Meha sent me a message around mid-morning on Sunday to write her name on my dance card for the evening. She and Kriti had plans to take me back to Hundreds. Hundreds is a restaurant on the north side of town, fairly close to Katpadi Railway Station (NOT “train station,” according to Sunil…) that it is considered to be a “proper” restaurant—a place you go to celebrate; or in our case, a place you go to eat when you want to dress up nicely and get out on the town; which is exactly what we did. (Side note: as evidence of the late night eating schedule of many here in South India, the restaurant doesn't even open until 7pm, and that is considered an early dinner.)
We met at Meha and Kriti’s and set out for the north side of town. I was fairly bushed from my sun rise trek, two sessions of swimming, and a previous trip north for lunch; not to mention the effects of the humidity and heat. All that aside, I was looking forward to a return to Hundreds. The last time I was there was with my Patient Zero, Charlie, Meha, and the grandparents. It was a grand outing and as we pulled up to the restaurant, all the memories of two years ago came trickling back into my mind.
Due to the “late” opening of Hundreds we had a bit of time to kill before dinner, so we stopped at a proper jewelry shop where I could carry on yet another tradition: adding an anklet (or pile) to my left ankle. Sometime during my last trip I decided to secure a simple anklet to my left ankle to remind me of my experiences and the life lessons learn in my trip to India (as if I really have trouble remembering…). My first anklet was purchased in the Mysore spice market with Charlie who has the matching anklet. (Traditionally they are worn on both ankles; however, I’m not exactly what you would call “traditional.”) This time my anklet was purchased in a “proper” jewelry shop and Meha has the matching anklet. Sometimes I wonder how long the anklets will last and also how many will I end up collecting?
Anyhow, back to the story. By the time we arrived at Hundreds, I was fairly parched so I convinced Meha to join me in raising a glass of mint lime juice-- incredibly refreshing and so hard to sip and savor vs. chug! Meha and Kriti, as has become their role, took over the meal ordering, stopping only occasionally to ask me if I had ever had (fill in the blank), or would I like to try (fill in the blank). Watching the two of them get excited about the menu was much more fun than pouring over it myself anyhow. Eventually they settled on a few dishes (which I forgot to get the names of) and our conversation turned to table games and entertainment, which inevitably led to a quick game of table charades while eagerly passing the time until the food arrived.
Dinner did not disappoint. We inhaled it quickly and with little hesitation and skipped on to the dessert menu. If you know me at all, you know that I have a personal rule: never go to a fancy restaurant without ordering dessert. It is sacrilege if you do! (Can I get an “Amen”?) Meha was resolved not to eat dessert as she had her fill of dessert; however, Kriti and I knew the way to her heart and ordering the sizzling brownie. Like a magicians grand finale we made that thing disappear before the smoke settled (literally… it comes out “smoking”).
Happily filled with food and fellowship, we settled our bill and then made our way outside to flag down an auto. Meha and Kriti were either unsure of my ability to make my way back home, or they lacked confidence in the auto driver’s ability to understand me, so they escorted me back to my lane before heading off to their our home. As I walked the last little stretch to my home, I looked back of the day with gratitude for the abundance of friends who welcomed me into their lives and treated me like one of their friends. Another evening of memories made at Hundreds: check!
** I apologize for the quality of photos. The lighting at Hundreds is incredibly poor and scattered making it a challenge for this amateur photographer to get a good shot of anything!**
|Kriti and Meha planning out our dinner.|
|Spunky Meha (Can you not see the delightful mischief in her eyes?)|
|Dinner... this was a mushroom dish. It was amazing!|
|Our Sizzling Brownie!|