Although I have now blissfully settled in Manipal, I still retain my contacts with Miami which was my home for the last decade.
Its always a joy to receive Indian visitors to Miami. The biggest attraction is the sweets they invariable bring. I baloon with pride when I go to India and hear stories about how good a host I am.
I told you guys I am vain!
Although I try to make their stay as comfortable as possible, things can sometimes go horribly wrong.
I always shudder when I have vegetarian friends. Not that I hate animals and get a sadistic pleasure when people eat them. But its pretty hard in Miami to get a proper vegetarian meal unlike a New Jersey where a Delhi Durbar can vie with a Madras Express.
I remember the first time when a friend asked for vegetarian sandwich. The Spanish girl took a long time to understand what he wanted. Then she nodded her head in perfect understanding and went in and brightly came back with a plate full of lettuce and tomatoes.
” No Bread No Meat” She said glowing with pride.
My friend felt like a goat looking at the rich foliage.
Once I took one to Saw grass Mill , Florida’s largest shopping mall. He enjoyed his shopping and couldn’t stop talking. Not until we sat for lunch.
The waiter in that posh restaurant was a sharp young student earning his school fees. “ Well sir, we can do one thing. “ said the Maths Major “ I will bring the whole dish and you can pick the vegetables and leave the meat.” He beamed as if he had found the perfect solution to an esoteric equation.
My petrified friend ordered plain rice which he said he could manage with French fries.
But the waiter wasn’t majoring in Mathematics for nothing. This is time he came with a complex problem for a change. The so called plain rice was boiled in pork broth!
Another hilarious incident happened when we all went with an American friend to Chilis for a drink. The American was informed about this gentleman’s vegetarian habits.
When his steak and Portobello arrived, the gracious American kept picking bell pepper and mushroom from it and offering my hapless guest assuring that it was cent per cent vegetarian. No meat in it he assured wiping his fork everytime.
Finally one guy found his perfect food. “Baked potato with sour cream “.
The bar tender in Flanigan joked that my friend had got his coronas and potatoes mixed up as he gorged them hungrily one after the other leaving his corona untouched.
He was elated. He knew what to eat now.
Alas, his happiness was short lived.
While waiting for a flight connection at Houston Airport, he smugly asked me to get him a baked potato.
Now the Texans are a hardworking and proud lot and justifiably like to show off their large farm products.
The chef picked up a large Idaho potato, scooped it expertly and generously filled a large helping of shredded beef in it.
Needless to say my friend went hungry till we reached our destination.
This time he didn’t want to take any chances. So he ordered French fries. “ Go for potato wedges for a change. ” I offered.
He almost fainted when the wedges were served with delicate slices of fried bacon!!!!!!
We had a good laugh when he sent me a mail saying that in India the waiter looked at him strangely when he asked him what do they cook the plain rice in!!
“ Water ! and that’s why its known as plain rice. But we also serve Mutton and Chicken Biryani! “ was the laconic reply.