Poor man’s bakery in Mumbai fights inflation, globalisation

MUMBAI, Jan 14, 2007 (AFP) – Tirandaaz Irani’s morning shift at the Yazdani Bakery and Restaurant in Mumbai’s historic Fort district is pretty much the same every day, and he’s hoping to keep it that way even as the city changes drastically around him.

The nearly century-old bakery, set amid crowded streets lined by massive stone Victorian-era buildings near India’s stock exchange, looks like a gingerbread house and stands in sharp contrast to the other shops, mainly selling electronics goods.

Irani mans a drawer filled with soiled rupee notes and dispenses quick change and chatter with old-time customers who sit on plain wooden benches with a cup of tea and a pastry or bread roll.

A wood-fired stove in the back bakes pastries, loaves of bread and a special pav, or bread roll, which costs one rupee (0.02 cents) and is the emblem of the store’s “your daily bread” motto.

The bakery, an icon for urban historians of what remains of old Mumbai, also has the health of its customers at hear, urging them via a chalkboard sign to: “Eat Finger Biscuits. Cure Your Cough.”

“We are the cheapest in the world because mine is a poor man’s bakery. Put that down in writing,” he says gesturing to a reporter’s notebook as he sits behind the cash