Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Serves six, Sir

I remember the day when a bottle of beer was enough to have me rolling on the floor spewing, well, "stuff" everywhere. Times have since changed. Things have since been very different.

Today was the day when Banner finally got done with his viva. He's a full engineer now as far as the degree is concerned - Sourav Bannerjee, BTech (Ocean Engg), IIT Madras. Therefore, it was time for a treat. The name "Bikes and Barrels" comes to mind. It has always been the favourite, albeit a bit expensive, location for most such treats, and we decided to indulge ourselves a bit over there. Just a bit, I had decided, for someone had to guide the auto back home since Banner had already decided that he wasn't going to let mere currency in the way of complete bliss and a bad hangover.

We initially ordered a single bottle of beer for the both of us. "For starters," I thought. Of course, the waiter was a little concerned. So he came back in about five minutes, as soon as the first two mugs were over, enquiring whether he could fill our glasses with another bottle of Kingfisher. "2 minutes," we told him, "We'll order more later."

It wouldn't be unfair to assume that the word "cheapskates" crossed his mind about that time. After all, if you come to Bikes and Barrels, you ought to let down on your pursestrings a tad. Especially, when this is known as a place to enjoy, not dribble over money, or lack thereof.

That's why our second order caught him a little off guard. "Bring us a pitcher of Bloody Mary." we told him simply. The reaction was priceless. His eyes grew wide. "But that's worth six hundred, Sir" he divulged, with some consternation. "It serves six!", he exclaimed after some hesitation.

"Right!" Banner told him, matter-of-factly. "Get some French fries and a Tawa Paneer while you're at it."

The order was duly served after a small delay. Much nudging of elbows, raising of eyebrows, and general chitchat happened between the waiters consequent to the delivery.

Half an hour later, it was time for a second pitcher. Wide eyed surprise gave way to dutiful conformance - "Of course, Sir. No problem at all". Bikes and Barrels had just discovered the two most profitable customers of the day. Soon enough, complementary salad, peanuts, popcorn and an unknown paneer dish followed, replaced every ten minutes or whenever the stuff got over.

Enriched by a serving of beer and six of vodka each, Banner and I left a generous tip, and auto-ed back home. Needless to say, we overpaid the autowallah, since negotiation on price was beyond us at the time.

Moral of the story: On a treat, keep your initial order small, and then follow up with an insane amount. If nothing else, it'll give you the pleasure of looking at flummoxed faces trying to put it all together.