JournalismPakistan.com December 29, 2018
Seeing as how it was Rohit my nephew and Ritika’s wedding anniversary I took it for granted dinner at their place. I asked what time are we expected only to be told by my wife in witheringly wifely tones no one is invited, they are going for a romantic candlelit dinner for two, married couples do that, you know.
These dinner for two deals are usually a disaster. First, the steward in a black suit as dark as the ambiance of the fancy restaurant intimidates you with that ‘snap, open and flick’ serviette flung across your lap act and now you feel trapped and then he lights that candle and you get spots in your vision and, no you do not stare soulfully into each other’s eyes (wife and you, not the steward) more likely you stare soulfully at the huge prices marked on the menu.
The steward hovers like a hostile drone and recommends the fresh oysters, yes because at that cost they should come with the pearls inside the shells and the wife says fine and you cannot say no except you wonder idly what the penalty would be for shoving a fork into the steward who is now expertly trying to sell an expensive red that will destroy your monthly budget and she is nodding enthusiastically.
By now steward and wife are best buds and he is singing siren songs of praise of the sous chef and what he does to the lobster thermidor is ex-kweeezit and you want to s-kweez his throat (there had to be a kind judge somewhere) and the wife is buying into this spiel full time so to keep the bill below stratospheric levels. You order a salad and she says, how will that look, I am having lobster and you are having grass, you don’t want me to have it, say so, don’t get martyred.
I am just not hungry. You hate salad, you have ruined everything, we could have stayed home and we needn’t have gone through this charade.
If romance was a person this is the point it would have left the table, no role here anymore. Wife says I will also have the salad, cancel the thermidor. But we cannot do that, says the steward gleefully the chef is already preparing it and you surrender and say, OK I’ll have the fish and chips and the snide steward says, excellent choice, sir, the cod or the bass and you think evilly even with a harsh judge worth it.
And then the whole staff brings this round cake with another candle on it and sings to you as their lives depended on it. So much for a private dinner.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
Daily Times, November 12, 2016