Monday, March 24, 2008

Pongal Veg Cafe

Drops of water he had sprinkled on the leaf that lay before him on the table ran everywhere around and nearly spilled over his wrinkled trousers. The small boy, who had no name and whose only worldly possession at this point in time seemed to be the very dirty and all so brownish half-trouser with patches on the buttocks, brought a small vessel with three containers in it. He hastily served some greens, a cabbage dish and some pickle onto the upper half of the leaf. Soon after, another nameless man walked over to the table, impatiently dropped a vessel full of steamed rice on the leaf and went off just as hastily as he had come. The meal was ready, and it was time to feed the beast that rumbled noisily from deep within his rather not too very strong physique.

The Pongal Veg Café was where one went when the beast rumbled, and it was where nameless men came together and assembled onto edges of congested tables with banana leaves in front of them, onto which inexpensive meals were hurriedly served by unknown men. It was where one occasionally heard few men speaking to fellow men, even as they gulped their food. These men had, over time acquired the practice of leaking out a not so hearty laugh intermittently during their endless conversations that mostly centered on details of their everyday work. It was where one also saw loners quietly finishing off their meal in an almost ceremonious fashion, and leaving the place the same silent way they had entered it. The loners did not seem to have much to say, and from a simple glance onto their nameless faces, one could never really discern if these men were after all mourning over something they had lost over the course of ruthless time. In fact, the primary aspect that differentiated the Pongal Veg Café from the rest of smallish restaurants in the city was that, lonely men could go there and silently get done with their job without too much of a sense of discomfort in themselves, owing to their wretched loneliness, which at this point of time simply seemed to be owing to the absence of mammal companions who could accompany when it was time for food. A group of unknown loners, when together on the same table, scavenging on food, weren’t really as alone, in principle, and this really was the prime reason the place did good business. When one was at the Veg Café, one discovered that the city had a lot of such loners, and in that sense, one wasn’t alone when it came to being alone.

1 comment:

SMS said...

LOL on "beast rumbling" :)) Also, McD just copied the concept in their latest advt.

Some-not-so-related-stuff on loners: Many loners don't even realize that they are so (dont have people to tell them so! ;)). And I feel it's not wrong to be a loner - it's much more challenging to be loner and needs guts to continue so. Loner Upside: You avoid the unnecessary chatter and misguidance by people; more reflections, observation and deeper understanding of life. Downside: Emotional stress; can't expect mutual help (man is social animal); become very possessive of few people, very stereotypical view of the world (tough to change their opinion!).
So, it's better to be balanced between loner and a social animal!