May 23, 2020
Udhagamandalam: A conversation with A.K.Behrouz, a long time resident of this hill station,the other day which was facilitated by the lockdown and consequent free time on our hands ,opened a floodgate of memories, making this writer wish that time had stood still, at least in some aspects.
Behrouz is Ooty’s Iranian connection. The restaurant by the name “Irani’s Hotel Brindavan” which he used to run, along with his parents, on the Commercial road in Ooty was a way of life for
Brought into existence by Behrouz’s grandfather Khodaram,a Bombay based emigrant from Iran,way back in 1958,the restaurant turned into a landmark under his son A.Khaveri who over the years became one of the most familiar figures in this town, responding to the friendly and
respectful call ‘Jee’.
Starting with a tea for 10 paise and a Samosa for 20 paise,the restaurant made them a habit for many before the business was wound up
about a decade ago due to the compulsions of development on the Commercial Road.They were finally sold for Rupees five each,says
Behrouz.They are still being talked about,he says with pride and adds, “if my two children who are now in school and college feel like bringing back to life the Irani’s restaurant,I’ll m wholeheartedly support them”.
Equally popular were other items like Biriyani which the restaurant served and this made it a favourite of many who were in the habit of
eating out regularly. On an average the restaurant was handling about three hundred customers a day,says Behrouz.
For many years there was no better place than Irani’s for discussions or just chatting over a cup of tea and for those in need of privacy there were cubicles and a family room.An endearing aspect was the mixed clientele it attracted,
With the restaurant flourishing, the owners started a guest facility called “Persian Lodge” which went on till about three years ago and a
school called the “The New Era Matric School” which is still going strong. They also run a hotel now.
Many of the old customers are of the view that the Irani’s restaurant will always evoke fond memories though its physical existence has been
obliterated by a member of a large chain of hotels.