When you’re the only white guy at a very Indian restaurant

Chris and I met his best friend at a relatively new Indian restaurant called Vel Restaurant & Cafe in the Carrum Downs suburb of Melbourne today for a quick Christmas Eve lunch during his lunch break (it was actually our second time eating here this trip, as Chris’s aunt and uncle introduced us to this South Indian restaurant last week when we saw them – the dosa here is delicious!). He got there earlier than we did and sat at a table that was apparently dirty, covered in crumbs and food from the previous diners who were at the table. When we arrived and he got up to greet us, a worker immediately noticed and came over to clean the table he was sitting at. Chris’s friend laughed, saying, “Wow, so I was sitting here for at least 15 minutes on my phone and never got looked at, yet as soon as CJ comes in and he’s a brown person, the table magically gets cleaned! That’s service!”

Chris’s best friend is a white Australian, clearly a minority in this very crowded and busy Indian restaurant full of Indian families with their children, in addition to this massive birthday party of a very large extended Indian family celebrating in the back of the restaurant. It was a bit comical to see the “reverse racism” that he experienced today as a white person in a predominantly white person. He took it all in stride and laughed about it with us, though. He knew the food was going to be good, so he sucked it up. Plus, Chris was his brown “majority” savior and would make sure he got his food.

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