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Updated: April 10, 2012 16:51 IST

Wooden doors still guard this old grain shop

Renuka Phadnis
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The Basti Rama Keshava Shanbhaga and Co. at Bunder in Mangalore. Photo: R. Eswarraj
The Hindu The Basti Rama Keshava Shanbhaga and Co. at Bunder in Mangalore. Photo: R. Eswarraj

Ganesh K. Shenoy and Brothers has retained some of its old world charm

One of the old shops that dot the Bunder area is that of Basti Ram Keshav Shenoy. Located in the bustling marketplace, its old facade faces the busy road.

Mr. Shenoy said the first person to head the shop in the 1930s was his grandfather Ramaiyya Shenoy. In the 1950s, Mr. Shenoy's father started manning the shop and built the rear part of the building. The shop is called Ganesh K. Shenoy and Brothers.

The shop, which occupies 22 cents of land, is housed in a building that has the original roof tiles. There was no RCC used anywhere, said Mr. Shenoy.

The original heavy wooden doors to the shop and to the godown are still in use. The doors also have bolts made of wood. There was no iron used, he said.

There are two wooden staircases along which workers carried, in past days, sacks of various commodities. The shop has wooden beams that are placed between columns and help hold up the weight of goods stored on first floor. The wood in the beam is hebbalasu and kiral bogi.

At the entrance to the shop is a table-like wooden piece of furniture, which was used as a “diwan” in olden days. For the window that is facing the main road, there is a wooden flap from inside that can be lifted to close the window. Close to the window are two old boxes (big and small) that are still lying in the shop. They have compartments and were used to keep account books, he said.

There is a suspended bookshelf, exactly above the seat where the shopkeeper sits. It is a wooden plank tied to the ceiling with iron chains and it served as a shelf to keep books in days gone by.

The building of the shop is next to a mosque. “The building is not owned by us, it belongs to the Jumma Masjid,” said Mr. Shenoy.

The business is built around selling rice and areca nut. Areca nut is sold to North Indian traders who are long-time residents of Mangalore. They grade the areca nut and sell it to buyers in various cities in North India, where it is used in “paan”.

The shop has served well all these years for storing commodities. The only problem was that there was none in the next generation to take over the shop, says Mr. Shenoy. The children in the family were all studying science and technology and may not take over the business, he said.

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