Two days later, when I checked out of curiosity, there was not a single response.
Who doesn’t love food. Or who doesn’t have clueless friends, for that matter. A well-meaning buddy of mine, not a particularly bright one, though, recently included me on this Facebook group, ‘WineDineMine’, dedicated to all things food, liquor and, I guess, ore. Only thing, it was meant exclusively for those who live north of the Vindhyas. And I live in a quaint little town called Madras, which is 50km or so north of the historic Chinese city of Mahabalipuram, India’s hub for plogging.
Well, anyway, every day, I got into checking out things like “Can you recommend a good place for baba ganoush in Gurgaon?” to “I need a caterer for 50 people asap to serve authentic Indian-Chinese food for Japanese tourists”. It was an active, buzzing site. Made my day a bit lighter. And hungrier.
Recently there was this post: “Hi, Friends... wanted master cook who can prepare Mughlai dishes for my restaurant in Patna. Anyone interested, please respond.”
Two days later, when I checked out of curiosity, there was not a single response. I felt bad for the gentleman, one Mr A. Gupta, and decided to respond. I had been part of this group for a year and hadn't engaged even once. I thought maybe it was time for me to step up to the plate. (You saw what I did there? I said 'plate' and this is a food-related group. LOL!)
“I am interested,” I said.
“Please give details,” he said.
Me: What details?
AG: Your bio, etc.
Me: I write non-bestselling books, like R.D. Burman songs and long walks on the beach when the Velankanni festival is over and done with. I have good hair but I dye it. What about you?
AG: Thanks for those details. But could you please tell me about your catering/cooking experience?
Me: Sure. I could do that. I don’t want to have any secrets from you.
AG: Okay... er... I’m waiting.
Me: Well, I cater to middlebrow readers. The Bengali and Mallu bigwigs of Delhi publishing won’t give me time of day. As for cooking, I’m quite good at chopping onions really fine. I do it whenever our cook doesn’t turn up.
AG: You own a restaurant?
Me: Why would you think that?
AG: You just said your cook...
Me: I’m talking of Devaki, the lady who makes our grub at home...
AG: Can she cook Mughlai?
Me: No. She is from the deep south. She can make a killer Gobi Manchurian, though.
AG: Which part of Patna are you from?
Me: I’m from Besant Nagar, Chennai. I just told you about the Velankanni festival. ROFL! Why would you think I’m from Patna?
AG: Then why are you talking to me at all? I don’t see how any of this has to do with my requirements...
Me: But you said “Anyone interested, please respond”.
AG: So you ARE interested?
Me: Of course I am. Why would I respond otherwise? I’m not mad or jobless, you know.
AG: Sorry... I am confused. Are you a Mughlai cook? Or is this Devaki person one? And you don't mind moving here?
Me: Neither. I just told you I’m a writer. And why would Devaki move to Patna? Don’t get ideas, okay?
AG: Then why the f@#k are you having this conversation, you moron?
Me: Hey, listen, Mr Gupta. No need to be rude, okay. I was interested. So I contacted you.
AG: Saalaa ... whathef@%&k are you interested in? Tell me, man!
Me: I’m interested that you are in Patna and want a Mughlai cook. I want the backstory. What happened to your previous cook? Did you have a previous cook at all? Or is this your first brush with Mughlai? When did you start your business? What are the challenges of making Mughlai food in Patna? Do you think you are better off setting up a Chinese restaurant? Are you lonely? Are you a dog person or a cat person? Who do you think suited Dev Anand better? Kishore Kumar or Rafi? That kind of thing.
AG: Give me your phone number. I’ll call and explain in detail, you #$% ...
Me: Bfn. Someone is at the door.
I tell you, people can be so rude.