The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Chappell’s taste of India: green kebabs
- Hotel remembers Ganesha in living room of ‘charming couple’

Bangalore, April 4: Greg and Judy Chappell love their kebabs and know their Ganesha, the hotel that was their home in India for more than a year has revealed.

“Both were foodies… Of course, they liked grilled stuff, but low on fat. Being vegans, they had a limited choice, but alternated between Indian tandoori and continental,” said P.K. Mohan Kumar, the general manager at Taj West End, where the Chappells had a villa.

Hara Bhara Kebab and vegetarian sheek kebab were favourites of the couple, who did not even have milk because it is an animal product. Occasionally, Greg would make an exception for fish.

Alcohol, though, was a strict no-no.

“They were strict on the timings food had to be served,” Kumar added. Otherwise, they weren’t fussy guests, said sources at the hotel in the heart of Bangalore that they moved out of a few months ago.

Greg had a regimented lifestyle and was very disciplined, the sources said. An early riser, he would drive off to the cricket grounds on most days and was very focused. Judy was friendlier.

The three-bedroom villa where Judy was often seen pottering about the flower-beds was given a facelift before the coach and his wife moved in. Don Bradman and other cricket greats looked down from the walls of the guest room — the pictures had come with them from Australia — which also showed off trophies Greg had won in his playing days.

“Whenever team meetings were scheduled at the villa, they planned all the seating arrangements. These were small things that we too learnt,” the general manager said, praising the couple’s attention to detail.

A Ganesha idol — a gift from an Indian couple in Australia — took pride of place in the living room. “I guess the Ganesha and West End brought them luck in the first year at least,” Kumar couldn’t resist the quip.

“They wanted to Indianise themselves. They were very receptive and keen to understand Indian culture and food.”

But the couple guarded their privacy fiercely. “Even a long shot of Judy in the garden was forbidden. We had security guards unobstrusively giving them a cover. “Once a guest tried to photograph her on his cell phone and the guards were immediately upon him. The startled man was let off only after ascertaining he was also a guest,” an assistant manager recalled.

The hotel would not reveal the bill they ran up, only saying a fixed rent for a year was paid and it was within the amount BCCI had sanctioned.

“They were an absolutely charming couple, especially Judy,” gushed Poornima, the public relations manager.

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