In this short story, Smitha Murthy explores the fragile and tenuous relationship that develops between a lonely woman and the cleaner at the restaurant she frequents.
There’s nothing glamorous about this restaurant. It’s a regular highway restaurant you might find on many an Indian road, serving cheap food. You are meant to walk in and walk out fast. No romantic lingering, and asking for a menu is unheard of. The tables are granite, and the plastic chairs squeak when you pull them out. But the place is busy. At all hours. Every day, hundreds of people pile in and out of its open doors. As you enter, on the left is a chaat and juice shop. The watery juices it makes are only for desperate times. The chaat stall only opens up in the evening, and the food there is no better than the beverages.
But considering where I stay – in Bangalore’s “emerging” suburbs – this restaurant is all I have. It meets my needs just fine. A quick bite or two. A sip of coffee. Maybe, chapatis for takeaway once in a while. It is enough.