Saturday, March 13, 2010

Human Touch

Ehsaan is busy overseeing the preparations this morning. No doubt he is ticking off in his mind all the important parameters including presentation, style & spread as his eyes go over the choice dishes of the day.

Introducing to you Ehsaan, the meticulous, young entrepreneur, in fact the most enterprising businessman I have ever met. To him, quality comes first, things like break-even and profit just incidental. He dons the many roles of Chief Accountant, Front Office Manager and Executive Chef, Kitchens at the Cafeteria, **** Office, Chennai.

The one thing that I missed to add in the preceding paragraph, albeit intentionally, was about the whole love and affection part. This bit definitely deserves a dedicated paragraph. And, also the surprises that are sprung on us in the form of ‘Dish of the day – Chef’s Special’. Let’s take them one at a time, or, perhaps, together, as a package.

So, we go up for tea at 11 in the morning. Everyone orders ‘Adhrak waali chai’s. I call for a lemon tea. You heard that right. We order for tea, having done away with robotic things like the vending machine. We, as a whole, completely believe in the mammoth impact of the human touch on everything including our morning tea. Getting back from that (this time quite) significant digression, once we place our orders, some heated discussions ensue in the kitchens. Out comes Ehsaan’s trusted envoy (whose name I do not remember now). He says, “Saab, adhrak nahi hai. Masala chai chalega?” Everyone at the tea table nods their head enthusiastically. Masala sounds far better than adhrak after all. And, then everyone gets their chai. I do not, at the same time as the rest. Remember, mine has a far more special ingredient than some chindi adhrak. After around 10 minutes in to the chai, the sandwiches arrive – Chise and Vag sandwiches (as they are spelt on the white board in the cafeteria). The other things on the board include Orinj Juce, Lemin Juse, Bel Pure and Samsa (optional dishes – dynamic on an hourly basis –that is why a white board and not a fixed menu – so on and so forth).

Digressions, digressions. Let’s focus. My colleague says, “Arey bhaiyya, yeh toh veg sandwich nahi hai. Sirf cheese hai andhar”, to which the envoy says (definitely ‘pyaar se’), “Saab, yeh hai na, tamatar. Toh veg sandwich hi hai saab.” He walks back, muttering to himself, am sure just these words, “How nice & accommodative (irritating) of these busy (jobless) guys. They just accept (complain & complain about) whatever is offered!” Trust me, he is a really sweet and nice guy, the best you can get around there.

15 minutes down. Everyone is done with their masala chai and respective sandwiches. My lemon tea is yet to arrive. I make a personal visit to the kitchen. “Bhaiya lemon chai kahan hai?” Ehsaan is luckily around. I am quite happy. He will take care now, being the budding, enthusiastic entrepreneur he is. “Madam, nimbu nahi hai.” I am dumbstruck. My colleagues chide me for having inconvenienced Ehsaan and his team by asking for lemon tea in the wee hours of the morning. That is apparently an afternoon delicacy. I go to my desk crestfallen.

Nevertheless, we, the shameless tea lovers return bang on at 3.30. This time, I do not ask for anything. Ehsaan personally makes sure that I get the best lemon tea around the place. Bina cheeni, mind it. I have by now given up trying to explain to these guys that I might be on a strict diet, but I am very particular about having enough and more sugar in my tea. Ehsaan and his mentees have much more pressing issues like presentation, style and spread on their minds. Not such operational issues like sugar and no sugar for them, no Sir.

These days, Ehsaan does not serve us personally any more. He handles only the premium guests, like partners, directors and other heads.

However, he has left us with a rich and experienced team, which follows to the 'T', his presentation style, diversity and more importantly, the spellings on the white board.

Footnote: I have never in my life missed a Vending Machine more than in the past 7 months. To hell with burnt out chais and the human touch!


impressionist said...

lol, wud like to read more on this.

Anonymous said...

Lolz.. Tho i hv always prefered tea from the local chai walas compared to vending machines as well as places like CCD or Barista

RK said...

Effects of Poor Customer Service!!!

Kavity said...

@ impressionist: thanks :)

@ vinayvasan: Yes, local chai-wallahs who prepare chai, not some sour potion!

@ RK: Customer? What customer? He is doing social service. Last heard, he was saying that he should actually charge us for these improvised 'chai's and only give the basic chai for free!

Shreya said...

Oh, I love the chai that my office serves. It's like 'maa ke haath ka khana' :P

Atul Garg said...

Ahsaan's Sandwiches!!

Atul Garg said...

you didn't mention anything about the cup of milk!

Kavity said...

@ S: You are mad!

@ Atul: Golden memories no doubt.. will give you dedicated footage kiddo.. how about "The beautiful saga of Milk man and you-know-who-from-London"? :D :D

saquib said...

"Raqeeb...ek aur" ;)...i love the way he understands our orders even without us telling explicitly... afterall our gang is the most loyal customer group...who have hazaar cribs about the chai and still have 2-3 chais daily.

Kavity said...

@ saquib: Totally man! My only happy memories from here, so to say :P