Subway Struggle

He had never thought he would have to make a choice like this. Actually, he had never thought he would ever face the need to make a choice like this.

30 minutes ago…

Lecture Hall-3

The subject at hand was Engineering Chemistry. It was according to the general consensus, a relatively boring subject, not quite on the same level as Basics of Civil Engineering, but definitely more so than Engineering Mathematics.

However, what was different on this particular day, was that the professor had somehow managed to turn the relatively boring class into one that was positively infernal.

So, it should appear as scant surprise, that our protagonist, having withstood this heavy onslaught (which, in his self-proclaimed, considered opinion, was a violation of everything that he held sacred), decided to go back to what he thought would be a very well deserved rest.

That’s when he first heard the faint murmur.

A voice from somewhere rather far away. He paid the voice no heed, as he continued on his way. He walked on, hoping that the voices would go away, but in all of 5 minutes, the faint murmur had grown into a loud rumble. He could no longer ignore it. And so it was, that he gave in to the hunger that he had tried so valiantly, to ignore. He trudged back the way he had come, in the sweltering heat of midsummer. He knew not, where he was going, only that he was hungry and he needed something to eat. He did not notice the multitude of people going about their daily lives as he walked on in a hunger induced trance. It was, only when he stopped walking that he realised, that, he had, for some unknown reason, gravitated towards the board that proclaimed ‘SUBWAY’. Written across in block letters. He had never before been to ‘SUBWAY’, but decided in a split second to change that fact.

So, he walked on, hungry, but undaunted and unfazed, with newfound clarity and confidence that only the sight of food could bring about in a hungry man.

There were only two people eating at the time. A couple, sitting at a table in the far left corner. The girl was cute, he thought, but there were more immediate concerns at hand, and so, did not dwell on it further. He walked up to the counter, looked at the screen and thinking this was it, said in a voice packed with as much authority, as he could, in the state he was in, muster.

“One Paneer Tikka, please”.

To this, the waitress responded with a question (which in itself puzzled him, but he had long before learned to take things in his stride), that he didn’t quite understand.

Question: Bread?

Mind: Didn’t quite catch that! What did she say? Something about some bread?

Mouth: Sorry…. (Bends forward to hear better)

She repeated her question.

Question: Bread?

Mind: What??? Still not sure. Why is she asking for bread? Does she want to eat bread? Why does she want bread? What does she want bread for? Bread?! What kind of a question is that!

Mouth: Sorry! (Bends further forward)

Question: Bread? (Stone faced)

Mind: Plain perplexed. Absolutely gob-smacked. Note to self: The waitress is pretty!

No time for that. Idiot. Baka! Don’t know what to do? Hurry, point towards one!

Mouth: Umm…., this one. Parmesan Oregano.

Mind: Ooh… Fancy!

Question: Cheese & Toast?

Mind: What?

Wait, it’s cheese. Say yes!

Mouth: Yeah!

She picked up two slices of cheese, placed them on the paneer tikka, that she had previously deposited on the Parmesan Oregano bread and plopped it into the oven for about 10 seconds and brought it back.

Question: Veggies?

Mind: What’s wrong with this pretty lady? Doesn’t she know what to do? Is it her first time too? Why is she asking me all this? Hurry up and make me something, woman!

Start looking here and there.

Mouth: What?

Question: Veggies?

Mind: Just give me something already! Crying. Absolutely devastated by hunger, boredom and, exhaustion.

Mouth: Sorry…?

Question: All veggies?

Mind: Just give me food! Say yes. Yes to everything.

I want to eat….

Mouth: Yes.

She proceeded to put liberal helpings of lettuce, onions and tomatoes with a smattering of other vegetables that he probably wouldn’t have picked for himself.

Question: Sauces?

Mind: Sobbing in a corner. For the love of God, Woman, just give me something. Anything!

Mouth: All sauces. (In hindsight, a very bad choice)

She started putting on liberal helpings of what appeared to be different types of mayonnaise. Wait, that one looks spicy. By the time she was done, the sub was practically overflowing with sauce.

Question: Salt & Pepper?

Mind: Say no. If Sita had asked Ravana so many questions, he probably would have left without alms or Sita for that matter, or killed himself right there! Either way, Ramayana wouldn’t have existed.

Mouth: No.

Question: Meal?

Mind: Ahh…. Dawn of understanding. Everything makes sense. So this is where everything leads to. Go ahead. You know the answer to this one.

Mouth: Yeah! (Some of the old swagger was back)

He paid for it and sat down at one of the corner tables. Evidently, the couple had left at some point.

So, as he finally sat down with his sub, after the titanic struggle for it, he was a changed man. He now had a finer appreciation for food and even more so for the timely consumption of said food.

Some of the old swagger was back, but most of it gone, probably never to return.

He had never thought he would have to make a choice like this. Actually, he had never thought he would ever face the need to make a choice like this.

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