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.
Meet the man who is perfecting the art of soft cutting and parenting, all at the same time—our Mug Holder of the month, Suresh Hooli.
Why do you think you were selected as the Mug Holder?
Okay! One thing I can think of is that I come here at least once or twice a week. It’s been a ritual.
I think I can walk in on a crowded day and still get a seat.
Are you from Bangalore?
Ya, I am from Bangalore, in the sense that I’ve been brought up here but I’m actually from Dharwad, which is North Karnataka.
What do you do here?
Right now I am unemployed, but I used to do plenty of things.
I just left my job, to take a breather and spend some time with my son.
I’m also thinking of starting something on my own.
What were the plenty of things you were doing?
I was with a company which provides technology for cutting of soft materials—anything from fashion garments right upto automobile seating to aircraft composites.
Before that I was in HP, and I travelled the world with them. Same with Lectra, the other company I was a part of.
And before all that I was an entrepreneur myself.
What was you entrepreneurial venture about?
I was into metal cutting machine tools. But I am a failed entrepreneur which is why I got that job with HP. *laughs*
So I have more or less been in the same line of work, but in different places and using different ways of doing things.
I started off with metal cutting, moved into software and then to soft cutting.
Have machines and technology always fascinated you?
Yes. Well, maybe being a Mechanical Engineer and my first forte being in Hindustan Machine Tools laid the groundwork for me, especially in machines.
But yeah, it is definitely a fascinating thing because I grew up with automation. In fact, I was one of the first people who was a part of a team that introduced AutoCAD Interfacing to Wire Cut EDM (Electro Discharge Machining) machines.
If you look at your watch, you will see those small pieces of metal that denote time? Those are cut using Wire Cut EDM technology.
In a pool of water, when they have an electric discharge happening, that’s when the metal is cut. It’s an old technology, around 1998, but as of now I think everything is being done by laser.
So there are different types of cutting then—the approaches to it anyway, and you’ve been a part of it for over two decades now. Has this industry seen a phenomenal growth in terms of the technology being used?
Absolutely! In fact, one of the things we started off with when we were youngsters, getting into HMT as graduate apprentice trainees, was something called Water Jet Cutting technology—you could actually cut metals with water.
Today it is the norm for naval and space applications.
They don’t use laser?
No. The reason is that with laser, the metal heats up. For regular people, when the metal expands or contracts, it doesn’t matter because it is for normal application. But when you’re looking at space or naval application, if the metal expands or contracts, that much of change is the difference between failure and success.
So they do it with water. Water cuts with pressure and not heat, so it works. And it leaves relatively smoother edges as well.
Is it a time consuming job?
I was always on the service and development side, which involves everything. It’s hectic.
There is a lot of travelling, around the country and the world, which can’t be helped.
How does someone who is handling such hectic roles find the time to end up in a brewpub?
*laughs* Even when I was with HP, I used to come here a lot. A friend of mine and I would come here and catch up.
I have also come here to work many times.
Back in the day, pubs used to just be places where you went to drink a beer. And we were all for that!
But with the advent of spaces like Toit, you can also work from a pub. Because in an enclosed and formal atmosphere, you get stuck and your brain doesn’t work. You come here, and maybe a glass of beer will loosen you up.
Since you’ve been here from the time the pub culture started, would you say that the coming of breweries in the last 7-8 years has changed the approach to drinking, beer particularly?
Yeah, there is a shift. Maybe the people who come here now are called millennial or whatever, but I can be one of them because there is a retrofitting to this culture.
We have gone back to old times.
My father’s elder brother used to be the Vice President at United Breweries and we used to attend a lot of social dos.
So most of those events were at someone’s house, because lot of people could get together and have conversations over drinks. That was the best thing about those events.
In the brief time after this, we lost this social gathering and conversation for sometime, with people just coming together to drink.
Now what has happened, with the advent of places like Toit, is that we’re getting that old culture back.
Think of it as old wine in a new bottle, they have brought it back but in a different way.
We celebrate so many things here. That fear of coming to a bar because it is seen as some evil place is no longer there, especially for women.
I’ve been privy to dogs coming here also, and that is such a beautiful thing.
How come you decided to quit your work now and spend time with your son?
See, there is a point in time when you want to spend some time with your children.
Now he is 17 or 18 years old, and up until now my wife was handling the role of providing the necessary support and other things.
But now, he is becoming a young man and this is the time he needs my maximum support.
It might be hard for his mother to understand this change because she still thinks of him as a child, but there are questions that will be swimming around in his head that only I will be able to help with.
My father’s elder brother, who had adopted me because of familial commitments, was way ahead of his time, maybe because he was ex-Air Force and also in United Breweries.
He taught us differently—you know, the first time I had a cigarette in my Engineering, I called him. But he was understanding of the fact that I was not a child, and this had happened. There was no yelling, or anything about how it was something bad.
I have seen my friends being screamed at by their parents, at that age.
But now, I have to come to that point where I am looking at whether my son will smoke or drink, or whatever else, and that if he is going to try these things, I’m willing to consider that maybe I should be the one to guide him.
This is interesting—you’re saying that kids are going to try things anyway, 90% of the time. You’d rather they told their parents and fostered a healthy conversation. Do you think this holistic sort of guidance is necessary for kids?
Ya! It’s important.
Just for the fact that this is a young mind that is going out into the world, and at this point, the mind is so fickle.
The entire Universe is open to him and he can be swayed in any way.
But at the same time, if as a parent, you can sit along with him (I say him because I have a son, but it could be your daughter also) and guide them, they will not go out looking for such figures.
My uncle actually told me to have better drinks, rather than cheap alcohol that would harm me, when I told him I tried drinking.
You won’t believe it, the moment he knew that I was drinking, I was actually drinking less.
What happens is that when you hide and do something, one you do it out of rebellion, and second is that you want to binge as much as you can before you’re back home. You don’t know when you’ll get that chance next.
But if you’re with people who are ok with it all the time, you will normally not go overboard.
As far as this guidance you’re talking about is concerned, how much involvement is too much involvement?
Let the child come to you.
I know more about anime and other new serials than anyone else. My son plays Warcraft and other things, and I also sit and play with him—the reason I got into all of this is because I was trying to understand the fellow.
When you speak in a language that they understand, that’s when they come to you.
My wife keeps yelling at my son. Of course, there are times when I do that too—but I don’t give him a piece of my mind as a father, more like a friend.
You cannot force anything today. I remember when I told my father that I wanted to do B.A., my father reacted saying I was out of my mind. And said that I had to do only Mechanical Engineering. That was something that was forced, and once we took it up, we had to finish it.
But later on in life, I realised that I could still write some poems.
But this is something I have left my son to decide for himself. I will not force him into anything. Let him do whatever he wants and let’s see where it takes him.
There is absolutely no use forcing! So I am waiting.
Your son is a lucky boy. You mentioned that you write poetry, is that something you spend your free time doing?
Yes, I do still do that.
A second thing I like doing is face watching. I do a lot of that. Now this doesn’t mean that I am staring at people constantly but just by looking at people you can gain a good idea about what people are going through. It’s just a good way to pass some time.
I did Face Geometry about fifteen years ago, which enables you to read people’s faces. When I look at someone’s face, I can determine certain characteristics out of it. It’s not a very difficult art.
*At which point Suresh went on to elaborating multiple, and rather accurate, traits about the interviewer based on their face. Find him and make him read your face the next time you’re at Toit. It’s good fun, at the very least.*
Any tech invention that is yet to come that you’re excited about?
Oh yeah! I used to be a part of a lot of meets, like the International Apparel Meet, and I used to be a speaker at the Confederation of Indian Industries and all, so I got to meet very good people involved in the composite industry.
I also ended up meeting people who have started looking at automation in a different way.
Automation has reached a point wherein we can cut panels, say for a shirt. Shirts usually have 10-15 panels, which are then stitched together.
People are inventing machines which have almost come to the point where they’re able to stitch all of the panels together.
It’ll take another ten years though, because machines and softwares are not able to work around curves, such as in the shoulder part of the sleeve, and turn it as a human would do.
And on a personal front, anything you’re excited to do?
Yes! I am very excited about wine and cheese, thanks to my travels. I am exploring a little in that direction to see if I can so something with this, like get-togethers because these are things that will bring people together, not just for partying but also to make conversation.