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‘Bakery was our only source of income’

Siddhesh Inamdar

PUNE: Though last Saturday’s blast blew it to smithereens, the German Bakery was once a place that put Pune on the international tourist’s map. Rebuilding it may have a symbolic significance — that this growing city and unlikely terror target has decided to stand up to terrorism. For its owners, though, the significance is more humble.

The eatery was their only source of income, and they know that they must rebuild it to support the family.

“There is no doubt that we are going to rebuild the German Bakery,” says Snehal Kharose, taking time out to speak to The Hindu in the midst of questioning by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS). The bakery is in the name of her mother Smita (38). “We certainly want to rebuild it, but the question is that of money.”

Ms. Kharose knows that it is too early to talk of funding for reconstructing the bakery since investigations are still on. Nevertheless, she admits it is a pressing matter.

“We have complete cooperation of the police and the government,” she says. “But I would like to request the government to arrange for the compensation at the earliest.”

A lot in the Kharose household is dependent on the bakery. Twenty-year-old Snehal is the eldest of three children. She has not yet completed her education and is presently studying in the second year of her B.A. course at Sinhagad College.

Her sister Shraddha is 14 years old and in her first year of junior college (Science). Her brother Aditya is 12 but in the senior KG. He is physically and mentally challenged and does not keep too well.

The bakery was started in 1988 by Dnyaneshwar Narayan Kharose, Snehal’s father, along with a German named Woody. “He was the one who gave us some of the recipes,” says Ms. Kharose. “He left after two years but I don’t know where he went. My father ran the bakery till 1999 when he died.”

It is now managed by Gopal Karki even though it remains in the name of Ms. Kharose’s mother.

There is some dispute over its ownership. “After my father’s death, his brother staked claim over the property,” she says. “But the Bakery is very much in my mother’s name.”

On the day of the blast, the family was in its house at Sinhagad Road. While the household waits for compensation from the government, Ms. Kharose knows that the bakery’s loyal customers who developed a bond with it over many years would come forward to help.

Ever since the blast, the family has only interacted with the media and the police. “So we haven’t had the chance to talk to our customers yet,” Ms. Kharose says.

“But along the road down the bakery, you can see boards paying tribute to the people who lost their lives in the blast. We have the support of our customers and the residents of Koregaon Park.”

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