Sunday, August 28, 2005

On The Double

Today, during lunch hour, Prof. H.N. Mishra came to our mess to eat food with us. Not as an act of solidarity, but to fulfil his duty as a member of H.M.C. (or by whatever name it is called now). Now he made a surprise visit to inspect the quality of food. I didn't knew why he came today sacrifising his Sunday lunch, but my best bet is knowing that R.P. Hall serves special food on Sunday lunch, it is best to inspect it then.

While testing a computer programme, we try to see if it works for the special cases. Because if it does, it must also work for the usual cases. That being a Professor in Agricultural and Food Engineering Department gives this wisdom I wasn't sure until I saw it today.

If they can make good food for special occasions, they must be successful in making it for usual occasions. But unfortunately, R.P. Hall had a different platter for him. For the past few weeks, the special meal have beed shifted to Sunday dinner instead of Sunday lunch. So he was forced to rate the R.P. Mess food on a scale different than he had initially planned.

Anyway, my eyes followed all his movements. First, he commented on the Cereal (dal) and Sambhar bowls kept on the ground. Though I couldn't hear him, he must have said that they should not be placed on the floor as it has a chance of contamination.

"Please try our mess food...Please try our mess food...", I was continuously praying. My prayers were heard. Though with a grim face, he took a bit of everything on his plate and proceeded to eat at one corner of the table with Jyotendra Pallab (I hope the spelling is correct), the General Secretary (Mess) of R.P. Hall.

As soon as he sat, he realized he had no spoon. Noticing this, Pallab waved to Gopal da. Never before had I seen him run. Reminded me of the person he must have been in his early twenties. After making a running stroll across the mess, he presented the professor with a spoon.

He took a bit of curd on his spoon and tasted it with sufficient alert as he was having the job of a poison taster. He tried other dishes as well, but the gloom on his face didn't fade. He took some rice and was marvelled on how lumpy could rice be made. He tried it also but was not humoured. He called for roti and again Gopal da ran into the kitchen to fetch a roti. Maybe for water, Pratap da had to run. Here again, I must admit, that I had never seen him run. He called the assistant mess manager and told him his observations which he noted on his pad. He shook his head many times pointing to the various dishes he ate. Then he stood up and began to leave. He hadn't sat to eat for even 5 minutes and even for 3 minutes out of that, he was talking to either Pallab or the asst. mess manager.

Now the funny part. Even as he was leaving, I saw him (yes, Prof. Mishra) walk pretty fast (almost running). No offence to him but I feel that he had to reach home soon to tell his wife to make some lunch.

"Kuchh bhi banao. R.P. se accha hi hoga.(Make anything. It will be better than R.P. food)", I imagined him telling his wife and couldn't resist the smile. It is rare that I smile from the bottom of my heart while eating something like this. I knew I had to blog it.

बातें भूल जाती हैं।
यादें याद आती हैं।

"Baatein bhool jaati hain....
Yaadein, yaad aati hain...."

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