20 January, 2021

Thattu Idli Alongside Tyagaraja Kriti

Food refreshes music experience at Carnatic sabhas during Margazhi season

Parallel Feast
Mount Mani’s stall at Sri Parthasarathy Sabha
Photograph by R.A. Chandroo
Thattu Idli Alongside Tyagaraja Kriti

If Kannada can also be a Carnatic raga, then Mountbatten can refer to the veteran running that canteen alongside the music venue. At 87, Mani, with a prefix that is the name of India’s last viceroy, is busy entertaining guests at his Chennai cafeteria that can go quiet once the Margazhi season ends by mid-January. For three weeks now, his special delicacies have enriched concert freaks with an experience as delightful as a Todi alapanam or taniyavartanam on stage. So much for his lip-smacking Deccani dishes at the thatched pandal by Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha in downtown Mylapore.

Before the next bite of a spongy vadai, briefly on how he is known as Mountba­tten Mani. As a 17-year-old understudy to a top wedding caterer, the youth had once served food to the British lord, also independent India’s first governor-­general. On the dignitary’s last visit to Madras in 1947, Mani’s spread of south Indian vegetarian dishes at the Raj Bhavan imp­ressed the VIPs. Today, Mani and his son Srinivasan are among the city’s top wedding...



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