Day 10,212 – Saturday – 08 Bhadra 1930 – 26 Shaban 1429 – 30 August 2008
Yes, chaos. That is exactly what I experienced last night when I went out for food with my family. Coming from a middle class background and having lived on a civil servant’s salary we have all learnt to live sparingly. Food was something one ate at home. Except on very few occasions when one ate at a restaurant, with fresh napkins, and the forceful yet unrelenting resort to etiquette. I always used to think of restaurants as what heaven would be like. I have learnt that I was obviously wrong. Very wrong. Anyone who has been to Bar b que tonite will agree that if Heaven is anything similar to it then God is obviously having fun at our expense. I only hope that he is not. As usual, I have started to ramble, I shall return to the topic.
Due to these particular circumstances my family has no idea of how to behave in a restaurant. For starters there is not idea of how to give an order to the waiter. What you do is that once the waiter has arrived then anyone on the table who has not decided yet will ask the waiter to return in “five minutes”. If you are at any kind of a reasonable restaurant the waiter will come after five minutes; otherwise after much gesturing, shouting, poking, eye rolling and making obscene gestures you would be able to avail the services of a not-so-high-tip-getting-waiter. Once the waiter is at the table someone, anyone, anywhere, on the table will start to give his / her order. You will tell the waiter about your order for soup, main course, dessert and drinks along with any particulars for each item of food. Then you will become quiet. The ordering will go either clockwise or anticlockwise depending on who on the right or left of the first order starts to speak first, or louder. At the end of the order the person paying for the food, or the general leader of the group based on social situation or group structure will order appetizers. And that is it. Then the waiter will go.
There should be no excessive confusion on what to order. Unless there are dietary issues it does not matter if you have Mayo in your sandwich or not. There should be no interruption of other orders, the “Please make my steak medium well done” is not an adorable thing. Rather, when you say it, I want to poke my fork in your nose and see you bleed to death because I am giving my order now, and I will not be forced to live a life of miserable food because you could not make your brain work long or hard enough for it to churn out your choice of food from a menu which actually helped you select what you wanted to eat. That was incredibly vicious and virulent. I guess the old Jalal is coming back.
Actually, saying that this whole restaurant order thing if my family issue would be wrong. It is representative of Pakistanis’ lack of clarity of thought and ability to do simply tasks without adding a lot of confusion and excessive ignorance, interruptions and stupidity to the process. Something that I have grown to love. The social conduct of a Pakistani group is always an amazing experience. Usually from a distance.
So there it was. In other news, my cufflinks broke. They just clean broke off and I had to walk about my office with my sleeves all rolled up. Get so very turned on by guys who have their sleeves rolled up and their tie loosened. So hot!