By: Devisri A
CHENNAI: Imagine having dinner out in the open under the starry sky with the comfort of the breeze or on the banks of the river, while the wispy air carries the fragrance of wet soil. Sounds dreamy, does it not? Vizha Medai creates this experience by incorporating food, design and clothing with a blend of traditional and modern elements.
Sanjana, Akash and Darshini, the brains behind Vizha Medai, do projects and experiments to explore and learn about food, clothing and design. Their recent project, the ‘Vizha Dinner’, sprouted while planning to launch a Tamil calendar. “Around January 2022, we came up with the concept of creating a Tamil calendar. When we got into research, we couldn’t get the necessary information. That’s when we decided to invite people for a dinner to understand and learn about our Tamil roots,” says Sanjana.
The dinner series has four dinners based on the seasons of the Tamil months. “We combined three months as a quarter and hosted a dinner around those seasons. We have food curated based on the seasons, and the ingredients are sourced locally. Discussions over the food table will be majorly about the Tamil months,” explains Sanjana on the rationale behind the dinner concept.
The reason for this dinner is to learn about Tamil months. “We wanted to do the calendar in a way it connects to the people and we plan to do that through the illustrations. One idea is where we will mark important days apart from festivals like ‘mango season is coming to an end, have you put your vadams yet?’ This will remind them of their past and even if they haven’t experienced it, they will get to know that it existed,” says Sanjana about their plan on how to incorporate their learnings from the dinner in the calendar.
This month they will be hosting the last dinner of the series from January 26 to January 29 in Virugambakkam, Chennai. “Happening around Thai Thirunaal, it is based on the Pongal festival. The food menu will be diversified and will be based on the different ways different people celebrate and make Pongal,” she says on their upcoming dinner. They usually select people based on the answers filled in the forms but this time it is open to everyone but still restricted to 12 people per dinner. “This is for people who want to learn and have this experience. Since this is our last dinner, we have removed the questionnaire,” says Sanjana.
When asked about her most special moment in this project, she says, “Every dinner has been special. I don’t know if I will ever be a part of any such experience, but knowing that we have created this feels special.”