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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

German Bakery blast: Seven years on, new staff, new look heal old wounds

Clinking glasses clinking, waiters briskly serving the patrons, laughter all around and a constant stream of customers, leaves hardly any memory of the blast that claimed 17 lives.

Written by Alifiya Khan | Pune |
February 13, 2017 12:05:27 am
Most of the new staffers don’t know that the cafe was once attacked. Rahul Yelgunde Most of the new staffers don’t know that the cafe was once attacked. Rahul Yelgunde

If one is looking for any telltale signs at the Koregaon Park’s German Bakery of the horrifying blast that ripped one of Pune’s favourite eateries apart on this day in 2010, then it might be a lost cause. Clinking glasses clinking, waiters briskly serving the patrons, laughter all around and a constant stream of customers, leaves hardly any memory of the blast that had claimed 17 lives. “Yes I know that a blast took place here on February 13, but frankly I had forgotten that until now,” said Amit Mathure, incharge of the shift.

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But does he not get nervous given the incident on this date? “A little bit, but isn’t it natural? However, I am happy about two things : One is that our security is very tight, where metal detectors and bag frisking leave little chance for any untoward incident. Second, I have an insurance policy,” he said, jokingly.

Most of the staffers are from other states or cities. Amit Rai, a waiter who hails from Madhya Pradesh, didn’t even know that the cafe was once the site of a bomb blast. Rohit Kamble, a local who works here, admits that there was some opposition from home when he was taking up the job. “My family did raise some safety concerns but I like the job. So far, I haven’t got anything to be concerned about, things are good,” he said.

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And while the customers enjoy their meal, blissfully unaware of the significance of the day, which changed the bakery forever, regulars cannot ignore the difference in the atmosphere. Disha Parekh, one of the customers, said she likes the new chic look of the cafe, but misses the welcoming old-world charm of the erstwhile Germany Bakery.

“This one is also good and I still come here a lot. But the earlier one looked more like one of those regular cafes, your everyday kind of place,” she said. A new menu, a new look, a new management and a completely new staff — with none of the earlier staffers having been retained —things have indeed changed a lot.

“The new management decided to change every thing. Except maybe the name, nothing is the same anymore. Some of my old staff members were in touch with me for a while, but now I don’t know where they are,” said former owner Snehal Kharose. Kharose is now a partner in the bakery, with the new management represented by Kunal Udane.

Two more bakeries under the same name have opened up in the last few years — at Law College Road and Lonavala — but Kharose said, except getting a royalty for using the brand name, she is not involved in them. A fourth one is maybe in the pipeline but she doesn’t have any details yet.

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