So it’s a week day.  You are just out of a viral infection but need to do this dinner because it’s a birthday.  At the restaurant,  it’s 3 kids, a husband and me. Not a big deal, isn’t it?

The kids vet the menu and decide to skip Pav Bhaji and all things Indian; Tacos, Burritos, Nachos to finally decide on Spaghetti in Tomato sauce.

Our youngest member, a 5 year old, an ardent Spaghetti fan also orders the same except, she wants Spaghetti in its purest form, devoid of herbs and sauces; garnished with salty salt and ready to be devoured instantly(Seriously, did this little bag of bones come out from my womb, I wonder in disbelief)

As we place the order, the waiter confirms the Spaghetti dish isn’t spicy. I remind him at least 5 times to not add any chilli. We then order spicy Biryani for ourselves coupled with some drinks.

The food arrives quickly. It looks good.  And the Biryani smells delicious.  But before I can pounce upon it, I need to hold the glass of Orange juice for the youngest one only to sip at sloth’s pace.

The older ones are not happy with the Lemon Soda either. It’s too salty. I order sugar and continue to hold the glass of juice until her bland,  tasteless noodles arrive. I am now glad I can eat.

Barely does a morsel make it’s way down my parched gullet, do I realise the older ones have a problem. The Spaghetti has chilli flakes.  Damn it!! I call the waiter who carries the plate out and at least 4 staff members taste it. I can look through the glass.

The manager returns with a fake smile and a convincing tone, “This is not spicy. This dish is prepared this way.”

The Biryani is giving me cold looks and I hate this situation in the middle of a meal.  Adults incapable of understanding the meaning something as basic as ‘no chilli’. Could someone please explain what part of ,’no chilli’ was obscure?

I tell him I have tasted it and it is spicy for the kids.  He continues to smile and shrieks in surprise, “I have tasted it myself.  It isn’t spicy at all!!”

Hubby and me exchange glances of WTF and tell him we find it spicy – all 4 of us!! He is the only one who doesn’t.  He replays his tape, emotion and all. So do I.

By the 4th time,  I am loud enough to receive applause. That’s when the manager realises stakes are high and asks me for a solution.  We order white sauce this time and request him not to add sugar. He stares at me in dismay, as though white sauce without sugar is like ‘Pani kam Chai’ and I repeat myself so he knows how to avoid anymore drama.

In the meanwhile, I do my best to savour the Biryani that is now ice cold. The older ones are now preying on the bland noodles. I am forced to stop all hunger  games until Spaghetti arrives dolled up in new avatar. And somewhere in this chaos, I realise the glass of juice isn’t clean enough.  I keep my calm or at least show I am calm. This time the staff replaces the drink without a word of argument. What a relief.

The white sauce Spaghetti finally arrives and is a big hit.  Thank God for that. Is it the taste or hungry tummies I ponder. I slurp some hot noodles and once dinner’s done,  my fingers romance the touch of really hot finger bowl.

We rush out the minute the girls are done.  Phew!! On days like these,  I value ghar ki saadhi khichidi more than any other wealth in the world.