It was many years ago that I had answered an ad for a job in a large city, and was granted an interview. When I arrived, I discovered that they wanted someone much younger (and this was 20 years ago), but they said they'd give me the job until they could find someone more suitable. After the interview, it was late, and a Hindu Brahmin (just so no one thinks it was a Whitehall or Boston Brahmin) was ordered to take me to dinner. He was a young, very junior member of the organization, since I wasn't important enough for anyone else to take me to dinner.
The Brahmin said he would watch me while I ate. He was a very thin young man, and he looked very hungry.
I can't eat with hungry people watching me. If I'm in a restaurant and see homeless, hungry people watching me through the window, my first choice is to ask the waiter to draw the blinds. My second choice is to get a doggy bag and eat at home. My last choice is to order the cheapest thing on the menu and ask the waiter to take it out to them. So I asked why I'd be eating while he sat there staring hungrily at me.
'They ordered me to take you to a chop house, but I am a Hindu, and I cannot eat anything there, so I will just watch you, but don't mind me, enjoy your meal.'
'Where do you eat?'
Fortunately, he was young and still unmarried, so he didn't say, 'At home with my family.' Instead he said, 'I always eat in an Indian restaurant, but they said I must not take you there. You wouldn't like it. They told me to take you to the chop house, then to your hotel, and after that I can eat.'
My regular choices one, two, and three were clearly out of the question, so I firmly ordered him to take me to his restaurant. He was nervous, since he would be in trouble if he presented a bill from the restaurant against the express orders of his boss, but hunger got the best of him, and the cost of dinner for two at the Indian out of his own pocket seemed preferable to the alternative.
At that time and in that city, the Indian community kept themselves segregated, so we entered a section of the city where all the shops had signs in Hindi and English. When we got to his favourite restaurant, all the patrons of the restaurant were Indian, and the menu was in Hindi. I told him to order for both of us, and he ordered bindi masala, rice, and some kind of bread (I forget which one).
I then lectured him on agriculture: that ladyfingers are a very useful crop, that they prevent erosion and improve the soil when used in a crop rotation scheme, and that they are an excellent animal fodder. The text where I'd read this stated, though they feared no Westerner would believe it, that in some very remote, primitive cultures, ladyfingers are even used for human food.
It was my first experience in an Indian restaurant, but was hardly my last, since I quite enjoyed the bindi masala. It was many years before I could try an Indian restaurant again, since I declined the job offer, and, in my village, all the restaurants offer a uniform presentation of meat and potatoes.
But, after I made it to the UAE, I found it was no longer difficult to find Indian restaurants, and I've had many different Indian dishes. Including bindi masala. Which look remarkably like ladyfingers, but I'm sure they aren't, since I never really believed the agricultural textbook about their being used anywhere as human food.