Saturday, 22 June 2013

Hey waiter, where's the menu ? - Order Etiquettes !!

'Hey waiter, can I get a veg burger and a drink please, thank you!!’
'Oye, ye Mc D hai tere baap ka dhaba nahi. Uth ke jaa counter pe, order de, samaan utha aur udhar leke aa. Mere liye ek Mc Aloo le aaiyo.'

Wellum, okay, that was news to me!  My stupidity had been highlighted. I looked around to see the gathering and tried to identify those who followed that bit of conversation. My embarrassment would vary according to the audience size, obviously. Thankfully, not more than a couple of teenagers seemed to notice.
Now, this is a defining personality trait of a typical delhi-ite. Unless it concerns them, they don’t give a shit whatever is happening around them. It's disturbing but I was glad of that behavior during those moments.


Being a first timer at a fast food joint, finally graduating from the desi junk - samosas to more classy and more junked up version of food - burgers, fries etc., it wasn’t a very pleasant start.
I looked around, over and under the table, for the menu.
Dhabe par menu to hota hai kam se kam !!

My friend told me everything is available at the counter. That lazy ass could have accompanied me. Anyway I stood up and walked towards the counter. And I was stumped again.
What to do now??
How to order??
What to order??
And then where is the freaking menu? Oh wait, it’s above the counter.
With one intriguing mystery solved, I drafted my order - one aloo tikki, make that two, one drink, some fries.. hmm… puffs sound curiously interesting. So puffs too and we're done.
Now, at McDonalds, one of the commandments states that ..

'Thou shalt not call a burger without a Mc prefix'.

One simply does not call a Mc Donald’s burger burger instead of McBurger !!
 I wasn’t aware of that by that point. So I said I wanted two simple burgers (arre.. wo aloo wale), one puff (McPuff), fries and a couple of small package Sprite. The attendee gave me a look of utter disgust, like I’ve just insulted an entire culture (Mc Donalds). Anyway, she did accept and process the order. I paid the amount and successfully completed what seemed to be no less than a month-long mission – time just stalls when your stupidity comes in limelight.
One thing I’ve noticed, with experience from multiple such instances, that to sound civilized and sophisticated, it's recommended to use English keywords like 'Two McAloos', 'please', 'thank you' etc. Full, grammatically correct, meaningful sentences are a bonus and people go 'wah kya baat hai' !!
Sometime next week, an unfortunate fellow hosteller failed to hide his birthday. We wished him and unanimously decided 'kaafi time se Pizza Hut nahi gaye, kal subah chalte hain'!!

We were in a group of five. I had learnt somewhere –
'a leader leads from the front, takes responsibility and simplifies the situation for his team'.
 I was inspired and bringing the experience from the 'Mc D fiasco' into consideration, I walked towards the billing counter and asked for the menu so I could place my order. They told me not to worry as an attendant will be at the table shortly. This was kind of embarrassing, again. I looked back and saw my friends laughing frantically. However, we had our order delivered in good time and there was the dilemma on the table, waiting for us- the forks and knives.
''ab inka kya karein ustaad ?'

I looked around and noticed a couple of faces asking the same. Being from a middle-class family, these instruments have seldom been used in my lifetime. But still, being in a sophisticated environment, we decided to give it a try. We received timely instructions regarding their usage from our temporary neta, like how to hold the the knife and use it and which hand should hold what and similar crap.

Jesus broke bread with his hands. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru refused using a spoon at a high-profile dinner. We gave up the fork and knife routine, one by one. And we were finished eating pretty soon. We asked for  the bill and then noticed that one friend was panting after finishing one slice of his pizza, desperately trying to cut pieces of his pizza with his knife, then using the fork and switching hands frequently. It shouldn’t have been, but it was funny.
bhai rehne detumse na ho payega I quipped. He was back to the trusted desi style and really enjoyed the meal.

I’ve been in similar situations numerous times. To prevent awkward scenarios similar to the ‘Mc Donalds’ one, I choose to stand out of the line and observe the proceedings, the procedures before making my move. I am stupid I know that. I just don’t want others to know.



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