A belated post about a fun girls' night out last week, bringing in Ruthie's[right] happy birthday. The night that was the 25th of September running into the 26th of September. Wheeee!
I had asked Ruth some time last week that I be allowed to take her out on a very hot date, and she acquiesced. Pinkah was soon a part of the dinner plans, and finally Sophia was inveigled in to make it a lovely quartet. The original plan was to rendezvous and stuff face at Shezan on Lavelle Road. [I won't say who suggested it. WE ALL KNOW. Hmmph. Let us just say that up to some point in the recent past, this used to be a nice, respectable restaurant to eat out in, which is why we agreed to go there in the first place.]
I collected Ruth from a pre-arranged scientific meeting point, and in the pleasant light drizzle, playing dhin-chak songs on the car stereo, we headed towards Shezan. Pinkah arrived shortly after, dressed to the nines, whatever that means.
No sooner were we seated than we realised that this is not the sort of shady joint we wanted to be celebrating Ruth's Coming to Life in. The table cloth was the same as I remembered from 1997 and that is not a good thing. There was only one other table occupied, the waiters were looking listless and the lighting was not conducive to out festive mood. Also, some trash music was playing and I cannot abide with bad music when I'm out to enjoy. All of us were individually thinking the same inward thought: "How can we get out of here and who will bell the cat?" (Though outwardly these may appear to be two separate, independent and unrelated thoughts, the use of the conjunction 'and' renders it one whole undivided unit.)
So, we tried to look casual and talked of the weather and laughed amusedly at the still-not-arrived Sophia's incoming texts about her deranged auto-ride and her ETA, but all the while the twiddling of out thumbs and the tapping of our feet intensified and the frowns on our foreheads deepened. To kill time (and not look cheap), we ordered a few Iced Teas and Onion Rings [for what is a night out if not initiated with deep-fried fresh-breathy-snacks]. The final straw for me, that famous one which broke the unfortunate camel's back, was tasting the so-called Onion Rings. Gaaaak!! They were terrible. Being unable to take this substandard turn of events any more, I thought I would scream aloud, "Let's GOOOOOO!!!" but was pre-empted from so doing by a simultaneous wail from Ruth and Pinkah. Obviously all of us had seen the light at the end of the tunnel and it was decided that we make good our escape from the shady Shezan as soon as possible. (We also vowed never to hide our feelings again and talk openly about things that were bothering us.)
As soon as Sophia arrived we left, and in our wake stood the offended waiters shaking their fists and cussing at us becuase we had not been too subtle about our disenchantment with the place, the lousy food and the desire to GET OUTTA HERE! I believe we also laughed loudly and disdainfully at many points.
Pre-departure, we four had decided that we would head to the very nice Cafe Fresco's on Cunningham Road. We all piled into my car and we drove there in high spirits and a flood of bad jokes. As soon as we turned in to the graveled calm of Fresco's parking lot, I knew it was good decision. Being a weeknight and slightly drizzly, there were no raging crowds or noisy teenybopper sorts milling around the place. Just a set of cheerful, comfortable, well-behaved dining folk, all enjoying their own personal enjoyments.We ordered the food, settled in pretty well on our table, enjoyed the gazebo ambience, the light rain, the toned down music and each other's company.The food was quite excellent. Starting with the hummus [ordered cleverly by Sophia] which was as authentic as any I've had, right up to Pinkah's Penne Pasta with Arabiatta Sauce ["A penne saved is a penne earned," I offered, when Pinkah couldn't finish her portion], Ruth's Chicken Parmesan and my Grilled Fish- all were very satisfying and also, delicious.And then........ the desserts!!!!! Now, anyone who knows anything about eating out in Bangalore will tell you that you get the best desserts at Rahila Rauf's patisserie. Where is this little piece of heaven to be found? Why, attached at the hip to Fresco's, which just happens to be her husband, Mr Rauf's joint! Wheeee....
So, to cut a long story short, Sophia and I quickly tippy-toed to Rahila's counter at the back and there we had the expected spasms and fits of unbridled joy that one is wont to exhibit when faced with her creations at a close range. We walked across each dessert with awe, and it must be said, rapidly-filling drool in our mouths. If it were not for the amused waiter standing by, I believe we would have stood and applauded each masterpiece with tears in our eyes.
As it was, it took us a good ten minutes to finally zero in on the two most desirable desserts for our table. We settled on the "Oreo Mud Pie" thingie [that may not be the correct name, but it had Oreos in it] and "New York, New York", which is cheese cake, New York style. The Oreo creation was fantastic! I don't even like dark chocolate but this particular dark-choc dessert was something else. The cheese cake ranked a close second but only because the chocolate was so damn good. *Standing ovation* for Madam Rauf.
It was unfortunately time to leave after that, and we decided that since there was still time for Ruth's birthday to arrive [about 15 minutes or so till midnight], we would drive along to Sophia's home on the wrong end of the edge of Bangalore and scream "Hap Birdday!" when the time was right.
And so it was. We took off in the car listening to fascinating item songs as Maiyya Maiyya, Ganpat, Cash and other contemporary gems of the Hindi fillum industry. By and by we came to midnight and we all yelled and shrieked and laughed "Happy Birthday to Ruthie". Amid much mirth, noise and inanity, Sophia disembarked at her home. The return journey then began and much to the disappointment of the remaining three of us, Sophia wasn't there to enjoy an absolutely fascinating item song called "Mummy", which beats the pants off every other song in history for sheer lyrical ad vocal genius.
Here are some lyrics, if you don't believe me:
Kehte hain sabhi ki badi haaat hoon main,
Tell you what, taqila ka ik shaaat hoon main [X2]
Magarrrr khayaaaal yeh rahe zaraaaaaaaaa....
Mummy ko nahin hai pata!!!
Naa, naa, mummmmy ko nahin hai pata!
So, Mummmmy se naaa kehnaaaaaaa........!
Haaaaaaaaaaaahhahahhaahhahahahaaa..... Happy birthday, Ruthie doll.
More pictures of that night, here. Unfortunately, I didn't take any shots of the desserts.