Raju Hotel

I was just thinking of masale dose again this cloudy saturday noon... the memories of Raju hotel revived!! the old ghosts had come to roost again...

I was very young back then. Born and raised in Mysore for the first 10 years of my life, Raju hotel ( hotlu as we would say!!) was such an intergral part of my life... Every other week we ..me my father, mother and my little sister would go to Raju hotel.. It was an unpretentious place, very close to home.. walkable indeed. We lived in 4th cross shankarmutta, Mysore (close to Natraja Marriage Hall) and Raju hotel was right off Ramanuja Road (if my memory serves me right) A small house like building, no fancy table cloths, no fancy cutlery... just real good food.

I still remember the days then... if any one asked 'tinnakke yen bekappa?' which is 'what do you like to eat' to my sister, she would say 'matalsose', her way of pronouncing 'masale dose' and invariably we would land up at Raju hotlu.. well the legend was that the Maharaja of Mysore liked the masale dose fron Raju hotlu and in fact the stuff was delivered to the palace at regular intervals!

The owner of the hotel I don't know his name, the elderly man bald and mysterious. Again if my memory serves me right, his residence was right opposite to mine, he was a tenent of my friend's grandfather. As kids we were always intrigued by him. But he was sweet. We would follow him to his first floor house. He would give us biscuits..... Parle-G or Glucose biscuits mostly.. We would try to peek into his house. He lived alone.. his wife had long passed away. Strangly enough there were life sized coloured busts of both his and I assume his late wife. Which we as a bunch of young moneys found really weird. There were all sorts of stories about him in our monkey circles.. from being sweet to scary.. ...But when ever he returned from his hotel in the late afternoons, typically carrying his bag in his typical white clothes we did follow him to his house for the biscuits!!
And then my father was posted out of Mysore region and so ended our tryst with Raju hotlu!!
Last year we all again went to Mysore... just to wind though the same old roads.. We did go near Raju hotlu.. but it was gone. We inquired with the neighbors and found out that after the owner passed away the hotel was closed. There were knots in my stomach, not only for the great tasting masale dose, but also for the elderly bald biscuit man.......who remained a mysterious figure till the last. May be had i grown up in Mysore, the mystery man might have no longer been mystery instead a aging elderly man, with no family ..no one to greet at the door in the evenings after the hotel was long closed and the kitchen fires long doused!!!!
May his soul rest in peace....

4 comments:

Shashank said...

The Name of the owner was actually Raju and the hotel name was not actually Raju Hotel. I don’t exactly remember the name of it but it was popular by the name of Raju Hotel..

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Venkateshmurthy.VK said...

Sir,

His name is Raju and Hotel name was "Iyer's Lunch Home". During 1960's and 1970's I used to frequent his hotel with my father, friends and relatives. Iyer's lunch home was famous for its Set Dose and Sagu. On Sundays one could see long line of cars parked before his hotel to eat set dose and free car service was offered. His other specialty dishes were "Bisibale Bhath, Kesari Bath, Masala dose and Pakoda. Last time I visited his hotel in 1990 along with my four years old son Anup. Mr. Raju affectionately caressed his head and offered him a piece of Mysore Pak. To this day I cherish memories of grate Raju and his set dosa.

Kannada Cuisine said...

Mr VenkateshMurthy,

Yeah Raju hotel's formal name was Iyer's Lunch Home. The gentleman a widower I presumed was our neighbor. I heard that he passed away a few years ago. But there is restaurant in the same place though it has a different name now.