September 15, 2015 12 Comments
Stranger things I have known. Some skills one is born with and it surfaces in strange places. Others one acquires along the way. In this case, Sharif of Rahim Yar Khan, spending his years in Madina, seems to be a born omelette maker.
Now, I should not really be writing in the middle of my Hajj trip, but I just could not resist it. My Hajj proper begins later, when I go down to Makkah for Umra; therefore this seems a reasonable opportunity. For those who can afford it and have not yet done their Hajj, I strongly recommend it. It will plant your feet on the ground and give you a reality check. We realise quickly how we are insignificant as individuals.
Just for Madina (Prophet [saw] place of burial), I shall note for the record. What a place! Nationalities galore, noisy, caring, alive all day. People live together under Allah’s banner and seem to have one purpose, to worship him. Wish it could be like that all the time.
Madina Al-Shaza, is a hotel very near gate 22 of the Prophet (saw) mosque ( one of the busiest gates). Easy to stay in and the food is good. Though one is not thinking about food these days. Its a popular spot and during Hajj days occupancy is full. Breakfast time is very crowded, as the full force of the pilgrims descend on the restaurant. They manage, but require speed and clever logistics.
I state this next sentence to clarify the unusual rather than to boast. In thirty two years of working and traveling, I must have stayed in over a hundred five star hotels, in different places in the world. Never have I seen the omelette process working the way this man Sharif handles it. Its absolutely brilliant. At any one time he is able to accommodate eight omelettes. Which, from experience of watching, is 3 or 4 multiples of what others can do. On both sides of the frying board, he would sprinkle, the common additives. These would be onion, tomato and capsicum. Then he would ask the people queuing for individual preferences. These could be olives, mushrooms, cheese etcetera. He would address these preferences and then a quick splash of oil and we are on our way. A minute of frying and he would pour the omelette mix on top of the additives and condiments. Sharif wields his two spatula, like two swords and shapes the omelettes all the time. He chops and folds the omelettes and cooks them just so right. In the end, the last request is salt and pepper, which he shall sprinkle on the cooked omelette according to individual preferences.
Sharif has obviously got a razor sharp memory, as he is able to accommodate each guest according to their requirement, simultaneously without errors. I confess, I have never seen such an innovative and efficient omelette process. Plus, in the middle of the frying board Sharif will continue to fry individual eggs according to requests. All this mixed with a soft smile and a pleasant demeanour. You cannot ask for more. Very enthused to meet Sharif, the omelette maker, in the bosom of the city of the Prophet (saw).