taleblazing . . . travel tales from around the world   . . .
  . previous tale  .
wisdom of the ages
. next tale  .
ganesh charturthi
. more tales  .
. . . . .

Check out Dennis' debut novel
Soul Identity - Dennis Batchelder's debut novel
. . . . .

By Dennis Batchelder 22 may 2005

We had dinner in Hyderabad at Our Place. This restaurant features candle-lit tables on the lawn in a courtyard under the starlight, with geese waddling around honking, and a band playing sithars and drums. Kids run around the lawn, laughing and chasing the geese.

Our waiter knew more than we did about what we should eat. When I ordered screwdrivers with mango juice instead of orange juice, he said, "Sir, that's not a screwdriver. Screwdrivers are made with orange juice". I agreed, and told him I'd like to substitute mango juice for the orange juice. "Sir, screwdrivers do not have mango juice. I will bring you four screwdrivers with orange juice, okay?"

"Tonight," I said, "I'd like four screwdrivers, all made with mango juice". Finally he agreed, and he brought us the drinks.

Next we ordered the starters. I asked for two vegetarian platters. "Sir, vegetarian platters have two of each item. Would you like some paneer tikka instead?" I told him again that I'd like two vegetarian platters. "Sir, the vegetarian platters have too much variety. How about some vegetable manchuria?"

I was getting frustrated. I asked him if it was okay if I did the ordering, and he did the order taking. He gave in and brought the vegetarian platters.

Time for the entrees. I wanted the paneer butter masala. "Sir, that is too spicy for you. How about some chicken tikka?"

Alok started laughing. Arunabh told the waiter that I could handle spices. But the waiter didn't get it. He recommended some curd rice, because it would be "good for a foreign tongue not used to our strong spices."

That did it. I got mad and asked him if he was planning on eating dinner with me. "No, sir." I asked him if all the dishes on the menu were available. "Yes, sir." I asked him if he could just take our order and bring us what we wanted. "Of course, sir. Very sorry, sir."

"Great," I said. "Please bring the paneer butter masala".

All eyes were on the waiter. He looked at me, looked down at his paper, then shook his head. "Sir, that is too spicy for you. I'll bring some fish tikka instead".

I said, "paneer butter masala." He looked at Alok. "Paneer butter masala." Our table started chanting, "Paneer butter masala. Paneer butter masala. Paneer butter masala."

I got the paneer butter masala. And I wish I could say, "and we won, and the waiter stopped trying so hard, and all was well." But I can't - the over-waiting continued. Alok had problems ordering ice for his drink, and Arunabh struggled to get strawberry ice cream on his mango shake.

No matter; we had a magical evening under the stars. Prashanth told us how his parents helped him find his wife, and how happy he is. Amit teased Kasi, who had just kicked off his own wife search with his parents. Alok checked out the "babes", and cursed the fact that they all were bouncing toddlers on their knees. Swarup tried to explain why the cows were above humans on the Hindu heirarchy, and Arunabh jokingly suggested that we all try hard to be really good, so next life we could all be cows together in the same herd.

The meal ended far too soon, and I had to leave for the airport. I asked our waiter for the bill, and as I thought about the great time we all had over the previous 10 days, I rewarded his over-waiting with an overweighted tip.

over-waited - india