Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Singh is King

Long back when I went to my friend's newly opened graphic design shop, I was suprised to see the unusual aquamarine colors he had painted on the walls. I asked him about it and he said that he wanted it to be a conversation starter. Like how I asked him about it, he expected others also to do the same and he can talk about the idea. Something to break the ice with his prospective clients. I found the idea interesting. Since then I have always tried to have something with me as a conversation starter whenever I go to meet people. For some time it was my thick framed glasses (which was not very popular then), mypsychedelic shirts, 'fuel inside' sticker (which looked like the 'intel inside' logo) on my bike's petrol tank, bright red canvas shoes, the apple sticker on my hp laptop etc. I also have a gaping void cartoon on the back of my business card which acts as a great conversation starter when I go to geek camps. Now a days people find iPhones as a great conversation starter. And the list goes on.

Last month on my brief visit to Bombay, I was taken to this restaurant called 'Happy Singh'. I was expecting a typical punjabi dhaba atmosphere when I went there but as soon I entered the place I thought the place looked like an American/Mexican eatery. You know the ones like TGIF, Ruby Tuesday, Indy Joe etc. The interiors were all bright red and green with colorful light shades and graffiti on the wall. The atmosphere was so lively with something or the other happening all the time, happening bollywood bhangra numbers in the air, the servers all ready to help you out.

We were welcomed by a drink and then asked for the order. There were lots of fun stuff for us to look at on our table. The menu card was funny with every creatively named section having the restaurant mascot Mr happy singh in different avatars. There were cards on the table with jumbled up phrases for us to crack. The table also had a number displayed and a note saying if we were unhappy about anything about the place we could complain it to the authorities along with the table number.

When the food came, my aunt commented that it was quick. But the reality was that we were so engrossed in cracking Happy's jumbled phrases, talking about the unique ambiance, commenting on the different funny avatars of Happy Singh which adorned the walls, that we didn't even realize how much time we waited for the food to come. It seemed so very quick. The food too didn't disappoint, it was all beyond expectations. We had a fun time over there beyond the point that we went there to have lunch, till the ceremonial kitchen close bell rang. We were more than happy to give creative feedback (to match up to the ambiance) to them on their suggestion cards, which are usually avoided or typically filled for a formality in other places.
Happy Singh is King
We gushed in sheer excitement as we came out of the place.

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Varun Khanduja said...

Nice post Umesh..So conversation starter's are something i always struggle with. I went for this conference and didn't know how to start conversation with some people whom i was interested in talking to. The list you mentioned in your Blog wouldn't have helped in my situation :). Singh is king seems like a interesting restaurant and your observation about keeping users busy with their creativity is very awesome. Although if i was the management at Hotel i would have found better ways than just complaining to the staff themselves. Brilliant concept nevertheless will visit this place once i return to India. Thanks for keeping me connected to home.

Harish Krishnan said...

I have been to the eatery twice. As you rightly said, the concept is very eye catching and we don't mind to pay a bit extra to get such a good environment and not to forget, The food quality was also upto the mark. Next time you come to Mumbai, we meet up :)

Unknown said...

@Harish Sure we will meet up. Thanks for dropping by