Bangladesh Slideshow

15 February, 2008

Aap Ruchi Khana… Aap Ruchi Pehna

For all non-Urdu speakers (of whom I am one as well), the title of this post refers to the saying that one should eat to please oneself but dress to please others. This title actually says “Eat to please oneself…Dress to please oneself”.

I went to dinner with two colleagues to Golden Rice on Gulshan Avenue. There was no electricity and the air conditioners were off. But the staff hastily brought a pedestal fan for our comfort. We ordered and then started to chat. There was a rather noisy Chinese family in the room and their frequent bursts of laughter made talking rather difficult. We embarked on a comparative sociological discussion as to how the Chinese were a noisy bunch everywhere in the world.

Our food soon arrived, although the electricity was yet to follow suit. We dug into the yummy sizzling chicken and shrimp with oyster sauce. Once the immediate pangs of hunger were assuaged, we were again able to tune back to the surroundings and began to cast irritated glances at the noisy table. That’s when I noticed that one man was sitting with his shirt off. I mean, he was sitting at the table bare-chested!!! No shirt, no vest, no nothing on the top half of his body. I couldn’t believe my eyes (maybe he was wearing one of those skin color shirts?)! I consulted one colleague and when her eyes popped out at the sight, I knew that my fear was confirmed.

What was he thinking???!!! Well, I admit it was rather stuffy with the air conditioners off. And he was among family and friends (never mind the three strangers at the far corner of the room). He appeared right at home. Not at all self conscious or anything. I was just beginning to wonder why the staff were not saying anything when the penny dropped. Finally! He was in all likelihood the owner of the place. This should have been apparent from the obsequious attitude of the waiters (it took five minutes of waving my hand in the air to catch the attention of one of the four waiters in the room). The other obvious matter was that the man cared naught for anyone else’s opinions. He would do what he pleased. Devil be damned. I wonder if he would have minded if anyone else followed his example. Or would then the restaurant rules suddenly become operational? “Please sir, you will have to put your shirt back on…or leave”.

But nevertheless, owner or not, is it too much for ordinary diners to expect that a modicum of decency be observed in a public eating place? The restaurants reserve the right of admission, but what about diners’ rights? Talk about double standards!

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