Thursday, May 28, 2020

Dammit Covid - Did you have to cancel Gluttony as well?


The beloved breakfast buffet, the sole reason why many of us went for vacations, is about to be relegated to the dustbins of history. I mean I get it. These are unusual times. Thanks to bat borne virus, the greatest threat to humanity is now humankind. We are supposed to jump into the nearest hedge every time we sense human presence to save ourselves from their length and breath.

Hotel buffets is where guests converge to exchange pleasantries, germs and viruses. Ask the ladle, the chafing dish that has been touched so many times by so many. It’s the favoured playground of the gluttons because dammit I paid 20k a night for a deluxe room with ‘all you can eat breakfast’ package. Diets die a swift death and without any regrets. And why not? How many times in our lives do we get the opportunity to eat our weight in aloo bondas, meatballs and egg Benedict, and follow it up with a mountain of croissants, muffins and danish pastry taller than Everest! And then wait for a pot of green tea to erase our guilt.

Agreed, Mrs Mehra’s chutney smeared hands on the sambar ladle will now be a health hazard and Samikshaputrika sneezing near the bagels will give us seizure. But hey, that doesn’t mean you can deprive me of the dilemma of having to choose between crab legs and poached prawns while downing wheat-germ shots! Buffet breakfasts taught me the art of balancing my plate delicately on one hand while trying to open the lid of the chafing dish with the other with the other and then dropping it with a loud clang on the floor.

God forbid if hotels go a la carte, my vacations will become as bland as the daal I had on my last trip to London. Imagine having to start your day without half a dozen sausages, smoked salmon cartwheeling with bircher muesli, coffee, orange juice inside your stomach, and not being able to complain about indigestion for the rest of the day! And now I am getting the sinking feeling that lunch and dinner buffets are on their way out too. Oh no! My life will become pointless if I won’t get to spend nearly an hour at the buffet table meditating in front of the 16 varieties of orange gravies that look exactly the same but claim to be different. I’ll miss giving exasperated looks to the lady who’ll appear out of nowhere to ask me if this dish is gluten free, fat and taste free! Is this prawn or fish? Is this dish vegetarian?


Buffets are where you can sit in a quiet corner, study human greed at its finest and smirk while you finish your fifth helping of baked yoghurt with caramel topping. The satisfaction of turning your plate into a bloody battleground, where lasagna colluded with badami chicken Akbari to overthrow boondi parfait will now be gone. And experience dismay when you see half eaten plates on tables and monumental wastage.

All you can eat hedonism taught us invaluable lessons on how to strategize and plan for maximum input. Don’t fill yourself with soup, you fool and insult the gorgeous raan, tossing and turning, awaiting your arrival. Keep a watchful eye on the sushi station and pounce on it with glee when a fresh batch arrives from the kitchen. The attendant arriving with a huge pile of fresh rotis and naans just when I had finished the entire bowl of Mutton Noorjahani with pappad taught me ‘better late than never’ looks better on paper.

Will a mere a la carte meal ever match up to an experience called the buffet which evokes wonderment, child-like excitement, shrewd strategizing and fear of never getting to fit in your jeans again, at the same time? Of course not.

I am painfully aware, post lockdown a joyless world awaits me. A world where someone who’s just sneezed will be treated like a Jihadi. Raw veggies and meats are getting luxurious, detergent baths and food deliveries cause anxiety and not joy. But the breakfast buffet getting guillotined at the altar of the new normal is giving me acidity. And I can’t even run to my favourite dine-in to drown my sorrows in their all you can eat dimsum buffet. 




9 comments:

  1. Gluttony is the biggest casualty agreed and for all the greedy ones like me, are now like a distant mirage in the blistering heat of NCR.Good one, Purba

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    1. Dreading the new normal. And thank you

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  2. Always have been and still amazed at how you write about the simplest of things in the wittiest manner. Yes, we shall miss the buffets, among many other things in our new normal.

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    Replies
    1. Posting after so long and seeing familiar names in the comments section feels like homecoming.

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  3. Damn no more buffets! No more having croissants and paranthas together! I hate the new normal. Hilarious read as always Purba!

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  4. just changed whole life and way to running.

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