Saturday, January 14, 2006

This Isn't Fair

Carlos has competition....a very serious one.

For those who don't know Carlos, he is R.P. Hall's Canteenwalla. He is very famous throughout Kharagpur for serving good quality food at reasonable prices.

Till a few days back, he almost had a monopoly in R.P. Hall. Not just because there can't be two canteens in one Hall, but also strategically. First we have the primary source of fodder for RPians, our Mess. This in fact is the primary source of income for Carlos. All of us visit Carlos mainly because we are 'fed up' with the fodder served to us in the mess and want to eat food. As most of us are dissatisfied with our mess food, its raining money for Carlos.

Then we had a supposed competition to Carlos, the Fruit-Stall ownner Monkai da (the undisputed king of a socialist capitalist). One who refuses to bring more/better food items because we eat and finish whatever he brings. This wasn't usually difficult as he rarely brought anything to his stall. All these conditions made Carlos a hot favourite for foodies. Not to mention that he opens even till past midnight and keeps the shop open till even three during exams.

Then the turning point came. The students of R.P. Hall decided that we have had enough of Monkai da. We don't care if he has Socialist or Communist (or whatever that CPI stands for) connection, and thus decided to kick him off. But he wasn't a cool customer. He was a shrewd businessman. He warned of police report and court case against his dismissal as he 'felt' that he did everything right and we don't have any proof of his wrongdoings. This was a serious problem, but had an ingenious answer. The next day, we RPians found a complaint book kept inside the mess and a notice saying that if we have any complaints against Monkai, we have to write them there. The complaint book was filled in record time. Even in the very first day, there were over 100 entries against him. This must have really pissed him off and while he was deciding on the future course of action, the winter break came and most of us rushed home.

By the time we came back, we came to know that we have a good news and a bad news. The good news was that Monkai's shop has been closed permanently; and the bad news that he himself did it. What his masterplan was that since he has not removed his belongings yet, and has put his own lock, the Hall can't break it open as this will give him an excuse to appeal in the court. So while the Hall authorities await clearance from Police and the Registrar, the new person being allotted the job, namely Rocky, brought his own infrastructure to be set up. Till the time this post was written, status quo remains.

But then, another development happened. The Hall gave clearance for a fast-food joint 'Sugar & Spice' to open inside the Hall's premises.

What was more exciting was the fact that he sold a lot of stuff...from Burgers to Pizzas and from Chana Masala to Tandoori Chicken. Don't go by the picture above. It was taken in late afternoon when half of his stock had been sold out.

Anyway, what I want to ask is that is it fare for him to open such a shop inside our hand's reach? I mean, as soon as you walk out of the mess after having eaten disgusting food, our eyes meet the delicious pizzas and buns and pastries. I foresee that a lot of our pocket money will get wasted on it before we are able to stop ourselves. Also think about Carlos. He will have to work a more to get back his lost ground as the fast food joint plans to stay open till past 10 pm. What more, with the new Fruit-Stall opening in a week or so, we RPians will have a lot more options to look into while deciding what to eat.

I ask: Is this fair? And will this smile last?

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