Food And Beverage Nostalgia Trip.

Irani Cafes in some cities of India are legends.  My first exposure to one was in Hyderabad way back in 1958 to a still running one called The Bombay Bakery on Abid Road. I met my brothers in law and some other very dear friends there.  It was a place for salesmen to meet for tea before embarking on daily rounds and for bachelors staying alone like me to have breakfast too.

Subsequently, I have been to many Irani Cafes in Mumbai and some in Pune too and the last visit to one was some two decades ago in Pune to one called Good Luck Cafe.
So, when a restaurant called Irani Cafe which already functions at another suburb close to ours, opened a branch just 100 Mts away from my home, I was quite thrilled and looked forward to visiting it many times. Ranjan and Manjiree, being the foodies and dinner eaters, whereas I am not, had already been there for dinner on two occasions and were full of praise. So, today when they offered to treat me to lunch there, I jumped at the offer and had a memorable time reminiscing about the old Irani Restaurants that I used to frequent.

I was zapped at the entrance itself. One look at the interiors and I was back in 1958. The small square tables with typical Irani Cafe Chairs, red and white gingham checked table cloth under a glass top a shelf and counter selling bakery products, soft drinks etc and the general bustle of a typical Irani Cafe. And icing on the cake was a classic samovar too at the entrance!

Here are two teasers as it were, to tell something about the cafe. Their rules and one page of their menu.  Please click on the images to get larger resolutions.


Being a vegetarian, I ordered a plate of Cottage Cheese and Berry Pulao.

The children had Mutton Biriyani and most of the vegetarian fare as I couldn’t have it all.

For dessert I had Black Forest Pastry and the children had Mango Cheese Cakes of different shapes with some helpings to me too.

And to finish it all off for old times’ sake, I ordered for Irani Chai in a glass.

And to welcome all customers with a smile and good cheer one of the partners Ameer. I had asked the other partner Mukhtar where he sourced the berries from and much to my disappointment he said that every time someone came from Iran, s/he would get berries which would then be refrigerated by them for regular use.

My dear friends Sandeep and Deepali are visiting and have already decided to take me to lunch at Irani Cafe on Wednesday and I am sure that there will be many more such occasions from now on.

For all my friends in Pune, I recommend Irani Cafe Kalyani Nagar for great food and nostalgia.

A Productive Outing.

I am grateful to two young friends from my alumni association who gave me a grand and unforgettable time yesterday.

Among the many things that fell by the wayside due to the advent of the refrigerator and frequent transfers, was the use of clay pots for storing drinking water in our home. One of the most refreshing drinks in India’s hot climate, somehow I lost this wonderful drink many decades ago.

During my childhood, we did not have a refrigerator at home and depended entirely on water from clay pots in all the homes that we went to. Just thinking about it brings back memories of the unique taste of that water,

I had gone to two young friends places for lunch and post lunch meeting yesterday. The former was another journey down memory lane as I was entertained with some old fashioned food that my mother used to make and talks in my mother tongue Tamil with some folk of my age and also some entertaining discussions with two very smart young people about current affairs. In the bargain was included a cute young girl with the most unusual and charming Sanskrit name Trayi.

Later with another young friend after a short journey in 41 Deg F heat, I was asked by him if I wanted water from a clay pot in preference to refrigerated water. I was zapped and I promptly agreed and I was given water from a clay flask, a completely new vessel for me.
That water opened a flood of memories and I thanked my host profusely and he promptly arranged to get two bottles for me as gifts.

This is innovation at its best and I am impressed with the potter who has thought up this design for modern day use of a traditional vessel.

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost!


This famous quote by J R R Tolkein in his poem “All that is gold does not glitter” in The Lord Of The Rings, along with the title of the poem itself has become more or less a cliche used in many situations. Here is the poem:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes, a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

I don’t glitter.
I am not lost despite a great deal of wandering.
I have not withered despite having crossed the proverbial three score and ten long ago.
My roots are still very deep and strong.

Now, I need to philosophise.

In one of our Upanishads, Ishopanishad, a verse states:

Vayur anilam amritam
athedam bhasmantam shariram
om krato smara kritam smara
krato smara kritam smara

Let this temporary body be burned to ashes, and let the air of life be merged with the totality of air which is deathless. Now, O my Lord, please remember all my sacrifices, and because You are the ultimate beneficiary, please remember all that I have done for You.

With that invocation, I hope that from my ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring, and the blade that was broken will will be renewed and I shall be king again.

Thathaasthu.

My fellow 2 on 1 Friday blogger Shackman has suggested today’s topic. I hope that he finds my take on it satisfying. Please do go over to his blog to see his take on the subject.

Idiot!

Readers of my blog posts know that I am blessed with regular experiences of synchronicity. Here is another experience.

Two days ago, I received a phone call from a friend who had emigrated to Australia and has just returned to India for a visit. Through another mutual friend he got my phone number and called me and chatted for about fifteen minutes.

The rest of the conversation is unimportant for this post but the one about my marriage is. He and his wife were regular visitors to our home before they emigrated as were we to their home in Bengaluru. On being informed that Urmeela had died nine years ago, he was quite taken aback and reminded me of how funny she could be about her relationship with me. He asked me how I had coped with the loss and on being told that I am now quite comfortable in my single status he suggested that I get married to myself. I thought that he was joking and let it pass. He subsequently sent me this quote from Douglas Adams through WhatsApp.  A measure of the liberties that old friends can take with each other.

Earlier this afternoon I got a reference to a BBC programme on Self Marriage and I was stumped at the coincidence. I called up my friend and asked him if this is what he had meant. He promptly confirmed that this is what he meant and that he was not being facetious. I immediately thought of sharing this with my readers.

Wonders will not cease will they?  I would rather be an idiot than go through the self marriage experience. There are other singles among my readers whose opinion I seek through this post.

Reading Thrillers.

My normal reading fare is what is called the heavy stuff – philosophy, religion, economics, history etc. To vary the pace and for diversion I do read fiction but, had recently not been doing so, particularly thrillers, by default.

By accident, I came across an advertisement a few weeks ago, for the latest David Baldacci book and from there it was a matter of going back to reading that book and a few others by him and Lee Child. I was just about to finish one by Baldacci when a favourite journalist reviewed some books in a column in one of our local newspapers and mentioned John Verdon as being one of his favourites.  I had never heard of Verdon before.

Since I trust the journalist’s taste, I downloaded Verdon’s very first book Think Of A Number, on my Kindle and am just about to finish the book. I am glad that I discovered him as, he writes very well and I intend downloading the other five books that he has written to read in sequence.

The purpose of writing this post however is not to promote the three authors mentioned above though, if my readers want to pursue further, they will not be disappointed. The purpose is to write about a new phenomenon that I am experiencing while I read thrillers.

When the author builds up the tension in various scenes, I am unable to read through till the end and, have to pause for a while and then get back to reading to bring the pumping adrenalin back to normal. This never used to happen before and I think that my body is sending me signals to slow down on the excitement! Sure sign of ageing?

Does this happen to any of my readers? Shackman particularly is a regular reader of thrillers and I would very much like to hear of his experience on this phenomenon. I can’t think of any other readers of thrillers among my readers but, if there are, their experiences also will be most welcome.