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Deepa Awchat and Suhas Awchat

Eat, pray, love

Author: admin

The restaurateurs: Deepa Awchat, 55, & Suhas Awchat, 56
Married: 31 years

Deepa Awchat couldn’t have received a more perfect ‘wedding gift’ from her doting husband—a restaurant of their own, to satisfy the cravings of her restless Goan palate. That’s how the homey and charming Goa Portuguesa was launched in Mumbai 30 years ago.

Partners at home and at work, Deepa and Suhas are as different as chalk and cheese. Suhas says, “She cooks food, I cook up stories.” Yet they are perfectly in sync, and still very much in love, they point out. Before they met, Suhas was a qualified psychiatrist, after a stint as a sharpshooter in the Army and commanding officer with the Home Guards. Deepa, a table tennis champion, was a special officer with the Central Excise & Customs in Mumbai. They first saw each other in 1984, when Deepa was posted at Goa airport and Suhas was flying to Goa. It was love at first sight—for Suhas, at least! The two met again at a concert in Mumbai. Now, it was Deepa’s turn to be smitten by the filmy romantic, dressed in a kurta and shawl. When they were introduced, the sparks flew; six months later, they tied the knot. “It was his sense of humour and jovial nature that attracted me,” reminisces Deepa.

Suhas is from a Kokanastha Chitpawan Brahmin family and Deepa, a meat-eating Saraswat Goan family. As meat was prohibited in the kitchen by Suhas’s mother, the duo snuck around every galli, nukkad and dhaba in Mumbai to please Deepa’s Goan palate. But it wasn’t easy to find pork vindaloo and Konkan-style fish curry in those days. “During our honeymoon in Paris, Deepa enlightened me about the benefits of seafood,” Suhas shares further. “It wasn’t difficult eating it for the first time as she served me the best, non-smelly, delicious fish.” Two-and-half years later, they launched Goa Portuguesa, complete with traditional architecture, glass planels with caricatures by the legendary Mario Miranda, a live band and more.

Years later, the spice and zest evidently remain—at work and home. As Suhas says, “I feel I am simultaneously in two relationships. One is joyful and adulterous with a woman of substance and the other with a culinary diva.”

WITH OR WITHOUT YOU

 
She says: Life is full of challenges but he is my lifeline. He has bettered me as a person and taught me to love and care. He is flamboyant and happy-go-lucky but underneath that he is a caring, emotional and sentimental man.

He says: She is practical, which helps me balance my life. I am short-tempered, she’s not. And she loves throwing parties, so thanks to her, life is always a celebration.

ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER

 
She says: We have defined our respective roles at work. Suhas is responsible for marketing and business development while I administer the staff and the kitchen. This gives us much-needed space.

He says: We have signed a peace treaty, so work is streamlined. Our hobbies and respective circles of friends are different. Deepa is religious and I am an atheist.

CONVERGENCE & DIVERGENCE

 
She says: We both love partying and spending time with friends, and we are both equally dedicated to work. We also take care of both sets of elders at home. But when I am really depressed and want to get away, I go shopping alone!

He says: We share a passion for music, plays, dance and travel, and love being colour-coordinated. We celebrate life to the fullest despite being teetotallers. I agree with what my wife says and have publicly accepted that she is my boss.

FUEL TO THE FIRE

 
She says: We believe in making an effort to refuel our relationship. At work, the magic lies in his humour.

He says: Our work, social commitments and travel keep us on the move; there is no room for boredom. Our common passion for work keeps the spark alive.

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH

 
She says: We provide total support to each other.

He says: We face everything without fear. Food is a very demanding business and has the highest mortality rate. Our saving grace is that we own our property.

—Rachna Virdi

Pic courtesy: Savvy
Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine
February 2017

 
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