As you can see we like to make a wee bit o’ fuss about our wedding anniversary. So to round off the celebrations was anniversary dinner at our favourite restaurant called Horizon at the Dolphin Hill Hotel. It’s a very old modest hotel from the 70s. Most things in Vizag are either called Dolphin or have some reference to the sea. It’s a very simple kind of place with wood paneling, stained glass and dim red lampshades, a really old band (you’ll see when I tell you the playlist) and seriously good value for money. Mostly local families go to this place these days because with so many more upmarket eating out options, very few of the Navy families come here. Maybe that’s why we like it. It’s also the kind of place where a group of old codgers can get merrily drunk to the band’s old tunes and a big family out for a birthday can have a great time too. There’s always cricket on the big screen too, for those who like neither the band nor the company of their families.
My husband’s been going to this place since he was a Midshipman, nearly 17 years ago. This was at a time when young Navy officers were allowed and expected to be raucous and rumbunctious. So he and his bachelor buddies would go to HOrizon restaurant, get drunk and ogle at all the married ladies. One time he and a fellow officer (who shall remain nameless but whose wife I know is reading this), got right royally drunk here, demanded to sing with the band and got booed off the stage by all the patrons. Apart from the tone deaf drunken singing, apparently the choice of song, The Owl and the Pussycat was equally offensive.
Everyone’s really friendly at this place – when you make a reservation, they always ask if it’s a special occassion. And whenever we go there’s always a long table, 15 strong for someone’s birthday party. So I reckon that a lot of people come here to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. And the band will always sing their rendition of Happy Birthday and you get a free cake. Usually we don’t say anything, even if it is a special ocassion, as my husband doesn’t like too much attention in public places – clearly he has changed since the drunken incident I mentioned earlier. But to my surprise he told them it was our anniversary when he made the booking. I like it, I like a bit of fuss. And what a lot of fuss we got. It was like every waiter in that place had been told to wish us. They’d changed their uniforms to smashing white tuxedo jackets and black bow ties. We were led to a secluded candle lit table for two and offered menus for the sizzler festival starting that day. Everyone loves a sizzler. One person’s dish comes out all steaming and sizzling, everyone goes “Oooooo” and quickly orders one for themselves. Soon the whole restaurants’ sizzling away.
So while our sizzlers were cooking, the band’s instrumental playlist included, Carpenter’s Every Sh La La La, a speeded up version of Lionel Richie’s Hello, Santana’s Evil Ways and John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads. All band members are well over 50 but they were loving every minute of their performance and they were good too. Meanwhile our sizzler’s quickly arrived – Cajun Prawns for him and Mexican Salsa Chicken for her. But along with it came the General Manager, a TV Cameraman and a sound guy/interviewer. The manager in his broken Telugu English was hysterical with delight saying, “The press is here, the press” and asked us if we’d give an interview to said press. We love the place and I bet they are struggling with the competition from the Taj, the Park, Grand Bay, Sheraton, etc so we were more than willing to help them promote the sizzler festival on local Telugu TV. However, they wanted us to pop the food in to our mouths and tell them how delicious it was. Hard to do when the said dish is called “sizzler” for a reason. Anyway, we soldiered on and my husband played the part beautifully, by gaily spearing a prawn, thrusting it in to his mouth and exclaiming with a wide toothy grin to the TV camera, “Wow! That’s delicious!” So he’s definitely on TV tonight. I had to talk about why we liked Dolphin Hotel and about my sizzler, which was easy to do as I like both. And just like that, the lights went out, the camera stopped rolling and we were left to eat our dinner. But before another mouthful could go in, the manager came scurrying up to us again to take a photograph for the local evening newspaper, Enadu, with the Chef.
So not only are we going to be on Enadu TV (ETV 2) this evening’s news (Dec 9, 2011), we’ll be in the local rag too! However, this isn’t either of our first TV appearances. My husband’s been on the National Geographic documentary called Indian Navy, Episode 5 on submarines where his TV debut lasted 5 seconds. He did have a speaking part, something about torpedoing the hull of a ship. My TV appearance has been a bit more illustrious: 321 quiz show with Siddarth Basu in 1999, which I won and went to England for the grand prize.
But you go out for a little anniversary dinner and you end up in the local paper. That’s a first for me. We also got a free ice cream cake. I love free stuff. All in all, a top anniversary.