The Outsider’s Guide to Dillistan: Eating out

Tip #4 – What to do in any local eatery (that’s not a dhaba)

As soon as you saunter* over to a table, summon** a member of staff over, sternly look them in the eye, and in a dismissive tone, grunt one single word:  Volume.

If you voice this correctly, the staff will instantly transform from being sullen, I’m-doing-you-a-favour-by-not-spitting-in-your-food-in-front-of-you minions of sloth into fawning, speed-of-light attendees.

And this is because they will now believe that you are a true Dillistani, and not some foolish out-of-towner.

And that is because you will have passed The Sound Test.

As any Dillistani knows, every cafe, tea-room, bistro, pub, lounge-bar, or restaurant will blare really bad music at sonicbooM! volume, regardless of the time of day and regardless of how many customers there are.  Because, as Serious Research has discovered, when people are exposed to really bad music played at really high decibels for more than 15 minutes***, it interferes with and eventually cancels out the brain-waves that people use to make sensible decisions.

A non-Dillistani, already petrified by tales of how people in the city shoot and stab others when requested to do something logical or sane or humane, will never dream of mentioning to the staff that their eardrums are now bleeding****.  Which immediately identifies them as outsiders who can now be conned into ordering the highest-margin, least-ordered, microwaved-from-frozen dishes on the menu.  And order thus the poor saps will, as by now their brain patterns will have slowly melted and drained away (a process that has the added side-effect of entertaining the staff, as the customers accurately impersonate the ninth Earl of Emsworth*****).


To fully – and successfully – carry out the charade, five minutes after having issued your demand, you will then summon the staff over and order them to turn the volume back up.  This is extremely crucial.  Because a true Dillistani would never stand for namby-pamby background music, and would demand jor, shor, and all of it more.

If the staff are not convincedof your credentials even after Stage 2, insist they play ‘Exotic’.  They will need no further proof.

* A true Dillistani walks everywhere like they own the place.  And the business. And the souls of everybody who works there.  Or has worked there.  Or has visited there.  Or even looked at it.
** When you own all their souls, you don’t beckon, you summon.

*** The minimum amount of time required to look through a menu, discuss your options, attract the attention of the staff, place an order, change three items from the order, reinstall the original items, cancel the original order and ask for something totally different.
**** Leave aside suggesting that perhaps the reason people enter a coffee shop is to have a leisurely conversation in a relaxing environment.
***** Based on the entire conversation comprising of frequent repetitions of “Eh? What what? What?”