Life: Sharing Tables With Strangers
We’re road tripping for Nissan over the next few months, as you may know. On the weekend, we headed to a Farmer’s Market in Ballan, and then on to Ballarat for some lunch and op -shopping. Here we are going to Ballan. It only takes 48 seconds with this iSuper8 smart phone app and a bit of nifty editing in iMovie! Come along…!
So that was pretty nice. Did you like that drive? When we got there, we parked the car and bought 10 kilos of potatoes and some pumpkin and parsnip and things. Then we got coffees for the road and whizzed off to Ballarat. We were aiming for the market in the main street there, too, but we missed it by a whisker. Instead, we headed to the Salvation Army and found this amazing bowl we’d been wanting for an age. It was $4.99. OMG. Score! It’s a 1960s enamelware piece by Arabia Finel. It’s super collectable, so we jumped for joy when we had our mitts on it!
After that, we went to a little Indian restaurant near the station that Cam and Ari had been to before when they’d taken the train up to Ballarat for an adventure. The place is called Masala Valley and is a cafe and Indian grocer. There were a couple of tables for two and then one bigger table for four (there were three of us!) There was a man sitting at that table, so we asked him if we could share and he said ‘Of course!’ It’s funny that we did that, because in the city we would have grumpily pushed the two empty tables for two together. There’s something about a ‘country’ town that makes for nicer ‘country’ manners, I think.
So. We ate our lunch with this nice man. We didn’t even exchange names, but we talked A LOT. He told us that he was flying to India on Thursday to scatter his mother’s ashes. And he talked a lot about her and how wonderful she was. He told us that he was the second Indian resident of Ballarat, and that he had an English wife and they had been married for many years and had two children. He talked about Indian food and what they cooked at home and how he used to drive all over Australia, testing soils and doing other geological things for work. And he told us that he had lunch at this place most Saturdays.
We told him about our life, that we lived on a busy inner city street, that we liked to go in day trips, that we’d never been to India, but we loved to cook Indian food. That I was a writer and about our other kids. We listened when he talked about his Mother and talked about our own parents and their health and where they lived. He chatted to Ari and Ari chatted back cheerily. It was all a bit nice really.
He waited til we’d finished our meal and then got up and said his goodbyes. Even though he ordered and finished 15 minutes before us. Nice. Country manners. We left a little bit after him, lingering to look at the curry powders and buy some incense. And then we took this photo, because we didn’t know his name, but we wanted to remember to go back there on a Saturday if we were ever in Ballarat again.
Ah. See. Those are the kinds of things that happen when you get out of your usual groove.
I like it.
We went to The Mill Markets next, scouted a really cool pocket knife for Ari and resisted buying the nicest brown enamelware teapot I have ever seen (why did I resist?!) We drove home back into the sunset, listening to the radio murmur and thinking about the people we’d met and the places we’d been.
Don’t you want to get out of your groove? Do you like Indian food? Have you ever shared a table with a stranger?
PS : I forgot to tell you that the food was really good! The chai was especially delicious and Ari loved the butter chicken!