Here are some that didn’t fit anywhere else. I will write them as they come.
There is a restaurant down the street called Chotiwalla. I think at some point it was one of those famous landmarks in Rishikesh because often people give directions starting with “From Chotiwalla …”. The food served is classic northern Indian, nothing fancy. Its real claim to fame is the very large, painted, live statue at the entrance. Here is the problem with Chotiwalla: Some years back, the man who owned and ran it very successfully died. Like in Indian fables, that man had two sons who did not get along. I hear there was quite a fight, but neither brother would let the other run the restaurant. Finally, since a reconciliation could not be reached, the restaurant was cut in two, straight down the middle, by a concrete wall. The tables are the same, the decor is the same, the menu is the same, but there are two kitchens, two sets of waiters, two entrances, two Chotiwallas: the “Original Chotiwalla” and the other “Original Chotiwalla”. There are also now two live statues, and it seems to me that the fighting brothers must have hired twins because the live statues truly look identical. I walk by almost daily. There are these two Buddha-looking painted men in colourful clothes sitting on gliterry golden elevated thrones at the entrance of each half of the restaurant whose sole job is to peer luridly at western female foreigners, entice Indian visitors in for a meal, pose for Japanese cameras and ring loud bells whenever a customer enters their half. I am convinced that the bells are there primarily to piss off the sibling on the other side. I’ve eaten at the southern one (away from the Ganga) and was less than impressed with either the food or service. I’ve been meaning to take a photo of the Chotiwalla fat twins since I got here, but I have gotten so tired of their condescending stares that I refuse to lower myself to gratify their existence with a photo. Still, the whole situation cracks me up whenever I walk by, and I thought I’d share.
more stories to come … Ayurvedic massage awaits. I must go.