If you have to ask you'll never know ! [L.Armstrong]... thats Louis not Lance.

Sep 9, 2008

Goodnight you Princes, you Raja's of Bandra

There was a little room on Bazaar road. A sign outside grandiosely announced it as Raja Bar. It had no bar counter. It did’nt have waitresses in frilly mini skirts a la Vegas. It did’nt even have a resident band. What it did have was the quarter system. Which made it more popular than if it did have mini skirted waitresses. You were served your choice of poison in a quart bottle. Which was plonked on your table with as little ceremony as Phelps third gold.. The choice of chatna was short. Boiled eggs or boiled eggs. On good days the menu stretched to fried fish. The fillers were water and water. On good days it stretched to a soda. There was no TV and there was no music player. There were the regulars who had not just their favorite table but their favorite chair at the table. Because often times because of the space crunch you found yourself sharing a table with a stranger. Not really a stranger , because the stranger was someone who was there every evening. Just somebody you hadn’t had a chance to discuss the existence of God with and the political scenario that would cure all of our countries ills. A situation that remedied itself as the evening wore on. And the quarters piled up. They weren’t cleared from the table. Because when you called for your bill,the waiter tallied the empties and knew how much to bill you for.
And you did feel like a Raja in Raja bar. Occasionally the cops would drive by and shut the bar down for a while. So every one would troop out. The owner and the cops would get into a huddle. The hafta would change hands. The cop would request the owner not to re-open until they were back at the station. Enjoying a the variety of a few boiled eggs as accompaniment to their dal chawal dhabba. And the owner would say sure. And re-open the bar as soon as they had turned the corner. And back in we’d all troop. The empty quarters still in place on each respective table so that the billing did’nt get messed up.
The tables were steel. Guaranteed to stand up to glasses being banged down a million times. Easy to clean the spillage of an over emphasized point of view . You would hear the occasional shout “ Daddy “ from the doorstep. “ Mummy says come home immediately.We’re waiting to eat khanna “
And with everyone's eye on the offender he had no choice but to say
‘ Tell her I’ll be back after an hour.”
While he quickly downed what remained of his quarter and slunk away and was at his dining table in time for the grace before meals.
Raja Bar shut down . I don’t know why. Frankie's and Joe's at Chimbai are history. Little known history. But still history. Frankie's wife now takes catering orders. And Mosambi and Santra are only available at the fruit wallah. In the form they grow on trees. Not the way you got them in quarter bottles at Raja Bar. Which is the way God intended them to be.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Casbah and Janta were a step up?

Rahul said...

Love it, Love it, Love it......