The man had a book in front of him. “Do you have a reservation?” he asked.
“But we’re only here for a take-away (or parcel, in local parlance).”
“Ah!” he said, “then you must go round the corner. Follow the sign-boards”.
The sign-boards to Paradise (take-away) are misleading, though. Perhaps intentionally so. To send the undeserving to The Other Place. It’s not that difficult to get to Paradise on a Saturday, we are told, but then, they don’t tell you that thing about sign-boards.
But then again, nobody can really miss the bright red neon sign for Paradise (take-away) either. (I think it was Ravikiran who first saw the light, ahead of Amit). It is then that it strikes you that everything they told you about the gates of Paradise was wrong. Very wrong. In reality, the gate is guarded with a metal detector (the kind you pass through at airports) and a six-foot-tall bouncer. He examines your backpack with some curiosity, and lets you through.
There are none of those desirable beings either. At least none that you can tell. On the other hand there are two queues in Paradise, on on either side of the long counter. The one on the left is for curries, dishes and suchlike. The one on the right is for biryanis. A jumbo pack of the biryani weighs an unsettling 3 kgs or so. But Paradise is so efficient that it does not take you more than a couple of minutes to collect your order and leave the well-guarded portals. Taking a bit of Paradise with you.
Hyderabad’s favourite biryani joint, 2006 (via Hydourite)