Smallish Sort of World

Funny coincidence happened a few weeks ago.

I was out and about in the market with mum, and we started feeling a bit peckish. So we slipped into the highly acclaimed, slightly overrated Cafe Madras for a quick lunch.

The place is so insanely popular that the tables have to be shared. That means, since there were just the two of us, and all the tables are four-tops, there were two young lads seated opposite us. They looked nice enough, and we carried on our conversation, and they did the same peaceably.

One of the waiters evidently recognised us, because he came up to us smiling, asking whether we would like to have a condiment we had had on a previous occasion. My mother nodded, and he brought a little bowlful to the table.

Granted it was little more than a tablespoon, but this was what is commonly known as gunpowder. I will refrain from carrying the metaphor forward to its logical conclusion, and leave the contemplation of location and exit of the (metaphorical) cannon ball to your imagination.

My mum wasn’t about eat all of it, so she offered it to the boys in front of us. This little gesture probably signalled that we were not stuck up or averse to mild interaction. And thus, a conversation started.

One of the guys was doing most of the talking, and most of it addressed to me. We exchanged small talk along the usual lines: what do you do; do you come here often; where to you work; etc. It just so happened that he was a software engineer at a startup. I laughed a bit, because of course he was. I told him that I was in that world till 6 months ago, and he must have heard of ParserPile.

He had. In fact, one of his colleagues was from ParserPile. When I asked him which startup he worked for, I was pleasantly surprised to learn its name. Let’s call it VaGaTor.

A good friend from ParserPile works at VaGaTor, so I knew who the colleague in question was. And then I uttered the fateful words: “Have you gotten used to his PJs yet?” [Aside: ‘PJ’ in India is slang for ‘poor joke’. I wasn’t referring to his nightwear.]

To my surprise, the guy did a double take. “What?!” he exclaimed. “But he is the one who complains the first, loudest, and longest about any joke cracked in the office.”

My turn to do the double take. “But he cracked the worst jokes at our shared table! In fact, I created a classification system, where the lowest bar, beyond which jokes are mere statements, were his level: JH-level jokes!” I responded.

The look of sheer, unadulterated glee that dawned slowly over his face was priceless.

The next day, I receive this from the friend:

joke-levelSo not sorry.

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