I had gone into numerous Indian restaurants and had given away my cv in the hope of getting a part time job as a waiter. ( You end up doing all this and more when you’re studying abroad).
Recently, I got a call from one of them. I was promised a wage of 4 pounds per hour. (Rs. 320) As I prepared myself to get there it started to feel a bit weird. I was getting ready to look good. Wait, to look like a good Waiter. I got myself to the restaurant after a million yes no fights between my mind and heart. I don’t know which one was saying yes and which one was saying no. Probably both were confused and were switching sides.
I went in, the boss of the restaurant, a typical one with no hair on his head and probably no grey matter inside it, asks me not to come in his way as he is busy talking to customers who come in. I was asked to stand aside like a pillar for 15 minutes.
Then he started asking me to deliver stuff to tables. Told me the table numbers. My hands started shivering on taking a tray full of drinks to the table. The bottles shook like there was a mini earthquake in the tray. I finally somehow managed not to spill the drinks over the customer which I thought I would when the richter scale readings of the tray were shooting up.
Whenever he asked me to, I kept going behind him with a tray full of food in my hand. Once when I went up to a table carrying food. I didn’t notice that it did not have plates, before my mind could work, he whispered to me “where will you keep the food? On your ass? All of a sudden common sense strikes and I think/learn that plates need to be delivered first and then the food.
I got philosophical about it right at that moment as I do about everything else. I thought to myself, how on earth am I expected to know all this before carrying the food unless someone teaches me, right at that point I thought – “The most common yet important things in life might never be taught to you, life does the teaching”
So for a lot of common sense knowledge like this in the context of running a badly managed Indian restaurant – my boss was the angelic messenger life sent to me.
It was getting harder by the day. I used to calculate the number of hours and multiply them by 4 to see how many pounds I would have earned by the end of the day. And then would try convincing myself that it was a lot, trying to generate good feelings along with a raised tolerance level to the humiliating behaviour of my boss.
I got stuck with him on a sunday. On sundays the restaurants here aren’t busy and close early. I was a happy kid until I got there. He made me work like a donkey cleaning the whole kitchen floor/walls/ceiling etc etc. Sink, fridge and everything else you can imagine. All the instructions came with sentences which started and ended with the two most endearing words – fuck/fucking eg: fucking clean the sink, it smells like fuck.
This went on for about a week. I had virtually earned 125 pounds on my excel sheet.
A friend was working at another restaurant and he used to share the picture of his work environment which was exactly opposite to the one I used to tell him about. “Grass is greener on the other side” But this was a case of facts and the grass on his side, definitely wasn’t as burnt as mine.
One fine day he came upto me and said that I have got a place for you at my restaurant so leave working at your ‘fucking’ restaurant. I did. I called my ex-boss to ask for my money. He said he woudn’t pay. I knew he wouldn’t.
I lost 125 pounds and learnt 125 million life lessons.