Behind the Brewpub ScenesIT company office boy. Auto Driver. Store Assistant Manager. Vishnu has seen it all.
Running a brewpub isn’t easy- it’s a lot of work, a lot of sweat and the occasional tears.
There are a lot of good, earnest people working behind the scenes, who put in a great deal of effort, round-the-clock, to ensure that everything you love about Toit stays that way.
And these people are none other than our never-tiring, ever-inspiring staff.
Our very own Toit Army- a battalion dedicated to the cause of good beer!
He started out as the Office Boy in one of the largest IT companies in the country, spent six years as an Auto Driver, before finally making it here. Say hello to our inspirational Store Assistant Manager, Vishnu.
What do you do at Toit?
I am the Store Assistant Manager.
Are you from Bangalore?
Yes! I have been here my whole life, I live in Electronic City.
How has it been since you started working at Toit?
Four and a half years.
What were you doing before Toit?
I used to work here on a contract basis, and then the owners took us in permanently.
Before that, I used to be an office boy in an IT company, and in between I was also Auto Rickshaw driver.
I used to be an office boy in an IT company, and in between I was also Auto Rickshaw driver.
How did you hear about Toit?
My friend told me about it. He got me here.
Can you describe a day in your work life?
I wake up everyday at 5:30 am. I go for a walk, get ready, get my children ready for school. I have two children. Then I send them to school at 7:15 am. After that, I come here by 8:30 am, keep my bags, go to the Hanuman Temple here in front, and then come back and start work.
My first job is to check all the sales on the computer and send a mail with the details to the Manager.
Then I do the entry of the purchase bills. By the time I finish this, it is 10:30 am. Then if there is any bank work, the Accounts person will tell me and I go do it. Otherwise I go to the stores and make one round there.
What all stores are these?
One is the soft drinks store, the other is the liquor store, then the main kitchen store and the warehouse. I go check for all the items and make sure they are in stock.
If anything is required from the godown, I get that as well. Usually, I go there monthly twice or thrice, for things like pizza boxes, glasses, beer mugs. I get all these things.
Both my mother and sister cannot see. And even I have back pain.
Then we have lunch, I finish any pending outside work, and go home by 5:30 pm. If I leave in the vehicle, exactly at 5:30, I reach my place by 7:30 pm. If not, and if I take a bus, then it becomes 9:30 pm.
I get home and spend a little time with my children.
You have two children right? What are their names?
One is Manoj, and the other is Madan. The older one is eleven and Madan is eight.
And your wife? What does she do?
She works at a garments store. Her timings are 9:00 am to 6:30 pm.
So that’s your work day. When is your off-day and what do you do?
My off-day is on Saturday. Wake up at the same time.
Both my mother and sister cannot see. And even I have back pain. So we go to the hospital in the evening.
If we don’t go to the hospital, then we are at home.
I have a joint weak in my spine, and the doctor told me two years ago to get operated. Or that I should lose weight. So I am trying to lose weight, so that the pain reduces.
You work long hours here. How do you deal with the pain?
The company is very supportive. Whenever I have bad pain, they let me take an off. The management is very helpful with suggesting where I can get help also.
The company is very supportive.
You said you were an Auto driver before this. Was that tough with your back condition?
It wasn’t tough, but because of the problem, I left that job. I did that for 6 years.
IT company to Auto driving to Toit. How has the journey been and what is the biggest difference?
I like it here. The Auto Driver life was tough.
Bangaloreans have the worst time with auto drivers. Why do you think the situation is the way it is? Since you’ve been on both sides.
So, if we go to one place, like Hosur road at 3:30, coming back takes about two to three hours.
The reason they say no a lot, is because the boys these days have rent to pay for the autos, and if not, they have to pay for gas also. The auto meter doesn’t cover all that, because if you get stuck somewhere, getting back sometimes becomes very hard.
The minimum meter fare has been hiked over the years. Doesn’t that help?
Not really. See, if it’s just up and down, they say ok, but nowadays these boys say they want 100 just for one way or something like 20 rupees extra just like that.
Earlier times, auto drivers used to not think like this. In my time, if a customer asked us to go anywhere, we have to go—that is our job!
We should take customers wherever they want to go.
Earlier, the approach used to be family centric. We knew that we did this job to earn money and support our families.
What changed over the years then?
All the people who used to be in the auto business earlier have mostly left. Now it’s young boys, who have the wrong attitude. They don’t think of it as a job, as a business. They just come to ride the auto around and have fun, and doing crazy stunts and stuff.
Earlier, the approach used to be family centric. We knew that we did this job to earn money and support our families. That was our thinking.
The boys these days don’t think that way. They only want to have fun, get enough money for food and alcohol, and that’s it.
You were an auto driver for 6 years! Any memorable incidents that come to mind in all those years of helping people get to places?
When I used to ride the autos, I used to take the auto out at 4 am on Mondays, because people who were going to places for the weekend would want to come back early.
So, if I went early, I could also make some extra money.
During one of those days, there was this girl on the road. It looked like she had a fight with someone, and she had no money also. Her face had marks and her clothes were a little torn.
During one of those days, there was this girl on the road.
She was crying and came up to me saying give me your phone, I need to call my brother. That time I had a Nokia phone, and I wasn’t sure if I should give it, and who she was and if I would get into trouble being seen with a girl who looked like that.
But I put my faith in God, and gave it. Later, she told me her house was in Rajajinagar, and that she had not told the people in her house that she was going for a party with her friends. I don’t know what went wrong, but then her brother called me back and told me that she doesn’t know where she is, you please drop her home and I’ll pay you for it, because she doesn’t have money.
I said ok, and asked him whether it’s ok because her clothes and everything were torn and I shouldn’t get into trouble for that. So he asked me not to worry and said just get her home.
She was very tired, so I took her home at 4:30 am, my wife heated some milk for her and gave her some food, and then I dropped her.
I had told them that I wanted 500, only because if I get caught, the Policemen sometimes harass, and if they see a girl in this condition with me, they might ask questions and fine me or something. But when I went there, he gave me 1500. I said I didn’t want more, just what I asked for. I don’t know what happened after that, but her family seemed happy.
I took her home at 4:30 am, my wife heated some milk for her and gave her some food…
The other memorable thing was, after I joined here, I got to take a photo with the Management, and that made me very happy.
Tell me a little more about your family. Have your mother and sister always been visually impaired?
No. My mother had a brain tumour, about twenty years back, and had three-four operations done in NIMHANS. I had already lost two brothers to brain tumours.
The doctors told me that if they do this operation, there is a chance something might go wrong with her body. But I said it’s ok, I want my mother. She lost her sight after the operation. They told us that they can only guarantee about 15 years for her, and then the body pain would start. That has started now. It’s been 25 years now. Her first operation was in 1985, when I was studying. My father passed away 20 years ago.
What about your sister? Did she have a tumour too?
No, not a tumour. She has holes in her nerves.
…if you lose your mother, you can never replace her.
Has it been hard? You’ve been taking care of both of them for the last twenty years, all by yourself.
The thing is, if you lose your mother, you can never replace her. That’s why I take so much care of her, and I do not mind at all. She is my mother.
It is not hard. This work here helps me take care of them.
What has been the best thing about working at Toit?
It’s really great working here. Because, the owners are very good. And the salary is also good. They have a very good helping nature here also, and if you don’t know what to do, they will teach you. It’s very good.
If you had to give any advice to present day auto drivers, what would you say?
I do give advice to them! Whenever I have work to get done, I take an auto. I look at their display card and see where they are from, what their mother tongue is and all that. Then I talk to them and tell them what the right way to do their work is.
That’s the right way of earning money.
If the customer wants to go somewhere, take them. That’s the right way of earning money. Not by demanding extra and doing fraud things like jumping meters.
I tell them that just for 20 rupees extra, their vehicle can get seized and then they will have to pay a fine of 2000 rupees. So, they shouldn’t be silly. They should be part of the Union and get the benefits.