Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Dining Out ...

"Good evening Sir" 

Greeted the Restaurant Manager in crisp grey suit and white shirt. Well trimmed beard and a smile fixed on to his lips. Five star hospitality at its best, thought Kannan seeing him. Kannan smiled back with a grace which was so much a part of his lifestyle.

"Do you have a reservation" He asked
"Yes... I stay in Room 411" replied Kannan

"Oh is it... Pleasure to welcome you sir and you are our privileged customer... please come this way" said the suave Manager and led Kannan to the table.  

Kannan was in his relaxed favorite attire, a long brush cotton beige colored Kurta and pure white pyjamas.

The manager pulled the chair and smiled to offer the seat to Kannan. Waved out to the service waiter to attend to the special guest. The slim young gentleman in black and black came towards Kannan and greeted

"Good evening Sir, My name is Vaibhav and I would be happy to take care of your needs this evening" said the smiling young man.

"Get me something light and special" said Kannan

"Sure Sir, I will take the privilege to place the order on your behalf" said Vaibhav and moved towards the Open kitchen counter in the huge restaurant. He  returned in a while with an exotic tropical refresher as the welcome drink

"Sir this is our special welcome drink for you with Fresh Orange juice, sliced banana,  diced mangoes, watermelon,  and pineapple over crushed ice... enjoy" said Vaibhav

Sipping the welcome drink Kannan was reminded of the weekly outings he had with his family. He was reminded of Appa who never bothered to get himself new clothes but would clothe Kannan and Pachai with the best possible. He was reminded of Amma who would be ready to give them all the food, even if it means to go hungry herself. He was reminded of the happy moments they shared, the trips, the Sunday morning breakfast which Appa used to bring home, the evening outings and the film and a treat at the restaurant. 

Sunday was the day when Appa would pick a movie to watch, and post the film, would be a dinner at a Restaurant. Nothing high flying but a fun outing for a normal middle class family. During one such outing, after watching the film 15 year old Kannan walked out looking at others, with airs around him like the hero of the film. Appa, Amma and Akka joined him in a while. They got into the car and everyone knew the destination "Arul Jyothi".

Car was parked and they reached the hotel, where the manager in white and white smiled seeing the regular weekly customers. His smile was so broad and bright like a tube light in its full power. The hotel had glass showcases with different varieties of sweets and savories. The smell of dosas and chutney filled the air with the smell of burning agarbathies in front of the Gods pictures. As they walked in Kannan saw the glass refrigerator with soft drinks with the glass frosted with the moisture. They walked in and sat down to order. The smiling waiter raised his eye brows at Kannan as it was his way of greeting Kannan.

"Sir Soup" asked the waiter
"No... what do you have" Asked Appa
He listed out the dishes in his nonstop regular style
"Dosa, Nai roast, Rocket Masal, Masal Dosa, Idly, Borotta, Uthappam, chapaththi, Poori, Chola puri, koththu Porotta, upma, Pongal ..."

Hardly could Kannan understand the rest, but heard his favorite Chola Puri in between and quickly retorted out in excitement
"I want Chola Puri"
Appa smiled and placed the order asking Amma and Akka too
"Nai Roast" said Akka
"Poori" said Amma

One plate chapatti kurma, one Nai roast, one set poori and one Chola Puri" said Appa

Then it was the waiting time when the discussion was on about the film they had just watched, with topics from inside the family about someone getting married, some function to be attended, someone coming in search of a job and so on till the food arrived. Then it would be silence except for the munching sounds around the table. The aroma of the fresh coconut chutney, the masala, the chole, the sliced onions, the raita, the crisp dosa roasted to perfection like paper in ghee, and the aroma of the fluffy poori in full bloom like balloons. 

The eating ends with the waiter coming to take the dessert order
"Sir ... kafi, tea, juice, rose milk"
"One masala milk for me" said Appa
"I want Rose milk" said Kannan
Akka smiled and said "Me too"
Amma was silent.

Appa asked her "Don’t you want anything"
Amma shrugged her shoulder and gestured that she did not want anything.

Akka, Kannan and Appa finished the last course and waited for the bill. Amma went on talking about Venki Mama, Swami Mama and about a few others which was not much of interest to Kannan. He walked to the sweet show case and stood there looking at them. Appa paid the bill and walked out and tapped Kannan's shoulder and kept the hand on his back as they walked towards the car. As they slowly drove through the slowly sleeping town roads and reached home Kannan noticed Amma's face. The car stopped in front of the house and Appa parked the car. As they walked out Kannan noticed again at Amma's face a strange silent expression.

"Amma... why are you silent... what happened... are you ok" asked Kannan
"Ya ... I am ok" said Amma
"There is something... tell me"
"No ... it’s okay" she said
"tell me what the matter is" Kannan insisted
"No one asked me whether I wanted rose milk...." said Amma

Thinking of that moment, Kannan sipped the refresher he was having and coughed when a seed of the watermelon hit his throat in the last draw of the drink.  

Kannan called Vaibhav and asked for the main course and went on to think

"Mothers are like that, they never tell what they want. They hide their wishes for their children, even simple wishes. She could have asked that day, but didn’t. I still don’t know the reason. She would be happy seeing a smile on her children's faces but would hide all her wants and needs"

Kannan quickly put his hands to his pockets and took the mobile phone out. Dialed the number and waited till it was answered... in a few rings

"Hello" came the answer from Amma and Kannan could see the smile in his heart
"How are you Amma... finished dinner... where is Appa?" Asked Kannan
"Ya... and Appa is watching his favorite serial on TV" replied Amma

They talked for a few minutes and after the call was dropped the dinner was served before him, delicacies from far and wide a special combo designed for him.

"Whatever be the cuisine, the smile which comes to my face when I walked out of Arul Jyothi with Appa's hand on my shoulder and the sad face of Amma not able to have the rose milk.... priceless" Kannan thought

Quickly took the phone and typed a message to Amma on Whatsapp

"Amma... I'm coming home this Sunday... after the event. We will go for a movie and then a dinner at Arul Jyothi... and this time you should tell me what you want... and also a Rose milk is pending from my side"

The phone buzzed a reply within a short while

" :) "

No comments:

Post a Comment