News & Reviews

A Gourmet Trip to Fairyland Author:Amit Ukil & Leslie D'Gama   Posted On:2017-12-29


The candles had been lit and glowed at the centre of each table, adorned in spotless white and finery, as members started arriving for a prim-and-proper function at the Dalhousie Institute on Thursday. It's not every day that you get to visit fairyland in the company of fellow members and spouses. In fact, it happens once a year at the Members' Candlelight Dinner and President's Awards Night at the DI.

We walked into what looked like fairyland -- beautiful lighting, neatly laid out round tables, tastefully decorated and adorned with crafted centrepieces and designer Menu cards. The event management committee was adding final touches to what was already a most attractive setup on the lawns. Light background music tastefully chosen for the occasion created an aura and an ambience that only the DI can appreciate.

Our members, resplendently dressed gentlemen in formal suits and the most gorgeous ladies in sarees, gowns, maxis and more, were a sight to behold and a tribute to our second home. Numbers were limited, alas, but it made the evening all the more cosy and comfortable as our members wrapped themselves around the complimentary wine and drinks.

The MC started the evening by inviting our President Jayajit Biswas onto the stage to welcome the ensemble and to raise a toast, first to the President of India and then to the members of the DI.

Garlic croutons followed the toast around 8.55, in the most delectable soup that one has had for a long time. The hot broth was very welcome on a winter’s evening, being catered along with the other items by our own Francis and Michael in their new avatar Maxim's.

And then we moved into the first lot of our President's awards - the Staff Awards. This year, we had two individuals who were awarded for their services to the Club.  Ever-smiling Abdul Hamid has been a bearer with the club for the last 16 years and has no complaints registered against him; in fact he has commendations. Rintu Das, our computer operator, has been with us for 11 years and, in this time, he has helped develop and maintain the software which runs our billing system. He has also contributed greatly to the new system that comes into operation this January.

Second course: Cold cuts, comprising three different types of meat, and bread rolls rolled in, ably dispensed by familiar-faced bearers. “Fish will follow,” deduced Amit Dutta, perhaps the only gent in the gathering with a bowtie. He hadn’t looked at the menu card yet. “One can make out what the fare will be like by seeing the cutlery on the table,” he remarked.  

Awards Phase 2: Club Colours are given to any member who excels in a sports discipline.  This year the awardee was Samir Doshi -- there was some confusion over which sport he had been chosen for, as he represents several. Eventually, it was for swimming, of which segment he is the convener. His being member-in-charge and convener in other sports disciplines too was also recognised.

Soon enough, the pan grilled fish in parsley sauce, followed by roast turkey in Cranberry, roast chicken Espagnole and roast beef in Bordelaise sauce were served. On the other side, vegetarians had delectable baked vegetable lasagna, grilled cottage cheese with sautéed mushrooms and cauliflower mornay. “I loved the Aubergine Parmigiana – it was very tasty,” said Mrs Kruty Mistry, of the Italian eggplant delicacy. The pilaf and the pasta were common, as was the dessert of Christmas cake with pudding topping.

Awards Phase 3: The President then called on stage a couple which has become virtually a part of the features of the club, being involved in housekeeping and maintenance, managing the courtyard and lawn, assisting members with service and advising kids in the play zone, to name a few areas. EDJ and Ruth Crizzle (better known as Charles and Aunty Ruth) proudly walked up to accept a Life Membership from the DI. They received a rousing round of applause.

The President's Awards this year for contributions made went to two pillars of the club:

From the Live@DI Bar some years ago to the just-opened, breathtaking Indoors@DI design, implementation and relentless follow-up with the vendors, our architect of repute, member Bimal Mistry was rightfully recognized by the President and applauded by the assembly.

You can meet him after 6 am at the swimming pool or after 12 noon at the office. He examines every mail, every quote, every official paper that needs action, and efficiently handles the secretary's office every single day.  The President awarded Mr Kisor Sen, our current senior vice President, amid much appreciation from members.

The last 'stage event' of the evening was the Lucky Draw, conducted by Mrs Shampa Biswas, First Lady of the DI. A Lucky Lady member was given a bottle of wine while a bottle of Scotch went to a Lucky Gentleman.

The proceedings were brought to a close with a bracing cup of coffee and a thank you to all the people behind the scenes who made it happen. The food committee members -- Michael Rao and Rahul Khandelwal -- were singularly responsible for keeping the goodies coming, the Housekeeping and Maintenance committee -- mainly Ruth Crizzle, Sydney Banerjee, Gauri Khandelwal and Shane Ireland -- for taking us to fairyland once more!

“It was a lovely evening. The choice and preparation of the items was very good,” remarked a member while leaving, filled to contentment in more ways than one.