The Owner of the Pride Of Mumbai

The other day I visited a cafe, the famous Cafe Mondegar in Mumbai. After having a light breakfast, I slipped out while saying my customary THANK YOU to everyone. I said the same words to an old man sitting right in the corner and we had a short conversation.

Who are you saying, uncle? I’m NOT an uncle?

Sorry, Thank you, brother.

Do you know me?

No brother.

I’m the owner of this place.

These words rang a bell in my mind and it sliced my heart. I immediately asked him whether I could sit next to him for a brief chat. He agreed and I started talking to Rusi Yazdegardi, the owner of the pride of Mumbai — Cafe Mondegar.

It’s among the first and most iconic restaurants and bars in Mumbai, India. It’s the first restaurant in Mumbai to house a jukebox. The restaurant is a popular landmark and tourist attraction of Mumbai. Famous Indian cartoonist and painter Mario Miranda painted murals. It’s such a beautiful place to be.

What do you know about this place?

Not much brother.

He started telling the story since inception. I was just listening like a bag of potato sitting in the corner. He told me how it all started in 1932 by his father; who was a wealthy and affluent Irani Zoroastrian man.

Mumbai was flooded with Irani cafes in the early 20th century until the South Indian cafe raided the city. He has worked quite hard to make this cafe a great success.

As per him, mostly all the affluent people of the city have visited his cafe — from underworld dons to Bollywood superstars. Even if you go there today, there is always a line like a python. Getting a table can take hours on weekends and he knows so much about the city’s history!

After chatting for more than an hour, we’d to part ways. He shared his gratitude and shared mine. I gave my autograph book to him.

Thank you brother for this marvelous space without which life would have been a little less meaningful.

That’s one of the most beautiful comment I’ve got till date, son. God bless you. Visit again.

I got quite fortunate that day to get the autograph of this great man.


3 thoughts on “The Owner of the Pride Of Mumbai

  1. Hi Agastya.
    I am Hoshang. Rusi’s son.
    Your article just caught my eye. And what’s more eerie is that you’ve posted it on 11th April 2017. Exactly a day of my father passing away. Hence I had to write back. Yes he was proud of leaving an institution behind for me to hold and serve to the patrones of the City. And am honoured to continue his legacy.
    Warm Regards.
    Cafe Mondegar.

    1. OMG! I’m glad you wrote back Hosh. I’m surprised and shocked to learn about his death. I was passing by through your cafe and peeping inside to see if he’s there by chance. I just got VERY lucky that day to meet him. In fact, I just updated his autograph on the article. It’s dated 04.08.2016. I’m honored that you wrote back to this common man. This is a divine design, I guess. I don’t know but I have to meet you share my condolence and gratitude for serving with high head – our favorite place in Mumbai. Please do let me know if I can call you up one fine day – whenever you have a couple of minutes. Kindly, do see his autograph. This is a treasure for me!

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