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A place for beer, bad food and lovely memories

Last updated on: November 1, 2011 18:23 IST

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A Ganesh Nadar mourns the demise of Sea View, his favourite restaurant and a part of his most endearing moments and quirky memories

I probably don't need to tell our readers about the iconic Juhu beach in suburban Mumbai, the location for countless film shootings, family outings and romantic rendezvous.

But I want to tell you about Sea View, a restaurant that used to be located a stone's throw away from the breezy beach.

Beer was available here, hard drinks were not. Food was mediocre and good service unheard of.

Yet, the restaurant boasted of die-hard fans who swore by it. They thought it was the coolest place in the suburbs. The aptly named, sprawling restaurant never made its patrons wait for a table or share one with strangers.

It was love at first sight for me when I visited Sea View for the very first time in 1978 with my friends Ida and Swati. Little did I know that I would keep coming back to this place for the next 30 years.

Soon, I became a regular visitor. All my friends had to know where and how Sea View was, they didn't have a choice. Many of them probably didn't like it much but still accompanied me often.

When in a particularly sad mood, it was the only place where I could have a drink alone. It was the kind of place where you could go for breakfast and then idle around till dinner, and no one would bat an eyelid.

Do you have fond memories of that restaurant / hangout that was your second home? It could be a chai ki tapri near your college or that dhaba not very far from your first office where you spent your most nostalgic moments and is now no more. Tell us about those places and the great times you spent there. Share your stories and if possible pictures of these places. Write in to getahead@rediff.co.in (subject: My hangout) and we will publish your stories right here on Rediff.com!


Image: A view of Juhu beach from Sea View

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A place for beer, bad food and LOVELY memories

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In between our meals, we sometimes used to go for a spicy interlude of paani puri at the beach. None of the restaurant personnel ever asked us to pay before stepping out for a bite; such was the trust we enjoyed there.

For me and some of my friends, it was our favourite haunt and we sat there every evening, whenever I was in the city.

We soon became fast friends with Uday, the owner of Sea View and a look-alike of Bud Spencer, the star of the Trinity series. Uday also had nine dogs of myriad breeds and sizes -- one seemed to be the size of a camel while another one, a bull dog, looked ferocious but was as gentle as a doe.

One day, I landed there with a friend of mine minutes before midnight, the restaurant's closing time. Upon gauging my evident disappointment, Uday told us to order as much beer and food as we needed. The food and beer were put on our table.

At midnight, the staff closed the restaurant and put out all the lights, except the one at our table. Before leaving, Uday and the waiters told us to switch off the light when we were done with our meal.

We finally left at 2 am.

Another day, another story. I was at Sea View with a girl I had a terrible crush on, and in my besotted state, I left a tip of Rs 550 for a bill of Rs 450!

Later, when I realised my mistake, I went back sheepishly. The waiter gave my money back as Uday guffawed. Obviously, he had told the waiters and everyone else about the goof-up I had made in my smitten state. They all teased me about it for months.

And on yet another day, I went there with a large group of colleagues from the Sunday Observer. We had reached five minutes after midnight and the restaurant had closed.

But Uday didn't let me down. He let us order what we wanted, packed the food and gave it to us along with the beer.

Do you have fond memories of that restaurant / hangout that was your second home? It could be a chai ki tapri near your college or that dhaba not very far from your first office where you spent your most nostalgic moments and is now no more. Tell us about those places and the great times you spent there. Share your stories and if possible pictures of these places. Write in to getahead@rediff.co.in (subject: My hangout) and we will publish your stories right here on Rediff.com!


Image: The author with a friend at Sea View

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One day, as I sat there waiting for the latest object of my affection, I asked Uday, "Why is it that I am always waiting for girls and not the other way round?"

He told me, "Go look in the mirror".

One day, when we went to Sea View for dinner, we were told that Uday had been hospitalised after suffering a heart attack.

By the time we went to inquire about him the next day, he had passed away.

His brothers then took turns to manage the affairs of the hotel, though they didn't seem to like the job too much. Sometimes their wives too took turns to sit at the restaurant.

But Sea View had lost half its charm.

In the absence of their beloved master, Uday's dogs refused to eat.

Uday's brothers decided to sell the restaurant after a couple of years as none of them loved the place like him. It was a priceless piece of real estate and most people could not afford it. Finally, a giant realtor bought it.

The new owners ran Sea View for some time with the same set of waiters who had been working there for nearly half a century.

Do you have fond memories of that restaurant / hangout that was your second home? It could be a chai ki tapri near your college or that dhaba not very far from your first office where you spent your most nostalgic moments and is now no more. Tell us about those places and the great times you spent there. Share your stories and if possible pictures of these places. Write in to getahead@rediff.co.in (subject: My hangout) and we will publish your stories right here on Rediff.com!


Image: Sea View would remain open till late at night

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A place for beer, bad food and LOVELY memories

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And then one day I went to visit my favourite restaurant and found that it had shut down. The next time I went there, the entire structure had been demolished. Only the wall facing the Juhu beach still proudly bore the name of the restaurant in two places.

Today, every time I pass Juhu beach, I turn around to catch a fleeting glimpse of the missing restaurant that used to be a home away from home for me.

And I remember what my friend Smita Yadav used to tell me, "You are like the Godfather in Sea View. Everyone comes to your table to pay their respects".

Sea View holds a lot of memories for me, both happy and sad. I often think of Uday and his dogs as well as all my friends who had helped me happily while away my time there. Whenever I visited the restaurant alone, the waiters would come forward to chat with me. Uday would also keep me company for a while.

Many a time, sitting at one of the tables at Sea View, I have watched mesmerised as the sun dipped and then slowly disappeared into the horizon. Many a flight, headed for distant shores, has taken off over Sea View. Many a playful bird has swooped down onto the effervescent sea. Many a moon, sometimes melancholic and at other times luminous, has waned in the night sky above.

Like the sun, which casts its long shadow on Juhu beach and the revellers there and then sets into the infinite sea, Sea View too has sunk into nothingness.

The sun rises the next day and every day after. But we will never see Sea View rise from the rubble. Even if they set up another restaurant there, it will never be the same without Uday, his dogs, the beer and the bad food.

Sea View will always hold a special place in the hearts of its loyal followers. The new generation of Mumbaikars will never know what Sea View was or what they have missed out on.

Do you have fond memories of that restaurant / hangout that was your second home? It could be a chai ki tapri near your college or that dhaba not very far from your first office where you spent your most nostalgic moments and is now no more. Tell us about those places and the great times you spent there. Share your stories and if possible pictures of these places. Write in to getahead@rediff.co.in (subject: My hangout) and we will publish your stories right here on Rediff.com!


Image: The heart and soul of Sea View -- the late Uday Goregaonkar

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