In India, death is a part of life – and, at one restaurant in western India, a part of lunch. The bustling New Lucky Restaurant in Ahmadabad is famous for its milky tea, its buttery rolls, and the graves between the tables.
Krishan Kutti Nair has helped run the restaurant built over a centuries-old Muslim cemetery for close to four decades, but he doesn’t know who is buried in the cafe floor. Customers seem to like the graves, which resemble small cement coffins, and that’s enough for him.
"The graveyard is good luck," Nair said one recent afternoon after the lunch rush. "Our business is better because of the graveyard."
The graves are painted green, stand about shin high, and every day the manager decorates each of them with a single dried flower. They’re scattered randomly across the restaurant – one up front next to the cash register, three in the middle next to a table for two, four along the wall near the kitchen.
The restaurant dates to the 1950s – before honking traffic and tall buildings surrounded the site – when K.H. Mohammed opened a tea stall outside the cemetery, said Nair, who helped run the place and became Mohammed’s partner. Business was good, and the stall kept expanding until its tin walls encircled the graves. Mohammed died in 1996.
Most customers said they don’t mind sitting next to graves. "We spend all day here," Mohammed Tafir said between cups of tea. "The graves are holy, they’re good luck. They bring us good luck too." Some, though, say the restaurant is disrespectful.
There are more photos here.