Memories of Crosscut Road Still Linger

Cross Cut, Gandhipuram is a big shopping destination today. The commercial district has had an interesting past. I remember Cross Cut from my childhood. We used to visit the road as a family. Grandfather, parents, uncles, aunts and cousins used to go to Gandhipuram in two cars on Sundays. It was after filling ourselves up with our ‘signature’ idli, vadai and sunday sambar. The same sambar recipe is being followed even now. Our first stop used to be Ramakrishna bakery. “The bakery was promoted by Abbuluswamy Naidu those days. It was famous for its apple cake, japanois cake and puffs,” recalls S.B.Srinivasan of Strategion Brand Consulting Company. The bakery had the Tamil board ‘Ramakiruttina Adumanai’. Ramakrishnan of the bakery used to give me a fresh biscuit right out of the oven. They used to stock Gold Coin apple juice in their fridge. Chicklets were the favourite for the kids. “Oh their bread sticks used to be delicious and I used to devour them,” remembers Manoj Rajani.
It used to be a pleasure to watch Ramakrishnan cutting the oven fresh bread and packing the loaf in a white sheet of paper. A small glued brown paper used to be fixed as a sticker at the ends. My uncle Shankar used to love those visits. The Ramakrishna Bakery family used to live right behind the bakery. I remember seeing all the three brothers who owned the place. We used to visit the Shanmugha Bakery too. A statue of the founder of the Swatantra Party, Rajaji used to be found at the entrance of Cross cut road and industrialist G.K.Sundaram of Lakshmi Mills used to garland the statue on the 10th of December every year. The Vinayagar temple on the corner is perhaps the most popular in town. Once upon a time, some non believers had put up a board against temple worship in the neighbourhood of the shrine. Sometime later, the believers put up one right next to it. A big branch of Chinthamani was located near the temple on the Dr.Nanjappa road side.
Mahaveers was the shop for buying clothes from our childhood days. Balchand and family of Mahaveers were well known to my father. The entire family used to visit the store after 8 PM and do our unlimited Diwali shopping for about 2 hours. Annapoorna Hotel, Kamala Stores, Selvasingh Stores were popular then. Nagamanickkam / Babji of Mangalam Steel House used to have an excellent clientele. I remember my mother Aravindakumari purchasing copper bottom vessels from him. Sri Rajeswari Jewel Palace (SRJP) belonging to B.N.Nataraj was the number one jewellery store in the area. Sona Sansaar belonged to the family of my class mate Sunil.B.Daswani. Jaisree was another store for sarees and Ratanchand used to manage it with his family. He used to play snooker regularly at the Cosmopolitan Club.
Asir Selvasingh of Selvasingh Stores was my class mate in GRG School. Nuthan Stores was famous and Karpagam Abarana Maligai had an early beginning in Cross Cut road. Later Sri Visnu Maligai founded by KMRK. Muniappan came up in the neighbourhood. Sri Hari Jewellers was another known jeweler. Dr.I.K.Solomon, our visiting physician had a clinic and he used to recommend Ramnath & Co for getting medicines. Revijay Clinical Laboratory, Maruthi Service Station belonging to DAR.Ragunathan were some places which had been frequented by us. Balaji Binny Textiles belonging to the Soora family was known for selling fine and smooth silk sarees. Chandrakanthi Govindarajulu was their famous customer for the Binny Silk Sarees. My mother created a collection by buying sarees from that store.
The Raymond’s retail Shop founded by Balkishen Sachdev was another popular destination for all of us. The son Mukesh had been my school senior. It was a time when Raymonds was considered to be premium. Daddy used to buy his safari material from the store. Balkishen used to personally receive us in his store. He had been a pioneer those days. Mangaldeep, Asia’s largest ‘Vimal’ showroom threatened the scene briefly. The store was huge and had staircases and ramps within. It attracted a huge tourist crowd. All of us visited the store as tourists. The market for veggies was popular during the evening hours. Sri Lakshmi Complex came up in its vicinity. It was built by K.P.Subbian and K.P.Manian of Sri Lakshmi Jewellery. I remember the brothers taking all of us around while it was under construction. It continues to be a big shopping location. Silver Palace, Vinod Cloth Centre, Bhagwan Cut Piece Junction (famous for denim material), Sri Lakshmi Silks, Fashion Port which was managed by R.P.Ramesh, Breeze Designers (for its exclusive mens clothes), Good Luck Palace, Music Junction, Humpty Dumpty (toy shop), Jewel Palace and the Hotel Sri Lakshmi were the attractions in the complex. The fancy stores were extremely popular. Many youngsters used to throng the facility and chill out. It was known as ‘LC’.
Eventually, we went to college and our batch mate Junaid Ali Sait of ‘South Wick’, Ooty used to stay with his cousin Abid at Travellers Lodge during his course of study. It was a decent destination. Eventually it became our haunt. Santossh, Manoj, Junaid, Veerashivakumar and myself used to spend time by playing ‘Monopoly’ for hours together in the room. We used to visit ‘Orion Restaurant’ regularly. The Sengaliappan Nursing Home had a facility on Cross Cut Road near the railway level crossing. I remember seeing a branch of Lord Krishna Bank opposite to Ramakrishna Bakery during my childhood days. IAB was always present in Cross Cut road and they had made the nice and big portrait of my great grand father P.A.Raju Chettiar. I have it with me in my office now. The Mariamman temple was known to be powerful from the very beginning. Shree Devi Textiles has been on this locality for a long time. Devendra Kumar, Suresh and family used to own Maharani Jewellery. The lights of Hotel Shona used to be always visible from a distance.
The Cross Cut road fly over came up later and things changed after that. Gandhipuram signal was perhaps the most crowded signal those days. Nellai Lala Sweets on the corner used to have very good business from the beginning. My family was keen to have a jewellery retail outlet on Cross Cut road but it never happened. A.Rangaswamy Chettiar family had a store on this busy shopping street. Optic Craft was also another old outlet.
I distinctly remember the air gun in Nuthan Stores. All of us cut birthday cakes at home and the cakes were specially made for us at Ramakrishna Bakery. They used to work on different themes each year after a brief discussion with my father K.Govindarajulu. Four generations of our family had been the customers of the iconic bakery. My sweet memories of Cross Cut road began from this bakery. I am sure many will vouch for it.
—Rajesh Govindarajulu

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One Thought to “Memories of Crosscut Road Still Linger”

  1. S S Vaidy

    Thank you for kindling old memories, Rajesh!
    Crosscut Road also brings to my memory Pykara Power House. it was well lighted at night and could be seen from a distance. I think Haridas Bhagat company appeared much later?
    Have covered miles on bicycle in that area.
    S S Vaidyanathan

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