Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Wait...Errr!!

Indian waiters are an interesting species. They’re quite different from their brethren in other countries, almost a distinct race by themselves in fact. And they never fail to delight, amuse, irk and sometimes downright infuriate me!

The most vexatious habitude of Indian waiters, according to me, is their alacrity to serve you. No, I don’t mean ‘serve’ in the broad sense. I mean ‘serve’ as in ‘actually place the food in your plate’. Indian meals normally consist of several preparations that are brought to the table in metal bowls, or some other similar kind of receptacles. Each diner can then help his or herself to whatever he or she pleases from these bowls. Thus the waiter’s task should ordinarily consist of placing each person’s plate in front of him or her and placing all the dishes at the center of the table. But no! No Indian waiter will ever be satisfied with doing just that! Instead of placing the dishes on the table, he will go around the table, fastidiously placing a serving of each dish on each diner’s plate. Why?


Two years ago, a group of friends and I were having lunch at a restaurant called Radhakrishna, just outside IIT, Powai in Bombay. Our waiter was a curious individual, with mnemonic powers that would make a goldfish look like the Rain Man. He could never remember more than two items or pieces of information at a time, and even those two were doubtful. At one point toward the end of the meal, we summoned him and asked him to bring us some more rotis (unleavened bread) and a bowl of vegetable curry. He looked a bit confused, and it took about 5 minutes of hammering that in before we were somewhat convinced that he might just possibly manage to remember it properly.

“So can you please repeat the order,” I request him.

“Yes Sir. Four rotis and vegetable curry.”

Just then one of the bright souls sitting across the table from me piped up, “And could you please get me another spoon as well?”

That did it! I could almost visualize the sparks going off in his brain as it began to overload and heat up! I smacked my forehead in disgust. He was back five minutes later with the spoon. He’d completely forgotten about the other two items. (I was surprised he could even remember our table!)


Waitresses in India are conspicuous by their absence. Forget about the miniskirt donning, busty, pleasant-on-the-eye types, I have yet to come across even a single waitress in the country. India, the country where for centuries the woman has been confined to a role that included little more than cooking for and serving her husband, has surprisingly few female chefs and absolutely no waitresses.

Do any of you readers have any ideas on why this might be so? I’m all ears.

35 comments:

Varun said...

dude sounds to me like you need to come down to boston and make a visit to hooters. They have the best err.......waitresses ;) around

Arnold said...

varun - sure need to, dude... just for the record though, wht exactly is hooters?

Varun said...

Hooters is a resteraunt/bar that has really hot waitresses that are very gifted in the chest region. Check it out: http://www.hooters.com

Saltwater Blues said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Saltwater Blues said...

Sure there are waitresses in India - but tehy're confined to the 5-Star hotels and upmarket restaurants. And even there they have to put up with all kinds of sexist remarks from male patrons.

Very cool blog bro. Like your taste in music too. Those photos of the beach in Goa - is that at Candolim? ... yeah I'm a Goon too :)

Arnold said...

varun - gotta check the site out...

saltwater blues - (1) You're right about there being 'waitresses' in 5-star hotels, although I wouldn't really call them that - 'waitresses'. What you're referring are basically receptionists, maids and other such staff [and probably some that offer 'other services' as well]. If you went to the restaurant in a 5-star hotel, the staff would in all probability be male.

(2) The pictures were from Calangute (close enough) and one was at Dona Paula. Where in Goa are you from?

Arnold said...

saltwaterblues - perhaps then, the problem is that i hvnt frequented 5-star hotels all that often [which is quite true actually]...

a classmate of mine royston [aka switchblade in the blog world] is from divar island! maybe u know him? or then again.. maybe not ...

Saltwater Blues said...

well, I've had female waiters serve me at restaurants in 5-Star hotels in Bombay; though they are definitely outnumbered by their male counterparts.

I'm originally from Divar island,(my mum is from Aldona) But now we have a place close to the beach at Candolim.

Shine on, brother!

Arnold said...

saltwaterblues - you're really lucky, dude.. getting to live in goa all year long! was hoping to come there to watch the carnival this year... but wasnt quite able to make it...

Łóòň Ġãĺ said...

Hahaaa ... seriously that's really very irritatin when they start serving u da dishes as well !

Umm waitresses ... well ... they are there but i guess just in da 5- star hotels ... but am sure if ordinary restaurants start appointing waitresses ... they certainly gonna make MORE money!!!

Arnold said...

ČħéèŝŶ.ŦēřmiŦę - amen to that!

angeldust_xtc said...

hi,

came here via Swb(the boy in the comment list)hi to u too sweebs! :)

the waiters also known as servers are trained to place the food on ur plate, thats y they do it. maybe they think it makes guests feel pampered. I havent seen any female servers either, unless u re counting the greeters.


lol@the placing of ur order.

Arnold said...

angeldust - everyone seems to agree tht there arent any waitresses around, but no one can say why exactly?!

MaK-D said...

the only female waitress i know about is also the head waitress at Flags restaurant next to Inox.
If you have been to Flags...save up and go...it's well worth it

Anna said...

nice blog...

and i think the reason there are no waitresses around is the potential hazard of the job... like saltwater blues said... besides don you think most women have enough of trouble cooking and serving meals at their homes let alone in a public restaurant... :-) lol
as for female chefs... i think most women prefer to cook in their own kitchens rather than hotel kitchens... the reason being simple fondness for personal space... i think...
anyway i dont cook.. so i cant be too sure.. all of this is just conjecture...
:-)
ciao.

Anna said...

and dude...
fairmaidenintrouble????
:-):-) funny!!!

Anna said...

hey... may i know why you deleted your comment on my blog ???

Arnold said...

anna - cuz i spelled "suspense" wrong and was gonna retype it.. didnt i?

Arnold said...

anna - could u just mail my comment back to me so that i cud repost it? i'm online...

Anna said...

i didn't see the comment... :-(
just that you had posted something and deleted it... :-(

Arnold said...

anna - oh damn! and it was a nice long one too :)... fear not.. i'll type out anuther one in a little while ;)

Anna said...

thank you... :)

Yashita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna said...

you know... i have been reading your earlier posts.. gonna blogroll you..
you are one funny dude...
:-)

Arnold said...

anna - lol... appreciation is always welcome! thanks! i'll do the same... :) [you have too many blogs though! ;)]

Anna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anna said...

no.. my main blog is distant horizons... the other two... welll...
i thot they were too mushy...
:-)
typo in the earlier one...
sorry...

Arnold said...

anna - yeah, i kinda figured tht out... so tht's the one i blogrolled...

and i did reply to your comment on the "puns" post... (i have mail alerts for my comments of course!)

the wannabe indian punkster said...

my first time here...
I kinda think male waiters outnumber female waiters just for the reason you mentioned: a womans place is cooking and serving her husband "at home".
So you see? Having a woman chef or a waitress kinda skews the idea that a so- called "good" Indian woman's place is the kitchen at home.....
anyway thats what I think:)
Cheers!
Megha

MaK-D said...

one thing i forgot....dumb waiters are okay...but i absolutely HATE arrogant Waiters...like at sweet chariot. Also waiters who yawn at you with a bit of arrogance like at Touche the Place..it really PISSES ME OFF

Arnold said...

megha - hmmm... kind of makes sense wht you said... i dont know if tht's indeed the reason.. could be...


mak-d - are u talking about "sweet chariot cafe" in KP??! coz i've always found the waiters out there to be quite pleasant... :S !

MaK-D said...

yeah that one ...bunch of assholes whenevr i went

Arnold said...

mak-d - maybe it's something to do with the shifts.. cuz i've always been there after 10.30 at night.. prolly hv the nicer folk working the night shift? hmm...

Anna said...

ok.. this is weird...
cos the sweet chariot waiters in Chennai are arrogant as well!!!
lol..

Arnold said...

anna - is it the same chain? do u know?