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.
She manages a band, handles operations for a lingerie brand and also conducts trainings for corporates. Oh, but she’s really a dentist by qualification. Yup, that’s Pooja, our Mug Holder of the month.
We ask this of every Mug Holder—why do you think you were selected as the Mug Holder?
I have no idea! I think because I come here practically every other day. I just started working down the road, so all my meetings are over here.
Where do you work?
I’m actually a consultant and I work for a company called Buttercups, it’s a lingerie brand.
That’s Arpita’s brand, right? She was our second Kudix Mug Holder!
I know! And the first KMH is a really good friend of mine too, Nikhil Mehta. And the previous one was Anshu!
So I used to work for a corporate for 8 years, and I just quit. I started doing something of my own.
I consult with Arpita, and I take care of a band called Windoze. I also started freelancing for a company called D’frens.
…the first KMH is a really good friend of mine too, Nikhil Mehta.
So you do a whole bunch of things!
Yeah, so I quit a month back. I’m actually a dentist by profession.
When I quit, I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to do but I had some skill sets and I used to do training, so right now I do those things. With Windoze, I manage them. With Difference, I take trainings.
Are you from Bangalore?
Yeah. So, my dad is in the Army and we’ve travelled around. But when I was in the 10th, I came to Bangalore, and I’ve been here ever since.
What made you quit after 8 long years?
I wanted to do something else. I thought corporate wasn’t for me. I wanted to do something in F&B, initially.
I used to run a place called Owl’s Kitchen, which was the first midnight delivery system in Bangalore. That was mine, me and another friend used to run that place.
We were very young and didn’t think it would scale up.
We did that for a year and a half, and then decided to move on—because it’s difficult to do something that requires so much effort and still go back to a 9-5 job. At that moment we chose to go on with our lives and our 9-5 jobs, but sometime back a flip switched.
I wanted to do something by myself.
I wish that there was a fancy story to it, but none of that.
It took some time to leave the concept of a message popping up on your phone on the 1st of every month. That is a big deal! It’s easy to have a structure in your life where you know an ‘x’ amount of money is coming to you, and knowing how you’re going to spend it.
I used to run a place called Owl’s Kitchen, which was the first midnight delivery system in Bangalore
So I took a call and decided that’s not something I want to do—money isn’t a driving force in my life right now.
How has the transition been?
I have never been happier. Like, never!
It’s just been a month actually, so this is the first month that the message has not come.
I’m dealing with it, I might have locked myself and cried a little—that’s a different story, we will not talk about that. *laughs*
No, but the thing is that it is very liberating to do something by yourself. And you realise you can do whatever you want to, as long as you put your mind to it.
Since it’s been a month, was the shift hard?
Yeah! Actually, a lot of my friends are suddenly moving into being young entrepreneurs now so that helps, because you look at other people and say that person had the courage to do this, so maybe I can.
It takes a lot of guts, but my parents were really supportive. I told them I don’t want to do this anymore, and they asked me why, and I said I don’t want to be stressed out all the time, and I want to do something I want to do right now. So they were totally fine.
And my friends were really onboard. I was a little scared that they were so happy that I was quitting my job. They were excited about being able to drink beer everyday at Toit together.
I had to ask them all to relax a little bit! And that’s when I realised that people drink on a weekday, during the day as well.
I have so many of my meetings here now!
Time for myself. I have more time now.
What would you say was the biggest thing that changed after you made the shift?
I think time. Time for myself. I have more time now. I used to work from 9-11, every single day. We all would be at office by 10:30 and be there till 10.
And by the time you get home it’s 11, and you have nothing much to do but have a shower, have your dinner and go to bed.
So, time for myself and to gauge what I want to do has changed. I get to hang out with family and friends as well.
And also, peace of mind. I’m less stressed and it shows in the work that I do.
Is it hard to juggle the many roles you seem to be juggling—training, operations and managing a band. How do you find a middle ground?
Yes, it is hard. The thing is that it’s like doing work for three people. You need to change your mindset because these are three completely different fields.
How did Toit become a part of your busy life?
Toit has always been a part of my life. I’ve been coming here from the time it opened, from when it didn’t even have a brewery.
So we used to come and drink those mojito pitchers.
And I’m a big beer person, like I only drink beer. I don’t drink anything else.
But like all Army kids, I started drinking alcohol with Old Monk. Because it’s cheap, and it’s available, and it’s lying down and your father will be like, yeah ok drink.
We used to steal Old Monk and Coke, when we didn’t have money.
Toit has always been a part of my life.
So we’re a big group that comes here—about 18-19 of us, when we started out. We used to hang out every other day at Toit.
For me, Toit is convenient. It’s near to work and also really near to home.
And the staff is so nice and so sweet and very friendly. And they all know you! So irrespective of what you want to do, you can come here and do it—work, meetings, hang out with friends, have a personal discussion with someone who wants to talk. it gives you everything you want, and you just need to pick the level you want to sit at and that would be your evening.
And the staff is so friendly. That is what makes or breaks a place. The owners are really sweet too, but the staff are just amazing.
I think this is why all my friends love Toit so much as well.
So, since you’re a big beer person, what’s your favourite beer here?
Tint-In-Wit. I don’t even have to ask. I just come here and they know.
And what is the most you’ve had in one sitting? (that you can remember.)
I think 8 or 9. We sit such long hours and drink here.
In all the time that you’ve been coming here, what’s one of the most memorable incidents that has happened here?
Everything we do, happens in Toit. Last three years, I’ve been getting the group to go out somewhere else on New Year’s Eve, but it just doesn’t happen.
A lot of us have moved, so everybody comes back for New Year’s and there’s this nostalgia factor to Toit. So we end up going here only.
We have two friends, Manoj and Mansi, who now live in Jakarta and it was their send-off party. So some 25-30 of us were sitting outside.
…everybody comes back for New Year’s and there’s this nostalgia factor to Toit.
We put the couple in two separate teams, and so one was Manoj’s team and one was Mansi’s team. We gave them tasks to do, across Toit. And we went running around.
We asked Mansi to stand on the table and dance! And that night was actually quite mad!
Getting back to what you do, if there’s another young person out there, looking to quit a steady 9-5 to follow their passion, what advice would you have for them?
Advice, I think would be, that you should do whatever you love. Whatever you love!
And do it for the right reasons.
Because there’s a thing called ‘entrepreneur’ and there’s a thing called ‘wantrepreneur’, which is people just randomly quitting their jobs.
One needs to distinguish which one you are. It takes a lot of guts, it’s not easy, it’s a lot of hard work, and a lot of discipline.
And you cannot take a day off, can’t do long holidays, need to constantly be in touch.
The good part is that you work for yourself and have the leeway to do other things in your life, but there’s also so much more responsibility. There are days you need to figure out things—I told you, that monthly message won’t come. So you need to plan and make sure you know what you’re doing.