Have you ever watched people sitting at the nearby tables at a restaurant? I can assure you that it is both amusing and also embarrassing . The person at our next table had ordered a plate of idlis and when it arrived, he said something to the waiter who promptly brought another cup of sambar. The man crushed the idlis poured both cups of sambar on them, after mixing thoroughly engaged himself in parallel activities –even as he was eating he was engrossed in reading a newspaper holding it in his left hand and placing it inches from his face! I wondered how he managed to concentrate on two things!
There was a family of three sitting at the table opposite .The plate of puris arrived, they were large and all puffed up looking very tempting. The mother and father were alternately taking turns coaxing the young boy to eat them along with the potato curry but he continued to gaze at them in awe refusing to even touch the puris lest they lose their shape! They appeared to give up after a while and polished them off within minutes perhaps not realizing the consequences, for, they had to pacify their little child who had started throwing tantrums attracting the attention of people around to leaving the couple embarrassed.
Then at the table on our left sat a motley group of eight. It was apparent that they were celebrating the birthday of the young boy who was dressed in natty clothes. Soon one of them opened the carton which bore the name of a five star hotel and placed the cake in front of the boy. He cut it with glee to the accompaniment of the Happy Birthday song and a round of applause with the following of Gifts. Click click went the digital cameras even as everyone fed the boy with a piece of cake and I was amused at the sight he presented– his face was half covered with the icing and his cheeks bloated with the contents inside. He appeared excited with the attention he was getting. What aroused my curiosity was the disparity in the age of the group (which appeared to range from nine to ninety) and the contrast in their complexion as well as their way of dressing. Even as I was trying to group them as relatives/ friends one of the ladies walked towards our table and offered us a big chunk of cake with a smile. Though I appreciated her gesture I felt embarrassed and cursed myself for making my curousity appear so obvious! I went up to the boy and wished him a very Happy Birthday.The person sitting by his side immediately got up and greeted me with a Namasthe and a smile. I am his father. I work in Dubai and came down for my son’s birthday, he said in Tamil.
Are you all related? I asked.
Some of us are and others are our friends, he said with a broad smile.
n.meera raghavendra rao