china)
    8.abe lincoln
    9.immanuel kant
    i would like them talking ethics,applied philosophy,tamil heritage,analytic realism,saiva siddhantham, transcendental idealism, and cholan maritime power....etc. narayan wont be talking but only watching the characters. rajendran would be eating all the stuffs which vallalar,gandhi wont be eating. abe lincoln and confuscius would be talking world matters with russell. thiruvalluvar and meykandar would be talking about contemporary tamil issues. gandhi and vallalar about jeeve garunyam. utter chaos at the end!

  • dinner with.....

    bharathi of course- and i would have pleaded with him to take a parcel of food for his starving family

  • Most often, we wine and dine with friends colleagues and business partners. But when was it that we took our family out for dinner as in going out specifically for dinner ? Many indians go out for monthly grocery/ dress shopping and then land up in a restaurant. There too most time is spent on mobile phone and the rest in ordering in that noisy restaurants :(

    Spending quality time for the family is something that is just shaping up in India and many families are yet to get there.
  • Actually dinner can be at home too..not necessarily in a restaurant. Times may have changed but in our time dinner esp on working days was the only real 'family time' when everyoen got together and catch up on events of the day, politics, all. I really miss good old times when there would be hot debates at the dining table (it was a big move to go from eating on floor to diining table when elders suffered arthritis) on movie reviews like kamal vs rajini or ilayaraja versus msv and politics on how ntr routed indira gandhi and various stuff. Fridays in our family were reserved for 'special' times when one of us would make non traditional food, or a guest would be called in or on rare occasions a movie rented.

    The problem i think nowadays is too much eating out and distractions not leading to lack of quality family time (cell phone and internet are main distractions). The complete disintegration of extended family of course has led to lack of any fun during family dinners needed eating out as the only respite.
  • > The problem i think nowadays is too much eating out and distractions not leading to lack of quality family time

    varieties of food that we are exposed to and the drudgery of cooking ( and cleaning up after that)are main reasons too.

    (cell phone and internet are main distractions). The complete disintegration of extended family of course has led to lack of any fun during family dinners needed eating out as the only respite.
  • I disagree. Dinner, and all meals have been traditionally a family affair. Depending on the household the kids and women folk would eat just before or after the males eat.

    Only in the recent decades, with the advent of TV and busy life style we have deviated from the traditional practices of bhojanam.

    India in the last century has been busy aping the West, and has been ever since following the footsteps of West.
  • Actually dinner was and is very much a family affair in the west too:))

    Most westerners eat out once in a while with family/couples, and bring readymade lunches to work.

    This habit of women eating after men and all that went out of vogue in India in 70s itself and has nothing to do with the west, has everything to do with women being treated as secondary.

    What we are facing now is a lot of variety in food outside, problems with cooking and cleaning after - as Venkat said - the side effects being noisy environs leading to poor/non existent socialising even between family members, all kinds of junk food in the name of variety, and of course a spending excess.

  • I hate to disagree once again :-) .My interaction with Westerners and looking at the consumption numbers don't sound encouraging. Processed food is higher on the list too. There are enough Western families that eat out or bring dinners from outside.

    I did not say Westeneres don't sit at the family dinner table. In fact they do. But the "eating out" tradition that Indians have imbibed is from the Western cultures. It is also a resut of the fast-paced society that we have been driven into.
  • Yes of course there is enoug hprocessed food and unhealthy food in the west. But most restaurants here have criteria to stick to as far as cleanliness and hygiene and so on which is very missing in India.

    The fast paced life makes better sense..also at all has a lot to do with general happiness and emotional welfare of families. People who take an interest in cooking and feeding themselves and others well are normaly happy at some level about doing that. People leading harassed lives and are emotioally unfulfilled are unlikely to cook well for themselves or for others, that has been the case through any culture, time and age.
  • Hi GRS

    I could not quite get why you disagree. I had pointed that we don't eat together spending quality time. Eating at home, at most home traditional means, the wife/daughter/mother/-in-law cooks and the male members eat first !! At the best, it could b eating together. After cooking for at least 3hrs, for any festivals, or 1hr for a normal chappati / roti kind of dinner, that too at some sultry cities like chennai, the last thing that could happen is a together dinner chat !! Infact most houses say, pl start taking chappatis as and when I make it and serve them hot. If it happens to be a dosa, the eating together altogether gets knocked off!

    No question here comes western or eastern practice. The crux of the discussion is whether we manage to spend quality time at dinner table at least few times in a month. In my opinion, except a very few, most indians don't.
  • Hi our family men make chapathis and dosas too :) I agree what you say but i put it down more to nuclear families and craze of eating out rather than the actual cooking style..i would be happy in fact to have my mom or grandmom make dosas while we eat..atleast we are all together and in many famlies that is hardly the case...
  • . When the civilization evolved to farming, men did the hard work, while women helped but they still cooked.  Industrial revolution in the West brought equanimity of labor between men and women, but still women cooked in the households were men were the 'bread winners'.  Though men 'won' the breads, they were 'made' by women.  These are the traditional gender roles in any given society, West or East.

    Proto industrialization and capitalism paved way to nuclear family in the West Europe; working men and women did not find time to cook and the culture of eating out evolved.  The concept of extended families existed only in the orthodox societies like that of India where common cooking of several members of the joint family involving brothers, brothers' wives with aged (ing) parents.  This concept has now limited to rural India, with busy urban lives taking a huge toll on many traditional values including the concept of joint family.

    Americans who have tried to build lives around 'making home' where men earned and women nurtured homes and families in the post second world war seem to have lost the momentum with more divorces, single parentage and parenthood without marriage.  Today, 'family dinners' are limited to children having dinner with their parents, in many cases separated parents living with non-biological partners. In other cases it is just single mothers and children. 

    This part of 'aping' the West is what is truly scary.
  • Food and eating habits form one basis of our culture. There was an introduction by a new member who did his education in Architecture. It was illuminating to read how architectures are related to the land and culture.

    Different cultures have different customs. For example in the deserts of the middle east, the family sat together and broke bread and ate from the same plate. I still remember how my grandfather stating how our customs were exactly opposite. But I digress.

    You are defining quality of time with the family per a specific way of life.

    I do not want to brag, but in my family and extended families - all the males, kids and unmarried ladies (they had less responsibilities - when there were elders) sat and ate. All aunts served together. This used to be a big family setting. When it came to our nucleus family, we always insisted our amma to sit down with us and eat. If she was busy serving, then one of us would wait to eat with our amma.

    I know of families, who had all the time, and people ate at whatever time - i.e when one was hungry. There was not much together time.

    In all, I am saying - our extended family culture and food habits ensured that people ate together in batches. It might not be exactly like say an American family sits at the dinner table now.

    I mean no offense.
  • I understand what you say on degenerating family values..but that is got to do with demands for money/both genders working/nuclear families. I dont understand what is wrong in a single mom and a child having dinner, or even nuclear families having dinner together - yes perhaps not as great as an extendedf amily but still it is quality time.

    Degeneration of extended families in our country started long ago - the earliest with living starting in apartments and not in large homes as in the past. It has some connection to the west perhaps but more in our case to do with increasing demands for money and tight lifestyles. Lands and fields being sold also has a lot to do with how many people one can accomodate at the dining table. In times of yore noone used to be turned away from food since every home had a granary, nowadays it is rice at high cost.

    I have seen very loving blended families (non biological parents) in the west, as well as single parents, mom and dads - in India and west. And very chaotic war like biologically united two parent families. Love and caring for the members is what makes a family a solid unit of society more than actual blood ties.
  • Insecurity is the biggest issue in the lives of the children of single parents.  Fathers who show up only on week- ends in a child's life have damaging effect in its' behavior both inside and outside homes. The result is excessive passion, drug addiction and other indulgences. 

    Natural bonding occurs in biological relationships; large families living together insulate against moral and behavioral tribulations.  Yes, there are exceptions to this rule. But as children have we ever worried that our parents will separate;  was that an option a generation before ?

    Joint families have continued even in the tightest of apartments in Bombay, even before the concept of apartments came down to South. Before the lands became scarcer, selfish minds grew smaller to isolate kinship;  a hall mark of urban decay.

  • Hi TMS, single parenting grew as a consequence of irresponsible behavior and takign too much for granted in biological relationships...having too many people cramped in apartments is not in any way a good way to live, children suffer serious self esteem issues if they do not have physical and emotional space.

    There is a balance in woman choses to be a single mother without reason, it is not an easy task. Majority reasons are spousal abuse and bad behavior. Just fyi lot of single mothers includeing President Obama's raise phenomenally successful kids by the way!!

  • Also..have we worried our parents will separate.? I know lots of couples who woudl be better off separated..they are cats and dogs married to one another..Marriage needs some level of compatability and mutual understanding. Children born of highly conflicted homes have a very difficult adulthood. My own great grandfather and grandmother 'separated' in the sense he left home to travel the world and never came back till all his kids were grown and married. My great grandmother single handedly raised 8 kids working as a cook and teaching sanskrit to young kids. All her 8 kids did her proud...

    What we have in our culture is commitment and understanding. What we learn from western culture is intention, responsibility and respect. Putting both together we will have better relationships. Extreme examples on both sides or touting one example is are always problematic.


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