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Name Game

Don’t open a shop unless you like to smile. So goes a Chinese proverb.

Written by Shalini Rai |
April 14, 2009 5:20:46 am

From Paris,New York and Chicago to Ajmer,Indore and Darjeeling,shops in Pune are named after a multitude of famous and not-so-famous cities from India and abroad

Don’t open a shop unless you like to smile. So goes a Chinese proverb. And going through the names of some shops in Pune will certainly put a smile on your face. Dehli Provision Store,Bangalore Iyengar Bakery,Madras Cargo Movers,Ajmer Trailor Transport,Indore Cut-piece House – there are scores of shops in Pune named after other towns and cities of India. And they are not limited to just those in India. Sample these: New York Wines,Chicago Pneumatic and Paris Gifts.

“It’s been around 70 years now since we opened this shop. My grandfather,who hailed from Delhi,gave it this name and we’ve kept it,ever since,” says Dinesh Agarwal,of the Dehli Provision Stores,Khadki. Rita Parmar of Paris Gifts,Deccan has something similar to narrate. “My grandfather-in-law gave this shop the name Paris Gifts and it’s worked so well for us that we’ve continued with it,” she says.

Seemingly unable to let go of their association with their hometowns/native places,most people who own such shops are more than glad to share their old ties with these places with the entire world. There’s Hyderabad Express Restaurant in Erandwana,Jaipur Collections in Camp and Surat Sales in Pimpri. Says Varsha Pansare of Lucknow Chikan Palace on F C Road,“We spent three-and-a-half years in Lucknow some time ago and when we decided to sell Lucknow chikan material,it was natural to name this shop after the city of Nawabs.” A fixture on F C Road for the last 13 years,this shop is another example of how being named after another city/town adds curiosity value to an establishment.

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“We belong to Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh,but since not many people know where Khandwa is,we decided to name our shop after the more well-known city of Indore,” says Mohd Salim,owner of Indore Cut-Piece House near Babajan Chowk in Camp. “When we started this shop three years ago,we had just a sketchy idea in mind of what to name it. But now,since we’ve named it Indore,it’s proving to be lucky and business is brisk,” he adds.

Going by names on shop boards,it would appear that there are lots of hill people around too,what with such names as Manali Supermarket in Parvati,Darjeeling Tea Centre near Kamala Nehru Park and Kashmir Gift House,Kashmir Cap Store,Kashmir Perfumery Works and Kashmir Tours and Travels. Says Ali Mir of Kashmir Gift House in Clover Centre,Camp,“Since we belong to Srinagar,naming our shop Kashmir Gift House was but natural. Everything from shawls and carpets to jewellery and artifacts,can be found here,” gushes Mir.

So,the next time you go shopping or even window-shopping,for that matter,take a close look at the name of shops around. You just might become privy to an interesting story of love and longing in Pune….

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