On Saturday morning, I had gone to the nearby Darshini (“Krishna Upahar”), the super awesome food joint near my place for breakfast. I am quite a regular here. The dosa master here is a fantastic guy. Churns out one of the best dosas ever. Though he is kind-of in the back, I always smile and sometimes give some appreciative gesture in sign language. The dosa grill is quite at the back of this small restaurant.
I digress. On that day, I had ordered a masala dosa. I had paid up, given the chit to the front-guy, who took it and gave a bark – “Bhattare – ondhu masale ….”. The guys who work in this restaurant have always called this dosa master as “Bhattare” .. dont know why (I wish I knew enough kannada to ask…). No sooner than he had said that, the dosa master had started pouring the dosa. Just then I realized that, I was not up for much spice that morning. I quickly said, “Red chutney beda”. The masala dosa in these parts have a spicy red chilly-garlic-tomato chutney spread inside the dosa for added flavour. But only then I realized that the dosa master had started spreading the chutney. The front-guy looked at me and shrugged – which basically meant – sorry dude, damage is done.
But then, I saw through the corner of my eye that the dosa master had heard this conversation. We made quick eye contact. He smiled and asked in sign language if I did not want the chutney. I nodded sadly. Without a second thought, he removed the dosa which had just started cooking, tossed it into the bin below, and poured me a fresh new dosa. And he turned and smiled.
It may have been due to a variety of reasons, but the one that strikes out to me, is that this compassionate gesture was all because of the simple smile.