My feet slowed down. My eyes went around. And everything for the next one hour happened in slow motion. It was as if I had walked through the doors of a time-machine. Straight into 1914.
It was a godforsaken overcast day in 2002. That was my second year in
Rohit used to live in
A few minutes later we entered B. Merwan.
My feet slowed down. My eyes went around. And everything for the next one hour happened in slow motion. It was as if I had walked through the doors of a time-machine. Straight into 1914 - the year B. Merwan was established. The feel. The ambience. I felt a sense of deja-vu. As if I was searching for a place like this all my life. As time went by I visited B. Merwan more and more, but alone. It was like falling in love with Rohit's beloved. So I had an affair with B. Merwan behind Rohit'a back. And B. Merwan loved me back with all that it had to offer. I sat there for hours - writing, thinking or just soaking in the place with my eyes.
For a long while it didn’t occur to me that there might be other Irani cafes around. There indeed were. In the years to come I ended up visiting a lot of them – Kyani, the late Café Johnson, Britannia, Regal Stores, Sassanian, Military, Oval, Leopold, Stadium, Lord Irwin, Brabourne, Mondegar, Universal. But B. Merwan remained my first love. Brabourne and Oval became close seconds.
"I came here is 1984 from Iran. My grandfather and my father had opened this cafe in 1914. Till 1984 I was working in
We are the third generation running this cafe and fighting hard to keep the same old tradition going. The menu at the cafe has been same for 91 years while most of the other Irani cafes have given way to Chinese food or fast food etc. The chairs in this cafe are from
We are trying very hard but we are growing old. We don't have a fourth generation to run this cafe. Both of us have daughters and it's not that we have anything against women running the place. It's just that after their marriage they have lives of their own."
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B. MERWAN, Grant Road, 2007
B.MERWAN - courtesy Atul Sabharwal
B.MERWAN signage - courtesy Atul Sabharwal