Evening at Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, May 2015
and so does everything around... the situation, the people, the perspective, the needs.... and we too change.... the wise and courageous seek change.. because only change is constant!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

20. Maker’s Choice

By the time I was coming home today, it was already 10.00 in the night. I had listened to very fantastic classical music concert, and was feeling very happy and light. As it is, I am not an enthusiastic cook, and at night 10.00 I can never think of cooking.

On the way, saw a bhel shop. Parked my two -wheeler and took a coupon as is the system at this particular spot. The man on the bhel counter was disappointed to know that I wanted bhel. He said, ‘Sister, I will serve you hot and nice ragda patties.” I wanted to eat bhel. But the man on the counter insisted. So, I politely said, “Ok, next time I will eat whatever you suggest, but today I want to eat bhel”.

The man responded, “Last time also you said the same thing.”

I was surprised. I keenly looked at him. A man in his 50s, possibly from Bihar, working probably as a daily wages worker, …. why is he interested in what I should eat. The man must have gauged my suspicion. He said, “Sister, I make ragda patties better than bhel. Now probably you won’t eat after going home, so I want you to eat my better dish. Last time I listened to you and served you bhel, but today please listen to me.”

Yes, I remembered. About six months ago, about the same time, this man had made the strange request to me. That time I wanted to eat bhel, and ate it. His remembering that incidence (because everyday hundred of people eat at his stall) made me curious. I asked, “Are you tired of preparing bhel?’’ “No, that is not the case” was his prompt reply. He said, “Sister, please listen to me. You will like ragda patties prepared by me. It is really good. People like it.”

I generally have compromising nature. I was in good mood after the concert, so I accepted his request. He served me the dish, which was ok. When I was leaving, the man came to me and asked, “How was my recommendation?” I just smiled. He looked offended. He asked, “Do you still want bhel?” No, I did not want it. But the man said, “If you have not liked the dish, I will give you bhel parcel. No, you don’t have to pay. It is compensation from me, because you did not like my best dish and I compelled you to eat that”.

He looked rather shattered while saying this. Then realization dawned upon me. Here was a man, who had certain skills, which he thought were best. Here was I who was not interested in his skills. I was engrossed in my own world. The man wanted me to serve his best recipe, and I was happy with his ‘not so good’ recipe. I wanted him to under-perform. By choosing his second rate recipe, I asked him not to give his best.

He was not trying to prove anything to me; he was trying to satisfy his urge of giving the best to others. He did not need my certificate, he needed his satisfaction. He valued things in one way, and I valued things in another way. He was unhappy because I did not understand his intentions properly and I did not value his skills….Wow! What a great person. A common, poor person with such great life view!! If everyone gives his/her best without expecting rewards…..

I understood him. I believe most of us will understand him, because more or less we too are caught in the same world that acts and reacts on different planes… The world where we are not valued for the best we can offer…. The world, where mediocre performance is expected of us….The world where money power makes non-experts valued more than the creators…. The world where appearance and authority is important than subject knowledge….

May be next time even if I want to eat bhel, I will go to the same shop. I hope one day I would learn to appreciate the best dish of this unknown, simple man. I do not want to please him, when actually I am not pleased. I don’t want to be hypocrite. I want to appreciate the maker’s choice from my heart….. May be, some day it will happen.


  1. Very Good!

    Now furnish me with the address of that Blelwala, sorry, Patiswala. I will taste his both preparations and of course, send you the bill.


  2. yes..this bhelwala is going to have internet publicity through your blog...
    because i too want his address....
    Ouch!!You made me go hungry at two in morning!!

  3. The episode narrated was interesting! Pl keep writing!!


  4. Yes, someday soon. This wonderful thing will happen to all of us. This wonderful capacity to look beneath the surface..
    Thanks for the sharing..

  5. Or Savita can it be this way. He thought you will comment on his recipe positively and you did not comment, which disappointed him and hence he offered bhel for you. You must be his regular customer orelse these people do not bother about the customers.

  6. thanks RD, anujna, AB, sachin and puja.

    well, RD and anunja, you will have to visit at 10.00 in the night and that too alone (and may be look hungry too...)No, Puja, I am not his regular customer ... this experience was indeed special...


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