Dinners from decades ago

The story goes, a young family was walking up Ooty's Mall road looking for Chinese food. It is what they felt like eating that evening. After quite a search, they found a restaurant, entrance decorated with a font that looked Chinese enough to establish the restaurant's authenticity. It was the golden age of the Gobhi Manchurian. The patriarch opened the door and let his family in. The food and experience was one the family would never forget.

Decades later, I returned home after an early morning hour of shooting Ooty's corners. I had even spent 20 minutes on the Mall road, looking for barbershops. On the breakfast table, I asked my father his strongest memory of a certain holiday in Ooty. He mentioned a walk in the botanical gardens and that horrible unpalatable dinner at a strange Chinese restaurant that we endured out of politeness for the hosts.

"Guess what, Papa? That restaurant still exists!"

Minu Chawla