It has remained small in size but grown in stature!! Just returned from Vidyarthi Bhavan, VB, in short. Was curious to know how the hotel looked after its Platinum jubilee celebrations, yesterday. In commemoration, a special postal cover was released yesterday, in an august gathering. As communicated, this is a rare and an only instance where a special cover of a hotel has been released by the postal department. For a restaurant that has churned out more than two Crore dosas, since it came into being, it is well earned!! It is 75 years old and has successfully withstood the competition from high and mighty. The presence of other renowned hotels in the sniffing distance has made no dent in its cash collections. One may have seen mad rush of people in hotels that are open but if there is one eatery where one would find such a rush even when the doors are still shut, it is Vidyarthi Bhavan. It has gained iconic stature with the visits of people from every section of the society. Famous and not so famous, rich and not so rich, learned and not so learned, young and not so young- virtually every other Bangalorean must have visited at least a couple of times. The portraits and pictures of the celebrated personalities who were the guests of the hotel have adorned the walls of the eatery. Once, after Veerappan released him, Dr Rajkumar came to the hotel. Although the hotel was running the business as usual, the people got wind of the actor’s coming and the whole area was flooded with people and their was an uncontrolled chaos on the entire road.. People inside the hotel were refusing to leave. They kept ordering more food, so that they could stay on till Annavru came. People had to be forced out of the hotel to avert a near stampede. Traffic had to be blocked till the thespian left. Another actor, who mostly came in disguise, is Rajanikant. There are a number of interesting anecdotes involving the famous eatery and its famed visitors. For instance, every evening, Masti Venkatesh Iyengar, one of Kannada’s literary giants, who lived in Gandhi Bazaar, would pass by the Vidyarthi Bhavan, enroute to the Basavanagudi Club. Without fail, he would pack two rave vadeys in a newspaper, put it in his coat pocket and head to the club. Even today, while there are a sizeable number of customers who visit on a daily basis, there are mebers of the hotel staff who have stuck with the hotel for over four decades. Cricketers, film personalities, scholars, musicians, journalists and other men of mettle are a common sight at the place. Leave alone the celebrities visiting the hotel, the hotel staff itself is quite popular with each of them appearing in widely circulated news papers, every now and then. The USP of the joint is its ghee soaked, crispy dosa and kesari bath. Although the native residents of the Gandhi bazaar bemoan that there has been a noticeable drop in its quality , Mr Ramakrishna Adiga , the owner doesn’t quite agree . Says he, everything , including the weekly holiday , has remained unchanged. I noticed today, while the rate board has remained same, only the rates have increased with times!! Surprisingly, even the portraits of various Gods, right behind the cash counter where the owner sits, have remained unchanged. The waiters still handover just one paper napkin, once you are done with the dosey. The liquid soap is so very watery that it is almost in gaseous state. Not just that, the business runs contrary to the most accepted doctrines of modern management. Defying all that, the hotel has gained a legendary status, over the years.
One realizes, when the product attains a name for itself , the product doesn’t sell, the name sells!! Judge for yourself, the product is dosaey and the name is Vidyarthi Bhavan!!
Lastly, I must mention, the hotel has decided to honour the defence personnel by not charging them for what they eat. All that they have to do is to carry their identity card instead of a debit card!!!
Good Gesture, Great Going!!