11:45AM, didn't cook yesterday and been eating maggi for the past few days and worse even for dinner yesterday, can't go home, fasting is not an option because it’s not Sunday (the traditional fasting/kriya day). If it were those days all it needed was an email or a phone call and will be driving the blue VW (unless the black Infiniti came to AMD instead of the blue Mazda) with a few friends to eat. Of course the choices weren't too many, the usual places like Thai kitchen or chuys or somewhere on Oltorff. We also had the burden of satisfying the empirical relation of those times for lunch "drive time < eat time" (AKA "quality" lunch time). Just like the changing seasons (summer-fall-winter) things have changed here in AMD Austin too. Damn this outlook (MS office tool for emailing and scheduling), can't even go for lunch without scheduling a meeting a few days (some times a week) prior and getting a confirmation, what happened to those days of impromptu lunches?. Indeed they are gone and lasted only a few weeks just like the fall colors of the east coast, at least they for sure return once every year. Some one did mention its all over, we are all old people now, the twilight of spring came and went (which I am still trying to figure out did it come at all) and we are in the mid day now. I used to protest vehemently thinking the spring is not yet over and its all anyways in the mind, but thinking more I have come to agreement with them, may be they are right, the receding hairline (I mean receding memory) and the gray hair (unless dyed otherwise) are all of course signs of maturity and signs of a new phase in our lives, where things can't be done without a plan and in some cases being approved by a superior authority too. Sigh, sad but true, gone are the days of spontaneity and instantaneous decisions and quality lunch times (I mean, drive time < eat time) its time to get into doing things in a planned (I mean matured way) and organized way.
Hmm . . . . , like many things in my life I have come to terms with this too (I mean planning a week in advance for a short event (like the spring of my life) called "LUNCH OUTING"), so to go out for lunch on Friday we schedule it on our calendars on Monday itself and yeah, its like the SAARC/NATO meeting uniting people from all over Austin, I mean uniting people of "North" who show the usual pity on people of "South", "u guys don't have too many good restaurants in the south, in north we have blah blah blah". Yeah they are right that’s why all my friends are moving towards north, unlike the Dravidians who moved south in search of food and shelter during the Aryan invasion. To perform the so-called ritual called "eating", it has boiled down to just a ritual because we choose a place that’s more than 25min drive some where near "North Austin", because we believe all the map sites are not lying and its only 10min drive (yeah sure, it is 10min if I fly my "imaginary" private jet or I do some kind of time travel which one of my friends seem to do it day in and day out) from where we are, and few of us will have an 1:30PM meeting. if you are thinking what’s the rationale/intelligence behind choosing a place that far, all in the spirit of "Austin unity", and intelligence got depleted while deciding about the lunch and scheduling the appointment (of course with a reminder) and fresh quota is yet to arrive next week. Did u say why not downtown?, forget it man, it will be way too crowded on a Friday and the wait time will be too loooong. As you must have guessed by now we don't have too much time left to decide on what we want to eat let alone the cuisine, as they say in Hindi "PAAPI PAET KA SAWAAL", we need to finish the ritual called "eating". After conversing over the phone back and forth few times (with people who don't time travel) we pick the one that has the least wait time, though there are 4-5 different restaurants with zero wait time in the complex we choose ******** (I mean a known devil is always better than an unknown angel, right), which ironically was less than 10min (without time travel) drive from AMD, but again remember all in the spirit of "Austin unity". Next comes the so called "ritual of ordering", I mean order the food even before the waiter/ess asks us "can I get you something to . . . . . " and we respond with the notion "can't u see we are getting late ?", so forget the drink get us the food (with changed times need to satisfy the "new" empirical relation drive time > eat time) and if they insist on getting us something to drink we get fancy, not with alcohol but with H2O (which of course in most restaurants is free), "water with no ice and a bit of lime, not lemon" or even better "Ice tea with 2 cubes of ice". 60 seconds later the usual heckling starts (“excuse me, can we get the food sooner, we need to hurry"). 3mins later ask him/her to get a to-go box and the check which some of us even try to pay by our checks :).
All in all we spend 50mins to drive and 20mins in the restaurant (includes ordering+eating+paying the bill) and the empirical relation is satisfied with flying colors (which I wonder needs refinement, "drive time = 2*eat time" ) and remains true like the Texas heat which is at scorching 94F even at the end of October.
The moral of all these lunch games is as my good friend said, the best way is to cook the previous night and take the dabba along :).
Story of Thai-kitchen and chuys next time.