Yesterday, we went to Pratap Lunch Home for, not lunch, but Sunday evening dinner. Now, Pratap, near the Fountain, is an old favourite of the spouse and his press-wallah friends, as they serve really delicious seafood and booze. Also, unlike the more-famous Mahesh Lunch Home, the crab claws and lobster claws not really pinch the pocket. Even I have come here, travelling by train all the way from the suburbs lured by their Crab Mongolian and Seafood Fried Rice and Squid Butter Garlic. The only grouse was that they made you sweat for your food, as they eschewed air-conditioning even as you chewed on the tasty secrets of the sea and kitchen.
Now, in the new AC-avataar, that grouse is gone. So we went en family, kids and maid included. And we were surrounded by AC-chill, the wafting-inviting aromas from the kitchen, and by Bengali noises and Bengali voices!
Our waiter was a Bengali. The table behind us had a few Bengalis in their cosmopolitan mix. And the table next to us had three young Bongs chatting away in Bengali, on whom we shamelessly and smilingly eavesdropped. Till the Lil Kitten gave the game away by stridently demanding for something in loud, unmistakable BENGALI!
In the ensuing inter-table conversation, we found out that two of the Bright Young Bongs at the next table were Presidency College Physics Department alumni currently working at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, and the other young man was also certifiably brilliant, having passed out of the incredibly tough-to-get-in Indian Statistical Institute. And we bonded a bit over fried Machh-Bhaja (Fish Fry) and frightful Mumbai and, of course, "Do you know X/Y/Z who passed out in so-and-so-year?", although we were separated by more than a decade.
The spouse loves his alma mater, and, by extension, is willing and ready to love all the alumni of this hoary and honourable instutution.And so we went home, replete with good food, and the good news that Presidency is still churning out bright brains that can make a mark (and eat a fish) anywhere in the world.