All auto rickshaw drivers in Kozhikode are familiar with ‘Bhaskarettan’s sharbat shop’ as it is popularly known. At least a dozen passengers come here directly from the Kozhikode railway station or the bus stand on a daily basis. Such is the fame of this little bunk shop near the C.H. Flyover junction that it has become a must visit location for visitors in the city, especially foodies.
Sadly, Bhaskarettan’s shop closed down on Sunday following a High Court order to vacate the premises by evening.
Brothers Bhaskaran and Kumaran started the venture almost 70 years ago along the Kannur road, slightly away from its present location. It flourished under the care of Anand, son of Kumaran, and Muraleedharan and Manoj Kumar, sons of Bhaskaran.
“We use genuine saraspila syrup. That is our only secret”, Mr. Anand said.
Kumaran and Bhaskaran were the pioneers of ‘Milk Sharbat’, which has now become popular in north Kerala. Besides, lime soda, masala soda and milk-egg sharbats that were available here were quite popular. The shop often has around twenty people waiting outside at any time of the day, creating quite a traffic block on this busy junction. The turn out is so high that they use around 90 litres of saraspila syrup (1 litre makes 10 milk sharbats) almost everyday during warm months.
Trouble came in the form of a multi-storied building behind the shop. The owners of the new structure, who also own the sharbat shop building, demanded the brothers to vacate, citing the need for an access road. A case was filed and it went on for 12 years. The district sessions court as well as the High Court ruled in favour of the building owners.
“We appealed at the Supreme Court. But it was rejected,” Mr. Muraleedharan said, adding that they had no option but to shut the shop down.
Having established themselves as an iconic brand of Kozhikode over the last 50 years, the brothers are confident that sharbat lovers will follow them to a new location.