Lifestyle Awards 2013
Wellness & Relationship
The Charms of Chettinad
Magic of Rawla Narlai
Amrita Gandhi (ROYAL RESERVATION)
Rani Meena Muthiah had met me only once. But she was so very generous that she insisted that our entire crew live with her during our shoot in her private residence in Chettinad.
This was no hotel, just a fabulous old-fashioned Chettiyar home with gleaming floors, Burma teak pillars, traditional tiles and courtyard upon courtyard where we would be served the most divine coffee,
and sweets at tea time.
And meals were an elaborate affair, none of this on-the-go grab a bite kind of stuff, we are used to on shoots.
We were seated in front of banana leaves with three servers lovingly spooning dollops of the most delicious rice cakes and curries on our plate.
With a motherly care, from both the men and the women mind you...they would watch our body language closely. They knew when our ‘no more’ meant ‘yes please’, because trust me, your appetite grows vast when you are served festive Chettiyar food cooked on a wood-smoked fire!
I remember the afternoon, when I had to recreate an old-fashioned courtyard scene. One of the older lades in waiting got me ready in a checkered blue and orange cotton saree which is tied quite differently but feels very feminine.
Then she too got dressed in a similar saree and we all arranged ourselves in the courtyard with old fashioned games, baskets and flowers, all easily found from various corners of the house.
Come to think of it, this careful staging wasn’t too much of a departure from what was actually going on behind the scenes on lazy afternoons.
That is the magic of Chettinad. The past and the present are easily interchangeable. But I must go back soon, before the princess forgets me!
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