The thing about a small-town-middle-class-Indian-family is that we never have enough money, not in the psychological sense of never-ending desires of a wretched human, but in the practical sense of having a constantly insufficient bank balance. That’s the reason we have to make a choice between induction and geyser, or laptop and scooty whereas a rich man makes choice between payment modes and also between the colors of the product. Anyway, that’s how life tosses us every moment and we survive, making compromises.
So yesterday, after the movie, we went to the Pearl. The freaking expensive restaurant where toothpicks come costlier than kidneys. The place where you go with your pockets filled and come out empty and plundered.
Papa was already panicking as we stepped inside. There were few people, good music, interesting lighting and AC. My mother badgered me with her click-my-pic demands. She made one thousand and one different poses on the table ( which were actually all the same ) and asked me to take photos. Now guys, my camera is worse than myopic eyes. And so, the photos I captured did not exactly fill her with bliss.
We ordered Mushrooms and paranthas. It took an hour to appear on our table. It was delicious. Papa kept whining though, he said khicdi tastes better, which is a plain lie if you ask me. We asked for the bill and there it came – a four digit figure, along with VAT. Papa’s eyes bulged out in extreme shock. He looked at the bill and then at us. We knew what he was feeling. Fuck.
But anyway, we paid. And we paid tip also. Ten rupees.
And before leaving the table, we took all those twenty-five toothpicks the waiter had brought with the bill. It felt nice.
As for my father, he never spoke about the dinner date at Pearl. And he never will, I am sure.