This is Naresh Paul. Let me tell you how I came to meet him and what a pleasant event it turned out to be.
My friend Ramesh and I went out shopping into the city yesterday. The idea was for the two of us to have some fun together, sadly not possible the last few months due to my own preoccupations and Ramesh’s absence from India for eight weeks.
We decided that we would also have lunch out and I had suggested that we do so after we finish shopping. On our way to my club for lunch, Ramesh got an sms message with a hilarious joke which he read out to me and said that it was from a nice young man who was full of fun and good cheer. When I probed further, it turned out that he is a friend of Ramesh’s son in law. Naresh runs a small restaurant at a place a further three Kms away. I suggested that we go there for lunch instead of the club and Ramesh readily agreed.
Ramesh introduced me to Naresh and he was indeed the genial and jovial person that I had expected to meet. While we waited for our orders to be brought, I asked Naresh about how he came to be a restauranteur and he gave me a short biography which brought him to opening his first restaurant near a local college called Wadia. Hearing that my ears pricked up and I asked him the name and when he said that it was Mohnish. I interrupted his narration to tell him that he might have known my son Ranjan who was a regular there during his student days at Wadia. Naresh almost jumped out of his seat and asked me ‘Ranjan Rajgopaul?” When I confirmed that it was indeed so, he could not contain his joy in meeting his old friend’s father. Ranjan was very well known to him and both of them would call themselves good friends of each other. Ranjan had in fact written a nostalgic article in the local newspaper when Naresh had closed down the previous restaurant to accommodate modern development of the site. Naresh was delighted with the situation and asked me to ring up Ranjan, currently vacationing in Goa, and hand over the phone to him before I spoke anything. I obliged and it was clear as to why Ranjan and he were friends.
Naresh, without identifying himself, told Ranjan that he was calling from a handset that he found on the road trying to locate the owner. Ranjan naturally panicked and asked for details and where he could get someone to come over to check what had happened to me. Eventually when all was explained it was a hilarious reconnecting between two old friends who were happy to have had me come into their relationship. Ranjan then spoke to me and Ramesh and said that the three of us would go over again to Naresh’s delightful little place to have a meal. It turned out that Ranjan regularly goes to that restaurant even now and often takes many of his friends there.
This is Naresh’s little restaurant. The photo shows the kitchen area. The photo was taken from a front courtyard where we were sitting. Rrom all accounts, Paul’s is very popular in the locality and with old friends like Ranjan who go there whenever in the neighbourhood.
I am now sorry that I did not take a photograph of the hotel from across the road to show the full view. That was because, after a great meal both Ramesh and I were too lazy to get up and go out!