1942- Quit India Movement, Summer of 42 (a teenagers growing up story), 1942 the textile Industry in Mumbai is at its zenith. Hundreds of workers pouring out of factories hungry, want meals, which are nutritional, cheap, keeps them from pining about their home. Caters to the tastes of the South Indian and Maharashtrian taste and Bingo ! Ram Nayak, Shri Krishna Udupi Boarding was formed.
This eatery or mess is truly a working class and, as democratic and egalitarian as it gets. You enter and you have the option to be seated in large hall on the first floor overlooking the Matunga railway station (a mini south India in Mumbai). To use a cliche the claim is the owners eat in this restaurant. Its as legendary as the MTR (Mavalli Tiffin Room in Bangalore). One can take a tour of the kitchen while the action is happening. The seating is interesting, you sit beside each other in row rather than face each other. The atmosphere is cool, windows open fan running. Despite all the action its not very noisy, its pretty calm and serene.
The food is simple, at times bland, the kind one can eat everyday, rather than binge once a while. The place is open only for lunch and dinner and also has a snack stall at the Matunga railway station exit. There is a fixed plan thali which cost Rs35/- (two chappatis, bowl of white rice, samabar, rasam and a vegetable) all extras are multiple of Rs 4/- and the sweets are priced at Rs10/-
The other Rolls Royce experience is unlimited food, 3 vegetables (we got a cabbage, a gourd nicely diced, a white chana (chick peas curry), sambar, rasam, set curds, salt and a choiceof three desserts, I chose Shrikhand delicious). All for a handsome amount of Rs85/-. Attaboy ! We are under Rs 100/- without even trying hard. There are four of us and we pay Rs 340/-. The tummy is full and the pocket is also still full.
A Ram Nayak passed on the baton to his three sons in the 70s. The legend lives on. One of the sons Satish an affable person was holding fort. We were served by an elderly gentleman who had been here since his youth. All such places have loyalty from their customers and the staff. My Prof Kaimal, at business school said, look after your customers and look after your people , they in turn will look after your business (japanes style of management of the early 90s). Very few businesses can claim to have that, A Ram Nayak certainly does. Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose other than you ................