What happened on Gandhi’s Birthday
It was Lydia’s last day in India with us so we wanted to celebrate our fabulous Indian adventure with a bang. It was our second day in Jodhpur and Lydia placed an order for a large fabric holdall to be made to store all her Indian buys for her journey home.
It was a scorching hot day and we escaped the streets up to the Pal Haveli rooftop restaurant known as Indique. The hotel had a grand entrance in a beautiful old building. We were welcomed by a man wearing a bright orange turban and led to a table over looking a small enticing lake. Who knew there was a lake from street level? We analysed the menu choosing curries to share and of course, midday cocktails! The waiter hover close by and we waved him over. He was so smiley and doing his Indian head waggle right up until we ordered our cocktails. “No no you cannot have, it is Gandhi’s birthday.” We all look confused, “So?” asks Lydia. “No drink,” our waiter said. We all looked at each other mouths open, “But it’s Lydia’s last day,” I say to him. “And we didn’t know.” This exchange took a long time before he said we each had to show our passports to him which of course we didn’t have. Apparently the restaurant has to take down your passport number in case the authorities check if they are selling alcohol to Indians. Thankfully I had memorised my passport number by that point so managed to order the cocktails for each of us. We savoured every drop!
That evening we went to On The Rocks, recommended as the best restaurant in Jodhpur. We forked out a couple hundred rupees extra for Lydia’s last night. Inside was like an oasis compared to the empty dusty road at the front. Tables were outside with large much needed fans placed close by. All the waiters were men dressed in military uniform due to the proximity of the palace. Starving we ordered way too much food. The well dressed waiter reminded us there was no alcohol as it was Gandhi’s birthday. Darn!
As I took a picture of the girls I noticed a loud nearby table seating a large Indian family. The dad called me over asking my name and introducing me to each person. He sat me in his chair opposite his daughter whose birthday they were celebrating. I called the girls over and we all sang happy birthday to the little girl. They then cut the cake and placed the first slice in front of me, I’m pretty sure no one had even had dinner yet. Lydia was handed a baby to which she looked very confused. The dad who was very cheery said he could get us alcohol (it felt like we were underage teenagers again.) The only way though would be to go outside the restaurant and it would be beer. We politely declined. He then offered to have me over for dinner. I thought how kind! I would love to have dinner with this kind Indian family. I’m assuming it was an uncle then whispered to me that his wife wouldn’t like it. I looked at his beautiful wife seated there quietly looking back at me, suddenly I realised what he meant. “No no no!” I said waving my hands. Thankfully I noticed our dinner was served so made my excuses and said goodbye. Just another day in India!