When is the outsourced food arriving ? asked my husband even as he was checking the time.

Oh, yes, the caterer will deliver the food any moment, I said.

What is the menu, I hope it is something my friends would like, he said.

Of course, I know they like a typical south Indian, traditional lunch and I have ordered accordingly, I said.

That’s good, you know we are the only south Indian friends the Kapoors have. In fact, they were a little diffident in accepting my invitation for lunch but agreed when I promised them a traditional menu, he said.

Personally, left to myself, I would have preferred something north Indian, I observed.

Remember that you are a typical Chennaite now and you should adopt yourself to the culture and food habits of the place, he remarked (he always made it a point to have a dig at my preference for north Indian food).

By the way, what is the menu, he asked again.

Well, kootu, bhendi porial, rasam, vatha kozhambu, dhal, cabbage vada, mango chutney, puliyodarai, pal payasam. I read out the menu as per the list I had given to the caterer.

That’s good, I am glad you are familiar with the traditional menu. What about the sweet, he said noticing I had not mentioned it.

I told you it was pal payasam  because I am yet to know what are the delicacies exclusive to this part of south India, I confessed.

Of course there are several, he declared.

Why don’t you tell me, I asked eagerly.

Badusha, Mysorepak, jelebi, jangree, athirasam – oh so many, I can reel out many more, he said proudly.

As far as I know, all those you mentioned are rather universal and not exclusives, I argued.

Just then  the caterer arrived with the food and I had left the man to himself to  transfer all the items into the casseroles I had placed on the table.  He left  after  collecting the amount.

My heart missed a beat when I slowly opened each casserole. There were rotis and nans and other items included aloo mutter, palak paneer, fried rice, spring rolls, navaratna kurma, etc., etc. The menu appeared diametrically opposite to what I had ordered.

I could notice my husband’s expression of shock.

What am I to do now, I said helplessly. I think it’s a terrible mix-up. The fellow would have reached his second  destination ,a good distance over 10 kilometres , I said trying  to gain back my composure.

There is still an hour’s time for the Kapoors to arrive. I am sure the adept cook that you are , you can turn out a good south Indian spread in a jiffy, suggested my husband.

N Meera Raghavendra Rao


2 thoughts on “A BUSMAN’S HOLIDAY 30/05/2010

  1. Prof.V.N.K.Kumar

    A busman’s holiday is where you do something similar to your usual work, instead of having a rest from it. I believe this comes from an incident where the wife of a bus driver takes her husband and travels in a bus on a holiday, but imagine how boring it is for the husband !

    Short of going to the consumer court or taking your business away from that caterer, you can do nothing but to grin and bear it. All this happened because you wanted a holiday from cooking. In your place, I would have told my husband to take the car, go to saravana bhavan or some such restaurant, and get parcels of south Indian meal items for 4 persons. Why victimise yourself for the fault of someone else ? Lol.

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