15th of December - was my day out at this Corner Shop in Trichy!
|A Waiter of Sorts!|
YES! my favourite hon’ble ‘server’ Sundaram was there to serve me this time.!!! Why should I be this excited in describing a waiter at a ‘small’ish restaurant? And why am I tempted to call him ‘hon’ble Server Sundaram? What’s so special about such an enigmatic ‘server’ [or ‘waiter’!] of sorts?
For some special things in life, the ‘felt-experience’ is much more profound and enjoyable than the written, watered-down version! Yet I would love to jot them down in this post, for posterity sake, and also for celebration-sake!
Hon’ble ‘Sundaram’ might’ve surely forgotten me or my band of ‘happy-go-lucky’ friends who used to frequent this shop almost every weekend, long long back, pepped up after the filling, and finishing it up with a cuppa tea and a longggg discussion on any ‘current event’ of our choice! ;-)
Indeed time has rolled us by like ‘an ever-rolling stream!’
Coming back, yes! the moment we seated ourselves comfortably in this ‘small yet contented’ table of ours, he placidly placed a plantain leaf in front of me, and also poured water into a tumbler (to start with!) Then, a motivating song from an evergreen ‘MGR hit’ springs from his famed voice – which pauses, when he proceeds to ask his usual and ‘unique’ enquiries in his own enigmatic style, to his customer! – a chore that he adored as a celebrated and enjoyable routine!
Now, after getting his order, the ‘MGR number’ resumes, and he also makes sure that your order is right there in front of you in a jiffy! You indeed will be made to feel ‘the luxury of a motivating pep-song to pep-in the parottas’!!!
And wait! the ‘real’ service from ‘hon’ble server sundaram starts only from now on!
|enthu and verve!|
Once your idlis or parottas or dosas are placed on your banana leaf, [Well, Trichy traditionally serves her customers with food on banana leaves, and they believe in the bountiful benefits of eating on banana leaves to such a great extent that even colleges in Trichy (including Bishop Heber!) have for the past more than 50 years continued to serve all hostelites food only on banana leaves for all three meals of the day! Interestingly, Trichy and her suburbs have a chain of these name-sake and famed restaurants aptly titled ‘Banana Leaf Restaurants’ too!], the next ‘strategy’ of the ‘hon’ble’ Sundaram is to start his own ritualistic number tuned to his own music, which goes like this:
‘one spoonful of chutney, OVER! two spoonfuls of chutney, OVER! three spoonfuls of chutney, FINISHED-u!
‘one spoonful of sambhar, OVER! two spoonfuls of sambhar, OVER! three spoonfuls of sambhar, FINISHED-u!
Anything else? Brother? he asks!
“Pepper chicken fry and some kurma”
‘One plate of hot and spicy and garnished and what not…’ pepper chicken fry for elder brother, please!
“Here, brother”! he grins, as he places the pepper chicken fry on your table.
I called him with a delightful smile, for a second helping of the kurma, to which he started his scoop-count in a special raga of his own, in his own inimical and inimitably idiosyncratic style:
one- nu, rendu, moonu… (one, two, three…)
We, the limited customers at his table couldn’t control our laughter and curiosity too, and soon i asked him in all eagerness,
"What is that count for, brother?"
His reply was equally heart-warming!
"Brother, you all might have your own problems or burdens with you even as you come here. I just want to make you feel happy and I want to embrace my customer by serving them with delight and happiness (apdiye anaichikuven!) he said.
Seeing my great admiration and regards for him, he strode over to my side of the table and specially added, ‘Brother, I've been here since the time I was a kid. Now it’s 25 years since i joined work here and I've learnt all my skills here. I do everything in a jiffy, he said, smiling his gentle smile with a genial wink on his bearded visage. He also added that he's got many awards from Rotary and Lions Club for enthusiastic service, recommended by his unique customers, and those photos are up on display at the nearby K.A.S he added.
When I was done, he gave me a neatly cut newspaper as 'tissue paper' and told me the price: Rs. 95/-
I gave him the money. He wasn’t particular about being tipped, but when I handed him down a pretty decent ‘tipping’, a graceful smile adorned his face and he said his thanks – a thanks of satisfaction, not only for receiving the tip, but also for doing his work with enthusiasm and verve, to his utmost satisfaction and to the delight of his fan-customers as well!
He is quite a wonderful lesson in enthusiasm, self motivation and thankfulness and gratefulness and what not! The joi de vivre that he exhibited is indeed the need of the hour today in our world.