The city's most famous Bakery does not take the
cake.They just make them along with an assortment
of biscuits, breads and rolls. It's the customers
who whisk them away and can't wait to come back
about Pune's most famous Bakery are legendary.
People are known to set morning alarms to be there
when the gates open at 7.30 am every morning.
Visitors are said to have missed flights as they
were busy checking out biscuits when they ought
to have been checking in. Customers actually settle
for cake when there is no bread. Are these stories
for real? Do shrewsbury biscuits actually
disappear by 7.47 am? By the way, what's 'shrewsbury'?
To get our fundas about Kayani's and to experience
Darwin's theory of survival unfold before our
eyes, we paid them a visit and just about managed
to squeeze our way in through a sea of humanity.
The bakery is on East street and is housed in
Italian structure. Established in April 1955 by
Kayani brothers, viz, Khodayar, Hormuzdiyar and
Rustom, the establishment is today jointly run
by 6 partners, comprising their sons and a grandson.There
are 35 employees and 10 part-timers who manage
the crowd and to keep their sanity intact. When
Kersy, who has been here since it's inception,
is asked if he is happy, "of course yes"
is his emphatic reply.
Khodayar's grandson who is managing the cash counter,
smiles approvingly, "We look after our employees
well. They have absolutely no reason to complain."
He seems to be in a good mood, obviously kicked
with Kersy's reply. Absolutely amazed by
the continuous stream of customers, we turn and
ask Rustom what was so special about the place,
especially since the city is crammed with Bakeries.
"Our 'shrewsbury' biscuits, he proclaims
unabashedly. We are the only ones in the city
who make it with Amul butter and it has a
shelf life of at least one month. Besides, we
do not retail it anywhere -- not outside the city
Who thought of the name 'shrewsbury'? Has it
got anything to do with an English county by the
same name.You know the British Raj fixation and
all that? "No, absolutely not," grins
Rustom. "Actually my Grandfather and his
brothers hail from Iran and spoke a Persian dialect
called 'Dari.' There is a word in 'Dari' which
sounds very similar to 'Shrewsbury'and
means "that which melts in the mouth".
Around the same time, there was a biscuit available
locally which was called 'shrewsbury' and my forefathers
thought it was a good idea to name
their product 'shrewsbury' as well." We watch
the employees go about their job, completely unruffled
by the teeming crowds, placing the cakes and bread
in Pink cardboard boxes. Bread seems to be
Dazed by the proceedings, we turn around
and ask Rustom who was doling out change
( to 8 guys this time ) what the day's turn over
was like? "Around 50 to 60 K and a little
more on Saturdays," was the matter-of-fact
reply. And yet the place and the people
remain completely unaffected. No false ceiling,
no air-conditioners. We peer at the goodies dwindling
in record time from the wooden glass-covered shelves.
We check out the customersand cannot help notice
their diversity. Kayani's are undoubtedly great
bakers but what lit up our faces was to
discover that it also happens to be the city's
greatest social leveller.
If you wish to try out some heavenly biscuits
priced at a reasonable Rs 100/- per kg., sprint
Kayani’s Bakery,East Street,Pune 411
Timings:7.30am-1 pm;3.30pm-8pm. Sundays closed