One of the tenets I was raised with is honesty. Borderline brutal honesty, if I am accurate. I wasn’t always able to strictly adhere to the very letter of honesty, I am now a truthful person.
Thanks to being a less-than perfect human being, I tend to be forgiving of other people’s foibles, even if I find their behaviour repugnant on occasion. That being said, there are some people who give off the strongest red flags because of said behaviour.
When I had just joined ParserPile, I was the only female in a sea of testosterone. (Omg. Ew. Moving on quickly.) A week later, the whiniest excuse of a human being joined the team. She was the only other female, so she latched on to me almost immediately. I wasn’t particularly thrilled to be co-opted in this fashion, but I have a kind streak on occasion.
We spent our lunches together, and thus ended up exchanging life stories in order to get to know each other better. She went to school and college in Pune, and thinks of the city as home. I went to college there too, and I am very fond of the city. Naturally, we ended up knowing a few places in common.
Then, this story followed.
One fine afternoon, we were talking about food. I tend to do that a lot. She is incredibly picky about food, but we both managed to agree that chocolate and cheese sandwiches were a delight. We also agreed upon this tiny hole-in-the-wall joint in Pune, on Senapati Bapat road, had the best ones.
She then proceeded to tell me that she has befriended the owner, and begged him for the recipe. Of course, the man refused. It was his secret sauce, literally, and he wasn’t going to tell anyone. From her account, he did say this quite nicely. She persisted, and he refused. Finally, she gave up.
Then, one fine day, she was moving back to her father’s house in Mumbai. She went to the man, and spun an elaborate saga of how she was moving to the US, because her father was getting her married off. She was unlikely to be back in Pune for years to come, and she would miss his sandwiches terribly. If he told her how to make them, she swore not to reveal the recipe to anyone. And so, he told her.
This tale was heinous enough for me to freeze into a block of ice. She must’ve taken my stony silence for admiration because she then proceeded to narrate the recipe to me.
Wow. Just wow.