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Pizza, politics, and world peace

A meal in distant Bristol in UK brings home the cost of war and a prayer for world peace.
Last Updated : 28 May 2024, 21:44 IST
Last Updated : 28 May 2024, 21:44 IST

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In the distant land of the UK, in the quaint colonial city of Bristol, a cool, chilly wind led us to an enticing pizza place for a quick bite of hot food to satiate our hunger. He welcomed us with open arms; his demeanour and distinct accent made us assume that he was Italian.

He was kind, as he seated us at a nice wooden table with a view to the outside. He embodied customer centricity, inquiring if each of us needed any hot brews to warm ourselves after coming in from the cold night. He handed us the menu and explained their signature items, guiding us through the options when we mentioned we were vegetarians. 

He addressed us as brothers and sisters, displaying deep courtesy. There was something about the contours of his face that I read as ‘friendly.’

Despite his tattooed arms and bulging muscles standing out from his tight white T-shirt—likely putting many bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts to shame—his tough exterior enveloped a soft interior.

He dashed around, serving the whimsical gastronomic needs of many while remaining affectionate. He breezed to our table to serve us drinks, including peppermint tea for me and my wife, despite it not being on the menu. Later, he paused to check in as his colleague set down our starters.

The pizza, accompanied by mushrooms and bruschetta, left a lasting impression on our taste buds. His expressions were captivating, and he did nothing to divert our attention from him. As we finished, he addressed me, “Brother, I hope you enjoyed our food and will come back again.”

As we all exited, I walked up to him and remarked, “Brother, you possess positive energy, which is infectious, and you did a fabulous job. Which place do you hail from in Italy?” He replied, “Brother, my older brother serves in the Ukrainian army. I just managed to safely move my mother and sister to the Netherlands. Anxious moments for me as the war continues.”

It’s been more than two years since the Russia-Ukraine war broke out, and yet, as politics would have it, there is no respite for the common man of those countries.

I was deeply moved by his positive facade, despite bearing anxiety and possibly grief deep in his heart. He hugged me as I put on my jacket while I remarked with true concern, “I shall pray for you and your family as we all aspire for world peace.”

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Published 28 May 2024, 21:44 IST

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