Arnie – “Put another single fry — sunny side up on top of my bhurji.”
The Rajni T-shirt-wearing young waiter is new. He scratches his head and shouts out to Anna in Tamil. Here’s the gist.
Young waiter – “Crazy guys giving complicated orders.”
Anna – “Stop watching useless Rajni movies and pay more attention to work.”
The young waiter is speechless. If looks could kill, Anna would would have died a 1000 deaths right then.
It’s breakfast time. Arokya is buzzing with customers. The four of us have occupied half of Anna’s business area. Arnie gone wanting a personalised meal with his eggs made in a particular manner. Since it was my first visit there, I was dreading what Anna would say.
Let me just put this in perspective. At full capacity, Aarokya can seat 8 people. Except for a few pockets of time, there are always people waiting for a place. One can take a sit, eat, pay and go, with nothing in between. There are the filmy strugglers who have idli-dosa/parathas for breakfast. The travelling salesmen who share the table with the daily labourers as they order veg /fish / chicken thali lunches. The many regulars — from shopkeepers to small traders — who come for their cup of tea and have a wada (make that 2) throughout the day.
Now back to our story.
All Anna did was walk up to Arnie and smile. He listened to our individual orders — 2 bhurjis — one with a single egg fry put on top and one regular with 2 paav’s each, 2 puri bhajis and one wada sambar plus additional paavs. He nodded and returned to his place.
There were customers hovering around. Not once did he ask us to wait as the order would take time. We just nursed milky tea and looked around at the staff — a young girl (probably a relative) was busy settling bills, taking orders and surfing her mobile at the same time while Anna and the rest kept a steady stream of Tamil conversation going about food, people and everything in between.
We continued to yap and have a good time as our order got delivered. That’s when the thought hit me — if this was any other decent-sized restaurant, we would have immediately moaned about the lack of space, wondered about the quality of the food and even the ambience. But here, we enjoyed a decent meal and chatted with each other without any thought to it. Hmmm.
And oh yes Arnie got the dish he wanted, except he felt he had ordered too much. You think?