Saturday, September 08, 2007

Jukebox evenings

The lively mural on the Cafe Mondegar wall reminds me of a Bajaj calendar I had loved as a kid: happy families, animated expressions, and a bird calling a monkey chor. A smile is instantly warranted, and all seems well with the world.

The place grew on me quickly. Coming from Delhi especially, there were little personal touches the place has to offer, which set it apart from similar (but not quite) joints in the capital. There’s a jukebox -- one of the earliest in the city, a colleague tells me, that sends out a steady supply of lilting numbers that effortlessly ups the tempo of drumming fingers. The menu is a delight, most of which is plenty affordable, and the waiters grin, all welcoming. As much as this sounds like an out and out plug, I find it easy to list what I like about this bustling spot and simultaneously vouch for its charmed authenticity.

It’s like I told my friend who first took me to Mondy’s, “I like the acoustics here”. She zones out on me frequently, but still managed a scowl and a “huh”, while having her cigarette lit by the green-shirted waiter. No seriously, it’s all very friendly, which, like I keep insisting, is a wonderful, wonderful change from Dilli O Dilli.

The tables at Mondy’s -- mostly always occupied -- are placed in such close proximity to each other, that it’s a wonder you dont feel eavesdropped upon, or be inclined to do some overhearing yourself. How brilliantly unobtrusive! Of course, this is just me, and to borrow from lady Atwood, “ My senses are cluttered by perception.” An air-conditioned space does exist, although frankly, I haven’t been in there. It just seems futile, considering all the action is outside, whirring ceiling fans or no.

There’s more. The food, I find, suits my palate and pocket rather well. Cheerful coincidence for fuss bones me. And I can near bet that there isn’t a place in Delhi, save for one English Dairy in the Capital’s Connaught Place, that serves COLD MILK on its menu. Lovely. Beer and cold milk, in adjacent columns on the menus, slid snugly under the glass tabletops. How better can you cater to differing customer moods and appetites. Wholesome chicken broth was for sixty bucks. The damage, this past fortnight, for an evening with adequate quantities of food and beer, was in the Rupees Five Hundred Only neighbourhood. It’s like the song goes “..AND I'M A BELIEVER!”

I haven’t mentioned Huxley. One generally sees him in the evenings, supervising hospitality at Mondy’s. He epitomises affectionate PR. He doesn’t remember names, but on placing a face, he will ask how I like Bombay so far, and chat about how he wonders what it is with Delhi girls moving to Bombay in flocks. I tell him it’s the safety, the chilled-out ness, perhaps the general money lure, and for those of us who fancy ourselves as starlets, it’s the waiting to be discovered. Jokes come easy, and the bonhomie at Mondy’s is infectious. They’ll even chill your beer for you while you’re outside taking a call, because acoustics aside--and this every evening, you can’t hear a thing at Mondy’s when it’s in full swing.



8 comments:

jaygee said...

Ahem!! I believe this was published somewhere too!!

Nimpipi said...

Catwoman.

Yohan said...

Good old Mondy's. The cartoon mural always struck me as a little horny, what with the big-busted women and all.

I guess Bombay does have a few saving graces.

IR said...

hi, moved to bombay !
there are quite a few places in delhi which serve cold milk ....

Nimpipi said...

Wello Yohan, saw your India vacation pics. I keep meaning to get back in tuch with that damn sister of yours.
As for the saving graces, I'm loosing count you know :)

IR: Name ONE place in Delhi that serves milk AND beer. HA! Ofcourse this needs to be a place that can actually be hung out at..

IR said...

funny , never gone to a place looking for beer and milk at the same time !

i think( not sure) american diner at ihc has some sort of milk shake and they serve liquor, what abt ich at cp ?

the mad momma said...

ooh... English dairy also serves amazing aloo paratha...

Nimpipi said...

Yes! (Their gulab jamun's are divine as well.)