Social media often blows up when someone big and famous passes away. Celebrities and other known personalities offer their condolences, common people put out post after post of how great that someone was.
So it was very interesting and nice to see something like that being done for an otherwise common person, who has no mainstream fame behind him.
Although no celebrities have commented on it, but the flood of posts from common users after the owner of the iconic Mumbai restaurant Britannia & Co, Boman Rashid Kohinoor, passed really made me take notice.
The love and nostalgia that was dripping from those posts, with person after person saying how much they would miss him brought an interesting thought to me.
How such a normal person, who is not famous in the general sense of the word, could touch the lives of so many people.
Who Was Boman Kohinoor?
Britannia & Co is a big part of who Boman Kohinoor was since he had been involved in the restaurant from the tender age of 16.
Rashi Kohinoor, Boman’s father started the restaurant in 1923 after he immigrated from Iran to Mumbai, India. Boman officially took over the running of the place in 1939 after the unfortunate death of his father in an accident.
Till the time he was alive, Boman would come daily to the restaurant while his son Afshin would deal with the running of the place.
Boman was a constant figure in the restaurant, taking orders, engaging in conversations with the patrons and indulging them with his famous stories.
The iconic ‘berry pulao’ made with either chicken or mutton which is one of the most popular dishes at Britannia was actually brought about by Bachan Kohinoor, Boman’s late wife.
The restaurant that in its initial years served mainly continental food to cater to the then ruling British, shifted its target after Independence. After the British left, Boman and his wife decided to almost entirely remove the continental dishes and bring in spicy Parsi and Mughlai dishes.
Boman especially became a known figure with the restaurant since you could be assured he would always come to your table, inquire about the experience and even make a joke or two.
Thus it was a sad day for many of the frequent visitors of the restaurant and even those who had heard of it when the 97 year old Boman passed away on Wednesday from ill health.
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What Made Him Special?
Boman’s warm way of dealing with customers and even his eccentricity were big reasons why people visited the place besides the food.
I came across various anecdotes that people left on social media which really touched me with how pure and genuine they were.
Boman seemed to really act like a grandfather to many of the patrons at Britannia & Co and according to me, this made visiting there such a wholesome experience.
Bombay lost a little a part of its soul today. Boman Kohinoor, without really knowing us, had been like a distant family member — someone we think of fondly, and visit once a year. Here’s a picture of him taking our last food order. Folks up above, you’re in for a treat. RIP. pic.twitter.com/4QmvPCFbML— Rahul Fernandes (@newspaperwallah) September 25, 2019
#Bombay lost an icon today! One of the sweetest & cutest people I ever met, Mr. Boman Kohinoor, #Britannia & Co will never be the same without you! Eating there is never going to mean the same again, without you recommending what to eat & those sweet conversations with you. #RIP pic.twitter.com/t776KVedkg— Ritcha (@RitchStyles) September 25, 2019
Thank you for the occasional free caramel custard and for always giving my grandpa and I a table first, Boman uncle. Also thank you for trying to set me up (in vain) with your favourite bawa customers. You gave me some of my favourite food and a heart full of love. https://t.co/yqefDaOrPc— Shruti Sunderraman (@sundermanbegins) September 25, 2019
Gutted to hear about the passing away of the late Boman Kohinoor. Mumbai has become poorer with his passing away. Can’t imagine Britannia without him taking the order, smiling and saying, ‘good boy (or girl),’ if he approved of your order. A true icon & an ambassador of the city https://t.co/VbXaPUTacR— Kalyan Karmakar (@Finelychopped) September 25, 2019
3 years ago, my wife and I got a chance to have lunch with him. We sat down at Britannia and chatted about everything from Nargis to Hillary Clinton. An extraordinary raconteur, a terrific host, and perhaps Mumbai's most beloved grandpa figure.— Love of Cinema (@loveofcinemasf8) September 25, 2019
Godspeed, Mr. Kohinoor https://t.co/OiL5TyFiGr
Not once did I had my berry pulao without Boman uncle coming and talking to me about my meal and my life.— Manish Ahuja (@MrEmogical) September 25, 2019
This man would just keep an eye on the service and keep talking to customers.
Rest in peace Boman Rashid Kohinoor.
You were fabulous. #flyingkisses https://t.co/ImF5jhs8HK
RIP Boman Kohinoor. I remember the first time I went to Britannia in 2010, he came to our table and showed us a framed letter he had received from Queen Elizabeth (in response to a letter he wrote her) https://t.co/3E7SCBG8T9— Kunal Sawardekar (@smugdekar) September 25, 2019
It could also be his enthusiastic and almost childlike excitement of sharing his love for the British royal family.
It is said that Boman would often write letters to them and one time even received a hand-written letter from Queen Elizabeth herself.
Not just that, but in April 2016 he even had the pleasure of meeting Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Kate Middleton in an out-of-schedule meeting at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.
This happened after a video of him inviting the royal couple to his restaurant went viral in just 3 days.
This he would then gleefully show to his customers telling them all about how it happened and other stories related to it.
After reading all about him I am truly saddened that I could not visit this iconic restaurant and the man who made it so.
Image Credits: Google Images
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