Ek Thumps Up dijiye ( Give me one thumps up), I nod to the Anna in this hotel opposite the place that would become my college for a life time and alma mater, Fergusson College . I just bagged admission in the best college in Pune and one of the best in India, Fergusson College and needless to say, I jumped with joy.
Over the years, I graduated from Thumps Up, Nimbu Pani (Lemon Water) to coffee. Savera hotel opposite Fergusson College became our national anthem as all Fergussonians as well as non-Fergussinians made it their second home.
We spent three glorious years at Savera where we would flock,early morning and the place became an addiction that I would reach there as early as 7 a.m in the morning to leave at 10 p.m. On Sunday, I would reach Savera for the morning ritual, copies of Times of India and Mid-day and there can be no joy than reading m’nin newspaper, sipping coffee in a very comfortable and familiar place that I call my lounge. I made so many friends in Savera and who are now a part of my life and the place has forged so many relationships. I remember sitting there admiring my crush or crushes and it’s been a melting point, convergence of ideas and dreams. Jokes, cackles of laughter, bitching, studying for exams and reading books in Savera known as a place where everybody knows everybody. I did study for my TYBA exams in Savera, reading notes and writing stuffs so that it remain stuck in my memory in the midst of noise in Savera. It was crazy.
The place has buried so many wonderful college memories and I remember always sitting outside in the Smoking Zone so that we could sip coffee and puff cigarettes. And,we had lotsa coffees and also chai, ranging from three to six cups a day. At times or most of the times, five of us would order just two cups of tea/coffee asking for additional cups. We had reason to so that we are allowed to sit in Savera. Why not? At one point a cup of tea was for just six rupees and coffee for nine rupees which later increased to 10,12 and last time I remember paying 15 bucks. The Annas (we call them elder brother since it is a Mangalorean restaurant run by a Bunt, Shetty’s)-this part of information was provided to me by Prakrati Shetty, wife of Samnath Anna the owner ( Thanks Prakrati for the bit where you raised my attention on the earlier bit of misinformation and I’ve just updated it)- became a part of our existence and became our family members as well as a part of our world. We didn’t need to order for coffee and it was right there on the table with Shakkar alag se.
A melting point coz a whole gang of people would throng to Savera for the whole day, sitting for hours and how we would shout, yell into each other’s ears. Whenever we gonna meet someone and the meeting place was..correct guess…Savera aaja (Come to Savera). Or, there was no need to tell coz we know where we will find each other..Savera. Inside college,pals would ask Kaun Kaun hai Savera Mein ( Who else is in Savera)? Yeah, it was the place to be for Fergussonians and the regular crowd. We graduated from there, so, I guess Bachelor degree in Savera studies! It was a social hang out coz we would automatically strike a conversation with strangers..pep talk and what’s not?!
I was forever in the abode called Savera that a friend once, by way of a joke, told the Anna bout’ me, Isska ek putla banana hai yahan pe (After he is gone, you must put his bust at the entrance), considering it was the final year. Even today, I can see my friends shouting, laughing, swearing what’s not, fuck bhenchod was quite normal for us..jaaga nahin mila bhaitne ko bhenchod….The whole scene looked so vivid and real even today, as if it’s been digged straight from a movie reel..if Savera was a movie, it would be an instant bumper super duper hit and move over 100 crores club. The image is still vivid as I can picture the vibrant image of frenz and the hugs as we sat like a whole community. After all, it was our home where we celebrated life King Size. What a life it was!
I would make it a point to visit Savera every time I would come back to Pune with my packed luggage coz it was the place where happiness lies. The place is part of our lives and we cannot separate ourselves from Savera like the body is incomplete without the heart and other vital organs. It was our ode, our song where we fell in love over coffee, shared dreams with frenz and witnessed rifts with frenz. What a dreamland it’s been for us! oozing sheer happiness. This place simply attracts like the addicted filter coffee. Like one friend remarked, we have grown in Savera and will grow old there.
Unfortunately, every good thing has to come to an end and I am finding it extremely difficult to come to terms with this expression. Now, we shall not grow old with our muse Savera that closed down on December 31. The feeling has not yet sunk in and I am finding it hard to accept that they have pulled the curtain. My first reaction was why, what the fuck?! Memories and the soul is buried in that place full of love, warmth and cozy comfort. I guess not all love stories have a happy ending and what we have now is just memories ingrained in our souls. Perhaps, memories that can never be re-visited in years to come and not even from a looming distance. The heart is broken as the very thought of Savera closing down send shivers down the spine. I simply shudder at the very thought and beyond imagination of Savera closing. It can never happen, at least not in one’s wildest dreams.
Savera provided us with food and alcohol for thought since it’s non-veg place but cousins of the likes of Dewar and Namaskar was a place for alcohol and our crazy parties that went past midnight. Diwali, X-Mas and New Year were celebrated inside Savera. I soo wanted to be there on December 31 to click pics and sip the last coffee or Masala chai and fish pickle but, unfortunately, I am not in Pune. I shall miss the place like hell. I wonder where to find all the familiar faces and Fergussonians.
I shall not say everything happens for the best coz the heart is crying. Like in theatre, they are pulling the curtains..till we meet another day in Pune. I shall come up with a series of post on memories in the place that we called our homes, Savera. Thank you Savera, thank you Annas. I still remember when I visited three years later, the Anna at the counter told me, “Kahan tha itne din..kab aaya (Where were you for so long? When did you came back?)
Life must go on and life without Savera..perhaps, it’s time to move on but what shall remain will be beautiful memories of a life so real yet it seems like a dream that never happened. “Anna ek filter coffee, shakkar alage se..ya nimbu panee, uttapa ya masala dosa ya ice tea ” will be a thing of the past as Anna will come and say with a smile, “Kya chahiye Vishal Bhai, Kaffee shakkar alag?” Or, next door at Namaskar where we would party till late night and beyond operating hours as we stayed till 2 a.m. I shall miss the place and Fergusson College will never be the same without Savera. There are some feelings that are difficult to express in words. Thank you Dinesh Anna and other Annas.
I take a bow and batting for a miracle in 2014.
Savera-ites for life.
- Savera: It’s Curtains (ashiot.wordpress.com)