Letter from a concerned reader: Selfie with sambhar

Respected Madam/ Sir,

Restaurant means what? You go. You wait for table. You sit at table. You ask for menu. You order food items. Then you wait for 10 minutes. Then you call waiter. “Hello, where is food? You are climbing coconut tree to get coconut and make chutney or what, bloody fool.” And then waiter will get angry. And then manager will come. And then he will say, “Please calm down uncle, food is coming.” Then you will say, “Thank you, manager, but if you say uncle again this dawara will give customer service to your moonji.”

And then food will come.

Then new waiter will come. He will say, “Uncle, how is the food? Your daughter is enjoying too much.” Then Mrs. Mathrubootham will say, “Oh ha ha ha, I am his wife but people are always making this mistake ha ha ha, daily I am doing yoga and he is doing mannangkatti. This is our secret.” Waiter will say, madam, “Madam, you are ageless.”

I will say, “Kamalam, how many times I have to tell you, this is pre-planned conspiracy for tips. First they will send some buffoon to take order. Then they will send one Kokila Mohan type fellow who will come and do romance as if you are Poornima Jayaram in Payanangal Mudivathillai.

Then you ask for bill. You pay bill. Mrs. Mathrubootham will add tips as if Ratan Tata. Then you come home. No? Simple.

But this is decades-old system. These days anybody goes to hotel to quietly eat food? Never.

Hotel hassle

Two-three days back, around 1 p.m. Mrs. Mathrubootham came suddenly into the living room and said, “Old man, shall we go to some nice hotel for lunch? I am too much bored of cooking.”

I said, “Then you relax, I will cook something. It is too hot outside.”

She said, “No no no. Please, I have just cleaned the kitchen. You please wear some normal shirt and decent pants and come.”

“Fine, fine,” I said. “You decide some restaurant.”

Madam/ Sir, we finally went to one multi-cuisine restaurant. First time we are going. Mrs. Mathrutbootham said, “Shall we try new items?”

I said, “Anything is fine, but please don’t order soup. Soup is the greatest fraud of all frauds, in hot water they put some masala and say give ₹300. Better to burn the money and make omelette on the fire.”

Longest lunch

Just as we are sitting down one voice came from nearby. “Mathrubootham uncle! Kamalam aunty! Please come and sit here.” It was Saumya, daughter of neighbour Dr. Shankaramenon. “Oh my god, pleasant surprise,” I said. She has come for short visit from some college in North India. I don’t know. Some college in Delhi. She said, “Uncle and aunty, how are you? Let us eat lunch together.”

Madam/ Sir, it is the worst decision of my entire life. First juice came. And Saumya took photo of juice glass for five minutes. By the time I drank, ice was all melted. Then when chilli paneer came, she took photo of chilli paneer from multiple angles, close up and far away and all. This is plate of paneer or plate of Suhasini?

Like that one 45 minutes lunch became one-and-a-half-hour lunch. Food became cold and I got very irritated. She took 3,000 photos of my vegetable chop suey. I asked, “My dear, why you are doing this? Whether Narendra Modi is banning food from tomorrow and you want to save memories?”

Saumya said, “Uncle, I am putting photos of all food items on the internet. All my friends are doing it. It is a good time pass.”

I came back home and could not do anything for half-an-hour because of agitation. Then Kamalam came and said, “Calm down, old man, I have made tea, come to the dining room.” I thought finally some relaxation and went there. What relaxation. When I reached there, Kamalam was taking photo of tea cup and glucose biscuit.

“What you are doing,” I said.

“It is for internet,” she said.

Yours in starvation,

J. Mathrubootham

P.S. Madam/ Sir, any news of Poornima Jayaram these days? Please do one investigation.

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The article is edited post publication to correct a spelling error.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 1:56:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/selfie-with-sambhar/article26470450.ece

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