Wing Man Chicken

He sat in front of me. My view of him was slightly clouded by the steam arising from the cups of dudh chiya on the white-surfaced table. Puffs would rise up, twirl around, and then disappear into thin air.

He took a drag from a Surya cigarette. After taking his time to churn the smoke in his mouth and he exhaled it, ceasing to produce even a soft sound. His hand reached the ashtray where he tapped his cigarette twice in quick succession.

“I love looking at the menus of restaurants to find out if there are any mistakes on the names of food items,” he spoke first. “There is something alluring about it, I think. Books barely have mistakes but menus – I wonder why they never hire a second eye to go through the names again.”

“That’s an interesting thought,” I said as my hands curled around the cup handle.

His eyes were already scanning the one-page menu. “See, I found one. They spelt paneer as ‘panner’. That’s an easy one to fix.”

I took the cup to my mouth.

“And here’s another one. Wing man chicken. I don’t know if it is a mistake but what’s a wing man chicken?” he asked rhetorically.

I took a sip. I did not have an answer. He did. “Maybe the couple is supposed to eat the chicken wings and then the wingman will eat the wing man chicken.”

I put the cup down.

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