She came on her Honda, vrooming neatly into the parking lot. Hair check. Makeup check. Dress check. Confidently she strode into the hotel.
He arrived moments later in his car. Parked and wondered which kind of idiot parked bikes in a lot clearly meant for cars. He disheveled his hair, smacked his lips and walked into the hotel.
“What would you like to drink?”
“I’ll have a panagam, please”
“One neer mor for me”
The ass is starting with mor? Sigh…So this was it Pushpavalli thought. Her parents had set her up with this random guy. Hell it was exactly a setup, but they preferred to call it a meeting. Whatever. She couldn’t refuse, might as well see what happens.
“So what do you do?”
“I’m an actuary” …Or at least that’s what I’m supposed to tell outsiders.
“I’m…err…a banker” Like I’m telling you what I really do.
“Appetizers?” The waiter, a really good impression of SPB appeared as if from nowhere.
“Fried lentil puffs with the green coconut sauce please”
“I’ll just have some thattai with ricotta cheese and north Indian date sauce”
The waiter quietly disappeared.
Such was their conversation. Trivial things and the weather. Time, as it does, passed.
“Can I take your order?”
“Err Ill have the Shallots in tamarind sauce, over a bed of fragrant thanjavur rice”
“I err wanna have the eleven vegetables in coconut sauce over raw red rice”
-eh? Foreign cuisine aa? Hmph!
May I tempt you Sir? And Madam? We have a fine cellar. A Yercaud 1927 for the shallots? Vintage year it was. The Nellai ’51 is good too, but it goes better with drumsticks, would to care to sample it?
“Yercaud ’27 it is”
“And for you?”
“Just a toddy”
-what a Philistine!
And the meal continued amidst lies and half-truths.
“And we come to dessert the waiter smiled as he cleared the plates.”
“Roasted vermicelli in milk for me”
“I insist you end with a sweet” she smiled and said.
“Ok then the rice marinade in jaggery, please”
Gastronomic successes often translate into other spheres. Later that night she shyed and smiled as they ate peanuts on the beach, holding hands. He let her drive the bike, enjoying the humid sea breeze as they sped past Samudra Avenue. 3796 rupees well spent.