Saturday, February 6, 2016

Down the Memory Lane at Airlines Hotel, Bangalore.

You listen to an inspiring convocation speech by Nani Palkhivala for your engineering graduation. Commencement, they call it, in America. You move on to go for a celebration dinner. To Airlines Hotel. Masala Dosa, ice cream and the whole bit. The prime mover, and sponsor, for this kind of graduation celebration, was my uncle, himself an engineer.

That was January 1972.
L to R: Veena, Vasan, Ramesh, Akhila.
Jalebi is in the foreground.

Palkhivala's speech, in retrospect, seems very sensible: The Treason of the Intellectual. However, it is unclear how much of what he said sank into the freshly minted graduates' minds. (The convocation was held about six months after the graduation).

Fast forward to January 2016, my next visit to the Airlines Hotel. Yes, nearly 44 years later. The ambiance of the diner does not indicate to me that it has grown particularly well during these four decades. In the 70s, though, it was somewhat of a coveted rendezvous for the college crowd, particularly for those who could afford motor vehicles. I was not one of those fortunate youth who could afford even a two-wheeler, of course.

This visit to the Airlines Hotel is largely at my niece's instance. She happens to be visiting her parental home during my current visit to Bangalore.

This time, the fare consisted of the venerable Masala Dosa, of course. And, as you see in the picture, we also had jalebis, freshly made. Akhila — my niece — feasted on the puffed up bhatoora, with chole. We started the brunch with idlis & medu vada.

Some things never change. Such as the timelessness of a fresh Masala Dosa. Or, as Palkhivala noted in that very speech, "The farther science advances, the closer it comes to Vedanta."

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