Thursday, November 22, 2012

Srinivasa Coffee works

This is an interview with the owner of Srinivasa Coffee works on D.V.G.road in Basavanagudi, Bangalore. I reproduce here the story of Gandhi Bazaar as told by him:

"Gandhi Bazaar was created 50 years back. I have been here since the beginning. I grew up in the coffee plantations. I knew everything about coffee, so decided to start this business here. We were six brothers and all of us were in this business. I have had this shop selling coffee for 50 years. Our coffee also goes abroad, America, Muscat, Dubai, Singapore, Bombay, Delhi. Our coffee has also gone to Commonwealth games.

There are fewer and fewer of the older generation now. The business is also less. Many people have moved out. Things have changed so much. Good quality of coffee and condiments is not available any more. Previously, D.V.G. road was called Nagassandra road. Earlier, there were only ten shops. Now, it is completely filled with shops and houses.

Every year it is improving more. Also, the Kadlekai Parishe (Groundnut Fair) previously it was only one day or two days, now it is come to four days and Ministers come. All children’s toys are also available now. Previously, village people came. It was a mela. You get things to eat, you get balloons, everything. It begins in the morning and goes on until midnight. It is so congested. Police cannot control anything. In the old days, there would be only 100-200 people at the Parishe. There was a piece of land near the Bull temple (the Basavana devasthanam) where groundnut was grown in the old days. The Kadlekai Parishe happens on the last Monday of Karthika month.

I live in Basavanagudi, near the Bull temple. Now, outsiders have come to live here – Bombay people, Calcutta, Delhi. From everywhere, the people are here, from every State. There are moneylenders, silver business, gold business, cloth business, readymade textiles and so on. There are many from the Jain community. There is a Jain temple and a Jain college here. There are many Mangaloreans here too. The population has increased so much. Some of the Mathas have properties here. They have constructed choultries and they give rooms for rent. Earlier, the Basavanagudi community was only Brahmin community. In Malleswaram, there were only Iyengars.

Everything has become so expensive now, tiffin is more costly, hotel is more costly. When I first started my business, in 1960, I used to pay sixty rupees as rent on D.V.G.road. Now, you have to pay Rs.5,000 or 10,000 to rent a shop here. Earlier, house rents were Rs.20, Rs.30 to Rs.100. According to food rates, all rates have increased. It is become second U.S. here. You can export anything, our flowers are exported, our tulsi is exported. Everything is possible now. It has become a world market."

It was an absolutely special afternoon listening to this story in the midst of people coming in to buy their filter coffee, in the midst of coffee being freshly ground and feel most grateful for having this opportunity to know how life was in Gandhi Bazaar at the very beginning. 


Anjali said...

Verbal history is so priceless, sometimes far from facts but rich is emotions of the people who lived thru it. Good read. I know if I were in Blr now, I would have spent an eve at the kadlekai parishe.

Anonymous said...

:) Thank you for this

Indian Bazaars said...

Anjali: It's priceless, isn't it? Last year, when the Oral history conference happened at NGMA here, it opened up for me a whole new way of seeing things!!

Divenita: Was wishing I could upload the audio files, but they would need some editing and I don't know how to do that right now.

Isabel said...

I enjoyed reading this! More and more I love to hear about how things were 'before'. I went to the Kadlekari Parishe last year. Here are some of my photos:

Indian Bazaars said...

Isabel: You have some really nice pictures of the Kadlekai Parishe! I was also reading your post about the Royal Mysore walks. I didn't know about these walks. Thanks for sharing!