November 10, 2012

The Posh Restaurant pre-meal Ritual

Why are you eating curd rice? I thought you went out for dinner.

I did, but I am still hungry

Did you go to one of those ‘you don’t pay for the food, you pay for the experience’ places?


And how was the experience?

As usual, the waiter walked in with a bottle of packaged mountain spring water in his hand and…

packaged mountain what?

Packaged mountain spring water from the Himalayas. The same water that our ancient rishis drank water 2000 years back!

Why would anyone buy that?

Sadly, there are enough people in the world who think that drinking normal water makes them sick. Did you know that Italian mountain water is exported to the US?

Wow, water?

It’s not just “water”… It is Italian mountain water. I have tasted it once. The naturally occurring spring water there is slightly alkaline, so the water actually tastes a little soapy and doesn’t quench your thirst at all. And they also charge like $8 for a 500ml bottle!

And still you humans claim to be the most intelligent life form on the planet?

Well, we have a thing for glossy, sexy looking, non-biodegradable plastic bottles. The main market for this is young men going out on dates. The waiters target guys on first dates and subtly ask questions like, “Sir would you like to try our new Italian mountain water?” The last thing the guy wants on a first date is to look cheap. So there is a huge probability that he would say yes.

That is pure evil.

I know. It’s a popular strategy to push bottled water. If you say no, then the waiter will follow it up with something judgmental like, “Tap water is fine for you sir? And you madam?” It is bound to create an awkward situation which is the last thing you want on a first date. So they have a very good conversion rate.

Okat, so they collect all that water from the Alps; transport it a Mediterranean port in tanker trucks, and put that water into a shipping container which is then transported across the Atlantic in a cargo ship to be unloaded, treated, bottled, branded, packaged, marketed and sold across the United States all because some guys don’t want to look cheap in front of a chick?

Yes, I call it High Carbon Footprint Dating

It sure is. What did you order?

I am not really sure. The menu was in Italian or Spanish. They had some English subtitles but I couldn't pronounce a single word and was too embarrassed to even attempt it in a crowd. So I pointed my finger on an item and said, “I want this”

Like a four year old? :P

Yeah, like a four year old. And as soon as I showed the waiter what I wanted, he just went on a roll with his questions, “Would you like with some bread sir? What kind of bread? Brown, white, parmesan? Would you like some maple syrup on the side? Would you like some chocolate sauce? Or would you prefer it varnished with Schkarsi sauce? Do you want coke? Do you want a cookie? Are you sure you don’t want a bottle of Himalaya Mountain Spring Water?”

These waiters sometimes sound like they are Brand Ambassadors of Diabetes

I know. I don't understand these people. How the hell am I supposed to know if pasta primavera tastes better with Asparagus or sundried tomatoes? Why am I even given that choice? I don’t even know how much sugar to put in a cup of coffee!

The restaurant management expects waiters to go through a checklist during the ordering process. They charge a lot for extra maple syrup, slices of bread, bottled water, chocolate chips etc. So it is in their interest to make you lick some honey.

The list was endless. Where I come from, if you order a Masala Dosa and filter coffee, you will get Masala Dosa and filter coffee. That’s it. No questions asked. End of transaction!

But this guy was going on and on with his questions. It brought back repressed memories of walking into lab viva exams without any preparation.

Did you say anything to the waiter?

No. I just nodded... giving the waiter full freedom to interpret the nods as he deemed fit and he was tapping the order into his iPhone.

The waiter had an iPhone?

Yeah, he places the order in his iPhone and the chef wirelessly receives it

That sounds efficient

Yes, it is. We got our order in 43 minutes instead of the usual 45. I bet some MBA fellow has taken credit for this "innovation" by writing "Analysed and identified bottlenecks in the ordering process and suggested strategies that improved efficiency by 8%" in his resume!

Haha... yes, I am sure. What did you guys do for forty minutes?

Oh the usual, people were discussing other people’s status updates.

Isn’t that weird? Humans used to talk about their real lives on social networks. Now they’re talking about social network updates in real life. When did that switch happen?

I don’t know. It was quite subtle. And when the food finally arrived, the buzz of the conversation died down and the posh restaurant pre-meal ritual began.

What is that?

Just after the food is served, everyone sits in quiet attention and inspects the food warmly from different angles. Once they have seen everyone's plate and the contents, they bring their arms together in position to… pray before every meal?

No… they bring their arms together in position to take pictures of the food with their smartphones and uploaded them with the caption, “Yum!”

Wait. How did they know that the food was yummy even before tasting it?

No, you don’t understand. It doesn't have to be good. It just has to be photogenic. You don’t have to have fun. You just have to look like you’re having fun. At a fundamental level, that is all that matters.

Come on, you’re being harsh.

Oh yeah? How else do you explain Youtube videos of amazing live concerts with everyone in the audience holding up a dumb camera above their heads? I mean there are fireworks in the sky, awesome laser patterns in the air in sync with the wonderful music but these people are looking into their four inch Handycam screens instead!

What is this obsession to archive every moment of your lives as it happens? Why do you want all your memories to reside on a 2 TB hard disk full of shitty footage with bad sound recording?

Yeah, why can’t they just use their brains and have memories?

Last year, I saw a family recording their Diwali celebrations. Now most cameras are not particularly good at capturing fireworks at night, so all the family members were taking turns trying to figure out the right setting which they were not able to.

The kids who were bursting crackers till then were more now interested in capturing pictures of firecrackers instead. An hour into the celebrations, they were all frustrated with their mediocre photography skills. They complained that the camera was not a DSLR, gave up on the celebrations and went back inside to watch TV. That’s their Diwali! Can you believe that?

If you’re ruining the environment, at least have some real fun in the process you idiots!

It's one of most depressing sights – people desperately trying to have fun. You can see that in malls all the time. At some level, they see the they the plastic soullessness character of the environment. But on the other hand they are spending so much money, so they're all "Whee!" and "Yaay!" with half-baked enthusiasm.

Truly happy people don’t go around telling other people how happy they are. They just are! Why is it so hard for you humans to grasp such simple things? Learn a little something from cats. We remember all our awesome purring sessions but we don’t go around telling every remote acquaintance what was an awesome purr it was. We just lick the back our paws and purr a little more in satisfaction.

You're a pet cat. You have nothing else to do.

Anyway, this decadence of your civilization is not at all surprising. It is the price you pay for rejecting your true religion.

What true religion?

Oh, shut up

I find your lack of faith disturbing *purr*


  1. excuse me... how could you forget the dessert part? That is the worst(.) There is never a real pronounceable name and the quantity they give... is only enough for a cat to sniff and purr...

  2. people desperately want to look like they are having fun :P awesome :)

  3. Awesome post !! I remember the Italian guy with the stupid water thingy :P

  4. "What kind of bread? Brown, white, parmesan?"

    Parmesan is a type of cheese, not bread. Now either the waiter was bluffing or you're making it up!

    Anyway, good piece. Coming across a lot of satirical posts on technology in life.

  5. "Analysed and identified bottlenecks in the ordering process and suggested strategies that improved efficiency by 8%". Deja vu for an MBA grad! It can't be more than 5% though, if its 2 out of 45 saved. Then again, I see the article is not meant to be right!

  6. ahem....

  7. laughed and smiled. good work :)

  8. After adjusting for the standard exaggeration bias, it adds up to 8% :p

  9. I was making it up but I remember seeing parmesan bread on menus. Maybe they add a layer of cheese on the bread.

  10. I had a whole bit on desserts, then the Diwali digression came... I'll post that in Evil twin as extras or something :)

  11. Very funny and so true!
    I remember a party when someone brought 'water' as hostess gift. But this time, it came from Norway.
    There are not only 'Paremsan' but also 'Rosemary', 'garlic' breads too.

  12. Hahhahaah (no lols). I like the way you mix fun, pun, stupidity and social awareness.

  13. nice post! really agree on the carbon footprint we are causing due to the bottled water conspiracy


don't be lazy