An emotional echo of the bygone
This afternoon as I was taking my evening stroll on the mall,I happened to pass by the erstwhile location of the most iconic restaurant on the mall – Baljees . My feet seemed to have a memory of their own and they turned to the counter perhaps wanting to delight in a syrupy gulab jamun and yet again after 27 years I instantly felt an urge to have a hot gulab jamun but as I looked towards that side, The closed shutters jolted me, with a painful reminder that Baljees had closed down . The iconic rendezvous restaurant for all age groups.
The restaurant was facing some legal issues and had shut down on the 10th of July . An era of gastronomic delights had come to end!
Indeed behind the closed shutters of Baljee’s lie a lot of memories of the bygone years.
Established in the year 1954 , Baljees had been a favourite joint for so many tourists , celebrities and other eminent personalties with an offering of the yummiest delicacies . It served Indian , Chinese , Italian , Continental , South Indian and other cuisines but one thing which had the heart of everyone was the spongy gulab jamuns that were severed on the counter . I still remember the glass bowl which would be placed on the counter to serve them pipping hot . I would often order for one and then for a second one , indulging in the guilty sin . It would be like a sweet taste of haven on a cold wintry afternoon , a rainy monsoon day , on gorgeous summer evening and indeed a quintessential thing to be done once you were on the mall road . It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call it a sweet ritual
The restaurant would attract a huge gathering of people everyday and till date it holds an emotional tug in the hearts of so many Shimlaites and tourists .In the bygone times before all the modern eateries dotted the town there was only one numero uno restaurant – Baljees which offered all the fancy delicacies on the menu and was a cool place to hang out for the youngsters .
Everyone could perhaps share the Baljees moments and recount their birthdays , anniversaries , dates which the have spent in the warm ambience of the restaurant .
My mother narrates of how as a kindergartener she had her first hot dog there to the times they used to bunk classes to rush to the mall on Saturday evenings to grab a table with her college friends as in the 80’s and 90 ‘s there always long waiting queues. I too remember having the yummiest cheese burgers with dollops of cheese oozing out in Fascination and gooey chocolates balls from the bakery were to die for .
Written by: Maheema Dutt (@maheemadutt)
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