After being subjected to pathetic mess food for the last year and a half, I have finally come to believe that every hostel mess takes a pledge. A pledge to subject its subscribers to the tyranny of bad tasting food, day after day. Each mess worker raises his right hand and says the following, with pride:
I, take the solemn responsibility of feeding students with the food items that I have washed, cut and cooked with my own hands. With this food, I promise to give strength to these students. Strength to endure the most hostile conditions on this planet, or any other. I will showcase all my cooking skills, only in my wildest dreams. I will behave in the most lax manner ever, when in the kitchen. I will treat the market produce as if it is worth nothing.
I pledge allegiance to my boss, the mess contractor, and commit myself to serve his interest. I will try my best to make as much money for him as I can. I shall achieve this by making poha every morning for breakfast. Then, I shall put as less milk and as much water in tea and coffee. My dal will float in water and my vegetables will be devoid of masala. On every Friday, we shall innovate. With whatever is leftover of the week, we will attempt a fusion and call it Veg. Rajwadi. Because I have a well full of one gravy, I will use the same gravy in six different vegetable varieties. When students are giving exams, I will make sure that they miss home food. As badly as they can. No, exams are not enough to make them feel vulnerable. I shall encourage students to go out and eat, or order food to save time, and themselves.
Only once in a blue moon, should it be very critical, I should behave rationally and cook edible food. Where my rice is freshly boiled and destarched and there is visible difference between roti and paratha. But I shall be completely unpredictable and keep the students guessing about such a day. I shall make a good sweet dish and give the students an extra serving of that limited chicken. The students shall live, or rather die, everyday, at my will and mercy.