26 December 2005

Shades of Christmas

Walked into The Royal Orchid coffee shop just before 11 this morning and took up a place in the garden patio overlooking the KGA golf course. Wanted to kill some time over a cup of coffee and catch up on my reading, before I ran an errand for a friend just after noon. The breeze was cool and the sun was just warm enough on my face to make the sit-out a wonderful idea. The book I was reading - 'Shade' by Neil Jordan - picked up speed and I could feel the aroma of steaming coffee coming along to make this a wonderful day.

I waited to catch the eye of any one of the waiters to order my coffee, but I was found lacking in success. Several of them hovered behind me, rearranging tables and chairs, making quite a din. I sat and waited, but none even looked at me, let alone come to ask for my order. I decided not to holler for a waiter. I decided to bet on myself, to see if any of the waiters would actually come to take my order, putting my money on their not coming… at the cost of forfeiting the pleasure of a cup of coffee at that wonderful moment.

Sure enough, even after an hour and a half when I got up to leave, no one came to take my order. No one came to offer me the menu card, nor leave a glass of water on my table, which is customary in all Indian restaurants. No one wished me, nor nod in my direction. I reflected on the moment. Was it just me? Or, was this a shade of the regular apathy of Bangalore I had experienced several years ago when I decided to return to Mumbai and not settle in this city?

Perhaps I was too quick to judge. I dropped the thought from my mind. On the way out of the main hotel doorway, the smartly-attired attendant held-open the glass door for me, saluted, and wished, 'Good Day, Sir… Merry Christmas.' Well, all was not lost yet. I happily returned his wishes.

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