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December 20, 2008
We've all been gripped by the events that have been and continue to unfold in Mumbai the past day and a half. They are nothing short of appalling and tragic. One of the very first targets that was attacked in Mumbai was classic hangout Leopold Cafe on Colaba Causeway, better known to cheery frequenters as Leo's.
While we've all seen the horrendous pictures of the blood-stained floors and empty sneakers of lucky escapees, I would like to take this time to remember Leo's for what it has always been: an unpretentious, friendly neighborhood pub, with both Mumbai natives and foreigners alike, enjoying cold beers, delicious snacks, and great company.
I remember the very first time I ever went to Leo's. Before I took off to culinary school in Napa, California, my friends took me out for a going-away party. And where else, but Leo's. I remember seeing people of all creeds, colors, and cultures, with one thing in common: they were all having fun. There was no uneasiness, no difference between the way people were being treated, just happiness and relaxation in its purest form. We guzzled cold Kingfishers, snacked on delicious Chilly Chicken, and joked about our days in college. We felt comfortable approaching a table of foreigners and joking with them about something or another, sharing laughs with people we otherwise would never have met or spoken to.
Since that day, Leo's became a favorite for my friends and I, especially if we were in the South Bombay area. While the Causeway gives one a host of choices, Leo's was our place. Its energy, its positive vibes, and its people will never be forgotten. My heart goes out to everyone that was at Leo's that unfaithful night, to those who lost their lives, to those who anguished in those few seconds while their lives were being shattered, to the ownership of Leo's, for managing such a great establishment for so many years, only to have it crumble in a blink of an eye. The assailants may have drawn blood, but they cannot steal the soul of Leopold Cafe, which will continue to endure.
- Chilly Chicken: tasty ($3)