This pic my cousin shared on Facebook brings back so many nostalgic memories. The pic is of the Mattancherry Tourist Bungalow, a lodge and watering hole in Mattancherry (which is part of old Cochin). Why nostalgic? I have never had a drink from there. Not even a solitary beer. I have had food from there but never had food inside the place. The MTB is right opposite my mom’s parents’ house in Mattancherry.
From my earliest memories the MTB has been like a part of the family. The house my grandfather built for his family was done in the early 60s and the MTB followed a few years later. Over the decades, the tourist bungalow has been a center for drunken fights and especially during the holiday season. My cousins and I have watched quite a few dozen fight scenes from our rooftop terrace or the first floor balcony. At one time there was a Hindu-Muslim fight which started near the market area and ended up right in front of our doorstep.
From time to time my dad & uncles would buy beer or some other drinks from the bar and enjoy them in seclusion (away from my grandmother who although knew that her sons and sons-in-law drink, frowned upon the activity). Long before I started drinking or was of drinking age, I remember going to buy beer bottles from them for my uncles & my dad. As have many of my other male cousins. And although we never went to eat, we would on occasion buy some food from there – like a beef roast or some chicken curry.
One particular funny incident from my childhood comes to mind – my cousin Navin, who was probably 11 or so at the time, had a bet with some of the waiters of MTB that he could eat 10 porottas dry in on sitting. No curry, no gravy – nothing, just porotta. The bet was for a chicken biriyani. He won the bet and he was given a chicken biryani for free by them. His belly full, he walked the 10 steps from the bar to the house, struggling to loosen his belt, came back home and told his mother to keep the biriyani in the fridge as he was full at the time and would eat it later. She had some choice words for him
Ah memories of the good ole days!