This guy's presence, though annoying, is helpful in a way because these days, I'm in no mood to go through that trial-and-error thing we usually have to do with cafetaria food (taking a bit of whatever looks eatable, hoping that something would turn out to be good), and if this guy's around, I know for a fact that the food will be shitty, except probably for the rice and curd (which no one can possibly screw up, even me), and so I restrict my lunch to just these.
I usually avoid talking to the guy, not because I might end up being rude to him, but because I might feel bad about it later (I too am, after all, a nice guy... ha ha) and the last thing I need, looking at the current state of things, is this feeling (I even put up with my friends these days... ask them and they'll tell you how unusually tolerant and quiet I've become of late).
Anyway, this guy has this particular way of doing this feedback thing. He stands at his 'post' like a bouncer in a discotheque, hands folded, scanning the expressions of people coming out, and anyone with an expression betraying even the tiniest sign of displeasure, he closes in on them and asks them for their feedback. All this, with an extremely humble look on his face.
Last week was no different. He was standing there as usual, doing his routine, when I came out after lunch with my trademark blank expression, and he must have sensed something unusual about this, for he stopped and asked me, with an honest, innocent tone (like the one employed by Kindergarten kids while acting in one of those Annual Day things, where everyone plays a goddam vegetable or animal and steps forward to talk two lines or something in an honest-as-hell tone) and this real earnest look on his face (his last name's probably Hemingway or something... ha ha):
Him: Sir, was the food good? Did you like it?
Me: It was pretty bad.
The sly bastard then changed his expression from 'extremely humble' to 'extremely surprised', as if he was representing the best catering service in the whole goddam world, where they employed world-class, highly-paid food tasters or something, and were always used to setting a benchmark of excellence for their other competitors, and the goddam chefs had this healthy competition amongst themselves and strove to surpass each other everyday, thus improving the quality of food and therefore delighting the customer all the time.
Him (with same expression, but shaking his head slightly, probably from disbelief): What was wrong, sir? We would like to improve.
Me: The rice was not cooked fully, the curd was ok (you probably bought it from somewhere outside), and there was more garam masala than yam in the yam thing.
Him: Oh. What about the others?
Me: I didn't eat anything else, but judging by the expression on other peoples' faces, I'm pretty sure they were bad too.
To his face already displaying surprise, he then proceeded to add on expressions of injured pride, regret, resignation, anger (on being let down by his world-class chefs and food-tasters... he was probably gonna sack the entire bunch of bastards that very evening, judging by all the contortions he made with his face), and determination.
Him: Tomorrow, you see, sir. You will definitely like the food.
Me (dropping the red coin into the feedback box): Yeah let's see.
Needless to say, the food sucked the next day too...