I have always avoided anything that ends with Madras on a menu. Todate, all of it has been a disappointment. Today, my opinion has changed. It was all because of a hot Madras Curry. It was spicy enough to burn my taste buds. At the same time, I am not complaining. What would have otherwise turned out to be a boring dinner with me gulping down the food while reading Facebook and Twitter updates on my phone ended up being a different experience because of the hot madras curry.
I didn't order the hot Madras curry. The beautiful couple, sitting right next to my table, had ordered it. They were at least two decades older than me. Their faces lit up with a friendly smile while I was pulling the chair to sit down. When my order came, we had already exchanged quite a few words. That is the good thing about Parisian restaurants. The tables are so close that you are not eavesdropping but actively participating in the conversation happening in the next table. I was at a state where I was ready to talk with anyone. I had just wrapped up 4 months of agonizing work earlier in the evening in the most satisfactory way for all parties involved. I didn't want to eat alone tonight.
So we are sitting there, talking to each other with my dinner in front of me. When my food arrived, they suggested me to try out what they were eating. It was a Madras curry. I was embarassed because this is something a Westerner would never ask of a stranger. But when they insisted again, I obliged in order to be polite. The dish was indeed spicy. My taste buds went numb for a microsecond. Now the ice was completed broken, we started talking more freely and openly.
Here is their story. This is a summary of 40 minutes and put chronologically for easier understanding. The man is from Wales. The woman is from Vancouver. They met in Australia a few months back. Both of them are touring Europe together for the past 3 months. In this span of 3 months, they travelled 30 cities and 11 countries. Oh yes, they were excited to tell me the name of the cities while I was counting the number of countries often crosschecking with them to make sure I got the country right. Paris is their last stop and tonight is their last night before going home. They were impatient to get back home. All through the travel, they had only a general plan and made concrete plans as they went. Now, they are very tired.
I had only two questions for them. The aim was to cheer them up. It is so natural for anyone to get exhausted during the last leg of the journey. It is psychological. My questions were simple. Have they done anything like in the past? Will they be doing anything like in the future? The questions cheered them up. I was happy. When they answered me, it was my turn to be surprised. They have not done anything like in the past. Now, they are thinking of doing the same routine in South America. Tell me, what should should I say to that answer?
Before I sign off, I have a question for you. Would you do something like what this couple did when you are at their age?