“A hungry man is an angry man.” A golden toast raised just in the nick of time can pacify both hunger and anger — Santosh Bakaya found out during her morning meanderings.
Enjoy Episode 9 of your favourite morning read with your morning coffee! ☕ Santosh Bakaya’s ever popular MM Season 3 comes to you with weekly episodes that will make your Sunday mornings extra special! ☀️📆 🎉
The two men walking just a little ahead of me were involved in a heated discussion.
They were Laurel and Hardy look alikes, and invited a lot of curious glares. Hardy became increasingly passionate, with every stride, as though he were addressing a jury. Every sentence of his started with the words, “Can you believe it?”
At one point, I almost had the urge to say, “No, I cannot!”
But checked myself just in time. I had no business to intrude into the conversation of two strangers who were in a high state of indignation.
The tea-vendor had already started making tea and ‘snakes’ for the office-goers, who stayed in studio apartments nearby. Some of them were in the habit of having their breakfast immediately on their way back from their walk, even without brushing their teeth. Some would tell him their preference, saying that they would have breakfast after their morning ablutions, so he should keep their breakfast ready when they re-emerged from their houses, scrubbed and cleaned.
Right now, he was beating eggs with a mind-boggling alacrity. His brisk, sure movements at the chopping board triggered a spate of hunger pangs in the two men, whose conversation veered around the poor quality of food in their canteens. They were going full throttle criticising the unethical and unclean cooks in their respective canteens.
Lured by the activities of the tea-vendor, they headed towards his kiosk and sat on two plastic stools, looking greedily at the skillet.
As the tea vendor started pouring the beaten eggs into an enormous, heated skillet, the fat man (let’s call him Hardy ji for now) beseeched:
“Please add chopped tomatoes. I think you forgot. I like lots of tomatoes in my omelet.”
‘And green chillies too,” said the thin one (or Laurel ji).
The tea-vendor grimaced, visibly not approving the directions which raised neon-lighted question marks on his culinary skills. But “Customer is King” for all who are doing business. So he quickly hid his scowl under a forced smile and an “Jee Sahib”, added chopped tomatoes, scallions and folded the ends of the bubbling eggs into flaps and flipped the omlettes over.
“Sprinkle some coriander leaves,” the Laurel ji said smacking his lips in anticipatory relish.
This was the last straw! The tea—cum-omlettewala had been patient for long and now he seemed to be on the verge of a flare-up.
He shoved the karchi (long handed spatula) towards Laurel ji, almost like brandishing a sword. “Aap hi bana lo, Sahib!” (Why don’t you make the omlette yourself, Sir)
“Arrey, arrey, aap to khafa ho gayey!” (You are getting angry!) Laurel ji said with a weak smile. The two quietly got busy with their omelets, deciding against poking him any further.
The tea vendor snorted, not retorting and put bread slices into a ramshackle, grimy, ancient-looking toaster. It was not a pop-up toaster and had to be manually turned off when the slices were done. Probably the glaring would make the slices pop up but it didn’t. Smoke erupted from the toast, and amidst all the the fiery annihilation, the bread slices emerged blackened and burnt beyond repair.
The tea-vendor looked crestfallen. The morning had started with losses and it wasn’t a good sign. Suddenly, Laurel ji jumped up from his rickety plastic stool. He quickly removed the burnt toast and put fresh bread slices into the toaster. The tea-vendor was taken aback.
The slices were taken out, crisp and golden. Laurel ji slathered them with butter, put them in two plates and with a broad smile, handed one to the tea-vendor and the other to Hardy ji. Literally, he raised the golden toast and offered it to the tea-vendor.
The tea-vendor’s surprise was all over his face. Laurel ji smiled and nodded, “Khaakar batao theek bana hai ki nahin?” The tea-vendor without another word and sunk his teeth into the first toast. Laurel ji had lined up 4 more by then. Hungrily, the tea-vendor dug his teeth into the second and then the third and the fourth crisp, golden delicacy.
“A hungry man is an angry man.” Hardy ji quipped, patting him on the shoulder, and asking him to have one more slice.
“Yes, I was very hungry, that is why I was angry. I hadn’t had anything since last evening. But now I am full. Now it is your turn to eat,” he said with a huge expressive grin, that was as mixed as a loaded omlette – a mixture of satisfaction, gratitude, surprise and joy.
“Yesterday night he did not eat, because he had had a fight with me.” This new entrant on the scene, a ghagra choli-clad woman, was his wife, carrying a huge tiffin-box.
The tea vendor’ s eyes lit up, whether at the sight of his wife or at the sight of the tiffin, it was difficult to guess, but he was one huge smile. Now, the wife had taken over the task of making tea.
She quickly prepared tea and handed two cups to Laurel ji and Hardy ji and one cup to her husband.
When the sun came out, the sunrays fell on a happy threesome, laughing boisterously and sipping tea noisily. Hunger and anger had both evaporated in the warmth of the little crackling stove in the tea-stall.
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