I awaited my turn by the community microwave at work. A slightly disgruntled looking desi gent was ahead of me with his multi course meal. The containers were of assorted sizes and of decidedly desi provenance. Once heated, the food smelt perfectly divine. The gent took a seat across from the TV and set out the several containers in front of him.
As he started to open the lids, I could not help noticing the plump parathas browned just right accompanied by two curries - one wet and the other dry. Each course came in its own container. There were condiments too in small plastic containers that looked like old Gerber Lil Meal boxes. There was raita in one and pickles in the other.
I waited for my lackluster meal to heat up and marveled at the feast the unfolded before my eyes. I figured the man must have a passion for cooking and eating well or a wife at home who made such lunch hour bounties possible. My money would be on the later. There was a feminine touch about the packaging and presentation of all the food.
Yet, there was not the smallest trace of happiness on his face. Lunch cooked and served like that would have made an average working person's day. He must have caught me eying his meal and looked up at me ever so briefly just as I was returning to my desk. There was not the briefest hint of a smile on his face.
I wondered for a minute, what it would take for this saturnine desi to laugh heartily. It is not the first time that I have noticed how glum my brethren look even when they have a lot going for them. As with everything else, desis must have ultra high standards for being cheerful and not much makes the grade. Clearly it takes a lot more than a five course, home-cooked lunch.