Reading things I wrote years ago generally makes me cringe: I hate reading my old diaries! But I'm kind of fond of this piece, so I've posted it here without any editing. There's very little exaggeration, and as far as I remember, the dessert items have been described quite accurately. I'm glad I haven't started caring about my weight enough to start counting calories yet: I am going to go eat a lot of chocolate now. :)
I was spending a couple of weeks of July in Bangalore with my family. We were going shopping everyday, I had bought enough clothes to (hopefully) last me for the rest of the year, and the weather was perfect. And to top it off, Papa had just announced that we would be going to the Leela Palace, the best hotel in Bangalore, for lunch. What more could one want??
We were driven to the Leela in a Lancer (not a limousine, but nearly good enough) provided by Papa’s company. All dressed in the best clothes we could find, we entered the truly royal looking doors of the Leela Palace. The corridors were lit dimly by chandeliers, the huge French windows were hung with crimson satin, and the sweeping staircases reminded me of the castle in ‘Beauty and the Beast’. The passage had several doors leading into various restaurants, one Indian, one Chinese, one Italian, and a coffee house. None of us were in the mood for a quiet, dignified Indian lunch, or for Chinese, and my proposition of eating Italian was outvoted, so we chose to go to Citrus, the coffee house, for our lunch.
We were seated out in the sun by black clad waiters and duly given the menus. After carefully scrutinizing the menu, I decided to go for the lunch buffet. The rest of my family followed suit. I went inside to inspect the rows of dishes for the buffet which were laid out on several tables. There were curries, and pies, and some kind of Thai soup, and a lot of bread and salad. But what I was interested in were the desserts. Sugar and sweets have always attracted me, and needless to say, the sight of the mouth-watering, delicious-looking, chocolatey desserts set out on a counter, all ready for me to eat, made me completely forget about the rest of the lunch. I picked up a plate, and began helping myself to a piece of everything that I could fit.
A piece of the most delectable chocolate cake, which looked as if it would simply melt in my mouth, was the first on the plate. A large helping of chocolate pudding, all soft and gooey, and a big, fat chocolate-and-sugar coated doughnut went after the cake, followed by a piece of cheesecake smothered in sauce. A collection of small wine glasses containing chocolate mousse and what looked like jelly were standing beside the cheesecake, and one was cruelly separated from its companions, its contents soon to enter my stomach.
My mother appeared on the scene just as I was trying to decide whether or not to heap a piece of chocolate and banana pie onto the tiny white space I could still see on my plate, and looking scandalized, sent me to our table to “kill myself eating all that chocolate”. Looking around, I realised that there were several waiters observing my actions with austere, disapproving expressions frozen on their faces. Blushing, I fled from the scene, carrying my plate, to eat my way through heaven in peace.
My parents adamantly refused to believe that I could finish that huge helping by myself, but believe me, not only did I finish it, I went for more. By the time the bill was presented to us (by one of those judgmental waiters), my mother was crimson with embarrassment, my father amused with the proceedings, my sister regarding me with some awe, and I had successfully managed to drown myself in chocolate for the first, and probably the last time, of my life.
I checked my weight when we finally returned to Kanpur three days later. It had increased by two kilos, and even my friends were insisting that I had gained weight. It was not exactly a perfect ending for my Day in Heaven, but that experience was definitely worth every gram of those two kgs, and every word of teasing that I had to endure from my friends for the next two weeks!