Sunday, October 11, 2015

Morning Chai at New Good Luck Cafe with Tops

Sunil Kumar Jyoti aka Topper or Tops is a 1984 vintage friend. The shuttler who represented India was the most accomplished of our sportspersons lot at the Osmania University Engineering College. Very serious about his game (unlike the rest of us), he had about an hour to spare each day for attending class. He'd arrive on his Falcon (and later his Yamaha 100 cc),  at about 12 pm, attend the one class  before lunch and head back to practice again. In fact those two were his to great loves those days - shuttle badminton and bikes.
Tops at New Good Luck cafe

With his rugged good looks and fine sense of dressing Tops was a hit with the girls - but sadly he had no time for them either. Those who know him also know that Tops has a whacky sense of humour - and a red hot Haryanvi temper as well. Many a time we laughed our guts out over some stupid joke or some crazy imitation - so much so that people left the room in disgust (what's so funny?). We shared music too - Tops initiated me into Jetthrotull, Supertramp, Cream, Crosby Stills and Nash, Cat Stevens and many more. As for his temper - I know of a bus driver and an auto driver who pushed him into a corner on the road and got a little more than they expected right then. But then, he is gentle as a flower with babies.
Chai and biscoot - owner and waiter in background
It's been three decades since we first met, but when Tops turned up today on his new bike which he'd taken out for an early morning ride, all decked up in his riding gear, it was like a throwback to our college days when he'd come by on his Yamaha. We decided to go out for a cup of tea and I suggested we try an authentic Irani cafe - one of the few that are left and one of the few of our vintage. So we went to the New Good Luck cafe that occupies the corner of the road beside the SR Nagar Police Station.
A view of the road - enter as you please
New Good luck cafe has always had good parking space and in those days when roads were not so packed it was easy to pull into it after a late night jaunt and sip some Irani chai and eat some biscuits. If it had a jukebox it would have been the ideal place to play REM at night. It has a token system  - pay first,eat later. While we were picking up the tokens I admired the old world decor, the open and easily accessible design of Irani cafes that seemed to be designed more for leisure and fellowship than anything else and its current mismatch with all the hustle around it. As I was admiring the place the old owner told me in English - it's been fifty years. I smiled at him, and a glimpse of recognition lit up in his old eyes - he recognised us as souls who understood what it meant.
The love affair with bikes continues
The sun slants in during the morning hours and its a great place to sip chai - the tea was great too. Tops and I had a couple, tried biscuits and samosas, talked of this and that and realised that noise levels on a Saturday morning were quite high. Police vehicles zoomed by with their sirens blaring. I could not resist a couple of quick clicks on my camera and am glad I could get the owner in the background in one. It was a time well spent and hopefully we will do a few more chais there. Promises to that effect were made before Tops headed back on his new bike. Meanwhile I am wondering if I should frequent Good Luck a bit more - its lovely in the mornings and the chai is great. Now to hunt for some company.

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