If you have to ask you'll never know ! [L.Armstrong]... thats Louis not Lance.

Jun 12, 2009


Communion ? Communication. To commune with. The first time it happens it’s holy. And overwhelming. You have to tell your sins to a stranger. Who you hope will keep them to himself. Absolution you’re told does’nt give you a carte blanche to go forth and hit your smaller cousin again. No. Even if he doe’nt share his new bike with you ?
“ But that’s selfishness Father.”
“ God will send someone to punish him and you’re not that someone.
Three Hail Mary’s and three Our Fathers and go forth and sin no more. “
And you are given the white suit with the bow tie and the white shoes and new underwear [which was always white anyways]. So you line up outside church and march in, in procession with all the uncles and aunts on both sides of your family and all the cousins small enough who were too small to be left at home on their own and not a single one of those who were old enough to. When the priest placed that host on your tongue which you stuck out as much as you could as you had been instructed to, the earth shook and the halo fell mightily on your head. You were then dragged off to Hill studio for the requisite pictures. Before you got your white suit even more dirty. The picture had to be taken with you turned around from left to right to hide the orange Fanta stain on your left sleeve.
The only thing left to do for the party was fry the fugias. The chairs were in a circle on the terrace. The music system had been taken out from the living room [ok hall ] and reinstalled on the terrace, near the light bulb which had been tapped for electricity. The ice had been broken into small pieces and piled around the beer and cold drinks in a metal tub. The watchman had been told to keep an eye on it to see that there was no pilferage. And the chips from Blue Circle had been collected [against order ]. Uncle Ken had been commissioned to take pictures of the party. Black and white. Anyway the communion outfit is all white, so who needs color ?
You ran around playing catching cook between the chairs with the constant
‘ Don’t get your clothes dirty ‘
instruction being given by any adult who came to the terrace to check on bar arrangements, the seating arrangements, sound system, lights, pilferage of cold drinks, etc. etc. etc.
The guests came, they saw and they feasted. But they first gave you presents. Which you said thank you for and tried to not be caught in the ongoing game of catching cook before the next guest came. And when that happened you could officially call ‘Times”. The parish priest showed up. He quickly said the grace before meals even though dinner was a long way off and he had many other houses to visit. The bar got lighter by the minute. The food was photographed. You were photographed. With uncles, aunts, cousins, neighbours, friends.
“ No, you don’t need a photo with the dog “
The cashews were sprinkled on the rice just before dinner was announced. The real thing this time. Food ,glorious food. How do I love thee ? Let me count the ways. The vindaloo and sorpotel, the potato chops [ circles of geometric precision ] , chicken curry for which the chickens would have been happy to die, dinner rolls [ Go to A1 bakery now if you don’t know what that is ]. Pies with browned crusts that you received a slap on the wrist for, for attacking horizontally instead of vertically.
“ If you like the brown part wait till the dish is over and then scrape the bottom.”
“ But it’s My first communion “
“ The guest’s come first.”
Russian salad. Which no Russian on either side of the Volga has ever seen. Fish mousse in fish shaped dishes. All washed down by as many glasses of Fanta as you wanted. And accompanied by a steady stream of fugias that came straight from stove to table.
There hadn’t been a cake cutting earlier. Because the cake was going to double up as dessert. So you cut the cake. Without damaging the marzipan Jesus.
The aunties would be hassling the uncles to stop drinking and start eating. Finally they did. The kids would be rounded up. Goodbyes and god blesses. The remaining F & B sent down in dribs and drabs with each departing guest.
And when you were changed into your night clothes, then and only then were you allowed to open your presents. Future generations of first communicants would get PSP’s and IPods and DVD’s of Harry Potter or gift vouchers from Crosswords. You got enough bibles to put the Gideons out of business. More rosaries than you could go through in a lifetime. Even if you joined the Apostleship of prayer.
Gift coupons from St. Pauls, and three envelopes with money. Which you never saw again, because it was taken away to “ Put into your bank account “ Which even at that tender age you knew was a one way street . But what goes in must come out.
I’m waiting…


Apih Yayan said...

came to bring the breath of peace from indonesia, visit my blog ok

agent green glass said...

hoooo. you are FUNNY! "Russian salad. Which no Russian on either side of the Volga has ever seen." ha ha. my dad was in the air force. and that was the most exotic thing to be served in a party. i've had russian salad with ingredients that have ranged from cabbage, shredded chicken and carrots and peas to even bhindi! now when i hear russian salad, i just slowly edge my way to the door!

Anonymous said...

Good stuff Clement
Keep it comming ,love your blogs

Bandra Boy said...

Clem, no fugias for my first communion dinner party...but the A1 dinner rolls were there!! For snacks we had Blue Cirle chips, A1's mutton patties and Mac Ronnell's chicken sandwiches (with shredded lettuce sprinkled on top)!

Anonymous said...

If you are Manglorean you would have had leaitao for your 1st commumion

Anonymous said...

Beautiful... I have an East Indian friend whose parties are still pretty much like this... :) Love them!

The Cloudcutter said...

This was one awesome trip down memory lane! I actually had two cakes, one shaped like a bible and one like a giant candle with edible flame and all! Invites printed at David & Co were sent out a month in advance. And my older brother (who never quite got over having to share our parents' attention after I was born) did everything possible to ruin my big day, from waving rags in the background when my pictures were being taken to spitting into some of the snacks! What a day!
Love your blog btw...

Floyd said...

With some of That Russian Salad floating around you did need to play "Catching Cook".
BTW I take umbrage to the name of that game being "catching cook" ( being a cook).Who ever thought up that name? Did they have a sexy cook? Then I dont blame them for trying to Catch or grab the cook. Why not "catching banker" ( which today we need to) or "catching priest" ( i dont think i want to go there) or Catching Air hostess ( i know a lot of Pursers were trying to) or catching any other profession for that matter. Help Clement! Change that name

Anonymous said...

Very well written clement...just brought back memories of my first holy communion...

Anonymous said...

Nice! And then of course, later on, there was Confirmation. Where the Spirit of God called you, the Bishop slapped you and Your True Earthly Love found you. Alas there was no laitao (unless he was in your confirmation class).


Dean said...

Man, now I'm hungry. Reading this while in SE Asia, where the thai food is different from bandra thai food, the satay in malaysia is sweet, the curry in cambodia is unrecognisable, the fish is raw, the beef is undercooked and ohmy gawd please let me find just plain rice and dal (doll).

Funny thing I cant seem to find a Mangola