Kudix Mug Holder of the MonthSay hello to Prithvi, theatre and beer enthusiast.

At Toit, our customers have always been our primary focus. They’re the ones who bring life to the place, create memories and end up giving the place its familiar, friendly vibe.

And there are so many different kinds of people who come through our doors daily, that we wanted to get to know their stories.

The Kudix Mug Holder of the Month is our little way of celebrating our customers, and their unique stories.

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Say hello to Prithvi, our Mug Holder of the month, who spends his time running his company, producing web sitcoms, being extensively involved in theatre and of course, drinking beer.

Why do you think you were selected as the Mug Holder?

I’ve been coming to this place before it even started running—I was actually shooed out saying they weren’t selling beer or food or anything at that time. So, you could say I’ve been coming here even before it opened. And the beers are very good.

I think it’s almost like a second home for me now.

In fact, I’ve been coming here so much that I joke with the waiters telling them that they must be tired of seeing me. I think it’s almost like a second home for me now, in some ways.

I know everybody here, I’m very comfortable in this place and if I were to choose a microbrewery in Bangalore to generally hang out with friends, I would say Toit is the place.

Do you like drinking beer a lot too?

Actually, it’s funny because my friends keep saying that I let my drink evaporate.

I have a lot of friends who also come here, and they drink a lot. But I just sit down and enjoy the vibe and ambience, and just hang out with my friends.

Are you from Bangalore?

Yeah, I am. I’ve lived here all my life, I was born here as well.

What do you do?

I run a digital marketing firm—we do things like social media, SEO, essentially online brand building and taking companies through the entire life cycle in terms of brand awareness. I have been in this space for the last six years.

…a whole bunch of things, but all centred around marketing and communication.

Before this, I was a technical writer, and before that I started a content company that didn’t do too well. And before that something in public relations.
So, a whole bunch of things, but all centred around marketing and communication. These two have been my core skills and I’ve built my capabilities around that.

In all the time that you’ve been coming here, anything memorable ever happen?

Well, there’s no single thing that stands out. I’ve had a lot of memorable moments here.
My friends and I have shared birthdays, and when they’ve gotten married, and had babies, I’ve brought my ex here for a date, and a bunch of other intimate moments like that.

What do you do when you’re not working?

A lot of things. I love to read, I love to travel, and I also do theatre. It’s been around 8 months since I last did a play, but I’ve done around 40 plays in the last 3-4 years.

How did you get into theatre? Is it something you’ve been doing since school/college?

Not really. I mean, I’ve always been interested because my Dad did theatre when he was young and I saw black and white photos of him in garb and character, and the whole thing was very fascinating for me. I’ve always believed that theatre is very interesting medium for you to don different personalities. It’s a way for you to explore people that you would never be.

I’ve done around 40 plays in the last 3-4 years.

Five years ago, a theatre company called Barking Dog Productions created an open audition for everybody, irrespective or whether they had previous experience or caliber.

I went and participated and got selected for a play, and since then I’ve worked with them. I’ve made a lot of friends in the theatre circuit after that.

Do you watch a lot of plays when you travel?

It’s very paradoxical because I don’t like to watch theatre so much. Unless it’s something it’s very, very interesting.

I saw a play recently by a Telegu theatre group, which is actually an extended family that does the entire production from costumes to scripts. And this is fifty people, and they’ve been doing it for the last 125 years. I didn’t understand a word, but I got the meaning. It was brilliant. So, I do like to watch exemplary plays which stand out, but otherwise I don’t watch theatre so much.

Do you have a favourite play that you’ve watched? Or want to watch?

Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten the name right now, but there was this really good play that I was recommended by my friend who is a theatre critic and a movie critic.

I really want to perform in that or produce that, because it has a very, very intersecting idea, which I think is something to do with the Salem witch hunts and themes around it.
Ideas like that really interest me.

Also, right now, I’m in the middle of producing a web sitcom. I just like the whole performing arts perspective, especially when I’m involved actively in it.

How is the theatre scene in Bangalore?

I’m a fledgling in the theatre circuit, but I think in the last 6-7 years it’s really taken off. I think there is a production happening almost every other day, or every weekend.

What do you think has changed in that time?

No singular reason, per say, but I think there has been a huge influx of people from outside Bangalore and Karnataka that have come and settled down here, and they have brought their own tastes with them.
Lot of people from Mumbai have also come here, and Mumbai has always had a very thriving theatre scene.

…influx of new ideas and perspectives has really helped propel Bangalore

Bangalore has also had a great theatre scene before that. But that influx of new ideas and perspectives has really helped propel Bangalore along in becoming a very major part of the theatre scene in India right now.

Do you do a lot of Kannada plays also?

I want to actually, I was in the process of doing one but that play got scrapped. So I haven’t done any Kannada plays until now.

There are some brilliant Kannada plays that happen. People seem to have a very close-minded perspective to vernacular productions. They don’t really look at them as something that could have the quality and sophistication that they might get from an English play. But that’s completely untrue.

I think people need to shed this elitism a little and open their minds to it.

And this is true for most of India, not just Karnataka. I mean, if you look at today’s urban, young, upwardly, mobile professionals types, most of them don’t really reconnect back into their vernacular roots. Most of them won’t go for a vernacular play. If they do, they’ll probably go to an English play and tag themselves on Facebook or something.

Most of them won’t go for a vernacular play.

But a lot of the audience today is also aware, and they understand the nuances of theatre.

What’s your take on the whole issue of language that is always happening here? The concern that Kannada is not being propagated enough. What do you think?

I would say it’s a two-sided sword.
Any form of imposition over people, is unfair. People have the right and freedom to express themselves in whichever manner they see fit. And any attempts to curtail that is against the very principle tenets of personal freedoms that are underlined in our Constitution. But at the same time, I think once you come to a place you need to start to homogenising and connecting with the locals. It’s about how you can connect with people.

Language should never be forced.

My perspective is balanced. I would say people should at least try and learn the language, when they come to a new place. It would be nice if they did.
But linguistic organisations coercing and trying to spray Kannada words everywhere are all completely in the wrong.

Language should never be forced. When I was younger, I used to say who cares about this. But as I’ve grown older, I realised I identify myself with this place and from that perspective I do connect with the pride that someone has. I wouldn’t abuse someone for not sharing this.

Kannada has had some amazing literary gems like Kuvempu…

But Kannada has had some amazing literary gems like Kuvempu and all. Even today when I read a Kuvempu, I would say his sophistication and understanding of human nature is at par with any of the great Western writers like Chekov or Tolstoy or any of these guys.
At the end of the day, it’s nice to know that we’re speaking the third oldest language in India.