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 Mug Holder of the Month is our little way of celebrating our customers, and their unique stories.
Say hello to Vijay and Rashmi, our Mug Holders of the month who took their love for Toit to The Permit Room.
Our standard opening question—why do you think you were selected as the Mug Holders of the month?
Vijay: I think earlier it would have been the amount we drank, but now it’s the amount we come.
Rashmi: We’re here (The Permit Room) so often, and when we walk in, they recognise us immediately.
Do you guys live close-by?
Rashmi: No, we live near Hennur! *laughs*
So you can imagine how much we love the place! It’s a 45-50 minutes drive for us. And we’re here a minimum of two times a week!
Vijay: We come with our son during the weekends, and then for the thali we come during the weekdays.
Rashmi: Or I might come with a friend of mine, or he might drop in during a site visit nearby.
What do you both do?
Rashmi: I am right now a stay-at-home mum. I used to be in the financial sector.
And you’re an Architect. How did you guys meet?
Vijay: She was my sister’s classmate. And the way we met is a long, movie-style story for another time.
Are you guys originally from Bangalore?
Vijay: I’m from Cochin. But I’ve always loved Bangalore. I have been visiting the city since I was six or seven, because my aunt and uncle live here. They’ve lived here since the 80s, and I have two cousins here as well.
So I used to keep visiting during my Summer holidays.
And when I did my architecture, like post-12th standard, I knew that I wanted to come here and do it. I’ve been here since 1998.
Rashmi: He’s lived more in Bangalore than in Cochin!
And what about you, Rashmi?
Rashmi: So I’ve lived abroad most of my life, between Dubai and Canada. I also studied in Kerala for sometime.
But I moved to Bangalore when Vijay and I got married, in 2010.
But he’s the through-and-through Bangalorean. We’ll be driving through the streets and he’ll point out places he used to cycle around as a child.
Oh! A nostalgic Bangalorean?
Vijay: Yes, absolutely!
Rashmi: Although he cries about how congested Bangalore has become, he still has his fond memories of this place.
Do you like Bangalore?
Rashmi: I do. All our friends are here, and I love Bangalore for that. Vijay and I love the city for different reasons.
For me, it’s the weather and the food!
Vijay: The food is really amazing.
Do you guys also drink here often?
Rashmi: We used to. There was a time when his office used to be in Cambridge Layout, and we used to meet at Toit after work, have a few tequila shots, and go home.
This post-marriage, and before having our son.
Vijay: I’m a beer lover though. I can’t say that I’ve always been a beer lover, but I think that once I started working I started drinking beer a lot more.
I mean, how much coffee can you drink?
Rashmi: I think my first time at Toit was after I moved to India and he threw me a birthday party there, in 2011.
The year right after Toit opened!
Do you work with an architecture firm, Vijay?
Vijay: I had a firm, as in it was a partnership between the four of us, which we started in 2006 here in Bangalore.
It was a lot of fun, but I think I reached a point where I wasn’t enjoying myself as much. Which is why I quit.
How long has it been since you quit?
Vijay: Twelve days!
Any particular reason you decided to do this?
Vijay: I guess mentally it was a gradual thing because I was looking at making a lot of changes in my life.
And it wasn’t just about quitting the job—we’re planning on moving to Canada.
Rashmi: We never thought this was something we’d want to do, but I guess following other passions became a priority as well.
Passions such as?
Rashmi: He wants to write. He’s very passionate about it and I think he will make a brilliant writer, be it fiction or architectural journalism.
Vijay: I have a lot of ideas but I haven’t had the time to actually sit and write.
Rashmi: The years are just flying by, so there comes a time when you have to decide to follow your passion. But this was three-four years in the making, slowly talking about it and getting to this point.
And our son is now six years old, so he’s excited too!
How was the shift for you—from a finance-oriented job to the full-time job of being a stay-at-home mom? It must be hectic!
Rashmi: It’s emotionally taxing more than physically.
The initial plan was to go back to work, but we don’t have family here and we don’t have anyone to leave him with.
I knew I wanted to be with him, and to me it felt like the most natural thing to do at the time. Because I had created this little human being and I had to give him what he wanted at that age.
And I think I’ve always known in my heart that I wanted to be a mother, so I knew that when I did become a mum, I would give it my all.
As the baby grows, it just gets easier and easier.
Anyone can have a child, but being a conscious parent, being there emotionally and physically, is a full-time job.
That would have made things easier for you, right Vijay?
Vijay: For sure! Especially mentally, because I would have been extremely concerned if he was at a daycare centre or something like that.
This was definitely reassuring for me.
I don’t think I could have been half the parent, if I was a single parent at home.
Was that a conscious decision—that one of you would stay at home and the other work?
Rashmi: Not at all. For me, it was the most natural decision to be with my son.
I said this recently to a couple who are friends with us, and who are planning on having a baby—it will not seem like a sacrifice or compromise or that you’re in some way settling, because this is your own child and in a way it’s a selfish thing in a way, because I’m doing it because I love my child so much.
Sure, I don’t get to go for the movies and late-nights out, but it really doesn’t feel like I’m missing out.
Having a child is not the end of the world, and you have to prioritise different things at different times in your life.
Vijay: I think we’ve both gone past the phase where we want to do late-nights and party. I prefer going out and having a peaceful drink during the day.
Rashmi: We’ve taken our son to Toit many times! Like at different stages in his life.
But we have more memories of The Permit Room than Toit in the recent past.
Vijay: She loves the food here!
Rashmi: This is my favourite restaurant. I have introduced every single person I know to this place, right from my parents, extended family from Dubai and Canada, and even my friends.
Everything in a restaurant can be awesome, like the location, ambience, whatever. But I will not come back if the food is not good. And I keep coming back here for the food!
Vijay: The cocktails here are also pretty awesome!
Is this something you both like doing as a couple? Going out and discovering places to eat at?
Vijay: Yes, it is. Also, the thing about Bangalore is that the number of public spaces is very less, places where you can hang out.
You have your standard Cubbon Park and all, but that’s it. So you end up in restaurants or coffee shops.
The thing I like about this place is that it is very Bangalore.
If someone is visiting from out of town, we bring them here. First it used to be Toit, and now it’s Permit Room.
Are there hobbies you both like to pursue when you’re not working, or taking care of your son?
Rashmi: I love baking! Pies and brownies and cakes.
Vijay: You have no idea! She’s awesome!
Rashmi: I used to have a small business from home. Once my son started going to school and I had a few free hours, I used to take orders and used to supply cupcakes and brownies to a local pizzeria.
But it got very hectic because the orders weren’t consistent and they’d come with a very short notice sometimes.
And when you’re working out of home by yourself, with my son and the power cuts in Bangalore, I wasn’t able to take last-minute orders.
But yeah, I love baking!
And you love writing.
Vijay: I haven’t been able to do it consistently until now, because of work. But I’ve always been interested.
Post-college is when I felt I could also pursue writing as a career option. But I don’t know how soon I’ll do that.
I’ll have to take up something in Canada because we’re moving there, but I’m looking to do some freelance work initially and maybe get in to blogging and see how that goes.
But I love architecture too. So maybe I’ll write about architecture also while I work on my novel.
Rashmi: Maybe because I’ve lived there, Canada seemed like a good option.
Vijay: I’m a very outdoors person. This is what I loved about Bangalore—when I moved here I used to walk a lot.
We didn’t have this kind of pollution and dust levels.
But Vancouver is beautiful in that way.
How does the Bangalorean in you feel about this move?
Rashmi: I don’t think it has sunk in for him yet.
Vijay: I think I’m very emotionally attached to this place. You have memories attached to certain parts of a city, and I have a lot of those in Bangalore. I’m already reminiscing a lot.
Rashmi: We will keep visiting, we have a lot of family here!
Also, jokes aside, I’ve actually been thinking of how we can get these guys to bring Permit Room there! I’m definitely going to miss this place.