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I’m disturbed that in 2016, nasty things that no-one could say became sayable. In times of uncertainty, it is all too easy for good people to turn against each another.Single phrases – racist, misogynistic, homophobic – that were rightly unutterable just yesterday, became a good way to increase the poll numbers. We’ve seen this script played out in Europe – not that many decades ago – with utterly diabolical consequences.Over several days in August we asked you to tie white rakhis (threads) on someone of a different faith, nationality or culture, as a symbol of peace and compassion – a literal knot of protection.Almost 7,500 of you took part in this humble show of unity.(We’ve also fallen in love with Edinburgh, and with Sir Patrick Geddes, and have developed a massive crush on the Scots.) It’s humbling to think that we now have the careers – the livelihoods – of almost 600 people in our care.

The outside world may not make much sense right now, but within our walls – in Dishoom’s world – we are doing our best to be a place where good, kind people can flourish. I don’t need another drink; I seem to have written myself into a clearer, more optimistic state. I’m smiling, I feel better and I think I know what to do. But you haven’t gotten the better of us and you never will. If you gave us nastiness, we will raise our tolerant and kind voices. However, in Dishoom’s world we’re going to be doing even more of what we love. So, to you, dear patrons of our livelihood, whose every meal with us in 2016 provided another for a child in need, we thank you with deep, deep gratitude. No wishes could be warmer than those we have for each and every one of our dear Dishoom-wallas, our barmy family of big-hearted heroes who work to make this all happen. To our loyal and lovely suppliers, we give thanks for coming on this journey with us so whole-heartedly.

A good bartender and a well stocked bar are helpful collaborators. ’16 presented its own challenges too, but we get better at it I think.

I’m drinking this drink, my second Martini, too quickly. A dear and wise friend of mine, Mark, sometimes smiles at me and says, translating a German proverb, ‘We all have our little packets to carry’.

She was expert at bringing people together over a table groaning with food, having cooked up a storm and tiring everyone out in the process.

Without her, of course, I literally wouldn’t be here doing what I’m doing.

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