By Mandvi Mishra
Punjab University honoured C T Kuruvilla, the owner of South India Coffee House on the campus, on Monday, as his 36-years long tenure at PU came to an end with the shutting down of the coffee house.
Appreciating the services provided by Kuruvilla, popularly known as Joy, PU Registrar Prof Karamjeet Singh honoured him and his wife in the office of the Dean Student Welfare (DSW), in the presence of Prof Emanual Nahar, DSW, Prof Neena Capalash, DSW (Women) and Dr Muneeshwar Joshi, Secretary to Vice-Chancellor.
On the occasion, Prof Emanual Nahar appreciated him for his commitment towards PU and his love for the alumni, faculty, staff and students visiting the coffee house. Joy Kuruvilla too expressed his gratitude for everyone, for showering him with so much love and respect. He said, he has served three generations at the coffee house and has cordial relations with all.
As the university bid farewell to the coffee house, students were left with a heavy heart. Tanmay, who passed out from UIET recently, said, “Located on the top floor of the Student Centre, it was fun going to the coffee house. It will be missed.’’
With the increase in the number of eateries, the footfall at the iconic coffee house had fallen of late. ‘’We would not go there often as it only offered South Indian food. With the vast variety of food including Chinese and North Indian being served at other food-outlets, the frequency of visits to the India Coffee House reduced and students did not wish to climb two floors for it,’’ said Manya, a student of Anthropology department. ‘’However it will always be remembered as the India Coffee House of Student Centre,’’ she said.
The half-a-century old coffee shop was running in losses and with the annual rent hike, its owner, Joy Kuruvilla, finally made up his mind not to renew the lease and shut the shop. “The cafe was the hub for socialising and intellectual discussions. It was a place which offered food at reasonable prices. The student party and election meetings would be organised there and a lot of poetic gatherings too would take place there,’’ said Anita from the English department.
Darpan from UILS, said the university should have allowed the owner to increase the prices of the food items to avoid losses. It is unfortunate that the oldest shop on the campus has been closed, he said. “The lock on the door of the India Coffee House is heartbreaking.’’
An alumni of PU recalled that many decades ago, there was no other shop on the campus, except for the coffee house. “The coffee house was always very pocket friendly. Even in those days, all the meetings were held there. There is no proper seating arrangement on the ground floor, no guarantee of quality and hygiene and no safety from animals and the summer heat,’’ she said. The authorities are yet to decide what will replace the coffee house.