Saturday, September 15, 2007

Another strange job--Bombay

At Cafe Churchill, the young boy's job is to occupy a tight corner, right next to the door in this 10-table establishment, his head between the automatic coffee machine and the door's hinge.

The cashier--this restaurant has a dedicated cashier--sits at a rudimentary station with a computerized (more like an Atari console) till, though no metal drawer automatically shoots out upon "tender." No, he has an old wooden drawer, which suits him just fine, because he can open it whenever he likes, take out the thick stack of ten rupee notes and bang their edges into uniformity on his table's hidden, pull-out countertop extension. He puts the notes back in the drawer then pushes the drawer in. Then he pushes the extension shelf back into its slow.

Two seconds later, he pulls it back out. Rests his elbows on it. Looks at the little boy and beckons him. Send him on a task. I sit behind all this, amazed at the boy's tiny waist. Or maybe it's just the twice-wrapped around belt that gives this impression.

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