In a shameful and sad incident, one of Kolkata’s most renowned and oldest restaurants is being lambasted for alleged discrimination on the basis of class. In a post, Facebook user Dilashi Hemnani has claimed that the restaurant refused to serve her driver, who was accompanying her.
Hemnani, wrote a post on the social media site giving a detailed account of the alleged prejudiced conduct by the restaurant staff. According to her post, the incident occurred on September 9 at around 8:40pm. Hemnani described that the services of the driver, identified as Manish Bhaiya, made her stay in Kolkata comfortable and good. She added that the humble driver had missed his lunch on the mentioned day as she remained busy with her meetings. Guilty of her mistake, she decided to go to Mocambo for dinner. Initially, the staff informed her it would take around 15 minutes for them to get a table for two. Later, when the staff noticed that she was accompanied by a ‘ill-clothed’ staff, the restaurant authorities informed her that they would have to wait for 45 minutes. Understanding that the wait was deliberate and just an excuse, she angrily charged the management. The staff reportedly said, “Ma’am we can’t give you a table”, subtly pointing at the driver.
Her post — shared posted on September 10 — has gone viral and created a furore on social media platforms, with people slamming the restaurant. At the time of writing this article, the post had been shared almost 12,000 times. When the restaurant was contacted by the IndianExpress.com, they dubbed the matter as a “rumour”. On persistence they said that the incident was “false and nothing like this happened”. However, a person who refused to disclose his name but said was the cashier of the place said, “Who gande kapde mein agaya tha, yeh baat galat hai. (He had come in dirty clothes, this complaint is not right)”. The restaurant staff did not wish to disclose their name and hung up the phone on insistence.
Hemnani, in her post also said that after she asked for an explanation by the staff for being denied an entry to the restaurant, they said, “Ma’am he is not properly dressed.” Though the staff agreed there was no specific dress code but said that the driver was not appropriately dressed and “it’s a fine dine restaurant”.
She further alleged in the post that the staff claimed the driver was drunk and, hence, cannot allow him inside. Furious and disappointed by the “audacity of the staff” she left the site and wrote, “I m sorry you don’t deserve a fine human like Manish bhaiya sitting and eating in your racist restaurant.”
This is the complete text of Hemnani’s post:
“How shallow and inhuman have we become ?
Last night being my last day in Kolkata decided to try out this popular restraunt called Mocambo’ at Park Street .I decided to go with my driver -Manish bhaiya here whose great service and care throughout my stay in Kolkata for a week was excellent . ( Also yesterday afternoon he missed his lunch because I forgot to tell him to go for lunch – uncertain about the time it would take me to finish the meeting -he missed his lunch )
Guilty of my mistake . I decided to go out for dinner with him .
As soon as I reached Mocambo at around 8:40 PM . I asked the staff to give me a table for 2.
Staff : There is a waiting of 15 minutes .
Me : *as excited I was to try out this popular joint *happily agreed
Staff :* by this time they observed I was with Manish bhaiya * walked up to me and said it will take 45 minutes for the table to get ready .
Me : *little confused by time communicated *earlier …now eagerly asked but you said 15 minutes
Staff : yes the table was going to get empty but they ordered for more food
Me : *peeping through the glass windows *but I can see some empty tables inside .
Staff : they are four seaters.. today is Friday we cannot give that table .
After waiting for 10-15 minutes . When I see people who came after me getting the table .
Me : why are you not giving me the table ?
Staff : Maam we can’t give you a table
Me : But why ?
Staff : who are you with
Me : subtly pointing towards Manish bhaiya .
Staff : aahhh….Maam he is not properly dressed .
Me : * he was cleanly dressed in a cream trouser and a shirt tucked out .. And floaters *
I asked what is your dress code ?
Staff : we don’t have a dress code .
Me : then ??
Staff :No No he is not properly dressed it’s a fine dine restraunt
Me : *agitated by now *what’s wrong with his dressing tell me and is there a written dress code he is not following ?
By this time Manish bhaiya understood parts of the conversation in English and by the daunting looks of the staff -walks up to me and says – ‘Didi hum Nahi Khaenge aap Khana Kha lijiyega na ‘
Me : * hurt with his innocence and inhuman inconsiderate behaviour of the staff at Mocambo *
Me : call your manager give me a valid reason why he cannot come in .
Staff : goes and calls another person
Me : sir why can’t he come in ?
Staff : because he is drunk
Me : *furious and baffled with the audacity of the staff *How do you know he is drunk ?
Staff : because my other colleague told me he is so
Me : on what basis due you make such assumptions . Did he drink in front of you or did you even go near him * they were standing 2-3 meters apart *He is driving me around since 8 o clock in the morning leave apart being drunk he is not even had food
Staff : but I know he is drunk
Me : prove it then
Me : what’s your name
Staff : I can’t tell you my name
Me : why ?
Staff : No No I can’t it’s just I can’t let you in with him
Me : I Don’t want to get in to your racist restraunt walks away with Manish bhaiya with deep grief in my heart on how Inhuman and shallow the world has become :(
Manish bhaiya is one of the finest human beings I have met in a long time he took good care of me and did his duty with all his heart .He is a simple man make 275 Rs a day for 12 hours of driving and sends more then half of the money back home . he has a difficult life Still he laughs a lot shares a lot of stories and is more human and empathetic then any I know .
To Mocambo staff and restraunt at Park Street Kolkata Which doesn’t consider human as human and differentiates, discriminates and stratifies them into classes just because he doesn’t fit into your description of a perfect customer . ( doesn’t own a iPhone maybe doesn’t talk in English ) I m sorry you don’t deserve a fine human like Manish bhaiya sitting and eating in your racist restraunt .
( Disclaimer : This is entirely based on my personal experience and has no relation with my organisation / profession)”
The post has angered people on Facebook and many urging to boycott the popular food joint. Reviewers have also taken to posting boycott and censorious messages on the online restaurant review site, Zomato, which has also put up a moderation alert on Mocambo’s review page, saying, “This restaurant is receiving a lot of media attention due to recent events. We are monitoring all reviews closely, and some may be removed.” Following the incident, Mocambo’s both Facebook and Zomato page have been flooded with reviews and pictures lambasting the restaurant.
According to a Vagabomb report, the management said, “The driver was very indecently dressed… Just wearing one pant and shirt, but he was not in proper state. He was having roadside food and just standing, not in proper state of mind. He was not acceptable in our fine dining restaurant. We told her (Dilashi Hemnani) we cannot give her driver a table, but we can give her one. We’ve such high standard guests coming here, it’s a fine dining restaurant, we cannot have such a roadsider coming and sitting here.
“We do not have a dress code. But at least a person should be neat and clean. He was having roadside jhalmuri, walking around and grazing people. That is not acceptable. How could you have a roadsider coming in to your restaurant? This is not a dhaba.”
From Hemnani’s post, it was clear that the driver was wearing respectable clothes. IndianExpress.com has reached out to both Mocambo management as well as Hemnani for further comment.