Four and a half years ago Hema and I started dating and one of the things we agreed on instantly was our love of food. We shared recipes and favourite dishes and so the obvious thing was to go to a really great restaurant for our first date. I of course told her how much I loved Indian cuisine and so the choice for a restaurant became even easier. We decided to go to a restaurant which was geographically in the middle from where we both lived. The restaurant was classy but also casual and the atmosphere was welcoming and family oriented. On the main wall there is a statue of a Hindu Goddess of Learning named Saraswathi. Absolutely beautiful statue that really sets the mood and says a lot about the owner. He is always looking to improve on his menu and with every dish the patron is always learning about the flavours and Indian culture. We sat at a table which was located just in front of the statue and we were facing the main door.
Back then I was quite neurotic, things had to be a certain way and I had to have them that way or I couldn’t be in that space. I remember telling Hema we had to sit on the same side of the table because I always liked having someone sit beside me. Not to mention I had to have this extremely gorgeous woman sit beside me. I sat down and examined the layout of the table. Went though my check list:
- Cutlery on the table, parallel to the side and straight (check)
- Napkins on the table, wrapped around the cutlery (check)
- The chairs were pushed into the table and were lined up in even order (check)
- Tables were clean and no streaks on the table from when the wait staff wiped. (check)
We sat down and I immediately opened the menu which the waiter handed to us. I remember telling myself to let her order first and she very eloquently recommended a mango lassi. Hema ordered the salt lassi. The waiter left to get our drinks and we looked over the menu. I remember telling Hema that I loved…LOVED butter chicken. But since it was our first date and I hadn’t eaten seafood in awhile, I order the shrimp dish with garlic naan. Being Hindu Hema ordered a vegetarian dish and made sure to order basmati rice for the both of us. I remember also that Hema had touched my knee 6 times with her right hand when we were talking. Back then I loved to count.
Hema and I ended up sharing very intimate moments of our life and we knew very quickly we had something special. I even tried an ice cream which I had never had before and it was outstanding. That date set the tone for our relationship. Even when the world revolves around us at a crazy speed, we always can slow done and appreciate just being us. That’s what the restaurant did for us. We went back again and I eventually did order the butter chicken and it was really good, but I have to tell you all, the butter chicken she makes at home is miles ahead of the one at the restaurant, or any other I have eaten. If you ever get the chance, ask her to make it, you will never forget it. This restaurant was so special to us that when Hema’s 50th birthday was coming up, I decided to share it with all our special friends and family. I reserved for 30 and convinced Hema that we were only going there to have lunch with our friends Amy and Brad. They love Indian food and Amy and I worked out the details during several breaks at work. I had every angle worked out. I made sure that I wasn’t involved in the planning and left it under the capable hands of Nagesh, he’s like a cousin or is a cousin, when someone is so close to you they are basically family. I had Shreya, Hema’s daughter, make the invite list and send them out. I didn’t want Hema even smelling the idea of a surprise party.
She was surprised. Oh boy was she ever.
Now I know what your thinking, gees this is such a sappy blog entry.
Yesterday a bomb was detonated in that very restaurant. There were families having dinner and celebrating birthdays. There were small children eating at the time. Wives were sharing news about family back home and who knows, maybe two people falling in love for the first time. Everyone was smiling and laughing and then in one second…
Two hooded men with their faces covered carrying a small package, which we know now was an IED (improvised explosive device) and purposely blew it up. In one second these idiots almost destroyed families. Luckily, no one has died. No note or message has been given. They haven’t had the courage to let us know why. We are left with so many questions.
This has really hit close to home for me and I am very angry. Not at those two cowards who thought they could end human life. I am angry at every single one of you that is reading this and every other Canadian citizen that holds life so sacred.
Roughly a month ago, Toronto went through a horrific event on Yonge Street. One man in a rented van decided to take out his revenge on innocent lives and killed 16 people and injured many others. We all as Canadians came together and stood together and identified that such actions could not be ignored. The Canadian media talked about this event for a solid week and interviewed witnesses and showed video footage. Canadians everywhere could only talk about what happened that unusually warm afternoon. I was so impressed with the mental fortitude of Canadians.
The bombing at the restaurant was mentioned as a news bit as if there was a bad accident on the highway. I don’t know how to be clearer. Two individuals built a bomb and then walked into a family restaurant and attempted to kill innocent people. This happened in a Canadian city. Why is this not in every media outlet 24/7? I’m not saying we should treat this as a terrorist attack or start talking about racism or some other sort of ideology. But let me just say this, every time you walk into a restaurant now in Canada, it could happen to you. This is the reality you live in now.
“Oh Ricardo, you are being so mellow dramatic.”
If you thought that, then you have no idea who I am and what I think with most things. I’m calling you out. Yes you!! You are naive and I can’t wait to say “I told you so”. Unfortunately, that is the ridiculous world we live in now. Why didn’t the media treat this with such vigor as the Toronto incident? Where is your outcry on social media? Why haven’t you sent out your prayers and empty platitudes to the Indian community? Where is your faithful commitment to rebuilding the restaurant? Oh, I know why…. brown isn’t your favourite colour. That’s right I said it. Maybe if the explosion left a small crater on the ground? Maybe if we saw small children with bloodied faces and limbs? Let me make this easier on you.
The fact that 2 strangers built a bomb and had the evil intent to kill in Canada, that should piss you off to no end. Let’s hope none of them live in your neighbourhood. What colour of skin do you have to be for your news media to care. Oh, are you offended now? Good, go fuck yourself.