Kudix Mug Holder of the MonthSay hello to Monty, our Mug Holder of the month.
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.
He loves his weekend unwind sessions, as long as he recovers in time for his Sunday golf sessions. Say hello to Harkiran Wohra (known to pretty much everyone as Monty), our mug holder of the month.
Why do you think you’ve been selected as the Mug Holder?
Honestly, I’m very offended that I haven’t been selected sooner. *laughs*
I’ve been coming here since the place started, since day one! It’s taken seven years, but it’s finally happened.
Also, I’m here at least once every week, so I guess that’s the reason why.
I’ve been coming here since the place started, since day one!
So it has nothing to do with the amount you drink?
Let’s not get into that.
Have you always been a beer drinker?
Not really, actually. The first beer that I drank was with my friends Gagan and Zain at one of Bangalore’s oldest pubs. I hated it, had one sip and realised that it was not happening. Those two finished the rest of the pitcher.
I think it was an acquired taste. I started off with whiskey, maybe because of the Army influence. My Dad was in the Army, so those little tastes we used to get as kids probably made me gravitate towards that more.
Since Toit has happened, I’ve been here often and have enjoyed all the beers. I love brewed beers.
Are you from Bangalore?
Yup. Born and brought up in Bangalore, I did my education, schooling, everything here.
What do you do?
I work for a family business. We’re into manpower security services, so we provide security guards for offices, residences, corporates and retail outlets.
It’s a twenty-five years old company, which my Dad started and I’ve been with him for about seven years, handling the operations.
Is it stressful?
It is. We handle around 500-600 security guards on a daily basis. So that’s a lot of manpower and it takes a lot of work.
As long as you have a good structured organisation, it’s fine. If you don’t, it gets very difficult. I have calls coming in at seven in the morning till eleven thirty in the night.
I work for a family business. We’re into manpower security services…
So it’s kind of stressful, but if you have a good team like I have, it’s good work, and good money.
How big is your team?
I have about 8 people working directly under me.
Of course under them then you have a different hierarchy of supervisors and guards, etc. Overall, the team is about 600 people.
Is this something you always knew you had to do? Or you naturally transitioned into?
To be very honest, this was not my plan.
I finished my B. Sc. in Christ University in Chemistry, Botany, and Zoology. There is absolutely no connection to that and what I am doing now.
I also wanted to pursue photography professionally. I was supposed to do my aviation before that but because of a slight deafness in my left ear, I couldn’t pursue that.
And since my dad was branching out into another business of his, he kind of needed help here so I put my personal career goals on hold for sometime to do this.
But now I’ve been here for seven years and I enjoy doing this.
Do you think at some point you’ll move from this into one of those things you’d mentioned wanting to do, say photography?
Maybe not. I’m in this and it’s a family business, which has to be run by someone in the family.
I wouldn’t take up photography as a profession but maybe I could still do it as a hobby.
But what I’m doing right now would be the long term goal for me.
I also wanted to pursue photography professionally.
Was it easy? To adjust into this profession?
No, it wasn’t easy for sure. But i’ve always been good with people—talking, networking, all of that.
I go to a bar, I know all the waiters by name. So that kind of thing was inbred in me, but this was a little different.
Handling blue collar labour is different, in terms of making a connect with them. Language was an issue, because although I am born and brought up in Bangalore, we are Sikhs, so my language wasn’t Kannada per se. But I’ve learnt the language on the job, to communicate better.
So, it wasn’t an easy transition, but it was manageable.
You’d mentioned something to do with a slight deafness that happened, which didn’t let you join the aviation industry. How did that happen?
*laughs* That’s a very interesting story. I was supposed to do my aviation, commercial flying, after 12th standard.
I went to a party at a golf club, some Diwali party, and I stood in front of a 10 feet high speaker. There were at least some 200 people around me in that same vicinity, but for some reason only I got affected and my left ear was damaged in the process of partying too hard or whatever. *laughs*
But I’ve learnt the language on the job, to communicate better.
Because of which I failed my medicals in my aviation exam. I’d passed the written exams in Delhi, but there was a high frequency deafness, a 30% hearing loss, so they rejected me.
So that sucks, because I’m stuck here on the ground. Otherwise I’d be flying around with all the air-hostesses. *laughs*
As someone who was born and brought up here, you’ll be familiar with Bangalore’s drinking culture. What has changed over the years, since the time you had that first beer you hated?
There isn’t a big difference as such. There are a lot of better pubs, but the rock music culture has deteriorated a bit I feel.
You have a lot of breweries now, lots of different people, an influx of people from all over the country coming in, so I think that’s the only big difference I see.
People are going to drink any which way, but I guess the rock music culture that old pubs used to have doesn’t exist anymore.
…my left year was damaged in the process of partying too hard or whatever.
Even the clubbing and partying has been replaced with a more sitting-down-and-drinking kind of culture. Hanging with a few friends, with not very loud music and conversation across the table—I think that’s the culture we’ve slowly moved into. Which is a good thing, I think.
You meet friends after a long week of work and talk to them and catch up, instead of just partying and getting wasted.
Is that a shift in culture or a shift in age?
*laughs* I guess you’re right. We’ve just become older, so we prefer sitting down and drinking, rather than raging.
But with breweries like Toit coming up, the quality of beer has definitely gone up and people are now drinking to enjoy the drink, rather than just getting hammered.
You were saying that networking has always been your thing. How come?
I’ll tell you how it happened.
I’m exactly like my Dad. Whenever we go to a restaurant or anything, he’s always talking to the waiters and cracking jokes with them. He always used to do it and has always had that skill where he could talk to people very easily.
I think growing up, just sitting across the table from him over a countless number of dinners and outings, I probably picked that up.
…partying has been replaced with a more sitting-down-and-drinking kind of culture.
Do you use those skills to meet girls at pubs as well?
*bursts out laughing a moment later*
I think I’ve had four first-dates here.
Any last dates?
No no! The vibe of this place is to good to ruin it with that. I think I’ll keep only the good memories like the first-dates over here.
Speaking of vibe, the people here, the staff, have always been of top quality. That is something that Toit’s USP is built on, apart from the food and beers.
The people you meet here, their attitudes, go a long way in retaining customers.
What is the most you’ve had in a sitting?
Two of my friends and I came here once, and we had ten pints of beer each. I think we crawled out of this place that day.
It’s time to talk about your adorable dog Mojo (who had been sitting cutely through this entire interview)
Well, one of the reasons I come here so often is because Toit is so pet friendly.
Also, my office is three roads away so I can quickly come here for lunch and then head back.
But my dog Mojo, who is a Shitzu and is 4 years old, also comes here with me. This is the only place I know in Indiranagar that serves liquor and allows pets.
I take him to the office with me. In the afternoons if I want to step out to meet a friend or have a drink, I take him along with me and we sit here in the outside section.
He’s quite peaceful, so he enjoys it.
It is important then for people with pets to have spaces like these.
I think now there are more and more places opening that allow pets.
It’s important, because your dog is an integral part of your family. Like I said, I don’t leave him alone at home for a minute.
…I come here so often is because Toit is so pet friendly.
My mum and I time it exactly so that one of us is around before the other has to leave.
It’s like taking care of a child.
I’m glad the owners of Toit have inculcated this into the USP of this place. I think all pet owners would like to see more of that.
Do you get time to do anything apart from work? What are the things you do when you get free?
Honestly, I’ve tried hitting the gym a couple of times but that really is not meant for me. I just can’t do that!
After a long day of work I like to switch on my TV and watch Netflix and chill. By that I mean actually watch movies on Netflix and chill, not the other meaning!
Apart from that, I try squeezing in at least two days of golf into the week.
But because I’m constantly getting calls throughout the day, by the end of it I just want to go home, switch off, and do nothing at all.
I enjoy this downtime, it’s very important to me.