Ratnagiri Chaat!!

Woke up a bit late today and reached the office just in time. But by the time I reached there, was feeling really hungry! So had a heavy breakfast and then went on to do the work. The lunch was so heavy that I preferred to go with a fruit dish for lunch. In the afternoon at around 4 pm, went to the food court to have tea and some snacks. After having tea, was thinking about what to have for snacks. Reading the menu pane displayed in the food court, eyes stopped at seeing a particular item. The item derives its name from a city situated in southwestern part of Maharashtra, India. The name of the item is ‘Ratnagiri Chaat’, having resemblance with the city name Ratnagiri. It is a combination of delicious chatnis spread over papads which are thicker than the usual ones.

I had never had it and so in an attempt to try something different, finally decided to go with it.Paid the amount at the counter, got the coupon and went towards the serving table. There were two women standing before me and the person on the other side was a single man manning all the items. So naturally, it took a bit more time for the ladies to be served. When my turn came up, I looked at the person on the other side and the first thing that struck ‘unusual’ about the person was that at the instant we saw each other, he gave me a broad, shining smile and asked for the coupon. I gave him the coupon and it read ‘Ratnagiri Chaat’. On reading it, the man got a bit confused and looked around as if looking for someone. Maybe he was not accustomed to prepare the item and was looking for some help. After a while, when no one came to his rescue, he decided to give it a try and prepared the item. I had it and it was good. Actually I had never had a ‘Ratnagiri Chaat’ before. It was delicious and a bit different from the other famous Chaats. I finished it and went to put the plate into the bin where the same person had also come to put dishes. “Kaisa tha chaat?(How was the chaat?)” Came the question and the quick reply was “Accha! Badhiya banaya tha!(Good! It was really well prepared!)” The moment he heard it, the same broad, shining smile came on his face and a polite “Thank you, sir!” was the response.

While travelling back to desk, there was a similar shining smile on my face and I noticed it a while later. I had described the smile of the person as ‘unusual’ before because today we are so much engrossed into our day-to-day life that we have forgotten to enjoy life itself! We have become robots doing the mundane tasks without enjoying the real emotions of life. Disinterested we have become while going to the office and coming back home day in and day out. We have been searching for reasons to smile. Such people, who, without any particular reason or motive, smiling at you, are a rare sight today. But, if you have observed, whenever someone smiles at you, the natural reaction is a smile back. It has been genetically programmed in us that the reaction to a smile is a smile by default. And when you greet someone you know or you don’t know with a smile, the smile that will come on his/her face will stay there for a longer time and they eventually will greet the people they meet during their day with a smile and the chain will continue! More than the chaat, the smiling face made my day!

So on my way back to work, I thought about my reply and the smile it brought on his face. He will now surely greet more and more people with smile and will be a bit more confident in making Ratnagiri Chaat again. I thought I should have replied him “It was the first time I am having it and this one is probably the best Ratnagiri Chaat I will ever have!!”

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