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Updated: January 30, 2014 19:02 IST

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BHUMIKA K
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Padmini says people are going back to using copper and brass utensils. Photo: Bhumika. K
The Hindu Padmini says people are going back to using copper and brass utensils. Photo: Bhumika. K

Name: Padmini Doris Lewis

Occupation: Proprietor, Bronze and brass store

I have been looking after Lewis Metals, here in Malleswaram Circle, for the last 20 years, ever since I was inspired by my father-in-law to run the store. This shop has been in existence, and in their family at this same spot, for 62 years!

Many of our customers have known us for a long time, and keep coming back to us, because they trust us. I didn’t know anything about this business then. I earlier worked in a marketing firm. Now, over time, I have learnt to recognise, and deal with all kinds of buyers — some are polite, some are genuinely interested in buying, others are irritating, bargain relentlessly and leave without buying. I try to be patient with everyone. I enjoy talking to them.

We have utility items, pooja items, kitchen utensils, decorative items, mostly in bronze, copper, and brass. A few years ago, when there was an increased demand in the market for aluminium and steel, we kept that too. But when I realised aluminium was unhealthy, I stopped selling it in my shop.

Today, people have realised that “old is gold” and they are all coming back to buy bronze and copper plates and glasses because they feel it’s healthy to cook and eat in them. Recently, during Pongal, people came looking for the “pongal paatre” specially used to cook pongal for the festival.

Many of our clients who have moved away from surrounding areas come all the way from Electronics City to get tinning (kalaai) done for old vessels, because they believe we do it well. Families and caterers bring us huge vessels used for cooking large meals at functions, for repairs, and buffing too.

I have lived in Bangalore for nearly 50 years now; I am a grandmother. The city has developed so much, but it’s becoming far too crowded. People living in the old areas have moved to the outskirts looking for peace.

Malleswaram has become so crowded with apartments and people from outside; I can barely recognise an old Bangalorean now. For two years, when the underpass was being constructed at the Circle, business almost came to a standstill — there would be stretches of 15 days sometimes when we wouldn’t have a single boni (the first sale of the day). After the one-ways and no-parking rule came into place, business went downhill and we went under loss. It’s only now, after reinvestment, that it’s started picking up again.

I am features men and women who make Bangalore what it is

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