‘Indian?’ asked the equally Indian looking lady behind the Subway counter.
I nodded and smiled genially.
‘Try this Southwest Chipotle sauce. Bahut accha hai.’
I nodded and smiled genially. I ate sandwich with Southwest Chipotle sauce.
‘Have a cookie. Rakh lo beta. No, no, I am not charging you for that.’
I couldn’t believe this. Me, who doesn’t even win a single pepsi can in lotteries, is getting a free cookie from strange Indian lady. I ate sandwich with Southwest Chipotle sauce and free cookie.
‘This sandwich is on me.’
Woah! Hold it lady. Next you’ll give me your shop and I don’t think I can handle this business. I ate free sandwich with Southwest Chipotle sauce and free cookie.
She came and sat next to me , 'Beta, where do you work? What is your caste?'
‘Brahmin? That’s ok. I think we can adjust.’
‘You must meet my son. He owns this store. Have you seen him? He is 45 and we are having a hard time finding a bride.’
I broke the news of my long standing torrid affair with my husband expecting an uncomfortable apology and maybe another white chocolate macadamia cookie for peace.
She got up and walked off unceremoniously. Luckily she didn’t grab the last bit of the cookie that was being stuffed in a hurry.
That’s when I realized I was her investment, a risky one at that. It would have been better if she was selling Amway products. I could have at least thrown a few curses and walked out in a huff. A 45 year old? Aiala!! Wonder if Botox is the way to go.
Strange encounters with Subway women don’t end there. So as you would have guessed, I stopped going to that place. I wouldn’t have been able to deal with the trauma of not getting free stuff anymore. I tried another Subway joint. Again an Indian lady behind the counter. Much younger and hipper. She spoke incessantly without ever letting me interrupt her for what I wanted on the sub. ‘Err..I don’t want those onions.’
‘Forget that, what I was saying is my husband comes to work at 5 pm. Till then I have to run this store. For a graduate from NIFT, I don't think I deserve this. I was better off attending parties in Delhi. Now I have three kids. I know it doesn’t look like that…..’
I got to eat what she thought was good for me. Even as I ate, she managed to leave her work to somebody else and continued her yak sessions with me. I munched on my lunch and she spoke about the travails of living in the US as a bread-wali. 'Imagine what my friends in Delhi must be thinking of me... yada yada... zardosi sarees...yada yada...'
Today she couldn’t get off from her duties (silent prayer of thanks), so she quickly ran towards me and slipped her phone number.
‘Give me a call. We should go on a date on Sunday.’
Whatever it is, I better get busy looking for another Subway restaurant in the area.