In India, the relationship between lunch & dinner and white rice is strong. Our meals are incomplete, unsatisfactory and even frustrating for some without some form of rice.

Rice is cherished in exotic forms like a gentle & mild kashmiri pulav or an aggressive & spicy dum biryani. In its simplest form, most households enjoy dal & rice or curd & rice. These combinations today are fixtures in every Udipi, South Indian or Punjabi restaurant. These are called thali or meals and will always end with rice.

Once I turned diabetic, I understood what white rice does to the human body. It’s high glycemic index increases blood sugar faster than it should, even if consumed in very limited quantities.

Now in this context, the icing on the cake is a South Indian wedding, especially the ones in Tamil Nadu or Palakkad. These weddings are well known for their grand 5-course meals on a banana leaf. Unfortunately for a diabetic and every human being who is health conscious, every course is RICE.

The first course is dal rice with ghee and the caterers almost tease you with the super-micro quantity they serve during this course. Next in line is sambar & rice and this you thoroughly do enjoy. But even before you can finish half of what has been served and relish it, a fresh attack is launched at you and a new wave of rice is served, now with rasam. By this time the enjoyment turns into a mild of form of fear. The amount of rice in your banana leaf is unnerving. Each serving is a small mountain of rice that one needs to climb. Anybody who has been to a South Indian wedding will vouch for this unsettling phenomenon.

At this stage the caterers decide that it’s time to take you through a small detour and you are served with kheer which again turns out to be sweetened rice and milk. This stage is tricky. Even though you are completely full and even a single morsel would seem impossible, you tend to consume a few glasses of it. That is the unavoidable magic of the South Indian Payasam. And finally when your body and your mind separate just because of the sheer amount rice and sugar in your body, comes the final blow…more rice and buttermilk.

I have been to these weddings when I was a non-diabetic. And I enjoyed this bodily crime voluntarily. But in my last 10 years as a diabetic, I went to only one poonal (a thread ceremony). The food served here is similar to what is served during weddings. Despite knowing everything I needed to know about the negatives of rice and sugar, I got swept away and managed to get my sugar levels to around 300.

In my personal experience certain foods can take your sugar levels high, but the fall-back to normal levels is reasonably quick. But when you consume the most chronic combination of an inhuman amount of rice and sugar, nothing in this world can help you. It will take hours before your sugar levels get to normal. This is 100% inclusive of immense fatigue and high levels of guilt.

One can’t avoid going to weddings and poonals. But the one piece of advice I want to leave you with is to stay absolutely away from the hot and sweaty food zone and enjoy an apple and some buttermilk in the air-conditioned hall.

If you have been disciplined and want to enjoy some of that food today, have a glass of that payasam, say a premature goodbye to your cousins and hit the gym.