Sunday, February 21, 2010

Saj for the soul

After a few bad experiences with hummous at various places around Bangalore, I have steered clear of Arabic food here. But a Lebanese restaurant in easily accessible Indiranagar that also serves shisha is too hard to resist. It proves to be worth the risk. Mezzeh is a lovely wooden-roofed bit of Beirut on top of a building in Bangalore. The impression is heightened by the fact that the roof next door contains a giant bird cage, bird room really, full of parakeets and hung with little clay pots, and the one behind contains a table tennis table. The hummous and labneh are good. The music is Arabic Lounge. The boy preparing shishas over there is clearly Egyptian. The excellent shisha bears witness to this. Most tellingly, other Arabs are eating here. Sitting here with the treetops and esoteric roofs of Indiranagar before you, it feels as if the sea is right there beyond that line of coconut palms.

It seems I turned native at some point in the 10 years I spent in the Middle East. I blame Oman. And my Lebanese colleagues in Dubai. Mezzeh made me at first tearful and then retrospective.

After an hour of sitting here, I know it’s not so much the Middle East I miss, but the person I was then. I miss the absolute trust in the eyes of those who handed me briefs, the confidence with which I took them. I feel the lack of daylight on my desk, in every sense. I’m glad I don’t have to deal with the troughs of a high pressure job but I could do with some of the highs. Surely I’m too young to not have highs at work? And life is probably too short to allow yourself to be eroded by the long-distance politics of the outsourcing industry to a point where a plate of hummous makes you emotional. I think that as an exercise in root-cause analysis, the hour was well spent!

One thing about Mezzeh, though: it’s expensive.


Gautam said...

Considering the gunk that so often passes for hummus outside the Middle East, I'd be pretty emotional as well about finding a passeable plate of it!

オテモヤン said...


Mrs.Shandekar said...

I misread 'root-cause" in the last sentence as "root-canal" and thought to myself what an apt description of workplace.

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