Venkat Anna is 46-year-old second-generation idli, vada, and dosa shop owner outside the Kapaleswarar temple in Chennai. Initially, the shop began without a name but as everyone referred to his father as Anna, the shop too came to be known as Anna’s. What began 40 years ago as just another idli, vada, and dosa shop by his father who hailed from the then village of Madurai has now turned into a culinary hotspot, with regulars, tourists, and even food bloggers and chefs who visit his shop for a taste of his delicious food.
Pious, traditional, and highly disciplined, Venkat wakes up at 3 am each morning to prepare the fresh batter, sambar and chutneys at his own home with his wife and his adopted son Sunil who works with them at the shop. Venkat and his wife couldn’t have kids of their own, so they adopted an orphan who they used to see lurking around their shop asking for food. Sunil now has grown up into a bright and handsome young man of 21 and gives the shop and his parents his all.
Venkat uses special Tanjore Ponni rice to make his batter and varying ratios of urad dal to the rice which makes his products softer and tastier.
Once ready the trio squeeze into their regular rickshaw driver’s vehicle with their large containers of batter, sambar, and chutneys and head to their shop.
When they reach their shop outside the temple, they clean and set up the shop. Once they’re ready to begin work, they pay obeisance in the direction of the temple and begin steaming their idlis.
By this time there’s already a long line outside his shop as regulars and tourists visiting the temple who have heard so much about his food wait patiently.
Fifteen minutes later customers can be seen happily digging into their breakfast by the roadside, asking for extra helpings of chutney, and licking their fingers satisfyingly. He keeps getting large takeaway and delivery orders on his mobile phone too and is constantly keeping a tab of that. When his mobile is not in use to receive orders, Venkat plays the radio on his mobile phone or checks the score of any cricket match in session.
The crowd continues nonstop till lunchtime when by 2 pm he has exhausted his supplies. The trio then calls it a day and returns home. Venkat then takes stock of his supplies and Whatsapps his regular suppliers to place the order for more supplies.
Venkat then relaxes at home watching a movie on his mobile phone before passing out from exhaustion.
Life is all about the little moments for Venkat, be it a hot cup of coffee between work, seeing his regulars coming to eat at his stall and chatting up with him, or working with his wife and son to carry on his father’s legacy.
His ideal holiday destination is going back to his hometown of Madurai where he visits his extended family and the Meenakshi temple every year to pay thanks to the lord.
The FUNKY BEATS Wired Earphones helps Venkat leave behind the stress of the day and recharge with his favourite Tamil films on Netflix and Amazon Prime. Once he plugs in his earphones and presses play, he’s lost in the cinematic world in his phone.