January - March 2009



 The current issue

 Editor's Note

 Mumbai 26/11

 Five Main Targets

 - Leopold Cafe

 - CST

 - Nariman House

 - The Oberoi Hotels

 - The Taj Hotels

 Heroes at the Taj


 Two Men & a City

 - Hasan Gafoor

 - Jyoti Krishan Dutt


 Mumbai 26/11
 Lessons Learnt


 Tolerance Targeted
 in Mumbai

 Parsis & Jews of


 Deccan Odyssey

 Bombay to Mumbai


 Taj - Mumbai's
 much-loved icon



 the print gallery

 the art gallery

 gurgaon propert


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Mumbai 26/11 - Five Main Targets

Cafe Leopold - the ‘Kissa-Kahani’ serai

"Nothing can stop Mumbai"

Cafe Leopold is a street-level informal dining space, with tall doorways that open straight to the footpath, on Colaba Causeway, one of Mumbai's main shopping thoroughfares.

The lively cafe, extremely popular with foreign tourists and locals alike, is opposite Colaba Police Station, and just a stroll away from the Taj Mahal Hotel. It is generally packed with people, more so at mealtimes.

The night of November 26 was no different. The cafe was abuzz with the chatter and laughter of young people –exchanging stories, gossiping, and relaxing - some with the cafe’s signature three-feet high beer towers. At about 9.27pm two terrorists stood at the cafe’s open facade and began firing indiscriminately, killing seven people inside the cafe – five Indians (including two waiters), and two foreign tourists. Many more got injured. Broken glass, bodies, and blood lay all over the floor.

Brothers and business partners Farzadi Jehani and Farang Jehani opened the downed shutters of the 137-year-old cafe at noon on November 30 – just 24 hours after the terror strikes ended. They were ready for business. But the media soon descended, followed by crowds and the resulting chaos forced the brothers to put down the shutters after 45 minutes! The following day, on December 1, they opened once again, at 2.15 pm, and this time all went well. Since its reopening, the restaurant has been packed with both tourists and locals.

Cafe Leopold’s origins date back to 1871, when it was founded by Zoroastrian Iranis. It has been different things at different times – a warehouse, Irani restaurant, pharmacy, general store – and in its present avatar, since 1987, a multi-cuisine restaurant where people gather to exchange stories, revel and unwind. It was immortalized by the Australian writer Gregory David Roberts in his 2003 novel Shantaram, soon to be made into a movie. Roberts, who has been a regular at Cafe Leopold’s - in fact he released and signed copies of his book at Leo’s – called from Australia as soon as he heard of the attacks, to ask if everything was alright – such is the loyalty of Leo regulars.

A very retro restaurant – with 70s murals and posters on walls, long-stemmed ceiling fans , tables bedecked with tablecloths of red and white squares variety, and waiters in red polo shirts who are not among the most caring – it has on its menu more than 300 options in its Indian, Chinese, and Continental selections, offering sandwiches, pasta, burgers, tandoori, moghlai, custard apple milk shake, chickoo milk shake, and the list goes on. There is also a three-liter jug of Kingfisher beer.




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