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   Saturday evening, a friend invited me to dinner... (January 29, 1990)

Saturday evening, a friend invited me to dinner at the Jewel Of India, a restaurant at the Nehru Centre, Worli. It was the first time I visited it.

At this stage I must state that I a not yer used to this kind of restaurants, I mean rstaurants that are five-star without beign in five-star prices and eat five-star food, I would rather do so at Taj or Oberoi, not at a restaurant at Worli or Bandra or Kemp's Corner or Kala Ghoda.

My friend had to book a table, and table booking were at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. We booked for 10 p.m. When we arrived, the 8 p.m. people were still there, so we waited and drank in a bar nextdoor, which, I think, is the best part of the Jewel Of India - the Kohinoor.

The restaurant itself has those brown, shiny and slippery granite stone, floors, now favoured by everybody who wants to look smart, from the New Oberoi to the response department of The Times Of India. We slithered our way acroos to the table, which was on the upper lever.

The dining area has two leverls, a ground leverl in the centre, and platforms on two sides. The ceiling had the same colour pattern décor ad the menu, or perhaps, the meny had the same colour patrern decor as the ceilling. I think it must be the latter, as it would be cheaper.

The crowd, and the place was full, was more Taj Sea Lounge than Taj Rendezvous, if you know what I mean. And all the tables were filled with large groups, betweeen tan and 20 diners per table. Evidently, it is a restaurant where you go to celebrate family reunions, birthdays, etc., not have a quiet dinner for two by candle-night. The lights, fortunately, were brights, and everybody could see everybody and the food they were eating. I judge restaurants by their lighting, the brighter they are the more stars they get. Hence, China Garden gets ten stars out of ten, Jewel Of India gets nine stars out of ten Mahesh Lunch Home gets zero stars out of ten.

Yes, the food. It was Punjabi North Indian, the kind made famous in Bombay some three decades ago by the Kwality chain of rstaurants. Since then, all such restaurants, serving that kind of food, and provided they are air-conditioned, smell like Kwality, at least immediately that you enter them. After a while, you get used to the aroma.

I left the ordering to my friend. He ordered and we ate large chunks of meat, bhunaoed ans with thick and creamy gravy, and a variety of parathas and rotis, rather stylishly referred to as Indian breads. Later that night, I had an upset stomach. Though that was not because of the dinner at the Jewel Of India. It was because of the chicken dhanshak lunch at the Royal Bombay Yachi Club.

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