Farewell to an eating home

It was just another lazy Sunday morning. The family felt its familiar craving for Andhra cuisine and soon we were seated in the oh-so-familiar confines of our favourite, just a stone’s throw away Malgudi Restaurant.

Situated on the busy Residency Road Cross, ‘Amra’ as we fondly called it, (from its earlier name of Amravati) had become an eating place away from home, like few others, for all four of us. Jaunts abroad meant a feasting at the Amra table as soon as we returned. My daughter longed for the cuisine while away in Delhi and first stop on return, sometimes straight from the airport, was the restaurant. Any fight with the son was always resolved at the Amra table. And for me, weeks of an assiduous gym routine went away in a blink when seated at the Amra table.

So here we were this Sunday afternoon. The ubiquitous ‘leaf sapad’ had been ordered, as also the chicken biriyani, the chicken Chettinad and the all-time favourite roast. The heaped plates had just been placed in front of us when the words fell starkly on our collective conscience.

Our favourite waiter informed us stoically, “The restaurant closing next Sunday, sir”. At first the portent of his words did not sink in. “Oh, is it a day off next Sunday?,” I asked. “May be house-keeping” my husband said. “No sir,” said the waiter. “We close forever, next Sunday.”

The ever marching progress of time had caught another prey. Four adjacent high value plots seemed to have gone under the hammer, bought by a shrewd property developer to be turned into a swanky set of offices or may be another beautiful yet somehow soulless mall.

“This is how the face of a city undergoes change,” said my husband. “Cities have to transform themselves,” said my son. But for me as I took my first mouthful of probably that last plate of Amra biriyani, it was memories that clouded my mind...
Memories of a young couple with two toddlers in tow eating at our favourite table, the ever present courtesy and concern shown by the same staff (such a rarity in these days of constant attrition), and the parcels we took home after each outing for parents to savour.

So it is curtains for yet another institution. Not maybe one as much feted as some others round the corner, but, an institution just the same. Au revoir, Malgudi, Residency Road Cross! You served your patrons well. You have much to be proud of. And even as we say - ‘the old order changeth yielding place to new,’ we will be fervently wishing that you open your doors again, somewhere near, to usher in your patrons, back into your cozy fold.

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