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Leopold hums back to life

December 2, 2008
Text and photographs: Vaihayasi P Daniel

Like always, every day of the year and nearly every hour of the day, the cafe is packed to capacity. And humming.

Waiters in red T-shirts and black slacks tear around with trays laden with giant mugs of frothing, icy beer, fresh lime sodas and tall glasses of fresh fruit juice. Service is invariably prompt here.

Young Indian patrons -- some students and some office-wallahs -- tuck into giant plates of steaming Chinese noodles and chicken. Hippie-looking tourists stray in for a slow, long beer.

The non-stop, cheery buzz of conversation floats up to the ornate-pillared high ceilings above the black glass-topped tables with checked tablecloths and the fruit bar.

It is lunch hour at Leopold cafe in Colaba's tourist district, south Mumbai. The lively noise and bustle is nothing new for this cafe that always gets a huge lunch crowd of nearby office workers and loads of tourists with their guidebooks.

But December 1 was different.

This bullet-scarred cafe re-opened at 2 pm, after being shut for six days.

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