The Asha, sans frills! [Image source]
When Dipak Choudhary and his wife, Chandana, first set feet in Liverpool, UK in 1963, all he had with him was a princely sum of seven thousand pounds and that elusive treasure called ‘hope’.
No wonder then that the restaurant he opened on April 4, 2004 at the ground floor of the apartment building where they stayed had to be named what else but ‘Asha’.
It’s through Asha that the Brits first came to know the Indian cuisine. It’s a long path for them from casual indifference to eager partaking of Indian delicacies, thanks to Asha.
I was looking at Mike Chapple’s account of the restaurant on Bold Street, Liverpool, and this is how he sums up about Asha:
Decor: Pleasingly retro.
Atmosphere: Warm and friendly.
In fact, despite its enormous popularity, Asha is steeped in traditions. Its no-frill environ sharply varies from other gorgeous Indian restaurants nearby, and the food is still served by waiters from Bangladesh.
Asha celebrated its completing 40 momentous years in April 2004, when Dipak Choudhary was a 65-year old proud owner of his creation. Today, turning 68, Dipak is going to sell off his dream-child, Asha.
As he says there is nobody to look after it after him. His sons have preferred other professions, and so an illustrious 43 years later he is set to return to Kolkata, his roots.
Perhaps he may start yet another Asha in his hometown, this time as legacy of and tribute to a self-made career. [Collated from Sraboni Basu’s story in ABP, May 18].