Paperback Raita

Pass the yoghurt please. And the lip balm.

In America, whenever a shop closes, it is invariably replaced by a Starbucks, I know this to be true because I saw it on the Simpson’s. However, in Tooting, south-west London, whenever a shop closes down, it is invariably replaced with an Indian restaurant.

I’m mentioning this because I was just out getting some bits ‘n pieces and noticed that the last independent proper Italian pizza parlour has closed down, the green, white and red outside décor is now gone and it’s now red all over and sporting some Asian name that I can’t get my Irish tongue around.

We still have the chain Pizza Huts and Dominios pizza but after eating proper hand made pizza’s for the last 20 years I just can’t eat the chain muck. So we have ermm David Wongs Chinese restaurant and ermmm that’s about it, apart from a zillion Indian restaurants.

I’m not complaining too much but there are certain ramifications to living in a Pizza/Pasta/Thai/French/Vietnamese/Japanese free zone; number one is that there is no know curry available today that I, or my rear end, can’t handle, I know that’s not really going to get me a job anywhere so putting that on a CV isn’t really going to help – unless of course I apply for chief curry tester at Pataks, a role I seem to have been preparing for during the last 25 years in London, but the other thing is that most of these Indian restaurants are not staffed by Asians but by Polish waiters. This is because of second generation effect, the first generation worked in the family restaurant but the second generation went to University and are lawyers, doctors or increasingly, accountants, so getting someone to work in the family restaurant is becoming difficult. Now when I use my slang Gujarati in the restaurants I just get blank stares.

I was at an Indian restaurant the other night and thought I would try out some of my old Gujarati on the staff there but same thing, maybe it’s the Irish accent, so to check I told them a few of my Indian jokes, what’s the top five songs in the New Delhi charts these days?

Poppadum Preach – Madonna
Tikka Chance On Me – Abba
I Don’t Want To Dansak – Eddie Grant
Jalfrezi Jalfrezi Nights – Kiss
Things Can Only Get Bhuna – D:Ream

The bloke behind the counter laughed (but didn’t give me any discount) and I’m thinking of taking my act elsewhere!  Paperback Raita – Beatles, didn’t even do it but at least I got a smile out of him but he did tell me this funny story. A customer kept asking him to turn the air conditioning up and down every half an hour because he was either too hot or too cold, and this went on for the entire meal, he walked back and forth and adjusted the temp controller in the back, and remained calm and never once got angry. So eventually another customer asked him why didn’t he just throw the pest out. To which he replied “Oh, I really don’t care or mind, we don’t actually have an air conditioner…” Teeheehee

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