Monday, June 1, 2009

Visiting Leopold Cafe

(A painting by Indian artists on the terrorist attack, on one of the walls of Leopold cafe where terrorists had killed several)

We were back at Colaba. It is always my favorite haunt. Everybody here minds their own business largely and the terrorist attack has not dented that Mumbai-spirit that this particular part of town sports so proudly.

We were at Leopold Cafe this Sunday afternoon. Those of you not from this city may not remember, but the terrorists had shot down many here on that terrible night...

After the terrorist attack
We had, my husband and I, hardcore Mumbaikars who love this city with the passion of migrants for whom Mumbai has meant freedom from so many things -- we had been at Colaba the Sunday after the terrible attack too. Journalists who were not from the city (both Sai and I started our journalistic career on the streets of Mumbai) made silly sounds about terrorism tourism and stuff like that about those of us who went out. We went out to tell those who listened to such things and those who don't, loud and clear, that we as a city will not be cowed down... And that Sunday it seemed as if the whole city was there -- saying the same thing ...
Leopold cafe still has the bullet marks -- big ones. Overwhelmed tourists come. Waiters understand and appreciate their interest and point out the marks. One hidden under a picture is also shown from where it is not visible. Around the bullet marks, huge and gaping, are age old smoke-dust tinted posters from the 60s : posters of a grinning Elvis and others from his Era, punctuated by Parsi symbols. That Sunday after the attack when the owners announced that they were reopening it, there was a virtual stampede, with media and onlookers creating a tremendous crush. We looked at that from a distance, deeply moved at how this city will never cow down to anything...

Cafes and their souvenirs:

Like Cafe Mondegar which has its T-shirts (hey, you have not done Mumbai if you have not been to either of these joints -- both have been tourist draw for generations of tourists with Mondegar having Mario Miranda cartoons on the walls and a juke box ) as souvenirs (had blogged on it earlier), Leopold has its own souvenir T-shirt. Unlike Mondegar's which has famous cartoonist Mario Miranda's tippling Salaam Mumbai cartoon (see the sidebar for a frame) and other one-liners that will go straight to a tippler's heart, this one proudly black just says `Leopold ...

Food here:
At Mondegar's we had some divine onion rings and fluffy cheesy garlic bread. At Leopold we just sat and nibbled some finger food and guzzled some beer. But what is about Indian omlettes, even double omelettes, that they come so flat and stringy and rubbery...
But then, who cares, it is the spirit that counts:)

2 comments:

asthasinghyadav said...

nice!!!

Sabrina said...

So true...I walk past Leo's and Mondy's nearly 5 times a week. Colaba is really back to its usual lively self, even the area outside the Taj, Gateway et al.....I guess its "Salaam Bombay" all the way ....:)