Ran into an old bartender friend
My brother and I had just checked in and then settled down at the restaurant in Westin Kolkata. The idea was to grab a quick lunch and then head out to explore all the places my mother had spent time in.
After we had placed our order, a young gentleman caught my eye. He was looking towards me. I had the feeling I must have met him before. From behind the mask, I could not recognize the face at all.
He stepped up – “How are you, sir? Everything okay?”
“Yes, yes!”, I said as I focused on his name tag. Tathagata. I feverishly ran thru in my mind the dozen or so staff members’ names that I knew in the Westin but could not still place him. The name rang familiar but I could not see the face.
I think he sensed my struggle. “I was at the JW Marriott, sir!!”
Immediately, the memories came back to me!! Of course! This is Tathagata – the bartender at the lobby level bar in JW. He diligently fixed me with a Hendricks and tonic followed by a glass of wine every evening in March when I stayed there with my siblings and their families for a few days.
“What are you doing here?”
I learnt that he had moved to Chennai (the Sheraton, I think) and then had to move back to Kolkata since his mom fell ill.
I promised to see him in the evening at his bar.
He fixed me with one of his signature cocktails. And I picked up some wisdom around “blue peas” and how to make a gin change its colors with it (and again with the tonic water). I have to try this at home.
It was good to see Tathagata after almost nine months and learn aa few things about his trade.