London always had some prized tickets like a Wimbledon final or a ticket to the latest Hockney; add getting a table in a decent London restaurant to that, post- lockdown. There are hundreds of them but Londoners seem to be in Gatsby spirit from a century ago, partying and eating like the end of the world is nigh.
Asma the Martinian to the rescue
So, when it comes to an alumni dinner for a large ensemble of enthusiastic Martinians in London, who could you turn to bar another fellow Martinian. Like a knight in shining armour or more a gourmet chef in a white cape, to the rescue came Asma Khan.
L-R) Nitish Kapur, Nayanika Mahtani, Asma Khan, Aditi Capoor and Arindam Bhattacharjee
Asma — as we all know is the mistress of spices, heroine of Netflix’s Chef’s Table fame — took full charge and gave us a feel of her traditional hospitality at Darjeeling Express, Covent Garden. And thus emerged the first La Martiniere, Kolkata, alumni dinner in London; surely not to be the last.
Martin, Macaulay, Charnock and Hastings
The motley crew, which included authors, marketeers, financiers, government servants and a few CEOs, left the mantle of their day jobs behind to discuss sports day medal tallies, boarding food and the girl school-boy school chemistry. House rivalries were central to most conversations. Martin, Macaulay, Charnock and Hastings, the four school houses made their way into every conversation. People were identified as, ‘weren’t you the hurdler from Charnock?’.
Kavita Reddy, Nitish Kapoor and Reshom Majumdar
Back to Rawdon Street and Loudon Street
And for some time, everyone was transported back to Rawdon Street and Loudon Street, where friendships were built and memories created. Yes, it was from a time of glory for all of us. The world around us has changed. The streets have since been renamed. For some of us, peroxide is managing our greys. But at this reunion in a city far, far away from school, what emerged was an evening of chatter, good food and guffaw.