It amazes me how sometimes small and unimportant things cheer me up. Let me narrate an incident from last week ....
It was a lazy Friday afternoon. Most of the people from my team at work were either on leave or on a work related trip. I didn’t feel like eating in the Canteen and thought of going to the eating joint close to my work place. Since I was alone, initially I did not even felt like walking there but hunger dragged me to this eatery.
I had eaten a couple of times before at this place so I knew how things worked there. I had planned to make my own salad and carry it back to my office as a take-away since the place was pretty noisy (due to a Friday). I also planned to use my time to review a paper while having lunch at my desk.
So, after reaching the place, I found my favorite serving lady working during that shift. She is not too old but old enough to look like my mom. Not just that, she always has a smile on her face and is extremely polite with customers. And it is not that fake smile which most waiters have in restaurants these days but really a genuine one. She always served with a motherly touch. So, just seeing her at the counter cheered my dull day.
I asked her for a take-away but she said apologetically that they were out of carry bags that day. I could really feel that she was sorry for not providing what her customer needed. I thought for a couple of seconds deciding whether to eat there or go back. Finally, I asked her it was okay for me to eat there. Since, she had served me a couple of times before on different occasions, she knew my preferences and made my salad plate with my favorite dressing without even asking. It feels nice when strangers understand you so well sometimes. I thought maybe salad is not enough for me so I also took bread along with it.
I knew how much I had to pay for the salad but I was not sure how much extra I had to pay for the bread. So, I asked her the price and she gave me a number which was same as that of the salad price. I asked her, same price even with the bread? And she blinked her eyes and tried to hush me up mischievously saying, she made me eat there though I wanted a take-away. Therefore, the bread was complimentary from her.
Now, this might not be a big deal for many outside Germany but here small things like dressings with salad or ketchup with French fries or burger cost extra money. So, this gesture if kindness overwhelmed me somehow. It is not a big thing maybe but living in a foreign country where buying and selling is based purely and strictly on monetary transaction with no emotions attached made me miss India for a minute. Maybe it was not as big a deal as I made out of it but on a dull and lazy day, someone serving you lunch like your mother with a touch of emotion away from the thought of money for a while just overwhelmed me. Or maybe …. I am just a sentimental fool !