A slice from the past

Head into that part of town and ask anybody for Subbammana Angadi and you will find it.

You would never think this bonsai of a store could be described as a landmark. But yes, Subbammana Stores is one.

Even though the signboard above the store says ‘Srinivasa Condiments Stores’, you would not find anybody actually use that name. It’s a homely store, which started in 1948, and grew in repute sheerly by word of mouth. Ask K V Ananth Rao, the current owner, and the his face glows with pride as he tells you, “My grandmother would go from home to home selling home-made snacks. Then in 1948, somebody we knew offered us this store for Rs five-rent and we set up this shop.” It’s been in the same location ever since. “We haven’t done any modifications or adjustments,” says A Rao.“The walls were made of mortar. We changed it to concrete, that’s the only thing. And besides, the place is small,” he adds.

This quaint little shop is piled ceiling high with goodies like murukku, kodballe, a variety of chips, nipatu to mention a few.

Subbammana Stores also stocks such South-Indian kitchen essentials such as sambar powder, rasam powder, bisibelle bath powder and vangi bath powder. Nothing in the store will cost you more than Rs 20. This store, which is open only between 9 am to 2 pm, and then again, from 5 pm to 10 pm, needs to restock their supplies through the day. The almost breathless A Rao and his son Gopal Rao scurry about the store, taking orders from the gathered battalion, delivering them, billing it, collecting cash and handing out change.
And they are on the go non-stop. They barely find time to exchange a line or two with each customer. No wonder that this shop can boast of customers, who have been buying from here for 40 years now.

Neela Vishwanath who had just bought bags full of snacks says, “I’ve been coming here for 40 years or so. I’ve travelled five km to buy from here. I’ve tried other stores but nobody can match the quality of this store. We know it’s kitchen fresh. The stuff is even warm.

Mrudula Rao, a resident of Mumbai, piped in saying, “You know those in Mumbai too know about this store.  There are women who will always stop here every time they are in Bangalore and buy stocks for everybody. People when they find out, we are going to Bangalore they call and ask me to bring specific things from here for them.”

The owners seem to place a high premium on quality. They have their own kitchen in which each day fresh stocks are prepared. It’s all handmade and all the ingredients are carefully selected ensuring exemplary taste. The fried snacks are never oily. Nothing is very spicy. They ensure they strike a fine balance.

The thing about the shop, other than for their mandate on quality, is, it seems, the relationship between the shopkeepers and the patrons. Manjula N, who was accompanied by her mother and her daughter said, “They have such high regard for customers and they treat everybody so well. They are so prompt with change also.”
If you you want to indulge, then head to 92 HB Samaja Road, Gandhi Bazaar, Basavanagudi. (Ph no 26677493).

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