Sunday, October 4, 2015

Oh India!

I know you’re wondering, what’s a black man doing on the floor talking about India? I’m wondering the same myself. The same curiosity led me to my first encounter with Indian food.

It was a cold winter morning in December. I was driving back from my Toastmasters meeting. It rained the previous night and the floor had frozen into thin ice. It was so cold my GPS froze! I had driven right past my exit into Bellevue. I cursed under my breath. I was on an unfamiliar road. With one hand on my steering and one hand on my phone, I tried to quit my GPS. The lady assistant’s voice suddenly came alive “Rerouting,” “You will arrive at your destination in 30 minutes.” I was furious.

By now you’re probably wondering, what does getting lost have to do with Indian food? I was wondering the same myself, as I continued to wander around Bellevue. Apparently, I was still lost. The traffic was getting heavy on the highway, so I took a quick segue around a shopping center on Bel-Red road. It was 10 am by this time, and a little past my breakfast time, I started weighing my options. A sign caught the corner of my eye, “Oh India !” it read. My curiosity grew. Even though I had Indian friends, I was never invited to join in for meals. I thought to myself, it is time to get some revenge.  I circled around the shopping mall trying to make up my mind. Should I try something new or head for the Subway restaurant next door?

I finally stepped out into the unknown. I was going to prove to my Indian friends that I too am cultural. I soon made my way to the front of Oh India and this bright neon sign cut my lights out. “Sorry We’re Closed.” It continued “Open at a 11am. A quick relief but I would have to wait for 45 minutes to have breakfast.

By now you’re probably wondering, will he stay or will he turn to Subway instead? I was wondering the same thing too, as I sat in my car for a good 45 minutes. I remember peering through the window a couple of times and seeing the waiters cleaning and setting up the table meticulously. My hunger grew in leaps and bounds. Finally, it was time to eat. Of course I would be their first customer, or so I thought until I saw groups of people like me emerging from their cars. I thought to myself, this must be a special place. I was soon seated.

I know you’re probably wandering, what’s on the menu? I was wondering the same myself, as I saw the guests make their way to the buffet table. No surprise I was the only person sitting by myself. After watching closely for sometime, I walked up to the table. There was nothing familiar about the table. Rather than fried chicken and corn bread, there was chicken Biriyani and Naan. Masala Dosa and Kebab, I was like a kid in a candy store. I ended up loading a portion of each on just one plate. Back at the table, I immediately dug into my meal. Soon I could feel my senses opening up, one by one.

Toastmasters, that was the day I fell in love with Indian food. We have been going steady ever since. I enjoy getting lost in the presence of fresh curries and lamb soup and I know you would too. I told my Indian friends about her and they have been visiting her, often behind my back. As we celebrate Valentine, let us remember not to forget to add Oh India to our list of romantic places to visit. As for me, I get lost every Saturday after my Toastmasters meeting and it’s always a sweet and feisty curried session.



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