The college may not be the way you last remember it, and after watching those empty roads, the “CC” without any crowd of students, those cafe joints with their empty seats, all I can say is that not only you but the college is also missing its students as well as the small food stall owners too. As their sole source of income depends mostly on us. Hence, we recently came across some of the popular food joints on our campus and interviewed them about their situation right now to let you know how are they coping up after last year’s lockdown.
After Lockdown Scenarios Of Some Of Our Favorite Joints:
1. Amigos Fitness Club, Akshay Chavan (Owner)
Who would have imagined that one of the only popular gyms near college won’t be filled with fitness freaks, but as difficult it seems to digest, it is the truth. The pandemic didn’t just affect the owners of the cafe but also to many gym owners around and one of them is Amigos Gym which was started by one of our alumni, before lockdown this place had an occupancy of 100 or more.
Where Did Things Go Wrong?
We never expected the lockdown to be of more than 15 days, but when the second wave hit us, the next lockdown was already announced. We thought it will be over soon as usual but things go as per our plans. It really did affect our business because the members of the gym are the main source of income for us.
Can The Losses Be Recovered ?
Recovering from the loss will be difficult but instead of focusing on the past, we would like to focus on the future ahead.
Did Other Gyms Tried To Compete With You?
Even though there are many gyms in the area to compete, we decided to compete with ourselves. We would like to focus on improving ourselves to a point where there won’t be any requirement for competition.
What Would You Like To Convey Us Or Other Students?
As corona did show us the importance of staying fit & healthy, and that always has been our motto and we will soon be reopening our gym by following all the safety measurements provided by the Government. The trainers here not only provide a regular body-building routine but also different and interesting workout plans such as CrossFit, Zumba, cardio, etc. Our message for students is to stay healthy and fit.
2. Polyhub Foodcourt, Satish Landage (Owner)
Polyhub: A place where you get mouth-watering “Aloo ke Parathe to a delicious Italian Pasta”, a Masala Chai to a Cappuccino”, from South Indian to Chinese anything you’re craving for can be found here. It’s like a food map of India where you’ll find varieties of cuisines of almost every state possible “Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil” and the list goes on and on. Now imagine if a single cafe-like “Chai Sutta Bar” goes through that many losses, what would have the owner of this hub had to go through to operate such multiple food stalls?
When we asked several business/shop owners in Polyhub about their condition, in which they replied:-
What Makes Polyhub So Special?
Satish Landage(Owner of Pooja Bhel):- Polyhub was recently opened and one of those unique places that gained popularity in no time. Even though the shop’s count is more than 40, you won’t find any shops serving the same variety. Also, we don’t believe in competing with other stalls, because we all know that we’re sailing the same boat!
How Were Your Landlords About Paying Rents?
Satish Landage(Owner of Pooja Bhel):- When the condition went bad, the owners were pretty understanding. Instead of taking the whole rent, they asked us for only the least possible amount required for maintenance. After all, it was not just us but the whole country facing the worse.
What Kind Of Expectations You Had After Passing Of First Wave?
Ganesh Dahibhat(Owner of Exotic Chinese):- When the first wave was over the and government was almost ready to start the college. We decided to reopen our shop gradually, with high hopes and with new offers and discounts. But later when we realized that the second wave will soon affect our business, then we decided to hold on for a while because we were prepared this time, though it doesn’t state that there won’t be any more losses but at least we are well aware of the worst to come.
What Message Would You Like To Give Us?
Ganesh Reddy (Owner of Shree Pan House):- All we can say right now is that we have organized this whole thing just for you all so that you don’t have to go far away in search of flavorsome and affordable food. And, yes we eagerly are waiting for you’ll but not at the cost of your safety. We assure you to serve food while maintaining all safety protocols.
3. Chai Sutta Bar, Abhijit Kanade and Abhishek Ningune (Owner)
For every tea lover in Sinhgad, this place is a must-visit and most of them have already visited this place more than once in his/her college life because it’s not just an ordinary point, it’s famous for serving varieties of flavored tea to but to relax and chill with your group of friends, gang, or whatever slang you prefer, and to create some unforgettable memories with them. Ever imagined why you loved this place so much? For sure for its tea and the kind of vibe this place offers is so peaceful and refreshing. One more thing which was absolutely amazing about this place is its crowd and that is what exactly is missing right now!
While interviewing him, he said, that at the beginning we weren’t expecting the lockdown to extend after about 15 days and thus they still kept their stocks filled. Unfortunately, after a few days, we had no other option but to throw it all away. Due to lack of visitors and complete lockdown we had to eventually shut it down.
What amazes me is that even after their losses they still paid their employees every month, not the amount they used to pay before but they helped people even when they were at losses. They also said that this time they are prepared according to the situation and they still have a hope down there that the situation will improve soon, until then they won’t give up!
4. Café Coffee Day is now being replaced by Café Goodluck.
After VG Siddhartha’s (Founder of Café Coffee Day) death by suicide, many CCD outlets were removed from all over India in this year’s first quarter, and CCD on our campus is one of them, though many people (including myself) never visited the place, all I can say for sure is that for someone the place was their turf, a place to chill after college, a place where they could relax with their friends after 8 hours of college, but because of all those losses they’ve suffered, they had no other option but to either shut it down or sell it. As the area was so popular due to the crowd and being situated at the entrance of the college it was soon acquired by Cafe GoodLuck.
At The End Of The Day, We Did Realize…….
As a student, I realized one of the most important things: no matter how good your product is, it’s of no use if there is nobody to use it or even buy it and that’s what all the small business owners must have realized. Undoubtedly, Sinhgad is one of the best colleges in Pune but without its crowd and its students, it’s nothing more than an empty infrastructure or abandoned town. Most of us have nearly imagined the energy of getting back to the campus and the feeling of seeing our friends again. Obviously, things would be different but the campus, the beauty of campus our is eternal. And one day on a typical night, when this all gets over, I’ll look around my campus and my friends and be a little more grateful. This pandemic really did teach us to appreciate little things in life and never take anything for granted!
Credits for the above Interview is as follows:
- Authors: Kunal Bhatt & Narayan Pawar
- Editors: Ishwar Sarade & Nia Gajbhiye
- Photos: Kaustubh Patil
- Flyer: Navin Bhagat