I remember going to a creperie in Grenoble a few years ago – an important part of my French experience. I was in a large group of Indians for once, and soon after we had placed our order, our delicious lunch was served to us.
And then, there was a power cut.
We were surprised, but power cuts are not such a new experience for us. Particularly since we were out for lunch and not dinner, we calmly continued to eat, merely commenting on how bizarre it was for this to happen to us in France.
What drew our attention away from the food before us though was everything else that happened. The reactions of people all around us were priceless! The people in the restaurant were astounded that something like a Power Cut could possibly take place. They came to us and apologised for the inconvenience. “What inconvenience?” I wanted to ask, amused at the waiter’s bewilderment.
A candle was placed on our table, and we actually laughed out loud then. In the middle of the afternoon, what was the poor candle doing there in bright sunshine?
Restaurant-owners met one another on the pavement outside and made wild gestures of helpless confusion. What could they do? What had happened? What could they do? Why had it happened? What could they do?
The whole drama lasted all of ten minutes, but at the end of those ten minutes, I could practically taste relief in the air.
The waiter, finally overcoming the stress of an uncontrollable situation, came back to our table and apologised once again. “Now, it is possible for us to make dessert,” he announced, smiling.