Kudix Mug Holder of the MonthThe family that hangs out at pubs together, stays together.
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.
Say hello to Sunitha, and also to her partner Bhaskar, who she brought along and we gladly added as an honorary Mug Holder, who told us about how you can be really strict parents but also really cool parents, all at the same time (it’s possible, kids!), among other things.
We ask this of every Mug Holder—why do you think you were selected as the Mug Holder?
Sunitha: Oh because I’m such a common face here. We, and I especially, would have felt really insulted if our faces weren’t there.
Bhaskar: Let me just put this in perspective—we’re here to meet friends, interview people, have business meetings, on weekends with the kids, and she used to work out of here. I think she would definitely qualify as a Mug Holder.
But I love this place. It’s actually like our second home.
Sunitha: But I love this place. It’s actually like our second home. I don’t think I bother to dress up or change my clothes when I come here.
Are you guys from Bangalore?
Sunitha: Yeah. We’re very much from Bangalore.
Bhaskar: We’re been here for the last 12 years.
Sunitha: And that’s the nicest thing about Bangalore. I’m happy to say I’m from here.
So, what do you guys do?
Sunitha: We’re both entrepreneurs. Both of us do a couple of things.
Bhaskar: We’ve just launched an app, which is all about keeping up with friends and shopping together.
It’s called flocknshop, the idea being that there’s this massive gap in online shopping. It’s great for convenience, price range and all that, but the thing is it’s pretty much a solo activity.
We’ve just launched an app. It’s called flocknshop…
We all start shopping and then we’re unsure and anxious about our choices; we pile up our carts with millions of alternatives and then finally, we buy. And 70% of the time, we pretty much immediately return what we buy. And even today, shopping offline is a fun thing to do with friends, right? You take your friends along to get ideas and suggestions, and then they validate your choices or give you alternative suggestions.
Apart from the fact that many heads help make a better decision, whether it’s jewellery, clothes, shoes, whatever, it’s also an awesome time with friends.
So, the idea is to get feedback, advice, suggestions, seamlessly and in real time, along with funds, in case you want to pool in. One app, for shopping across dozens of merchants, where you’re with friends, chatting and discussing. Because no one but your friend is going to tell you what looks good on you or not. The idea is to be 100% sure before you buy anything, and before you spend money on it.
Sunitha: What is nice is that we came upon this idea at Toit. We were here, drinking and discussing. Whenever we want to discuss flocknshop, we come here.
Bhaskar: Yeah, she’d got me something that wasn’t exactly appropriate for a guy, and it was damn expensive.
Sunitha: And it was a surprise! And he was like all you needed to do was ask my friends, if you wanted it to be a surprise, or ask me.
What is nice is that we came upon this idea at Toit.
Bhaskar: Apart from this, she’s the founder of an advertising and marketing consultancy, and I was earlier in advertising and broadcasting also. We have a co-founder who handles the technology side of things, our CTO.
Have you guys been coming to Toit from the start?
Bhaskar: Absolutely! Before they even started serving beer.
Does that mean you guys have always been beer lovers?
Sunitha: No, no. We are Single Malt lovers. Completely.
Bhaskar: Maybe Vodka or Gin in the afternoons. The truth is of course everyone drinks beer, and has had it at some point. But if you gave us a choice, beer would be last on our list.
But after this place started as a microbrewery, anytime we need to have a drink, it’s got to be here. The beers here are exceptional, especially the wheat beers.
Sunitha: The thing is more about how it’s become for us. His parents love drinking, which makes our life beautiful. So at 12 sharp, we’re here, waiting for the doors to open up.
But after this place started as a microbrewery, anytime we need to have a drink, it’s got to be here.
During the World Cup, weekend after weekend we’d be here, and they would come with us, and our kids as well. They would play Uno with us, the kids would run around—they love it here.
Every time we walk in here, and it’s full, they always get us a table. No matter how big the crowd. We also have a lot of international visitors, and we bring them here every time and they love this place.
So, tell us a little bit about the kids who’ve practically grown up here.
Sunitha: Oh god! They’re so cute. *proceeds to remove phone and show photos. Cute!*
The younger one is really naughty. We got our nephew from Amsterdam here one time, and he was like “This is the first time a 13 year old girl is showing me around a pub!”
All our photos are around this place. Typically, on a Wednesday or Friday, we pick up the kids from school, and we bring them here straight—because this is the only place we can talk to them, where they aren’t distracted by their iPads and phones. They tell us about their problems. In fact, we’ve discovered many issues here because we’re just sitting around and eating and drinking and talking about their lives.
Otherwise, the moment they reach home, they’re onto their regular things.
This place is where we pour our hearts out, which is why it’s a beautiful place. For us, at least.
Does that make you like the coolest parents ever?
Bhaskar: It’s very interesting. We’ve come here with them, and people have seen them in their school uniforms. We’ve run into people who are now 30-35 years old, moved abroad, and they come up them and say that they used to be in the same Sports House and had the same uniform as them.
Sunitha: Everyone here is so good to the kids. I sometimes think we come here for the people. They’re excellent!
…this is the only place we can talk to them. They tell us about their problems.
Bhaskar: Other people also bring their kids here. Maybe not as often as us, but I think that the way they’ve made this place, the architecture, the kids can be everywhere except the smoking section, and it’s completely fine and no one is hassled about it.
Maybe it’s because of that mix of a crowd, but I’ve never, ever seen a fight break out here, something that happens at a lot of other places.
Sunitha: When Antara, our younger daughter, was two, they would actually feed her. She would never eat, and to get her to eat her food, these guys would also help. We’re that comfortable.
And unfortunately, she loves alcohol. As in, if you’re not looking, she’ll dip her finger in it, thinking the longer she keeps it in, the more it’ll soak in.
Bhaskar: We took her for her vaccination drops, where she kicked and cried and all until I told her it was just a drop. So, the Nurse said, “Open your mouth, baby” and that lady just dropped two drops and said it’s done and all. And Antara turns and says, “Appa! That was just like beer!”
I was like oh my god, and the Nurse gave us a shocked look, and we just ran out of that hospital. So we’re extremely careful—no dipping fingers and all.
The older one is normal, she hates the taste of alcohol, so that’s great!
We took her for her vaccination drops… And Antara turns and says, “Appa! That was just like beer!”
Sunitha: They see us, and our friends, and how we all like to get together and drink. But we’ve made sure we’ve told them that because we’re successful, we have such friends and parties and sit in gardens and drink. Only because of that. So they realise that this comes from having worked hard. We keep on telling them those things. Right now, they’re very understanding.
Bhaskar: Fortunately, in our circles, you can be open about the fact that you drink at home, around your children. So when they see us have a couple of beers, and then go to work or go about things, they understand that it’s not some poison or black hole or something. And also that they don’t have to hide it from us, when they do start.
I think it’s very important for them to have a proper understanding of it.
Is it tough being chilled out parents?
Sunitha: No, no! I’m like a tyrant in the house. I’m very, very, very strict, but they love it.
Bhaskar: You’ve heard one side, where we take them out and bring them here. There’s a certain amount of supporting their exploration.
For example, they have to do their homework everyday and they have to be at the top five in class, the older one has to practice guitar everyday otherwise I’m going to stop the class. It’s like if they’re not going to take it seriously, then I’m not going to waste money on it. All of those things they understand very well. So, it’s not that we’re chilled out parents. We’re balanced and they appreciate it. And we’ve arrived at this balance instinctively.
Is it easy to know where to draw the line?
Sunitha: They know that we love hanging out with them. All the time. Because they’re witty, funny, and cool to hang out with kids. But they’re absolutely clear that you can’t mess around with certain things.
So, it’s not that we’re chilled out parents. We’re balanced and they appreciate it.
Right from keeping the milk in to doing well in their studies. It’s about being honest to themselves. And if they are, we will reward them. I think modern families today are like this, where they’re able to balance things.
Bhaskar: I think modern is such a subjective thing. But I think that parents who think about parenting have to arrive at something like this because there’s no point subjugating the kids to the point where they are not exposed to various thoughts and beliefs and actions. At the same time, there’s no point in being so liberal where there is absolutely no control.
So you guys do come here a lot.
Bhaskar: Yes! But I think I’m the person who likes this place unequivocally. I think that some people feel that if they’re of a certain age, and a certain socio-economic background, then they need to keep progressing in their choice of restaurants and where they go out and stuff.
For me, that’s such a bullshit approach.
I have seen people say in London, like this guy who is probably 45 years old and the CEO of a massive television broadcasting company, and the guy is going to the same pub he’s been going to from the age of 21. It’s a bit of a dive for him, but the guy will not change. And the pub has remained the same. The beer he’s drinking is the same. But there’s a comfort. It’s more than about a place to go, it’s about a comfortable environment and you’re not bothered about whether I’m making the right statement or shit like that.
So everyone I know, knows that I’m going to suggest Toit—it’s like a cool place, great music, nice architecture, cool people, drinks are nice, the guys know you and take care of you. What else do you need?