Sunday, July 01, 2007

One coffee please

"Idli Vada, Khara bhat, Chow chow bhath, Dose, Rava Dose" he rattled off at a high speed. It is a practised ritual. Breakfast menus are notoriously similar, so the rattling off is almost offhand and for a practiced breakfaster, the ear drum registers the breakfast menu offhand, without as much as looking up from the newspaper.

"One plate idli-vada and a coffee." Dheeraj said nonchalantly.
Exactly three and a half minutes later, came the piping hot idlis - two of them, tangoing with a vada on a green leaf within the confines of a steel plate. Two bowls, one chutney, one sambar slid off the tray to the table.

Dheeraj bit into it with the hunger of a elephant finding a three sticks of sugarcane after a few days of going without food. "Of course, breakfast is about breaking a fast, fast" he reasoned.

"Where is the coffee?" He wondered and looked around for the waiter, who was busy reeling off the menu to a couple at a far off table.

Dheeraj motioned to another waiter, but he did not bite. Waiters, unlike countries, politicians, families never step onto each others turf. He pointed Dheeraj to the waiter who had now moved from the couple to a couple who were unable to decide, on their breakfast.

He decimated some more of the breakfast in front of him. After all, the best time to eat both idli and vada is between a specified temperature range and it cannot be reheated. Beyond that it is like the previous days newspaper. They temperature was still good at last bite.

He finally got the attention of the waiter when during the course of getting discreet attention, his waving hands caught the top of the glass of water causing it to spill on the floor.

"Sir?"
"Coffee."
"Getting it sir." he said, pointing to his food.

Two bites into the food and there was still no sign of coffee at his table. He looked around. The waiter and other waiters were serving coffee to quite a few patrons. Surely, it was not a shortage of coffee or milk that was causing the delay.

The temperature range was rapidly going down and his idli and vada were getting cold. He could picture the coffee appear on the horizon just as he was about to gulp the last mouthful of a slice of idli and a piece of vada.

"I have been asking for coffee for such a long time."
"But you finished your food just now."
"I want my coffee with food."
"That is not possible, Sir."

(to be continued...)

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