Ever since I changed my way of eating to include a lot more veggies and protein in every meal, eating at restaurants has often led to much unintentional hilarity. Evidence: this lunch time conversation at the cash register of a university canteen in a vegetarian traveler's paradise (India, that is).
Me (to the bored cashier who is more mechanical than a robot):
One order phulka ...
Cashier (in an elevated voice): One order phulka, (his unseeing eyes looking up, more from practice than any need to really see the customer)
Me: Two orders channa masala,
Cashier: 2 order channa masala (his eyes come up for air again)
Me: One order ...
Cashier (looking up now and actually seeing): Parcel a? (want it to go?)
Me (shifting my weight, slightly uncomfortable at the implication): Illai inga saapda thaan. (Erm.. no just to eat here...)
Me: One order palak paneer, One ord...
Cashier (now in a louder voice than before and miming the action of carrying a tiffin carrier): Saappaadu konduvandirukkeengala? (Have you brought food with you?)
Me (stopping mid order wondering why anyone would buy food if they already have food: <blink>
Cashier (helpfully, because, obviously, I am from some other planet): Illai ellaam sides-a irukkae? (because it's all side dishes here).
Me (suppressing a sheepish grin): Ippdi thaan naanga saapduvome! (This is how we eat).
Me (disregarding the stunned pause and resolutely finishing my order): One order kadai vegetable.
Silence that I will not qualify with cliches like "that you could cut with a knife".
Me (looking up because my order was not parroted back at me): <blink>
Cashier (looking at the cashier-in-waiting standing next to him, his jaw still unhinged): <blink?>
Cashier-in-waiting (wide eyed, shrugging his shoulders, flaring his hands and trying not to burst out laughing): <blink!!>
I look expectantly at the two. The two look expectantly at me. No one moves. Then, as if snapping out of a trance, the Cashier recovers.
In my defense, this was for two people and I still only got 3 molecules of chickpeas, 5.6 molecules of veggies and an ocean of gravy!
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