Wednesday, January 4, 2012

sometimes it rains.. and sometimes.. it pours!

a good labourious day was comin to an end.. and three of us surgical residents, mohit, aniket and i were in an awesome mood. we'd pulled off smoothly a superheavy list.. a list full of major cases that are gonna start early in the morning, and can either end predictably, or go on till eternity. n ot list is like a house of cards.. if one case takes too long.. the staff, instruments, residents.. and most importantly an OR (operating room) stays occupied.
so when the onslaught was successfully over.. we guys walked outta the institute heads held high. and as luck would have it, it was a cloudy, overcast evening and winds blowin across our face.. a pleasant drizzle soothing our brows.
three tired guys. weather like that. obvious conclusion- we hit the bar.. this place, a terrace restraunt, serves really good starters and is open on the sides.. kinda ideal for a evening of this sort.
superhungry from missin lunch, we placed the order of our usual starters right away.. salted peanuts, paneer saute, chicken tandoori and ofcourse, kanda bhajia. conversation was flowing well.. jokes, incidents, backslaps and high fives flying all over the place. and hungry wolves inside our tummies were on a happy drumroll.. savouring the scent of the meal to come.. like the one in the movie 300.
but the drumroll kept going on and on... like the bunny of the energizer battery.

it was an hour already, but there was no sign of starters. and we had already reminded the "captain" once... captain being common parlance for the head waiter who takes the orders. what sucked was we guys were new to this guy. and this guy was new to us. so the exchanges were somewhat formal, n not the usual banter we gave our regular "captain". so at the hours end we reminded him again.
as hunger, fatigue and anticipation began to creep in, the conversation moved on from jokes and banter to nostalgia, and how we, as kids.. we used to love being dished out hot bhajjia on rainy evenings after playing all day in vacations.
from the eager beaver early bird customers, slowly we were subconsciously submitting into the role of supplicants.. praying that the food would be here soon.
finally.. when the meal did arrive, i had to step back and wonder if we guys were on gods candid camera. the paneer saute was cold. not warm. not room temperature. OUTRIGHT COLD. as if it had been lying there for an hour.. while we guys were waiting for it right here, barely 15 feet away.
the tandoor was barely passable, but not really well marinated.
and then we saw THE KANDA BHAJJI
for the un-ordained.. kanda bhajjia refers to irregular clumps of onion rings that are coated with besan (gram flour) and deep fried. basic tenets of kanda bhajjia dictate that these are crisp, a little salty and 'oniony', and served HOT.
kanda bhajjia is probably the easiest snack to cook.. detangle the damned onion rings, mix it with wet semisolid besan and fry it. trust me, if done with a little attention to detail, it can win you fans for life. literally.
and what we were dished out was big thick slices of onion, coated in besan.
you guys would call us wimps.. call it desperation or submissiveness.. conversation abruptly stopped and we guys jumped at the three dishes we were, for so long, fantasizing about.
NOW imagine the disgust when you find out that saute is soo damn salty, it'd freakin sink in dead sea.
the chicken is burnt on the surface and yet raw n fibrous deep within.
and the goddamned kanda bhajjia.. which a rookie cook like ME with limited artillery of omlette, maggi and coffee can cook well, were practically screwed up.
so for the third time.. we call the captain.
and his highness walks to us with the disdain of PHD mathematician forced to teach arithmetic to first graders.
Mohit is the guy who always likes his things perfect. naturally mohit had had enough.. and assuming that this guy was "THE CAPTAIN", mohit politely tried to explain the situation to him.
(part of his politeness also comes from the fear of cooks spitting into your food if you are mean to them. damn that guy watches too many english movies!)
we realise the captain is not really keen on listening;
and this is when aniket.. the "mard maratha" joins the fray.
aniket is known to take things straight to the task. aniket offers this guy to taste whats been served.
captain refuses to taste. he is confident that the food is right.
imagine the cheek, he doesnt accept a single mistake, let alone apologise, doesnt even offer to taste, and begins to argue with HIS basic reasons..
1. anywhere in india, kanda bhajjia is served exactly the way it was served. if we wanted it to be "kekda bhajjia" style.. we wouldnt get it anywhere except in "mumbai".
2. chicken was not burnt on the outside. its supposed to be black when its tandoori.
3. Saute is a salty dish. the reason why it tastes so salty is because tongue doesnt appreciate the taste when food is served hot. items taste saltier when they are cold.
4. reason why it took so long is, we had placed the order for three items together.
so it was only "manners" that he served all three dishes together. obviously one of the dishes is expected to get cold. EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT.
now this guy was shooting us down with a mindblowing ammo of reasons. did he seem to forget that we have been having food everyday of our life? naturally our combined experience with taste beats his experience with silencing noisy or irate customers?
the reason why i am slow to anger is i always analyse everybody's point of view. and also in part because i dont like me when i am angry.
the only logical explanation about the attitude of this shiny new "captain" was probably he was worried that we guys were doin this for escaping bill payment.
so i thought i would help matters by ensuring him that we guys are regulars here. we have had these same dishes on this same table. so we know what we are talking about. and we will pay in full, provided he accepts his mistakes and gets these dishes changed.
i think THAT pretty much kicked his ego. cuz by now the waiters were hinting him to step away.
and THEN, his reply to us was.. he could get everyting made a hundred times.. IF WE COULD AFFORD THAT.. and still, each dish would be exactly the same.
till now, me and my friends, a trio of 26 year olds, were being polite to what was a middle aged 'captain'. but now, matters were seriously getting out of hand.
screw modesty i felt. i am a lean and short guy, and my frame is not intimidating by the farthest stretch of imagination.
time to pull the ace up the sleeve, i thought. so while my friends were still arguing for what seemed a lost cause, i stepped away and made a call.
then i came back at our table. and i gave him a piece of my mind.. "you are obviously new to this place, which is why you lack the basic etiquettes of the hospitality bussiness. not only do you forget orders, but you lack the intelligence to cover up your mistakes with a smile. i have had excellent service from your regular waiters, who seem far younger and inexperienced than you are. but the most important thing that you have forgot is while we are being polite, calling you "aap" and "uncle", you are treating us like we work here for you. so now i am going to treat you exactly like a waiter.. and i am going to show you exactly what is your position (the word i used was hindi.. main tumhe tumhari auukad dikhaata hu") 've just placed a call to mr. X and he is on his way here."
i realised that the only three other tables that were occupied had gotten silent and listening to us. my voice, kinda deep, and my tone, from being a surgeon, nothing short of authoritative, had effectively delivered a powerful monologue.. too bad there was no cheering at the end of it.
this guy, finally realising he was out of his depth, handed over our service to some other guy, and dishes were fished out in a jiffy.
and within next ten minutes, two things arrived simaltaneously.
our familiar trio of favourite starters.
and mr. X. a well behaved, cheerful middle aged man
who doubled up as a former patient.
and tripled up as the owner of this restraunt.
needless to say, since the last two years, i still hop on to that place once in a while. and the service.. is, now, better than five star :D
but yeah, since then, i always inspect the food well, before i take it to my mouth.
damned euro trip n other movies like that.

Monday, January 2, 2012

carpe diem, baby!

time to start another new year,
another attempt to introspect on whats wrong,
another battle on self improvement.
another way passing time and not feelin so bad about it.
make new years resolutions!
lookin around at people introspecting and setting up self improvement goals.. i cant resist setting up a few for me.. invariably adding a few to everyones list :)
but the real problem with new years resolutions are that,
you never make them in a sound mind..
and the first of january usually is spent half asleep, other half gettin antacids,analgesics and sometimes anti-diarrheals, cleanin up the nights mess, replying messages and emails.. n stuff like that.
which is why i am, wisely indeed, penning them down AFTER my system can be expected to keep up to them.
1. reduce global warming.. google servers are allegedly melting the polar ice cap.. and i am over utilising the rent i pay for internet. so basically, less bookin faces, logging b's, n stuff like that.
2. aerobisation of lifestyle. those who really know me, know what i really mean... huffhuffpuffpuff
3. gujju-i-sation of need to explain that to anyone who knows a gujju. and frankly, anyone anywhere in the world probably knows atleast ONE of those stingy sticky noisy animals:)
4. more cerebral, less spinal .
i can confidently say that i have used my lappie of two years for the sole purpose of seeking pleasure and entertainment.. not that i am particularly proud of this, but
frankly its about time i use things the reason i got them for.
digicam for clickin pictures of patients, not birds, friends or random places. internet for reading articles.. not playin online games or watchin youtube or downloading sitcoms
external hard drive for storing orthopedic stuff.. not for collecting and flaunting movie/ music/ sitcom collection.
laptop for thesis, research papers, cuz the way i 'surf'.. my laptop should have been surfboard shaped, n i should've been featured in that old spice ad.
5. yes to to procrastination.
yes to reality. bye bye virtuality.
yes to protein. no to calorie - liquid or solid.
yes to hanging out in the library. no to hanging out in the hostel.
more jogging. less blogging. ok i know i dont blog much but it rhymed :P

n now i realise that
if new years resolutions are one way to justify timepass or your own sense of responsibility..
blogging about it is almost a parallel to regrettably declaring what a naughty boy you have been the last years or so..
its dumb enough to confess your sins in a church. n to confess it here.. the word dumb is too small. but then,
and this is the real kicker..
the things you've enjoyed the most.. are often the result of being dumb enough to try them in the first place:D