The children of today are very smart, confident and swift. Internet has exposed them to plenty of information. Kids at a very young age have choices, preferences, can even order their gadgets and food online. Exposure shapes the way their future unfolds. While growing up, me and my siblings had no choice, money or exposure. So we earned such experiences. Let me share one such incident.
“Let’s go for lunch, Iti” I said.
“Lunch? It is prepared at home. Will we waste the food?”, said a surprised Iti.
“Don’t you want to go out and eat?” I said.
“Bhai, of course I do. Those are wishes. Just wishes. Do you have money to take me out for lunch?” she asked
I nodded politely. And instantly Iti was ready donning a flowery Salwar-kameez and a hearty smile. On our way, she once again asked me, “ But where will we go? If it is a big hotel will we be able to pay?” Iti was still in surprise.
“I will take you to a star hotel for lunch.” I smiled.
“That will be so expensive. No, No, No ways”, Iti replied.
“Don’t worry about money but listen carefully what I am going to explain. You should be well aware of the table manners followed at a star hotel. After lunch is over, they will serve us lukewarm water bowl with a slice of lemon in it. Remember carefully you should not drink the water. That is called finger bowl and they give it for washing hand after our food is over.” I explained.
“What are you saying Bhai? I think you are mistaken. They must be serving the lukewarm water to drink because it helps in digestion.” Iti said.
“No, let me explain to you. Initially, even I had thought the bowl with warm water is for drinking. On my first such outing, I had gone to have lunch with my friends. On completing our lunch, I squeezed the lemon in it and drank the water. All my friends stared laughing at me loudly. On asking them what was up, they replied: “this water bowl is for washing hand after eating the food.” And that’s when I had learnt about this concept.
Finally, we reached Hotel Meghdoot at Shaheed Nagar in Bhubaneswar. For the first time, I took Iti for lunch at such a posh hotel and repeatedly reminded her not to drink the lukewarm water. Years have passed, we have hosted and attended many functions and events in five stars, but, till now I have not forgotten the simplicity and innocence of two modest children and their experience of dining at a big hotel. And by God’s grace, we have been able to stay true to our roots and maintain that simplicity, not taking anything for granted.