I turn the Menu over.
Usually, I would have a feast at this Irani Joint around the corner of Shivaji Park but nowadays I have to watch out for health reasons.
Again – I turn the menu over.
So the Mutton Bheja Double Decker is out (along with everything mutton). Nope to the Arabic Chicken Kepsa Biryani. To the Bawa dishes — Chicken Farcha, Chicken Sali Boti — please move on.
The Sultani Chicken Burger and other burgers, sure-fire hits with the college crowd are a no-no. So are the wholesome special Irani Biryani’s that are shared 1 by 2 and 2 by 4. My Sulemani with mint and lemon arrives as I continue checking.
Around me, there is a feast of Chinese happening. Chicken Burnt Garlic Rice and Burnt Chilly Noodles are being shared by a family of four. The waiter gets my Bun-Maska. The Desi Chinese section is actually a no-go, but there is something that I can order.
“Ek All Clear Chicken soup! “
The manager gives me that look – the one reserved for suspicious characters, uninvited cats and dogs that linger.
“All Clear kya?”
I point to the menu – All Clear Chicken Soup.
He gets up, turns to the kitchen. Inside is a guy wearing a bandana busy stirring food up ina big pot.
The Manager yells –
“Yeh All Clear Chicken Soup hai?”
Bandana guy looks stumped. Like he has been asked ‘Define life.’
“Kya?” Bandana guy manages.
In his “Kya lies my redemption. A life lesson learnt – you want oranges and life give lemons, you enjoy the juice.
I understand. So I say –
“Chicken Manchow Souup hai?.”
The bandana guy smiles. The Manager too smiles. Releif all around.
I wait along with stray cat and dog – waiting for life and Light of Bharat to deliver our food, so I can begin the long walk home.