Masala Moments

A wise man is superior to any insults which can be put upon him, and the best reply to unseemly behaviour is patience and moderation.  – Moliere 

It was a beautiful morning in Abu Dhabi. It was pleasantly cool and I happily entered El Dorado Restaurant in Electra Street to have a South Indian delicacy – Masala Dosa to be followed by Masala tea.

I was promptly served the Masala Dosa and as I enjoyed and relished it, it gave me a great feeling of satiation. Nothing like having a good breakfast before one begins the grind of the day. I knew a long day awaited me but these tasty ‘masala’ moments keeps me in high spirits throughout the morning session of work. When I finished my breakfast, I heard a brief arguement at the counter. A customer was speaking in Arabic and demanding AED55 from the one manning the hotel counter. It seemed he had ordered some food in the night before and just did not come to take it. And so he was demanding to be paid back the money he had paid for the food.

As I know a fair amount of Arabic, I felt it my moral duty to tell the complaining man that the restaurant had prepared the parcel and surely it was his mistake and hence he should not ask the money for something that was no fault of the restaurant. However, this stubborn man insisted. The manager was called upon and to my great surprise the manager agreed to pay him the money. I felt that this act of the manager was strange and probably an act of cowardice. Little realising why the manager acted in this way. However, I kept silent and later asked the manager why he did this. The manager replied that though that man was in the wrong, he still felt that to avoid further confrontation, he had acted that way.

Later in the evening when I came back for a meal at the same restaurant, I was informed by the manager that the man an hour later had returned the money and had apologized for his rude behaviour. This really kept me thinking that the best way to combat unseemly behaviour is patience and moderation. But… does this always work? I also realized one important thing that human beings can be indifferent but invariably there is a conscience in all of us imploring us to follow the right path and do the right thing.


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