A memorable trip out for lunch in the times of Covid

Sep 18, 2021 11:22 PM IST

As I waited someone behind me came up and asked me: “Are you single?”

The author Sambhavna Dhawan Khanna is a dentist based in New York City. Want to contribute? Write to us at

A still from The Graduate
A still from The Graduate


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It was my day off from work, wearing my homemaker hat on those days: cooking, cleaning, babysitting, cooking, cleaning, babysitting and the cycle repeats for the next 24 hours ending with screaming, getting exhausted, feeling unkempt… so it was with this overtime, unpaid, not so gratifying second job that I had.


Like a lot of other off days my daughter was fussing over having lunch, so I decided to drive down with the kids to a popular local bakery that served soups and sandwiches.

The harsh summer sun was not something I really looked forward to; contrary to what the locals in town preferred; I somehow always ended up with a headache and bad skin on those days.

Well, anything for my 6-year-old fussy eater to have lunch, would be a feat, even if it meant lugging the baby, his stroller, baby bag and toys – practically their entire room on 4 wheels – along. We walked into the cafe, almost knew what to order, Nushi’s favorite tomato soup and baguette with chocolate milk.


We sat at the table. The place was busy considering it was lunch hour. As our buzzer beeped, I asked my daughter to go and get the food; trying to get her to learn. My daughter walked Johnny head in air, nudging one of the servers with her hand while looking towards me saying ‘’she asked me to get our food’’ and ran back. I got up walking towards getting my order from the lady across the counter while the kids waited eagerly at the table. 

As I waited someone behind me came up and asked me: “Are you single?” 

Woah. What just happened?

 I looked surprised, perplexed, reminded me of the lost emoji icon. 

With a flustered yet polite expression smilingly, I said no. I picked up the salad bowl, and the guy said he would bring the rest for me at the table. It was a strange feeling. Someone asking a mom of two loud kids if she was single? Oh, I was having a Mrs. Robinson moment. The song wouldn’t stop playing in my head. Aaah!


He was a young guy in his 20s. Possibly a college student working there. Was he blind or stoned? What was wrong with people? Was there a dearth of girls (or should I say pretty ones) post covid that guys needed to ask out women with kids. Not that I was against the trend, but just kind of strange for a young guy to ask me. 

Maybe I shouldn’t overanalyse told myself, it’s ok.

Maybe I was suddenly too hot for some people to observe anything conspicuous around me; not even the obviously noisy little devils.

Or maybe he thought I was their aunt (my younger sister) or a babysitter.

Hmm or possibly I had gotten younger and more attractive after all. Who says people get sloppy after having 2 kids? Not unless you’re a firm believer of holistic health and have good genes after all. Might have been the stay-at-home subconscious relaxation due to the day off. This was all starting to feel good. Why not enjoy and bask in the glory of the compliment.


Yes! I guess all those smoothies and salads I made long time back also were paying back despite it being a brief 1-week detox diet followed by chole bhature. No effort goes waste, even if it was a year ago.

Yeah, time to celebrate with a pizza, I guess! He came over at our table and kept our sodas and sandwich. I smiled at him apologetically. Like sorry but no. Or I wish I was 10 years younger. He smiled back too.Whatever it was I wouldn’t deny I felt flattered for someone in the last of her thirties. It was indeed a fun day. The food had a price, but the feeling was priceless.


Suddenly my thoughtfulness was broken by the loud wail of my 8-month-old because he was stuck in the stroller way too long for his patience. He kind of seemed upset since we didn’t order anything for him. And as he howled my 6-year-old announced to the people seated around that it was because he had a bugger in his nose. Oh… why would she say that… classic Anoushka… people turned back to stare at me as if I’d gotten a sick infant with a flu out with me. Yes, yes people, I know the COVID paranoia. I’m one of those people myself, I thought to myself. Embarrassingly I hustled back into my car and zipped back home lugging my two little persistent companions.

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