Vaishali and that priceless feeling!

Posted: February 21, 2009 in Pune
Tags: , , ,

Some of my friends requsted that I use paras….so here it goes again

Went to Vaishali after a long break. I’m pretty sure that if the management of this eatery on Fergusson College Road in Pune, ever gave out ‘frequent visitor’ discounts, they would go broke, because half of Pune city would be queuing up for it! There’s so much you can say about a place you’ve grown up in and, which in turn has grown on you. I don’t know how life would have been without it, but in the last forty years that I have spent in Pune, so much has changed, but Vaishali has remained that constant factor.

Maybe, in the last decade, visits to the place haven’t been that frequent (read daily!), due to work and familial commitments, but one never misses an opportunity to visit the old haunt (like this Saturday to meet an old colleague after nearly a decade) and meeting my old friend Lingo (real name Lingappa, but who knew or cared?) to all you ! Back then we did a few things in Vaishali that even kids of today would baulk at doing in a public place! Ask the old-timers why the proprietors cut down the branches of a tree that hung over one corner of the restaurant. There’s an interesting nugget behind it, but I’m not telling!

Way back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Vaishali was always thought of as a college hangout. But that changed one Sunday morning. Imagine our surprise when in walked Pune’s First Family – the entire Kirloskar clan right from the grand old man himself to the youngest – and tucked into the fare! I believe from that day onwards Vaishali gained instant respectability! We were also quite cool, one day, about the fact that on the next table was sitting a certain Smita Patil with friends! I don’t think anyone of us even wanted to scramble out of our seats and rush to her for an autograph! Most uncool!! There were times when we’d eaten there and were either too broke to pay or fell short of money. And the friendly waiters allowed us to leave after we promised that we would pay up the next day. It was a promise cast in stone! We never reneged on that.

I can happily say that whenever I’ve been there lately, I’ve never had to wait more than a few minutes for a table. The marvellous thing about Vaishali is that, although down the years it has changed its prices, look and ambience; it has managed to retain its charm and free spirit. There are a lot of things that money can’t buy – the feeling of being in Vaish is one of them. And here even Mastercard doesn’t work!

  1. Zubin says:

    How’s Lingo !

  2. Mohan says:

    Lingo’s fine! Older but still as peppy as before! Still remembers the old lot!

  3. Joe Pinto says:

    My dear Sinha, I prefer Triveni, a small amrutulya, in between Vaishali and Roopali, on F.C. Road.Vaishali, like the rest of F.C. Road after they cut down the trees to amke way for car parking, is going upmarket and therefore out of my liking.Maybe, I cannot feel the same nostalgic affection for Vaishali as you, because I was not in college in Pune. I would say similar things about Raj Mahal, an Udipi restaurant, near St Xavier’s College, Dhobitalao. But fortunately, it hasn’t gone down the drain by going upmarket.Love – Joe.

  4. Candice says:

    Ah! Most days one could only afford chai and upma…….but once a month (pay day)…..fried idli followed by dosa and coffee had to be had!!

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