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Samosa Ajja’s bisi bonding with students

Special Correspondent
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He has been selling the snack on St. Aloysius campus for nearly 30 years

M.M. Malagi selling samosas to students of St. Aloysius school in Mangalore.— PHOTO: H.S. MANJUNATH
M.M. Malagi selling samosas to students of St. Aloysius school in Mangalore.— PHOTO: H.S. MANJUNATH

For nearly three decades, students of St. Aloysius school have relished his samosas. His open shop, near the chapel, on St. Aloysius campus is a favourite hang-out. For them, M.M. Malagi, who is in his 70s, is their ‘Samosa Ajja’ (grandfather).

That he has a personal bonding with the students, who surround him during their leisure time, is clear: “Some students come in search of me here with their wedding cards,” he says. “Some of them are now engineers and doctors,” he points out with pride.

He reaches the campus 8.30 a.m. and sells samosa till 4 p.m. “I usually sell between 400 and 500 samosas a day,” he says. The ever-smiling ‘Ajja’ says that two workers come to his house at 5 a.m. and prepare the samosas. His shop on the campus is open during the annual vacations, too. “As there will be coaching classes and students in hostels I go there and sell samosas,” he said.

Ajja , after studying up to pre-university he taught in a primary school at Badami, now in Bagalkot district, for about 20 years. His family owned a kirana store at Badami. Hence, he was familiar with the business.

He moved to Mangalore with his elder brother’s son when the young man got a job in New Mangalore Port. “I was about 45 years then,” he remembers. His association with the campus began after he became friendly with a Father hailing from Dharwad who allowed him to sell ‘goli baje’ and ‘churmuri’, initially. Ajja switched over to selling samosas later because students wanted him to.

“Ajja brings bisi bisi (hot) samosas in morning,” says Vishal, a high school student. An old student of St. Aloysius High School, Uttam Kumar Shetty, says that he has been seeing ajja on the campus since 1996 when he joined the school in class 8.

Ajja , who will turn 77 years on April 1, has five children. He doesn’t like talking about his family.

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