The German Bakery, blown to smithereens in Saturday’s blast, was once a place that put Pune on the international tourist map. Rebuilding it may have a symbolic significance — that this growing city has decided to stand up to terrorism. For the owners, though, the eatery was their only source of income, and they know they must rebuild it to support the family.
“There is no doubt that we are going to rebuild the German Bakery,” says Snehal Kharose, taking time out to speak to The Hindu in the midst of questioning by the Anti-Terrorism Squad. The bakery is in the name of her mother Smita (38). “We certainly want to rebuild it, but the question is that of money.”
Ms. Kharose knows that it is too early to talk of funding for reconstruction as investigations are still on. Nevertheless, she admits, it is a pressing matter.
“We have complete cooperation of the police and the government,” she says. “But I would like to request the government to arrange for compensation at the earliest.”
A lot in the Kharose household are dependent on the bakery. Twenty-year-old Snehal is the eldest of the three children. She is in II B.A. at the Sinhagad College. Her sister Shraddha, 14, is in her first year of junior college (Science). Her brother, Aditya, 12, is in the senior KG. He is physically and mentally challenged and does not keep too well.
The bakery was started in 1988 by Dnyaneshwar Narayan Kharose, Snehal’s father, along with a German, Woody. “He was the one who gave us some of the recipes,” says Ms. Kharose. “He left after two years but I don’t know where he went. My father ran the bakery till 1999 when he died.”
It is now managed by Gopal Karki. There is some dispute over ownership. “After my father’s death, his brother staked claim to the property,” she says. “But the bakery is very much in my mother’s name.”
On the day of the blast, the family was in its house on Sinhagad Road. While the household waits for compensation from the government, Ms. Kharose believes that loyal customers who developed a bond with the bakery over the years would certainly come forward to help.
Ever since the blast, the family has interacted only with the media and the police. “So we haven’t had the chance to talk to our customers yet,” Ms. Kharose says. “But along the road down the bakery, you can see boards paying tribute to the people who lost their lives. We have the support of our customers and the residents of Koregaon Park.”