I thought of this funny incident this morning and had a strange urge to blog it right away.
During our road trip from Mumbai to Mount Abu (about 750 kms) for 2012 New Year, we stopped at quite a few places (considering I am the only driver and my friend couldn’t resist blowing away 5 Rupees every few hours). As soon as we entered Rajasthan state border, we stopped at a typical village road side tea stop, where they had these nice setup of rope beds for travelers and truckers to take rest by stretching their legs.
My wife and my friend were inside the car and I went to the shop owner and said "Dho Chai please" (Two teas please). And the shop owner who was half-asleep (considering it was about 11pm), asked me casually "Bull?". I, for one, thought he was asking something in Hindi and being SO fluent in the language, gave a blank stare and repeated "Dho Chai please", this time a little slower.
He nodded his head and again asked "Bull?" By then, I was a little frustrated as I was expecting to order the teas quickly and run towards the rope bed since I have seen those only in movies and wanted to try it badly. I asked him "Chai nahi hai kya?" (you don’t have tea?) and he answered "hai na" (Yes, we have!). I said "Ok, then dho chai chaahiyae" (Ok then, we want two teas).
As if saying it for the first time, he then repeated "bull?" I thought "what the fuck" and looked at my sleepy head friend and my wife. Thinking I'm having some kind of small talk, they both didn’t bother. Probably they felt too cozy inside the car or probably having fun at my attempted "Hindi-conversation"!
I looked around for help and the shop owner’s son came for respite. He came and tried explaining the word "Bull" by taking a coffee cup and pointing at the brim of the cup. I had no clue of what he was trying to say.
The rope bed seemed like a distant dream. I took a deep breath and told him "hum ko dho chai chaahiyae, aur kuch nahi" (We want two teas, nothing else). Both of them asked in unison "Bull?" I totally lost it and said "Yes, bull!" out of frustration. They smiled and the shop owner started making the tea.
I couldn’t figure what exactly happened or why I spent so long trying to ask for just tea. By then, my friend got out of the car and we settled in the rope bed. And I explained the "bull" episode to my friend (who by the way speaks Hindi very well) and he said he hasn’t heard of that word either.
Shortly, the shop owner came with two cups, two saucers and a kettle. He gave us both the cups, then the saucers and made sure we held them in the proper 'cup and saucer' fashion. Then he started pouring the tea and when my cup was full, he continued pouring. I said "Yeah, this is fine". He did not listen and continued pouring. By then, the tea was overflowing onto the saucer. I raised my voice and said "yeah, I'm good I'm good Thank you". He didn’t stop until the saucer was full too and one more drop, the tea would have overflown to my pants. And then he stopped and smiled.
He then moved on to my friend and repeated the ritual. He then walked away with satisfaction. Just then, I realized by "Bull", he meant "Full". Oh Fuck! He had been saying something in English all the while. Had I known this, I would have said "Definitely No Bull ". The moment we realized this, we just couldn’t control our laughter. Trying not to offend the shop keeper, we were suppressing the laughter. When you do something like this, you only end up laughing more.
With the tea being piping hot, we knew even the slightest shake would result in our laps ending up with third degree burns, but we were laughing uncontrollably. Finally, I ended up spilling quite a lot of tea on the floor before I could stop laughing. In a way, I made sure the tea was no longer "Bull" before I took my first sip. The tea was unarguably great though.
It was quite an experience and from them on, every single tea shop we stopped, we made sure we didn’t ask for tea or coffee that was ever "Bull" in Rajasthan!