The Crotchet’s Corner

My perspective about all things inconsequential

Deflated balloon

As a young Sales Manager employed by a European FMCG multi-national, and responsible for Maharashtra state, I used to occasionally escort visitors from the parent company, who were told that Ajanta and Ellora were wonderful places to visit.


Some of these visitors were nice people – warm, friendly, and genuinely good sorts. And, I had read up a lot about the history and features of these places, so as to be able to give them a reasonably good preamble before they actually visited the sites.


I will never forget, however, the visit of one particular Brit – let me call him Richard, for sake of convenience – who came with his wife.


The guy had apparently lived in India some decades ago, and was all pomposity during the drive to Ajanta. He said that he knew a lot about India, and kept up a steady stream of gripes about the dust, the traffic, the hygiene, etc that prevailed in the country, while I tried to maintain the right level of civility.


Around noon, after seeing the frescoes in Ajanta, the lady announced that she was famished, so we landed up at what passed off as a the most posh restaurant at the place.


“I know Indian food well, and know exactly what to order,” boasted Richard, evidently keen to impress the wife. I waited with bated breath.


“Papad and raita”, he proclaimed, self-importantly, to the startled waiter, and conspiratorially informed his wife that, from his extensive experience in India, this would make a delightful meal. The waiter looked at me quizzically, and I nodded my head, eager to see what would happen next.


The papad and raita were ceremoniously delivered, and I could see the look of horror on the lady’s face. “Is that the meal?” she asked incredulously. Richard began to display signs of uncertainty, while I avoided anyone’s eye and tucked into what was offered. It was hard to control the urge to laugh.


As I wandered off for a quiet smoke after the meal, I could see the lady haranguing Richard, who was red in the face, and had the countenance of a deflated balloon. “Serves him right”, I thought.


The drive back to Aurangabad was quiet.


Richard tried hard to merge with the scenery, while his wife had a look on her face that seemed to suggest that her next conversation with the bloke would be only after they had arrived back in Manchester or wherever.


As I deposited them at the airport, Richard shook my hand and thanked me. The look on his face seemed to suggest, “ Keep this to yourself, will you?”


March 7, 2009 - Posted by | About this and that | , , , ,

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