Pappettan on mediocre chicken biriyani

I love biriyani. It may be a tricky dish to prepare, but it is always the safest choice on the menu. I say tricky because the biriyani suffers if your mind wanders even by a minuscule amount while preparing a biriyani. The other day, I was invited along with Pappettan and a friend for a biriyani feast. The host had got his fingers around a new recipe and wanted to showcase his culinary skills. Being food lovers, we obliged.

The host has zeroed in an exciting recipe for chicken biriyani. He had come across this recipe from somewhere and was very impressed. Obviously, it must have been an exceptional experience, judging by the way he was talking non-stop. By the time we moved from the living room to the table, I was hooked and looking eagerly towards the chicken biriyani. It must have been the inexperience of the host or the tireless onslaught of the promotions that the actual chicken biriyani fell short of expectations. The host couldn’t contain his eagerness and shot the dreaded questions after we had a few mouthfuls of biriyani.

Host: *eagerly* How is the biriyani?

Me: *silent, avert eyes and digs deep into the biriyani*

Pappettan: *happily eating*

Friend: *seriously* For a first time, this biriyani is good. But...

After the obnoxious but, our friend listed out a series of improvement areas. Gathering courage, I looked at the host. The host was devastated. But our friend took no notice of our host’s embarrassment and blissfully provided feedback. The more our friend kept going, the angrier I became. The anger in me never subsided. As a result, I was ready to explode by the time we bade goodbye to our host. As soon as we were out of his earshot, I confronted our friend.

Me: *agitated* What was that all about?

Friend: *surprised* What are you referring to?

Me: *angrily* The feedback about chicken biriyani!

Friend: *innocently* He asked for feedback.

Me: *shouting* Yes. He did ask. But why can’t you be nice and tell him it was good?

Friend: *shocked* You wanted me to lie instead of giving an honest opinion.

Me: *disgusted* It will have been a harmless lie.

Our friend shook his head in disbelief at my suggestion. Then, Pappettan intervened.

Pappettan: *clears his throat* Yes, it would have been a white lie.

Me: *triumphant*

Pappettan: *turns towards me* But have you considered the consequence of the white lie?

Me: *with a smirk* Yes. Our host would have been happy.

Pappettan: *continues to look at me as if I missed an important point* And?

Me: *now unsure* And?...

Pappettan: *explains* Our host would have made the same biriyani the next time too. Would you like the same a second time?