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.
Our mug holders are always special, and this time we have a really special couple. They’ve been married twenty years, have three sons, a dog, and a very unique set-up at home, through which they’re redefining the definition of being superstar parents—say hello to the super tag-team of Jasmin and Mark.
Tell us your story!
Jasmin: We’ve been married for twenty years now. I work for a French bank and we met through work. Actually through common friends, and then decided to get married. We have three kids, three lovely boys—seventeen, ten and eight! So that keeps us on our toes all the time because, you know, it’s three boys. And we have a dog too!
Mark: I’m a stay-at-home dad. I look after the kids and cook. I was working in a telecom company until 2012, and I worked for about 8 years in that company. I worked for various institutions for about 13 years prior to that. I moved to Bangalore way back, almost twenty years ago to do my MBA, and that’s when I met her.
…in terms of drinking, the introduction of breweries has changed the drinking culture and industry a lot.
So you aren’t originally from Bangalore?
Mark: Actually, my roots are from Bangalore. My parents are from Kolar, but I lived most of my life in Delhi. Most of my early life, my education, college, all of it was done in Delhi. Only for my MBA, I moved to Bangalore.
Jasmin: You could say my roots are from Kerala, because my parents are from there, but I’ve never been there and neither have they. I’ve always lived in the North, and then moved to Hyderabad, and then Bangalore. I moved here in 1995, about twenty years back.
What are your sons names? Do you get them to Toit?
Mark: Gaurav, Raul and Jordan! And oh, yes! All events are planned keeping Toit in mind. We get a lot of “I want to celebrate my birthday at Toit” and “I want to bring my friends to Toit”. For them, Toit is the place to go to.
Jasmin: The youngest, Jordan, is the one who likes this place the most. He really plans for it.
Since you guys have been here since college, do you think a lot has changed in the way people approach drinking, over the years?
Jasmin: When we knew Bangalore, when we were growing up, Bangalore was a night city that was all about the night life. Now, after the rules and regulations have come in, it is no more a night life city. People used to love coming here for the night life. But in terms of drinking, the introduction of breweries has changed the drinking culture and industry a lot. The introduction of breweries alone has got people very interested in drinking and in beer. That itself is a huge change. People now know about good beer because of the breweries.
Do you guys love drinking then, since you’ve been doing it for a while now?
Jasmin: We drink a LOT!!! But we’re mainly whiskey drinkers.
Mark: Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you we drink a lot.
Anything crazy ever happen during those drinking sessions?
Mark: We have a tradition. Every time we take a shot of tequila, it means a kiss as well.
Jasmin: We have a lovely bar at home, and it’s stocked with our favourite whiskeys from all over the world. So we carry this tradition on there as well!
Mark: More than a kiss at home though!
What do your sons have to say about these traditions?
Jasmin: They’re not there! We have it all planned!
Mark: We pick our moments and pack them off! Ask them to go play, so we can have our own time.
Jasmin: But on a more serious note, we’re careful because the mindset in India, no matter how open you are with your kids, can end up portraying these things in a negative way.
So, what is the best and worst thing about raising three boys?
Mark: The best part is raising three boys, and the worst part is raising three boys!
You’ve been a stay-at-home dad only for the last two years, which is a relatively new shift. How has the experience been for the both of you, and your sons?
Mark: It was a challenge! Both of us were working at that time, and the pressure was high because we would come home late and try to manage raising the kids. She used to try to focus on their studies, but would ned up losing her temper because of the stress of coming late from work and having to deal with the kids not studying for their exams. She’s from the school of thought that values academic merit. So, she’s very driven that way. I’m more easy-going in that regard. We discussed this scenario and decided that one person would stay home. She loves her work and her job, and I’d always beens saying I wanted to retire. So, that’s how we took this decision.
Because I handle that, all she has to do is focus on her career.
Two incomes are always better, but we also knew that one income would be just fine as well. We might have to sacrifice some smaller things, but we could still do everything we wanted to and be happy, and at the same time, focus on the children who need to be brought up in a certain environment, with certain values. Both of us believe that our children have to be good first—good as people, disciplined as people, before they can be achievers. That was our focus.
And it’s working out very well for us, because my wife doesn’t have to worry about anything anymore— from food to the house being clean. Because I handle that, all she has to do is focus on her career.
That’s very progressive. Especially for someone from your generation in our country.
Jasmin: Yes. It is. And let me tell you, it’s not always taken very positively. Even now, when we publicly say that he is a stay-at-home dad, eyebrows are raised. But to us, it doesn’t really matter. We’re quite open. But I must say this, that as we progress as a country, people need to take this into consideration because it really helps the children. And it’s regardless of whatever values you might have. We ourselves are very spiritual and prayerful people, and our values are very strong too. However, you always need one parent to be there for the kids.
And it doesn’t always have to be mom.
Absolutely. It doesn’t. And things are changing nowadays. With both parents working, children do need someone. It’s not so much about the money, but more about the kids having a holistic environment to grow up in. And some monitoring is always needed. I don’t have to worry at all now.
Did your kids take this unusual set-up well?
Jasmin: They love it!
Mark: I’m chilled out with them, but I am also strict when I need to be. They know how to get their way with me though. But we have an understanding. Like, our older son doesn’t have a phone yet. We are very particular about what they need. Really, what need does a school kid have for a cellphone?
And are your kids okay with this?
Mark: It’s again about the upbringing, and what values you instil in them. So they don’t have any complaints at all.
Jasmin: They have the internet too, but again in measured quantities, and mainly for school work. It’s not like they can spend the whole day online.
If we want to catch up with people, we just meet them. Whether you like it or not, these social networks get addictive, and they actually drive you away from real interaction you would otherwise have with your family. We’ve seen other couples, like in the car, at a signal, each one of them will be messaging away instead of having a real conversation. And I find myself wondering where the communication between the couple is. It’s just taken away by a lot of these technologies. It’s really up to us, how we use it. So, we’re very different people in that sense.
I’m guessing you subscribe to ‘the family that eats together, stays together’ school of thought?
Jasmin: Oh yes! We can’t really have lunch tougher, because I’m at work and the kids are at school, and the morning is a bit of a rush, but we always have dinner together. Our morning prayers are also together.
We go for our regular masses on Sundays, but we say our prayers at home together everyday. More than traditional, we are disciplined.
More than traditional, we are disciplined.
Since you’re doing the cooking, Mark, is there something you particularly like making?
Mark: Oh. I love cooking. And I love trying new things. And it’s different all the time. I never stick to the same thing. So if I make something at home today, I won’t want to make it for at least another month. And I keep experimenting and throwing in my own ingredients. I keeper researching, understand how it’s done and then do my own take of it.
Do you have any food favourites here at Toit?
Yes! We like all the chicken dishes, and the steaks too! The steaks are great!
Twenty long years together! How did Toit become a part of your story?
Mark: It’s been about two years now. So, we haven’t been coming here from the start. We were much later than a lot of people, but when we did start we ended up coming here practically every single week. We don’t go anywhere else. Any holiday, we land up here. So much so, that if we skip a week, people ask us where we were that week. Sometimes, we even come for three days at a stretch. We don’t feel the need to experiment. We’re very happy with Toit, so we keep coming back here. We really look forward to it.
Jasmin: We have checked out some other places, but we keep coming back to Toit. The service and culture here cannot be compared.