Saturday, February 27, 2016

An evening well spent at Kasha Ki Asha

The entire idea of traveling is getting exposed to newer things. Things you haven't seen or done before. Things you didn't expect you'd do. You experience things that affects your life. Experiences that impacts your life positively. Even the tiniest of the experience is a great deal at times. It's all about how you take it.

Have you thought of a possibility of being in a place full of foreigners feeling completely like an alien not knowing how to behave or what to do. People from different parts of the world. Mostly whites. You can't even tell where each one is from. They all look same but speak different languages. Even when they speak in English they have different accents. That is, in India!

Yes! Something like this happened to us on the recent trip to Pondicherry. It was the Valentines Day eve. We (Varshitha and I) headed out for dinner. We were confused between going to a lounge and chill over cocktails, going to a good restaurant and having good food or going to a disc since it was a Saturday night and there were a lot of parties happening. But where we reached let us do all the things at one place.

We headed out around nine. And wandered around White Town - The French Colony in Pondicherry. I loved the French Colony so much and didn't mind riding around all day long. So we took our own sweet time trying to find a place. We had roughly thought of going to Kasha Ki Asha or Bay of Buddha, but we were also open to another option. We had planned to ride around White Town in the hired bikes and try to figure out a decent place to have dinner and chill out at.

After around half an hour of roaming around, we realised we were just taking circles. If you haven't been to French Colony in Pondicherry, it's a French township which is very systematic and well organised. Each street is named in French and is lined with French houses. There are numerous cafes and restaurants and you take a few minutes until you decide where you want to go. And most of them have these fancy French names and seem very interesting.

But what interested me about Kasha Ki Asha was the unique name. I kinda guessed this place has something more to it then just serving some great continental food. So after we were done with exploring White Town in the dark, we stopped by to ask a few foreigners the way to reach Kasha Ki Asha. As soon as we stopped them, we realised they were the same old couple we had met earlier that morning in some other part of White Town. We guessed they were walking in White Town all day long. They were more than happy to help us find our destination. We wouldn't have guessed it on our own. It's nowhere along the main roads.

Kasha Ki Asha is a small rooftop restaurant set up on the terrace of a Tamilian house. Unlike other cafes which are set up inside or on the roof of a French house, this place was so Indian. The entire staff is Indian too, even though the owner is an American lady. As we entered we reached a little boutique and handicraft store. We glanced around and found a Tamilian girl at the counter. We asked her whether this was supposed to be a restaurant and she pointed out that it's on the roof.

When I looked in the direction she pointed, I saw a dingy wooden stairway leading to the next floor. But as we walked towards the stairway she stopped us and asked us whether we are here for the music. "What music?" I asked her. "Are you here for music?" She asked me in a strong Tamilian accent. I was clueless about what she was saying and she pointed to a poster. I checked it out and realised there was an acoustic music concert going on. Varshitha and I gave each other a look to find out what was going on our minds. She nodded and I said a yes. We had to deposit a cover of Rs. 100/- for the artists 'Soul Blues Kranti and Edo' and we were allowed to go on top.

As we entered the rooftop restaurant we were welcomed by the strumming of a guitar and a melodious voice singing. There were a bunch of foreigners sitting around chatting and enjoying the music. The place had such a positive vibe to it. I'd never been to a place like this before. I had assumed it'd be an Indian restaurant, judging by the name. But it wasn't the case. It was full of westerners settled in Pondicherry. It was as if we met all the non-Indians living in White Town. As we settled down and sipped on our wine and beer respectively, we felt relaxed. The soft music was soothing and pacified the wandering soul. There should be more chilled out places like these. I was happy I could be a part of the acoustic music series in Pondi which was a one of its kind musical evenings hosted at Kasha Ki Asha.

The food menu again came as a surprise. When I realised the place is only visited by foreigners, I assumed they only served continental food.  But when I got the menu, I realised it was a mix of everything. They served foreign food with an Indian twist to it and the other way round. This made sure that the guests got a taste of Indian food without having to chew on some spicy food they couldn't manage to eat. Impressive eh?

I soon got talking to the owner - Kasha - who walked around taking orders and making sure all guests were doing well.  She went to table after table asking whether all's good. I asked her why's the place given such an unusual name and what's her motive behind starting a place like this. "I'm Kasha. This place is called Kasha Ki Asha, since Asha is translated as dreams in Hindi. So it literally means Kasha's dream." On further conversation I got to know that Kasha has been a world traveller originally from New York. She has lived in various cities across the world, and she said, she knew Pondicherry would be home the moment she set foot here. "I travel all over but Pondicherry is where I belong," she said. Through this small boutique and restaurant she tries to amalgamate different cultures and come up with something that suits everyone's taste.

European Thali


We asked her for food recommendations. When we told her that we were hoping to try some new food we haven't tried before, preferably French, she recommended we try a French delicacy called Farsi. I asked her if the European thali from the lunch menu was available. Even though it wasn't she managed to arrange it for me. We were served two portions of mixed salads with sesame beard slices and garlic, cheese and hummus spread in what was named the European Thali. What the salads were made of was out of my understanding. But I liked it anyways. The Farci was a preparation made of stuffed vegetables and served with a portion of rice.

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The boutique and handicraft store

Kasha Ki Aasha Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Text and Photographs: Flexcia D'souza || blogger Goa
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