R. Murugan came to Bangalore nearly eight years ago and started a small milk store in Shivajinagar titled Milky Way. The store did not do too well and shut down soon. Borrowing some money from his friends and family, he decided to set up a small store selling tea, coffee and an assortment of snacks and called it Milky Way as well.
“It took time for the business to take off. Most of my customers were autowallahs and labourers involved in construction in houses nearby. In the past few years, many offices have been established here ensuring that I manage to get a stable income and make small profits.”
Does the ever increasing inflation impact sales? “As far as the prices of essential commodities are not increased, we do not increase prices. We are forced to constantly increase the price of tea and coffee since the price of milk has increased constantly.” His day starts at 6 in the morning, and he is at the store everyday by seven, setting up the kettles to boil tea, replacing the old stock and assorted activities. “Managing a tea shop running for almost 12 hours every day is very tiring. My wife also helps in the day-to-day running of the store. It is difficult to manage with long working hours and contend with two of our children, who are enrolled in an English medium school. We have employed someone recently, who cleans up the place.”
The city, Murugan feels has been changing drastically in the past five years. “There are more cars on the roads, the green cover is being reduced and the brashness that one associates with the big city crowd is emerging. I love Bangalore and feel that it is a great place to live. I hope that the government manages to fix the many infrastructure issues that constantly plague it. I love the weather.”
Does he ever want to go back to his village in Tamil Nadu. “At times, when business is tight and work hectic, I think of going back home. However, both my children are studying in good schools. I do not want their education to be affected.”