The owner of the Iruttu Kadai Halwa store, an iconic sweet shop in Tirunelveli, committed suicide on Thursday morning. Police said Hari Singh, 75, was found hanging at a private hospital an hour after he tested positive for Covid-19.
In 1940, Singh’s family had migrated from Rajasthan and set up shop in Tirunelveli, and for three generations over the next 80 years, his family ran the store.
A Saravanan, Deputy Commissioner of Police in Tirunelveli town, said Singh’s death was a huge loss for Tirunelveli. “It was an iconic shop near the Nellaippar temple. He represented the third generation of his family. A police constable used to be often deployed to manage the huge crowd and traffic before his small shop. He used to open it only between 5pm and 8pm, and ran the shop under a single zero watt bulb,” Saravanan said.
Veteran Tamil writer Cho Dharman, who won the 2019 Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel Sool, said he knew Singh personally. “There may be better halwa shops in Tirunelveli but it was his business model that made his halwas tastier and world famous… He would open the shop at 5pm and shut at 8pm. If you reach a minute after 8pm and even offer him Rs 1 crore, he wouldn’t serve you…”Dharman said.
“During Sabarimala season, he used to have a huge crowd, I used to tease him saying that he has more devotees than Sabarimala Ayyappa.”
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