Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Twins

The restaurant owner smiled as he saw a couple of his regular customers walk in for dinner. He had always seen them come in together and had observed they conversed together happily, ate and left with a contended expression on their faces. The boy and girl were in their late teens, and seemed to be brother and sister – the resemblance was striking.

In order to maintain a level of consistency and understanding for their needs, he invariably assigned the same waiter to serve them. As he glanced towards them, he saw that the boy seemed agitated and the waiter was saying something to him. The girl placed her hand on his, and calmed him down. She then held the menu in her hand and said something to the waiter. The waiter nodded and came away. Once the waiter had conveyed the order to the kitchen staff, the owner spoke to him asking what the matter was.

“Well, one of the items the boy wanted isn't available today. He was irritated with that”, said the waiter.
“Oh, OK. The girl handled the situation very smoothly. I guess they are brother and sister. Do you know their names?”
“Well, they mentioned they were twins. I do not know their names though. Also they have paid in cash all the time, so there is no electronic receipt with their names either”.
“Sure..since they are regulars, we need to ensure they are satisfied and leave happy”.

After a few days, the boy came to the restaurant for dinner with 7 other friends. His twin sister was not accompanying him this time. The waiter quickly took their orders and served them quickly.

As time went by, after a few drinks, the group got to be boisterous. They were singing loudly, yelling and screaming. The owner grew to be worried, people at the tables close to this group were conscious and glared at them, clearly irritated. The owner was not sure what to do, after all he was dealing with a regular and loyal customer. He decided he would not intervene – after all it was a group of people having fun. Why come in the way? After a few minutes, two groups of people in adjacent tables quickly wrapped up their dinner, paid and left. As new people entered the restaurant, they were clearly taken aback by the noise. While some exited, preferring to find another place, a few persisted due to their general patronage of the place.

The manager was thoughtful. The boy was so much different at the times he came to the restaurant with his twin sister. What caused this change of behaviour – it was almost as if his twin sister was the balancing force in this boy's life. This was not a good night – some of the damage done would hurt for some time. The manager sighed – now starting to feel that he should have intervened and challenged the boy when the ruckus started.

He got up, determined to at least have a polite word with the boy so that this does not recur. As he walked towards the table, he saw that the group was done and the boy's friends were all walking away towards the door. The boy standing, was leaving a tip, and was ready to walk away.

The manager walked up to him and spoke “Quite a time you folks had”.
“Oh yes!”, replied the boy brightly “Our college term ended and a few of us decided to have fun”.
“Well you were very loud at times. Since you are regular, I let it be this time”, said the manager.
“Oh, were we?”, said the boy frowning.
“I have noticed you generally come here with your sister, isn't it?”, asked the manager.
“Oh yes! She is my twin and mostly insists on being around, but today I gave her the slip”, chuckled the boy.
“Ok!” said the manager shaking hands with the boy. “And what are your names?”
“I am Freedom” said the boy.
“Oh, and your twin sister?”, asked the manager.
“She is Responsibility”, replied the boy.

(Image from