Sunday, August 30, 2009

The kirana gharana

The kirana gharana

Seena Menon & Y Maheswara ReddyFirst Published : 29 Aug 2009 10:41:02 AM ISTLast Updated : 30 Aug 2009 09:18:42 AM IST
BANGALORE: AT 27th Cross, Jayanagar, there are Pizza Huts and chaat wallahs, and many other such inventions of modernity, there is one little corner shop that stands out. Condiments of all sorts are stacked to an extent that the entire place looks like a colourful jigsaw puzzle that has just been cracked.
People pour in at all times of the day, oblivious to the phenomenon called supermarkets; because you can find all you want and more at the Shree Gayathri Stores.
Manned by a single person, the shop is still remarkable with its service. All you need is available, and then there are some more things to choose from. Sweets, chutney powders and fancy powders to make your varieties of baaths, snacks -- manufactured by neighbourhood collectives — share space with branded products.
People who have grown up in Jayanagar remember the store start out as a humble outlet for badaam milk and other knick - knacks. Even today, the store has retained its momand- pop shop feel due to the fact that it is run by a family and its regular customers are as good a family for the shop.
Right next to the Shree Gayathri stores is the Shenoy sweets shop.
Together, these shops have made a special corner in the hearts of the Jayanagar residents.
Shree Gayathri stores belongs to the brother of one of the legends of Kannada film industry — Kashinath. Kashinath, who visits the store, once in a while, has many a tale to tell about his store. “The store was started in 1965, making it one of the oldest in the area,” he says. During that time people of all ages, and even college students had only Gayathri stores as a hang-out place. “Many of my old customers are now in foreign countries.
But every time they visit Bangalore, they make it a point to come here. They even pack up stuff to take to their new homes abroad,” he says. The store becomes a nostalgic spot when old customers return.
They talk about the time they used to come here for badaam milk.
For Kashinath, the invasion of new and/or junk food and other hangout places are no threats. “I cannot change the way the new generation is. But I cannot change the way I am too,” says Kashinath. It is their decision to not change with the times and to cherish their old customers. And the old customers stick on for this very quality, as they need a place, even a corner, where time has stood still.


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