"One Raspberry please" - a one act play, Britannia

This is my fourth post on Britannia, the Irani restaurant at Ballard Estate, Mumbai

I love this mad little place. As do my friends. Some of who make it a point to go there when they return to Mumbai. My wife loves it. Her friends do too. As does just about anyone who enters this mad little overpriced, non air conditioned, with walls with peeling paint, open only in the afternoons, shut on Sundays place.

I was there yesterday with a friend, N, who has just shifted out of Mumbai and misses Britannia.

The genial soft spoken nonagenarian owner, Mr Boman Kohinoor, came to take our order.

This is what followed:

BK: Are you ready to place your order
Us: yes
N: One berry pulao please... (short pause) and a sali boti
BK: Very good combination, good order (writes the order down studiously)
N: And two Raspberries please (Note: Raspberry is a raspberry flavoured fizzy drink popular with Parsis and served in Parsi weddings)
BK: No Raspberry (with the same soft voice)
N: But I want Raspberry (She'd apparently been through this drill before)
BK: Have a fresh lime soda. Britannia's fresh lime soda is number one (does a thumbs up). Very good. Will go well with your food
N: But I want raspberry... I have come all the way specially for it
BK: No raspberry... (short pause, then whispers conspiratorially)... If I give you raspberry, it will get over... then some Parsis will come and ask for it and I won't be able to serve it
The Knife: But I am married to a Parsi ... that makes me half Parsi?
BK: (still very genial) No half Parsi, no quarter Parsi, no conversion, no raspberry
N: But I am staying with a Parsi friend ... I love raspberry
This called for desperate measures. I fished out a print out of my last post on Britannia
The Knife: I am a big fan of your restaurant. This is an article I wrote about it when I came here last time. My wife and I heard that you were closing and we had rushed here. We were so happy to hear that you weren't closing down
BK: Aah I remember... can I keep?
The Knife: Of course. This is for you. In fact my wife could not come today and asked me to pack cutlets for her
BK: That won't do... you must ask her to come here

BK still looked unconvinced. No sign of the blessed Raspberry. That's when I suddenly had a flash of inspiration

The Knife: I even made sali per eendu (a Parsi breakfast dish) myself for breakfast today (this was true)
BK: (breaks into a BIG smile and nods) Sali Per Eendu... (looks at N) hmmm he is Parsi
N: (taking advantage of the situation) Can we pleaaaase have a Raspberry
BK: (turns towards one of the waiters) Manish, two raspberries
BK: (looks at me) ... you are a very good boy
BK: (looks at N) and you are a veryyyy good girl

N tried her luck and got one more raspberry from BK, a photo with him, and a story about how BK asked two American guests a couple of years back to ask Mr Bush to stop fighting... but as he said, Mr Bush didn't stop till they finally threw a shoe at him.




Note: I have a strong feeling that you can't pack Mr Kohinoor and take him home
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