When Saroj Bhagwanji Vora married Mohanlal Lavji Parekh many decades back, what hit her hard was that the Parekhs often ate idlis for dinner - "Aa loko to jamva ma idli le!" Brought up in a traditional Kutchi Gurjar household, she was used to a more 'sarkhu jaman' - sev tamata nu shaak and parathas, khichdi kadhi, bajra na rotla and ringna nu shaak and so forth. So this came as quite a shock to the teenaged girl. For her idli was something you only did for breakfast.
Little did she know that the clan of Gujarati businessmen who migrated from Gujarat to Bangalore took to idlis like a fish takes to water. They relished them so much that they wouldn't mind - in fact would love - idlis even for dinner! Saroj quickly adapted and became adept at making great idlis and even acquired the taste for idlis. As they say in Gujarati, "Ghar joine gotrej aave!" (I really cannot translate that but it loosely means that someone who marries into a house is usually like the members of the house!)
Cut to 2012. Scene: Poorna Tiffins. Naman, my nephew accompanied my brother Prasan and me one Sunday morning. He loved the idlis so much that he polished off 12! Now that is no mean feat for a skinny boy of 8 years. I couldn't help remarking, "That's the true hallmark of a Parekh kutumbi. It's strange how the Parekh kutumb gene manifests itself!"
We have surprised many people with this quirk. A few days back, Prasan revived the tradition of the dinner after the Diwali poojan. We had the entire kutumb that resided in Hyderabad gathering at Prasan's new company, Stone Plus . Guess what was on the menu? Of course, idlis! Some people were wondering why we had idlis. I tried explaining the gene to them. They did not understand.