Sunday, October 13, 2013

Vaishali Rupali, Our Social Heritage Sites!








I like to go out and see what a city's all about….Estella Warren

Estella Warren is a Canadian actress, former fashion model, and a former international synchronized swimmer too, who has traveled across the world because of her profession! And what she has said can be in millions of peoples mind or dream as being traveler is a natural human instinct. A man is always curious of new places & going to them in search of many things. Some travel for just sake of it, some for acquiring new knowledge, some for search of the fortune & some even search of their own self! Reasons may be any but a man is a traveler & in that zest only the new cities are explored.

It’s always said that a city is known by the people & places it has! Obliviously whenever we think of any city what comes to our mind is the people it has & the famous places it offers! As that’s what gives any city its image or face will be a proper term. Like Londoner’s are khadus in nature by our Marathi language while dealing with outsiders & Hyde Park is the place which comes to our mind when we think London. Similarly think of New York, it represents typical American arrogance of ignoring others & Time Square & the fun over there. Think Paris & lay back attitude of French people & Eiffel Tower is what we see in our mind.  While going in our own great country, think of Delhi & we have teri bahendi types language & Palika Bazar or Jama Masjid. If its Chennai then Rajnikant, Lungi & Idly Sambhar & you can’t think of Kolkata without Bengali Mithai & Howrah Bridge! On the same track think of Pune, though we are not as popular as above cities neither as big as them yet Punekar’s have now reached all over the globe & are in various fields of trades & with IT as well Automobile Industry along with Education facility, Pune is much known now on the world map is a fact. So what we think when it’s Pune? Well first comes to the mind is typical Puneri attitude which matches with khadusness of British, yet slight humor mixed in it with arrogance of Americans of “I know all‘ type  & Chitale bandhus stories of insulting customers  & Shaniwarwada as icon & mention of Vaishali-Rupali!

This last criteria of being Punekar is what intrigues me a lot as Shaniwarwad is Punes monument & Chitale bandhu mithaiwalas attitude represents punekar’s typical attitude then from where a south Indian named Jaganathh Shetty become part of Pune heritage that a legacy of jokes & stories have been created on Vaishali-Rupali? By the way for those, however little their number may be who don’t know what are Vaishali-Rupali, these are not names of some twin sisters but are restaurants serving south Indian dishes in Pune at Fergusson College road which is a main road in central part of the city. But for a diehard Punekar these names are like two monuments that are part of city heritage, such are their role in the city life! It’s said that there are only two types of Punekars, one who goes to Vaishali-Rupali & other who don’t! This one kissa is enough to explain the kind of popularity or importance or role of VR & Jagannath Shetty & his team in Pune’s image.

Started way back in 1950’s now together the joints are serving for 3rd generation of Pune teen agers then, who are now grandparents & yet enjoying the taste as well ambiance of the places along with their grand children! It is said that marriages are set in heaven but here these two joints especially Vaishali has been playing role of heaven for many now & still on! As many college goers have seeped first tea or coffee on their date here on tables of Vaishali & the waiters were the date setters. Many a waiters who are here since years have been witnessed teen agers coming with shyness of first outings with opposite sex & then welcomed them when they have tied the knot! Many of the well known citizen of the city proudly shares that when they are gone for a long vacation or work trip out of town, first thing they do after coming back to Pune is visit Vaishali & have a cup of tea here, even before going to their own home! I myself have been experiencing Vaishalis charisma since my college days i.e. 25 years now; here again within Vaishali & Rupali there are diehard fans divided between the two joints & have their own reasons. Some like Rupalis sambhar more & coffee too, where as some prefer Vaishalis chay & ambiance more over Ruplai.  Speaking personally I am a Vaishalian but then loves the aura of both places equally & on some cozy Sunday afternoon do enjoy that sambhar of Ruplai also! In my college days also with limited money supply from home, Vaishali was a luxury & I could visit the place hardly once in few months. Yet the thrill & excitement in going there is same even when today I can go there almost every day.

Any city which boasts about its culture & social life needs such places rather these are the backbone of our society. As if there would not be such places then where the people will socialize? A look at the tables here & listening the discussions on the groups who are inherent part of the vibrant surrounding, will tell us why Pune is cultural capitol! Right from the "lovy dovy" talks of couples to discussion about the world’s economy, no topic is barred here & you will see some real top brasses in the fields making their point in such discussion! There can be Kalyanis, Bhosles, Pawars, Bajaj’s & even Thakerey’s too! City top officials, businessmen, political as well social leaders & NGO runners, all are part of Vaishali-Rupali & adds silver lining to its glory by their regular presence! Many groups start their day from Vaishali & have their fixed tables also at a particular hour of the day. Not only social gatherings but the place is popular joint for the business meetings too, for many. Though one can wonder how one can discuss business within such a hustle, yet that’s truth.

One may wonder what’s big deal in this as even the smallest towns in country like India where people like to express their opinions about everything has such places, so what so special about Vaishali & Rupali? Well many have been wondering over this question but to me no place’s reputation is built in a day. It’s over six decades the place has been not only serving the South Indian food but its serving a platform for the society to get together & socialize. And it’s the consistency in everything what the place offers makes it so special! Full credits to the man Jagannath Shetty who may not be a Harvard pass out & may not be having any plans to convert the brand in to worldwide chain. Rather he is quite happy & contended with just these two outlets & managing them with fullest dedication & it’s this dedication which gets converted in consistent service is what the trade secret of Vaishali Ruplai! As there may be thousands of joints across this city serving the dishes you get here & may be better quality too. But it’s not just the idly sambhar or dosa getting served to you in a plate, it’s a culture of which you are becoming part & that’s what make the customer feels from within who visits here. Right from the cleanliness to efficiency in service to maintaining the taste of the recipes Jagannnath sheth personally has build not only the restaurants but a system which includes the men working over here. The entire organization of cooks too  the personnel’s who all the day are engaged in swiping the floors of the dining areas, everybody is so dedicated to his job that you can sense it in the atmosphere. He has been called at many institutes for the success of making Vaishali Rupali a brand without a single advertise in any media. I am fortunate to have been closely associated with him like a family & in lighter mood he has once shared that when he has been asked how come there is no union of workers & things like that at Vaishali? He said, I replied, who says there is no union at my place, there is & I am the union leader of that union! Even a hard core management Guru couldn’t have given such an answer, just because it’s not the face saving intelligent reply but it’s the truth! He takes care of his team like a family right from the workers children’s education too their health care, so there are no demands from them as most are already covered! He once told me that he don’t cut any money from the manager or the waiter even some cutlery gets damaged as  well he has told to his entire staff  for never to argue with the customer & accept whatever they say with smile! You can experience this at Vaishali, just to take trial order a masala dosa & when it comes tell the waiter that you have ordered sadha dosa! In any other hotel he will refuse to take the masala dosa back but not in Vaishali; the waiter will politely smile at you & take it back & will serve you sadha dosa! This aspect of Vaishali-Rupali I have mentioned deliberately here as we always see the success of a system but rarely analyze & acknowledge the reasons behind that success, leave apart learning or adopting the same!

Recently on the eve of Jagannath sheth completing eighty years, a small celebration has been kept in Vaishali & city’s who’s who had been there to greet him. Write-ups’ of many individuals were published in media about their memories at these places. What more a place can give to the city? I always wonder what real success of any place is. Is it in making money or other people copying that place or the foot print of visitors? What is it that a place can seek? I think the status in which Vaishali Rupali are presently holds the answer As they exists like a living character & what more a place can achieve than people recognize it as a living personality!

This is generation of MacDonald & KFC’s & such big names who claim to serve all kind of world cuisine & offers best happening ambience & yet Vaishali Rupali has stood all such competition & has carved their own brand! For Punekar’s, Vaishali Ruplai are not just the restaurants where they can dine or meet people but it’s like visiting a friend with whom they can share their few moments which can be very personal too! Blessed we are to have such places with us & it’s the duty of the society to conserve them & make them immortal as then only we deserve them around us! That will be the tribute to efforts of Jagannath sheth & his team for giving this city our very own Vaishali- Rupali!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

MSEDCL (Power) Committee, Credai, Pune

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1 comment:

  1. Despite the ratio of time period of our age & the age of the universe is infinitesimally the smallest & negligible value, our brains have been miraculously designed to experience the time lag & distinguish various time periods with many references throughout the life.

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