“I asked my wife Susheela to see that a Syrian Christian lunch be ready in 45 minutes. She and the others set about getting the meal ready,” said Kalapakavadi.
Gandhi was on a day’s visit to Kerala Monday, to participate in the yatra of Youth Congress state president Deen Kuriakose. He is set to return to Delhi by evening.
The Kalapakavadi Motels and Resorts at Karuvatta on the National Highway 47 is owned by Congress leader Lal Varghese Kalapakavadi, whose father Varghese Vaidyan was one of the founder leaders of the Communist Party in Kerala.
Kalapakavadi is the president of the farmers’ wing of the Congress party, and also chairs the state-owned Horticorp (Kerala State Horticultural Products Development Corporation Ltd).
Susheela and her kitchen staff raced through 45 minutes and readied a combo of appam (a traditional pancake made of rice flour), fish molly, chicken fry and a prawn dish.
The entourage of Gandhi arrived soon enough, accompanied by Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, state party chief and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and other senior party leaders.
“The security staff checked the food before it was served. He ate four appams, but said he did not want rice. He said he liked the food,” said Kalapakavadi.
The best part of the visit was the chance to interact with Gandhi, a patient listener, Kalapakavadi said.
“I told him that at the national level there is no mechanism in the Congress party to address the issue of farmers. He agreed, and asked me to come to Delhi after the 17th of this month to have a discussion on it,” Kalapakavadi said.
He asked why I joined the Congress when my father was a popular Communist leader, and was surprised when I told him that my son Ambu V. Vaidyan is following in the footsteps of my father, and is a member of the Communist Party of India.
“Please send him to me, I will convert him into a Congressman,” Gandhi said, according to Kalapakavadi.
Before leaving, Gandhi also posed for a photograph with the family.