After a hard and frustrating day at work, at the end of which you aren't sure if you will be able to meet the month's target, a cup of tea can stem your suicidal thoughts. But at Aadi Sutripti, you can let your first cup linger for a maximum of 30 minutes, after which the waiter is gonna hound you. What else? Is that all? Are you gonna leave now? Do you wanna order something else? In 96, even an extra cup of tea pinched. But we had to spend some more time, to have futile discussions about how to get into better paid jobs, about how to save enough for a life together. Not a big, fat Indian wedding, but something good enough to convince our parents that we can survive on our own. Right then, we couldn't. The next cups of tea came, but the waiter was not gonna allow us another 30 minutes. Scheme. Sacrifice the next day's money today and buy some more time. To hear each other's frustrations reflect off square cups and saucers.
Some days, when I could sell, we treated ourselves to Moglai Parotas. But the waiter still had the same disdain on his face as if we were unwanted filth on borrowed time.
I went back this time with a good mind to order ten Moglai Parotas and nibble a little from each...and perhaps spend the entire day just giving back all that disdain to the waiter.
He just wasn't there after 13 years and nobody could recollect him from my description. I didn't have his name. Thinking how much he earned then and what could have happened to him now, the acerbity suddenly vanished and gave way to a strange worry for an unknown man.
Was it Kolkata, or am I being dramatic? Someday, we have to give back that city all that we stole from it.