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    Lahe Lahe, and Aalamaram are trying to revive the Kannadiga tradition of kai tuttu

    On full moon nights, Lahe Lahe, a new rooftop cultural space, heartily opens its doors for a community potluck. The event is Kai Tuttu: Food For The Soul. It takes inspiration from the Kannadiga tradition of family members, and neighbours assembling at a porch or terrace on a full moon night, and involves partaking of food from the kitchens of each others’ homes. These get-togethers become a melting pot of food, stories, songs, and evenings of community bonding.
    It was Nithya J Rao of Lahe Lahe who came up with the concept of Kai Tuttu (translating to morsels of food). “Every time, power went off in our village (in Chandragiri), my family, and our neighbours would come together on our porch. We’d place two big vessels of sambar and curd rice in the centre. My grandmother would then make big balls of rice with either sambar or curd and hand it to us.”

    Millet magic
    On Monday, she will hold the fourth edition of Kai Tuttu. While there is no set menu, the spread is vegetarian and vegan. The aim is to encourage healthy eating habits. This time, the focus is on millets. Loaded with vitamin B, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and essential fats, this ancient grain is fast becoming a favourite of health enthusiasts, as a substitute for wheat. The health agenda of this community outing is helmed by Shiva Kumar Bharthi. With his project, Aalamaram, Bharthi offers diet-based changes. The event has also seen participation from people who want to drive the movement of healthy food, and urban sustainability in the city. In previous editions, Aditya BM of Kaulige Foods store, which sells millet-based products, treated participants to millet bisi bele bath, and cinnamon cake. Dr Gauri Rokkam of Swaastya Organics store brought along a millet dessert.

    Happy bites
    Nucchinunde, khakras, theplas, tulsi juice, jowar barfis, and homemade vanilla icecreams have been collectively savoured in previous meetups. The quantity of food you bring should be enough for you, and at least two others. People usually come together at 7.30 pm. For the next 30 minutes, they introduce each other, while setting up the floor for dining — complete with mats and cutlery. Then, one person takes the responsibility of serving. Star gazing, and astrology often make up post-dinner discussions.
    The Tango instructor at Lahe Lahe, and one of its cofounders, Olivea Normandin, had an interesting take-away from Kai Tuttu. “People in the West use a lot of cutlery. That’s disconnecting us from the sense of touch. So when someone gives food into our hands, we can touch it first, smell it, and then swallow it. This way, we engage all our senses,” says Normandin, who used to run a restaurant in Australia.

    May 23. At Indiranagar. 7.30 pm. Details: 9886294444

    — Barkha Kumari

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