I have the uncanny ability to order the worst, absolutely the worst item off any restaurant food menu.
Today, to be safe, I called V for recommendations. My calls went unanswered, so I decided to go with my totally fallible instinct.
I took time thinking how each dish would feel, how it would affect me and then let the waiter help me with choosing. I went for a dahi raj kachori (Or some such thing! I may have actually gone for just the dahi. It is an elixir of sorts for us south Indians).
I shifted to a warmer table to escape the air-conditioner.
Across my new seat, there was this family – mother, father and son, and between them were fluffy yet crisp looking bhaturas. Ones that always tempted me to deflate by poking a finger in them. I summoned a passing waiter and changed my order.
I looked on at the family with a fond smile. I started studying them surreptitiously. Suddenly, I developed a vague sense of unease about my order. And just as suddenly, I realized what was wrong. The entire family had no neck. They sat like three matryoshka dolls. I always thought matryoshka dolls looked like eggs painted into pretty human beings with a hint of a curve where the neck should have been. After making mince meat of the bhatura, the matryoshka people ordered triple schezwan rice.
I had severe misgivings about my order, given the food role models I had chosen for the evening. But it was too late to change the order. The visuals disturbed, so I looked down. I heard snatches of conversation.
“….nobody is ready to help others these days…everybody is keen on pulling the other down… we take time to explain…help others win….” That was mother matryoshka.
“Be practical…not always possible…help whenever you can…” That was the father.
“Arey what not possible….they work…hard to pull down…right?…So?…” Mother matryoshka again.
“OK OK Mamma… D-ad! Please OK? I agree with you Mamma…” That was son matryoshka.
My head went up and I saw that Mamma matryoshka had such a happy smile amidst her fleshy jowls. Having won the argument, she served food, chatted and laughed alternately. And when not doing these, she had a permanent smile that seemed to emanate from some memory deep within her. Now one thing I know is that people who are happy with who they are make others happy, too. I know it like the sun that rises every morning.
My food arrived and I happily devoured the bhatura.
Being fat didn’t seem all that bad. Or did helping others seem better? All I got was a happy burp for an answer.