Ratan Tata Industrial (RTI) Institute


February 4, 2009

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The below is an article by Kayezad Adajania on his blog slashfundas.

Where is my Ratan Tata Industrial (RTI) institute?

If you are a Parsi, then the words RTI shouldn’t be Greek and Latin to you. But for the uninitiated, RTI stands for Ratan Tata Industrial institute; the once-upon-a-time ultimate stop for Parsi cuisine, sweets, delicacies as also mouth-watering cakes and pastries. It started out from inside a building at Hughes Road – before it moved to a new location, just opposite to its original location, into a much swankier place – and branched out to about six other places in Bombay. From my personal observation and one of its loyal customers for ages, what was once a thriving institution is now half its original glory.

I have many pleasant memories of RTI. In the olden days – gosh, I sound like an old Bawaji – we used to refer RTI as Industrial. I think it was because it was situated in an old building outside Khareghat Colony where if you’d step inside that building, it kind of resembled an industrial unit. Which actually, in a way, it was. I do not know RTI’s history, but from whatever little on it I have come across on the Internet, it was started as an unit to make widowed Parsi womenindependent by providing them employment and making them self-sufficient. Hence, if I am not mistaken, most of the staff at RTI originally – and maybe it still is this way – are Parsees. RTI has never been just a store. It was a movement of sorts and has become an institution in its own right over the years.

Every week, as a kid, I used to look forward to eating their famous chocolate cake over my evening tea on my weekends. My earliest memory of this fantastic cake takes me back to a timewhen it used to cost Rs 8. Today I think the price has gone up three times; I no longer eat this cake so I wouldn’t know exactly. I also used to look forward to my evening tea, mostly because of the stuff I used to have with my tea such as the yummy shrewsberry biscuits that, in those days,Moti mummy used to get for me from her Poona trips, or RTI’s chocolate pastries. As a child I loved chocolate cakes and I still do. Even today I do not miss an opportunity to feast on pastries and desserts. In my office, people say there is a rule: If you are ordering desserts, make sure you ask Kayezad too what he wants!!!

There were other things that we regularly used to buy from RTI such as its chicken patties and cutlets. They are not the healthiest of the stuff to be had, but when you’re 10, you do not think about all those things. Anyway, I have patronised RTI over many years. I do not much now, though occasionally I still go there. RTI could do much better and ought to become more aggressive and give its competitors a run for their money. I really wish the house of Tatas should take steps to rebuild this flagging enterprise.

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