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There was a sense of anticipation and excitement as people patiently waited for the legendary Indian Coffee House (ICH) to open shop in Sector 36-D market Monday morning. Tucked between two contemporary shops, ICH is a stone’s throw from the MCM DAV College and several coaching institutes, which have mushroomed there over the years. This is the second outlet after the one in Sector 17 which had opened way back in 1964. And its patrons were there to celebrate the new beginning.
Among those who eagerly waited for the doors to open, before the formal inauguration by city mayor Arun Sood, was 86-year-old YP Kumar. “I am glad that it has opened closer home. I have been visiting the Sector 17 outlet for over 50 years. Distance was never a constraint,” says the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) retired officer.
Sharing his fond memoriesof ICH, Kumar says that even before he shifted to Chandigarh in 1973, he and his wife often drove down on his scooter from Nangal for a coffee date. “She was a regular too five years back,” he says.
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Though not quite swanky, yet one can feel the modern touch given to the outlet. Now, fully air-conditioned, the ground floor can accommodate roughly 50 diners, if squeezed tightly. “The basement is being readied to accommodate around 100 people. We will open the space, once the CCTV cameras are in place,” informed Sunil Kumar Negi, secretary of the Indian Coffee Workers Co-Operative Society (ICWCS) that runs the outlet.
Quite like the one in Sector 17, this one too is caught in its own time capsule . The furniture with its brown laminated table tops, white crockery, straight back chairs, servers with cummerbands and the cashier’s till is still vintage, yet you get the drift. It still remains a familiar place that actually facilitates conversations and company. “I first visited ICH in 1968 and until now I have never felt uncomfortable,” quipped 64-year-old Sharad Sharma.
Going by the wafting aromas of sambar-dosa and perfectly frothy cold coffee, this presence in a southern sector will only add to the ICH fan list.