A Tinge of Lemon to Mango Lassi
Hari and I were having dinner at the Everest restaurant this evening when an elderly gentleman came in and sat at the table next to us. Lucky “Singh”, as I like to call the person-in-charge of the place, somehow didn’t notice him and started taking orders from people who came after this gentleman. Hari felt concerned and he drew Lucky’s attention towards the gentleman.
While we were eating our food, we heard the gentleman calling Lucky and saying, “Please bring these two gentlemen drinks of their choice”, while pointing at us. We felt embarrassed and tried to change his mind. But we couldn’t. He said, “Please, I insist”. “You don’t have to do this”, we said him. “But I like it, so please order something”, he replied. “Thanks a lot for the drink. It is very nice of you”, we replied. We then hesitatingly ordered Coco Cola for ourselves. The gentleman also bought drinks for two other persons sitting on an another table.
This initiated a conversation between us. He was Paul. He worked as the head waiter on cruise ships before he retired. He has travelled widely and almost to all countries, except for India. Being in the hospitality business for his entire working career, he was a connoisseur of food and dining. He prefers eating what locals eat and in a way in which locals eat. “Once in China, I asked for Chinese beer. The waiter looked at me surprisingly and suspiciously asked if I didn’t want to have a Heineken beer”, he said. “For God sake, I don’t want to have Dutch beer in China. In China, I want to have something which is authentic Chinese”.
It is always interesting to converse with people like Paul who have travelled widely and have a rich experience. You may also pick up one or two nuggets of life. “If you have 20 dollars in your pocket, you should not go and demand and show-off your capability to pay. Instead, with folded hands humbly request, if you can have it. In my 60 years of life, I have always been treated with warmth and friendliness, whichever part of world I went. Moreover, 9 out of 10 times I wasn’t allowed to pay for my food”. Paul had ordered chicken noodles. He later asked us if that was an Indian dish. We told him that it wasn’t authentic Indian dish. Intrigued by our food, he asked if that was Indian. When we replied affirmatively, he requested if we could order the same for him. We did and Lucky “Singh” offered it as complimentary and on the house :).
Lucky also offered mango lassi as compliment to Paul. He took a sip of the lassi. He waited for a moment experiencing the taste of it. “It has mango and yogurt in it. But less of mango”, Paul said. “A bit of lemon, if added to it will enhance the taste of mango even more”, he remarked. “Lemon when added to fruits such as strawberry, mango, etc always makes it taste better”, he further added. He emphasized that it should be lemon and not lime.