Weekend Dinner at Nossa Goa, Bangalore

Weekend Dinner at Nossa Goa, Bangalore
So suddenly I get this call from my friends who say let’s meet this evening at Nossa Goa, the Goan restaurant on Castle street and enjoy dinner together. We decide to meet as one of us comes from the UK, to spend time with her old and sick mother here and is returning in a few days.

Lets meet at 7:15 says the planner and I say fine, looking out the window at the fading light. I am nervous of walking in the dark as I have stopped driving altogether. The crazy traffic and my eye issues due to diabetes have put a stop to my decades of driving around the city, taking my sons for all their extra curricular activities, especially swimming and the triathlon.

So I dress quickly after a shower and decide to walk down at 6:30pm as I am aware I will need around 15 minutes of a brisk walk to reach. Then I can order a cup of kadak chai and I can sit around waiting in the safety of the restaurant.

The restaurant had been our home earlier and so I love sitting quietly, sipping my tea and looking around at the wonderful changes they have made in our home. A home for 30 odd years, where the boys grew up in and we had the best years of our life. My prized garden is now turned into an outside sitout and a tinkling fountain makes the evening air seem gentle and enjoyable, inspite of sitting just across the crazy traffic, on busy Richmond Road.

The ancient 30 odd year old bougainvillea, which my father had given us as a gift, still thrives and helps as protection against the terrible dust pollution, which flies up on the road. It used to always be covered with flowers which have stopped now, with the shade from the new portico, which blocks the hot sunshine needed for the flowers to grow.

There is a flurry of activity at the gate and my friends have arrived. One of them is physically challenged with rheumatoid arthritis, but she smiles as she painfully has to struggle to come into the restaurant. Even the smallest of steps is a huge hurdle for her and one realises how lucky we are that we walk effortlessly.

We sit down and order tall glasses of coconut water as this is a place where liquor is not served. The liquor licence in Karnataka is prohibitive.The conversation veers around to my name. How do we pronounce it says one of them. I have to explain that I have a book loving, reading fixated mother who loved Georgette Heyer and I was the heroine from her novel’ The Quiet Gentleman’. And my name is pronounced like the French do and not the British. But I did not really care as a lot of people pronounce it in so very many ways.

I loved the way the Danes said it while I studied in Aarhus, Denmark, for six months. My cousin who lived there explained that r’s in Danish were said like a Y in English. So I was Mayanna which sounded pretty exotic to me. And strangely all across Europe, even in Amsterdam where I did the next six months, it remained with that soft and gentle pronunciation.

Then the menus arrived and we settled down to order. One ordered a Tongue slider without much ado. One Pork Vindaloo and another Beef Xacuti and we shared them with hot pois and I ordered Goan sunnas. No wonder my Mum always grumbled and said the sunnas we bought them in Bangalore were insipid as they were made Mangalorean style. The goans load theirs with coconut and brown rice is used. Delicious and to die for.

Silence prevailed for a while while we licked the plates clean and pictures were clicked with a pink camera.Everything got polished and we were replete. And surprisingly no doggie bags which are inevitable. We were smart, we went two by three and so no waste. No one could even think of a morsel of dessert and anyway the only dessert they had was Caramel Custard and apple pie.

The bill was pretty reasonable and pulling out three Rs 500 each, we covered the cost, with a nice large tip. Sadly we could not settle down to a newsy long chat, as one pals night shift had arrived and she had to beat a hasty retreat, home.

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