Bought this book “Merchants of Poona” off Amazon just over a month ago, and after flipping through some pages the day I received it, I’ve just not been able to actually read it till now.
Published by Sakal Publications (yep, the same group which publishes the newspaper by that name) in English and Marathi, the book is a wonderful tribute to those businessmen who set up shop in Pune and who have since gone on to become household names in the city over the decades and even centuries in some cases.
The first thing I loved about the book was its cover. Designed by Falguni Gokhale, it is typically like the “Bahi Khata” books used by businessmen of yore. In fact, many of them still use these even now in parallel with newer accounting books/methods.
The book itself is an enjoyable read. The quality is good, layout is clean and simple, and with 3-4 pages devoted to each business house, it is just the right length, not too long or too short with several interesting nuggets and photos peppered throughout the book.
In any such tribute, it is not always possible to include every single business, and the publishers have wisely taken the late 1960s as a cut off for when the business was established, thereby featuring 40 “brands” in this edition, like Chitale Bandhu, Dorabjee’s Restaurant, Prabhat Film Company, Cafe Good Luck, Manney’s, C.T Pundole, Budhani Wafers, Champion Sports, Marz-o-Rin and many more.
I’ve not come across a similar book which features all these iconic names, so for me, and any Punekar for that matter, this is definitely a collector’s item. You can buy “Merchants of Poona” directly from Sakal Publications at their office in Pune or online from Amazon or on Flipkart.