it is yet another one of those busy mornings, the city folk preparing for the day that lay ahead of them. it was hard to believe that the time was just past 8 in the morning, what with the sun beating down mercilessly, spelling signs of the ominous heat that was to come down on us further during the day. the innumerable motorised monsters chugging along, mine included, on a road that hardly seemed capable of accomodating so much resembled a teeming line of termites.
breakfast isn’t always on the top of my priority list, as it ought to be, my friends tell me. heeding to a fair amount of hunger this morning, i decide to stop off at my ususal breakfast joint. this time, i made suer my pocket was full, just in order to avoid the breakfast fiasco! a typical bum place, this ‘restaurant’, if i may call it so, is actually a push cart. with this husband wife pair managing the affairs all by themselves, they do quite a job of it. between soft idlis, crisp dosais – with or without a topping of egg, hot pooris, just about the tastiest vadais i have ever eaten in the city of madras and the heavier pongal (we used to fondly call it sleeping pill!), one has quite a lot to choose from. not to mention the excellent varieties of chutney, sambar and vadai curry (the recipe mentioned here, i beg to say, is though quite authentic, not complete! it is actually a dish made of left over vadais.) to go with all this!
they do good business, if the crowd thronging the place is any indicator. and to think that one has to eat standing, holding the plate in one hand and eating with another, thats quite a crowd there. the last couple of months they also had their little son assisting them, but with the schools having opened, he is back in his class apparently. and thankfully so. they work non-stop, the husband and wife, and switch roles quickly – either making dosas, frying pooris or vadais, washing the plates and attending to customers. it must be a tough deal making ends meet, and in that sense, i am proud to be a regular patron of this hard working couple trying to make a living in an honest and straight forward way.
as i finish my breakfast, the crowd wanes, if only temporarily, and the lady seizes the moment to hand over a tiny cup of tea to her husband, sipping some herself. a brief respite before more crowd starts pouring in to assuage its hunger on a shoe string budget. the tea it isn’t on the menu, they carry some in a little vessel for their own refereshment i suppose.
‘would you like to have some tea, sir?’, he offers as i pay up for my own breakfast.
his humble offering, this simple gesture of sharing what little was his in spite of his own modest setting, touched me in a way few other things or people have in the recent times. and it reminded me of how grateful i ought to be to life.
what the soul knows is often unknown to the man who has a soul. we are infinitely more than we think.
– kahlil gibran