Summers in the Gulf are hot. And when I say hot I mean H.O.T! It peaks in July and August and it’s hot, humid and suffocating outside. The heat hits you and you start to sweat and gasp for breath, the second you’re out of the A/C – and you wonder who invented it and why – the heat I mean not the A/C!
As far as I can remember, I’m generally not here during this time, by June-end you can catch me flinging a few things into a suitcase and flitting off to India, to my home-town in Udupi. Although it’s hot and humid there too of course, it feels more bearable; at least there are other people around to listen to me whining about the heat there, unlike here where it’s just me and the husband who has perfected the art of going deaf whenever he wants to.
So with nowhere to go to and nothing much to do at this time (most friends are on vacation too) we’re in a kind of a limbo. So when a couple of friends out of the few left behind here, suggested a ride to Sharjah to visit the ‘Eat All you Can‘ weekend buffet lunch at The Dwarka Restaurant, I perked up and was all for it – never mind if we had to travel roughly 165 kms to Sharjah and and another 165 kms back to Abu Dhabi. It was something to do finally!
The plan was for us (3 couples in all) to leave by 11.30 am which would take us in good time for the Buffet. The previous evening I suggested to the husband that we skip breakfast to prepare the mind and body for it, and was met with a shocked look followed by a series of expressions which correctly interpreted read something like this, in the same order: Skip breakfast? Never done it before! Will I survive? No I won’t! Then he informed me that he would prefer a light something to hold him up till lunch and if I didn’t want anything he was fine with it and he wouldn’t try to convince me otherwise.
By mid-morning next day, there we were on the road, 6 hungry people on their long quest for food. Well, 5 and a half, if you want precise statistics, because the husband had had his ‘light something’ remember!
Although extremely hot outside, the ride there was fast, smooth and uneventful except if you count the strange noises emanating from within the car – which we later realised was just our hungry bellies rumbling! At the restaurant, there was a good deal of variety (whoever said vegetarians didn’t have much of a choice?) There were about 6 to 7 tables of options – from starters to salads to main courses to desserts and soups of course.
At this point I must confess, I’m not too good at doing buffet spreads at one go. I need, like a whole day. The best scenario would be to give me the night as well, to sleep it out and part of the next day too if possible, when I could come back and continue where I had left off…! However, I’m not complaining, although I am considering putting up a suggestion to the management – instead of ‘eat-all-you-can’ if they would permit us to ‘ eat all you can and carry home what you can’t.’
But all things considered we didn’t do too badly I think. The ideal POA is to first make a general survey of the dishes from start to end, then a polite survey of how the other lunchers are doing, then collect your plate and make your way to the starting-line. Walk around in between and while you’re about it, give yourself a good shake periodically – settles things down a bit.
When we couldn’t stand the sight of the main courses any more and had moved on to the desserts, one of the friends in our group announced that lunch that afternoon was on him – in celebration of an office bonus. While appreciating his kind and generous gesture whole-heartedly, I don’t know about the others, but the first thing I thought of then was that if he had told us earlier we could have come better prepared – like skip dinner as well maybe the previous night. Not the husband of course – a ‘light something’ would be arranged for him!
The ride back home was relatively quieter. King cobras and pythons, I believe, swallow their prey whole and then lie down coiled around themselves for the 5-6 days they need for digestion. The larger the meal, the longer it takes to digest. Now why I remembered this stray fact at this juncture is a mystery!
Once back home, later in the evening, one of the twin boys called and I informed him that I would call back the next day as I was too full to have a sensible conversation just then. The food levels, I told him, had crossed the danger mark and had flooded the brain.
“Okay cool”, he agreed in a bemused tone, “we’ll talk tomorrow.” Then after a brief pause he continued, “By the way, are you aware that there are people around the world dying of hunger?”
Ouch! I am aware dude.