Finding a long-lost friend is as special and heart warming as the incredible climax of the blockbuster movie ‘Katha Parayumbol’ starring Sreenivasan in the lead role. Joy and pain flow out of our eyes as tears as we unexpectedly meet someone who we thought had gone away from our lives. Celebrity chef Suresh Pillai had earlier shared a heart-warming experience of unexpectedly finding his close friend, in a viral Facebook post. Now, Chef Pillai and his friend K K Suresh have rekindled their friendship, almost after twenty years.
In a candid chat with Manoramaonline Suresh and Suresh opens up about their friendship and how they found each other after two decades.
“Twenty years ago, when I was working as a junior waiter at the Casino hotel in Kozhikode, Suresh (KK) worked there as a senior waiter. We stayed in the same room too. After that hotel closed down, we moved to another hotel in Coimbatore. We weren’t happy with that job and wished to find a new job at Bangalore. However, we spoke only Malayalam and didn’t know any other language. As some of my friends were already working in Bangalore, I and another friend Anto went there first. We thought that we could invite KK once we settled in. But, most hotels there didn’t have any vacancy. There wasn’t an opening even in the hotel where my friend worked. Another friend Roopesh asked us to meet his boss. We waited until evening to meet Roopesh’s boss. He gave us jobs despite having no vacancy there. Two weeks later, Suresh too joined us. It was around that time that KK marriage was fixed. All of us went to Kodungallur to attend his wedding. His house is close to the ocean. So, we ate lots of tasty sea food that day. We returned to Bangalore and soon I got a job at the Leela Palace. From there, I went to London. After that, I didn’t have any means to contact him. It was a time when there was no mobile phones or social media. Eventually, I lost contact with him,” says Chef Pillai.
“Meanwhile, I too was searching for my old friends on Facebook. But, I kept looking for Suresh S as I didn’t know him as Chef Pillai. Besides, I hadn’t seen any cooking videos of him. Whenever I searched for Suresh S, the name Chef Pillai came up. But, I never opened those profiles. I couldn’t find him even though I searched a lot. Once, I had sent a friend request to a person whose name was Suresh S. But, he was someone else from Hyderabad,” recalls Suresh.
“I was sure that we would meet each other at some point. Last month, I had gone to London to renew my British passport. While I was browsing Facebook, I noticed that someone had posted an old photo of mine. When I asked him where he got that picture, he replied that his friend, one Suresh, said that he was my friend. He asked me whether it was true. I said ‘yes’ and then he sent me another picture of me with Suresh. I asked him for Suresh’s phone number. As soon as I got the number, I called him from London. He picked up the phone at the second ring itself. I didn’t tell him I was Suresh; neither did I asked whether it was him on the other side. I recognised his voice instantly. As soon as he picked up the phone, I started chiding him. Even though he didn’t say anything I was sure that he was surprised. We then spoke for about an hour. I learned that he fishes at the Munanbam harbour. He told me about his family too. When I asked him to return to the hospitality sector, he hesitated saying that he has lost touch. I invited him along with his family to have dinner at my restaurant in Kochi. They came and had dinner here. After that he called me and said that he wished to come back into the industry. I told him to train at the restaurant in Kochi for a month. I promised to make him the manager at the restaurant that will be newly opened in Thrissur. That is how he joined here,” says Chef Pillai.
“It was my father who used to manage everything in the family. However, I had to take up responsibilities after his demise,” says KK Suresh. “I had to stay home with my family. I didn’t get a job at any restaurants in Kodungallur. That is why I turned to fishing to earn a living. I had decided not to return to the hospitality sector. Now, I have returned because Chef Pillai insisted. I have changed a lot. I am able to do well, even after a gap of over twenty years, because of the incredible support given by the chef and the staff here,” notes Suresh.
“So, he is here with us now. We have embraced him with open hearts. In Suresh Gopi’s own style, I would like to announce that Suresh has been appointed as the manager of the new United Coconut restaurant in Thrissur. We need your support and love,” Chef Pillai says in his quintessential style.