I am happy for the members of the CCI that the strike in their very prestigious club has ended. Some time back, when I was invited there by a member for a drink, the situation was a little confusing.
A young lady was taking orders at the bar, so, I told my host: “I see, you have got barmaids here. It is a very good idea, Willingdom should also go in for them.”
My friend said: “That is not a barmaid, that is the daughter of the director of Hindustan Lever. She is helping us out during the strike.”
A man came and placed potato chips and wafers on the table. “Thank you, waiter,” I said.
“That is not a waiter,” my friend said, “that is the general manager of TISCO. We take it by turns to serve the members and their guests, today it is the turn of the general manager of TISCO to serve potato chips and peanuts and of the general manager of CEAT Tyres to serve ice and soda.”
“All very democratic, that’s nice, the Bombay Gym. Should also introduce it,” I said.
A woman came and carefully cleaned our table and emptied the ashtrays. “Thank you my dear,” I said.
“Don’t ‘dear’ her,” my friend said, “she is the marketing manager of Zodiac Apparels. Two evenings a week, alternate weeks, she comes here and helps us out.”
A man who looked like the oldest waiter in the world and who should have retired years back and gone to his home in Goa, took our order for friend fish and sauce tartare. “What an elderly waiter!” I said.
“But surely you recognise him!” my friend said. “That’s not a waiter, that is A. F. S. Talyarkhan, our oldest member. And don’t discuss cricket or racing or our performance at Seoul or in the hockey World Cup when he is serving, he loses his temper.”
The fish was nice, so I told Mr. Talyarkhan to please pass on my compliments to the chef in the kitchen.
“What chef and what kitchen!” Mr. Talyarkhan said. “The wives of the chairmen of Larsen and Toubro, Voltas and Garware Paints are cooking the food at their residences and sending to the club.”
I went to the toilet and I found three men in jeans and T-shirts swabbing the floors etc. So when I came back and told my friend that his toilet attendants were well dressed, he said: “They are not toilet attendants, they are junior executives of Hongkong Bank, Junior executives of each bank in turn wash the toilets, senior executives clean the other rooms.”
My friend had to stay back at the club as it was his turn to wash the dishes. So, as I was leaving, he told me: “You may ask the watchman ot get you a cab, but don’t tip him. He is Mr. Vinod Doshi of Premier Automobiles.”