He was a naïve 5 year old when he first overheard conversations about the Taj hotel near the Gateway of India.
It was mere hearsay, none who bragged had ever set foot in it, it was what they had heard, it was what someone else had told them, it was what they had imagined!
He and a friend argued on how a cup of coffee or tea could ever cost 50 Rs, it was unheard of when one could get it for 20 paisa elsewhere in the town. He found it hard to believe and could not wait to get back home in the evening and ask his father.
He waited till dinner time and eventually asked his father, much later he could figure out, his father too could only imagine! His father thought for a moment and said yes they would charge 50 Rs for a coffee or tea, but the cups would be extremely clean, they would have cold air from the air conditioner flowing in, there would be a waiter serving the tea and so on.
He could not sleep well that night, kept thinking, well more calculating how much money would be required to have a cup of tea every day at the Taj. He decided that night he was going to have a cup of tea in the Taj once and the very next morning, he went back and told his friends, they all should.
It’s been over 25 years now, the friends have moved on, many went on to do very well, they would have had their cups of teas, he too moved on, had many cups of teas around the world, but that one promise remained unfulfilled.
Today as he read the news of the Taj reopening, he quickly said to himself it has to be now, the next time in Mumbai must be the time to have that cup of tea.
A cup of tea to salute the men and women who laid their lives for the country, city and the pride of Mumbai!