It was supposed to be an extremely relaxing Sunday for me while I was in ____ (name of city withheld due to security reasons) but a long lost friend (yes yes a girl!!!) happened to ping me (m really not lying) and a program was fixed to catch up over brunch. I told her to select a restaurant of her choice, for I heavily rely on female in-depth knowledge on local cuisines. She happily mentioned some place "nice" and BAM! We were meeting that some place "nice".
It turned out to be a 5-star Hotel. (DAMN!) Thank you HDFC for the debit card you gave me I didn't had to turn around and run for an ATM. It was too late to tell her how suddenly my bowel movements have developed irregularity neither could I instantly remember that it was ashtami ka aadha chaand which is an awesome nakshatra to keep a fast for reasons best known to my babaji who has advised me to not even look at food. I did think of fake-fainting on the road and fake a heart attack but it would be too much dramatics and poor girl was just too small to lift me, what if she calls the guards of the hotel and I’m instantly booked a room at the hotel? I might then have a real heart attack.
With fear filled tragedy and grief stricken heart I slowly crawled my way into the mammoth opulence of sheer brilliance of interior designers. The feeling of euphoria of entering a place as affluent like this ended when I began to think of the bill. With dad it was fun to visit places like these, now with my own hard-earned money on the line, I could just end my life of shock.
Oh so it was a Sunday Buffet on the roof top.
I'm telling my brain and stomach. You have to eat thrice your capacity. I'm not eating or feeding you anything for the next 48 hours. Just chew chew and chew. As I flex my jaws for an endless diet to justify setting my money on fire because of the woman with me. Ohh… I remember all this has been happening and this girl has been continuously blabbering and chattering. I have no clue how many characters have “come-scrutinized-gone” in her conversations by now. Pay attention. Pay attention.
Madam: "Oh God it's a buffet here... They have awful.. Oh bad luck"
Me: (Mann main laddu foota) "Ohh no... We can still go someplace else... They are giving a Batman free with Happy Meal at McDonalds"
Madam: "HAHAHA... Noooo I can't disappoint you... You have so far to meet me and you must be hungry... We'll not waste more time. I’m sure YOU'RE starving, at least I AM"
Me: "NO, not at all... Its okk we can go anywhere else that's better... what was that Dhaba you were talking about?"
Madam: "It's okk alas! Such a bad day... Let’s start... Are you vegan or non veg?"
I know what comes next... Trust me I do. I have been through this a lot many times now. Girl comes starving like she's about to die if she's not fed within the next 30 seconds and her location by the hand of destiny is always around the choicest (and costliest) of restaurant. The girl then orders like she hasn't had food for a week and ends up not eating what she has ordered for it didn't suit her… I don't know why… "taste buds" I guess? The more exclusive the item, the less likely it is to be eaten at all, sometimes not at all because dear dish you weren't gorgeous enough to be devoured by a gorgeous woman. The same girl who was about to die of starvation is now revived for the whole day by just tasting the exclusiveness of the dishes and of course not paying. Aren't you a gentleman?
Being in a buffet means you eat everything there is to eat and as much as you can eat. So I filled my plate with every item. Everything in Vegan section from soup to paneer tikka to mix veg to pizza to kadhai panner to appetizers to main course to starters... all piled up on my plate- right, left and centre. Nothing missed, nothing taken just once or twice or thrice (yes I’ll eat them all). This is my strategy to dent the hospitality industry. They're gonna make the ‘leastest’ profit from my payment of Buffet. I pinkie-promise myself that today these looters are gonna regret letting me in their corridors through the elevator on to the roof-top for their special buffet which my dear guest and host has declared inedible and is determined to prove to these guyz that their culinary skills are not impressive enough to make her take anything on her plate.
Madam: "The food really is awful... I don't like their buffet preparation at all... The last time I was here with a friend it was the same menu too... I just felt like jumping off from the roof-top"
Me: "Hmmm... chop chop... well your plate is totally empty what you gonna eat?"
Madam: "I don't feel like eating much. I'll go home and have something. It's ok."
Me: thinks*oh God... kill me kill me kill me* can I claim a re-fund or something?
"It's totally cool... but I think you'll like the pizza it's very Italian." (I only meant it's less spicy)
Madam: "How much will you eat? I liked the soup, I think I'll just hop to desserts... I like them though... they are better… but they don't have many choices."
Me: thinks*dessert section was next to salad section... ohh God I had to take the salad again I better grab that egg-something-something that was kept there then with virtue of patience and persistence… insha-allah I’ll raid everything again and stuff it in my stomach for future digestion*
"Actually I haven't eaten since yesterday night; you know work-related issues and all, so I’ll just fill my stomach... And all this physical labour they make us do we need to supplement our bodies with a lot of fibre, fat, protein... necessary for health and all yaar."
Madam:"Awwww… Govt makes you people work so hard naa... "
The most anticipated moment of bill arrives. And I slowly opened the dreaded bill.
I can hear my heart beats thumping against my chest. My heart pumping blood through the arteries, circulating throughout the body and I can feel the pulse on my fingertips vibrating with the heartbeat. Has the world started spinning faster or is it just me feeling dizzy. There there. I can hear all the sounds and noises on top of this multi storied concrete structure. The edge of the roof calls me. I might as well jump and then with a sudden realization it hits me: This is what I pay for two months as my food bill in my excellent and efficient mess. Agggghhhhhh…. KILL ME… KILL ME… KILL ME…
Two months of my food bill... gone *poof* from my card in just a Sunday buffet. Due to this wonderful female who hasn't eaten at all and as per my estimate would be going back and cooking maybe a 2-minute Maggie at her flat. All is well... All is well... Om shanti shanti shanti... What were those effective methods to “keep yourself calm in high stress situation” article I try to remember. There goes my money... hard earned money and the thought that usually follows such incidents is a common one;
What could I have bought with that money?
I probably won't even be taking my wife there to that place where I had just eaten the (truth be told) inedible buffet. My mind flashes images of all the desirable objects I had intended and yearned to owned but forsaken for the sake of decency of my salary. Most of all the Batman action figure which was supposed to be imported from US and which was costing exactly the same amount as the bill that I had just unwillingly paid. The big remote-control cars/helicopters which I had planned, planned and planned some more but eventually given up on the decision to buy. Some of them cheaper that the amount I had just debited from my bank balance. Monstrosity.
I can so relate to the character in the TV Series "Dexter". I can so relate to his dark passenger. Perfect legitimate reasons I guess to chop up people into thin slices. After my mind had gone through all the items that I could have bought with the just thrown money my mind races to next best option: How to recover the lost money? Should I take this lady to a secluded spot and tell her I need her to refund my money... at least her share. Wait a sec she’s still talking continuously about something let me check what is she saying.
Yes lady I'm all ears about your relationship issues, please go ahead I’m listening. I'm a trained psychiatrist... I love people opening up their hearts to me. Ohh you got some parental issues too? Wowww I’m so warmed up to hear you.
I think I’ll have to cut down on my expenses and probably in around next 06 months of strict austerity measures I could claim to have recovered 3/4th of the money I have just burned.
Yes now you are talking about what? Career? My heart is still thumping against my chest. Great meeting you girl. Catch you later. (hopefully never) :P