Cool Modi in veshti-sattai wins hearts of TN people, hosts Xi in true Tamil style

Chinese  President Xi Jinping, on his two-day visit for an informal summit in India at Mamallapuram, was treated to a lavish spread from Prime Minister Narendra Modi in true Tamil style.

Modi and Xi held a two-and-a-half hour “pleasant conversation” over dinner on Friday, resolving to further energise bilateral development partnership and insulating the overall ties from differences over contentious issues.

Briefing media about the meeting between PM Modi and Xi, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said the two leaders held wide-ranging discussions on key issues, including trade and terror. Modi surprised all and won the hearts of Tamil people by wearing a pattu veshti, sattai and thundu.

The non-vegetarian menu of the dinner hosted by PM Modi consisted of lip-smacking delicacies from southern states such as the Tanjavur Kozhi Curry, a chicken curry from Tamil Nadu’s Tanjore and the Malabar lobster, a kind of spiny lobster cooked in spices from Kerala.

According to available information, the two leaders were treated to a sumptuous dinner, comprising sambhar, a mouth-watering south Indian recipe made of lentils and also a favourite of the Tamils, besides other delicacies. ‘Arachu vitta Sambhar’, prepared from grounded lentils, certain spices and coconut to make it tastier was touted to be the key attraction in the menu.

Among many other dishes, was the Karuvepillai Meen Varuval, a griddle-cooked curry leaf flavoured fish, the Yerachi Ghetti Kozhambu, mutton cubes cooked with spices and coriander, Mamsam biryani, a type of biryani made with long-grain rice cooked with tender lamb and Thakkali Rasam, cooked with spiced extract of tomatoes.

External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar describing the first day of the summit, wrote on Twitter, “Concluding a highly productive day with a pleasant conversation over a long dinner. PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi continued their exchange of views on deepening of the India-China partnership over a breathtaking Kalakshetra cultural performance followed by dinner.”

Reports said both Xi and Modi resolved to further energise bilateral development partnership and insulating the overall ties from differences over contentious issues. In the evening, Modi and Xi sipped tender coconut water (ilaneer) and engaged in casual interaction in a serene setting in the backdrop of 7th century rock-cut chariots of Pancha Ratha overlooking the Bay of Bengal.

In the wake of recent developments over the Kashmir issue, there were concerns if the two leaders would be able to rekindle the “Wuhan spirit”, a reference to their first informal summit in China in April 2018 that had helped the two Asian neighbours overcome the trust deficit of the 73-day Doklam military standoff.