Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Nostalgia: Pittsburgh, Chi-Chi's and "virtual joint family" dinners ...

We desis in the Carnegie Mellon area, Pittsburgh, existed those days like one big monolith. A virtual joint family. Every desi did exactly what every other desi did. We all patronized Salim’s pita bread, had the same design on our Corelle plates and shaved off our sorry mustaches the same eventful week in spring. – and we began to flock to Chi-Chi’s like there was no tomorrow.

Chi-Chi’s was where Anurag ‘treated’ us for his summer internship and brought a closure to the whole issue. This was where Abhishek Bacchan (not his real name) first noticed how cute Aishwarya Rai (again, not the real name) looked and proceeded to romance her and marry her eventually. This was where Arti Gupta’s brother who came from out of town met with R. S. Srinivas’s friend, who had also come from out of town and discovered that their respective (desi) advisers were blood brothers.

What would start out as a romantic evening by a desi couple would evolve into a major social event, with the Squirrel Hill gang deciding to show up as well. We broke all kinds of records for the number of people in our party. When the waitress (who would be dressed like a bridesmaid in a society wedding) took our orders, we would go ‘tampico, tampico’ like a jury handing out its verdict. We consumed so many tampicos like they were going out of fashion. And finally, at the end of each session, Manohar Rao would use his abacus brains to crunch the numbers to the second decimal point and settled accounts then and there...

Well, well. That's from Ramesh Mahadevan, the most famous son of our 'virtual joint family' in Pittsburgh. He weaves a wonderful tale around our regular visits to the Chi-Chi's restaurants. Great stuff!

You can grab many other great articles by Ramesh -- a desi icon right from the (pre-internet) 'Soc.Culture.Indian' newsgroup era -- at his website.


  1. Anonymous said...


    Nice reading. In fact, our family used to go to chi-chi every month till it closed down 2 yrs ago because of some hepatitis problem. It was one of the few places where they treated children and family very nicely, with reasonable price and mouthful of quantity. For children's birthday, it was the ideal place as the waiters will stand around the child and sing and clap.

    Lately we tried other mexican restaurants, but without much fun.


    Yogesh Upadhyaya
    New Jersey, USA

  2. Anonymous said...

    Man, you rock! Thanks for the link...God has started writing again!

  3. Abi said...

    Yogesh, Anon: Thanks for your comments.