Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Badettu family started its long journey during the early years of last millennium from a humble agricultural beginning into the hotel business and attained reasonable success in spawning 5 generations of descendants with fairly decent living standards. One has to admire the tenacity and perseverance of Narnappaya, the founder head of this unique family in creating such a vibrant group, from a humble beginning. Traditionally Brahmins belonging to Madhwa community are renowned for their mastery over practices involved in propitiation of various Gods through poojas and other established norms. It is well known that Narnappaya's name is remembered to day not for his business ventures or agriculture but his unwavering service to Goddess Brahmeru at Brahmasthana and the Ganapathi Temple in the Mahalingeswara Temple complex in Padubidri.

The fact is that the second generation descendants did expand the nucleus hotel business started by him in the year 1928 (as some say) or 1938 (as some others aver). The Sri Krishna Bhavan Hotel (SKB as popularly known) in Kollam and Alleppey are well known names even to day, though the last major one wound up business in 2007 due to negligence, mismanagement and years of stagnation. While the set up at Kollam, managed by Vasudeva Doddappa was the only one hotel in the town as well as on the route from Trivandrum to Alleppey serving tantalizingly tasty vegetarian foods, the closure was attributed to the illness like diabetes that made him literally very weak to run the establishment in a decent way. Added to this his first son Sethuram was least interested in hotel business with his focus on becoming a thorough bred professional. He was supposed to be a brilliant student and his passing the coveted C A degree is a living testimony to his caliber. It must be remembered that Charter Accountant degree is one of the most difficult ones those days and the pass rate was very very low, only extraordinarily capable students getting through. Why Vasudeva Doddappa did not consider his brothers like Padmanabh and Gopalakrishna worthy of succession is not known. 

In the Alleppey case after the retirement of Subbraya and Ananthrama for spending their time with families back in Padubdidri, the responsibility solely fell on Venkatramana who gave every thing to nurture the business, in spite of his two elder sons opting for professional life. It was catching up with age that caused him to withdraw from active engagement with the day to day hotel work and this signified the rapid slide in the fortunes of Sri Krishna Bhavan in Alleppey. It was reported that he was some what disturbed by the trend emerging vis-a-vis activities going on in the hotel which was run by two of his junior sons but did not do any thing to correct the situation then, probably because of his helplessness. He could not recall his two elder sons for help as they were well settled in their professions. After his demise in the year 2000, the establishment was to be closed as per the desire of most of the members. It is only because of the likely adverse emotional impact it might have had on the surviving wife of Venkataramana that the closure was postponed. The family took a unanimous decision to bring the curtain down on Sri Krishna Bhavan hotel at Alleppey with utmost regret and sadness as there was no other alternative option available to the family in absence of any assurance that things would change for better. 

After the sale of the property which was delayed for almost two years due to many reasons, most of them avoidable and a few unavoidable ones, those who were running could have started new hotel ventures with the "fortune" they inherited as they were supposed to have "rich" experience in hotel business. Some credit needs to be given to one of them that he at least started a small restaurant in Alleppey though it was not much different in terms of ambiance and other quality parameters from the old Sri Krishna Bhavan, having learned no lesson from his past experience. After running the business for about four years he is reported to have closed it seeking better fortunes else where. At least for those people in Alleppey who were bowled over by the quality and taste of food preparations in the old hotel when it was being run by the second generation members, the presence of a micro version of Sri Krishna Bhavan was a moment for recalling and reminiscencing good old days when they were coming in droves for their favorite dishes. 

Now that this has happened, the link to the past has been unceremoniously snapped and whether any future hotel entrepreneur will ever emerge is a matter of conjecture. As of now no one among the fourth generation or fifth generation descendants of Badettu family seems to have any interest in business associated with restaurants, though Appukuttan one of the third generation members is running a decent catering business based in Kasargod in Kerala without any formal establishment. His children are also professionals and it is unlikely that his business will last indefinitely. Of course late Govinda Rao of BRH hotel chain in Ernakulam, also a part of the larger Badettu family based in Thripunithra has left behind a rich heritage for his off springs that may still remind some of us about the past glory. 

Answer to last Quiz

Late Jayaram, one of the illustrious grand sons of BadettuNarnappaya, born in Kande family of Padubidri, after spending his formative years in Alleppey and Kollam, migrated to Mumbai in 1950s and set up his family there ever since.After his demise a few years ago, his wife venerable Ratnakka is an embodiment of goodness, affection, sacrifice of high quality and ideal motherhood continue to live in Mumbai even to day with her four sons and their families happily and with supreme contentment. An alliance between Ratnakka's son Ramesh and Sukanya, daughter of Vittala has further cemented the kinship that survived for the last six decades.

Quiz for the next issue

Name the first member in Badettu family who was able to obtain an engineering degree by living and studying, 24/7 in Badettu House under conditions that cannot be considered conducive to studying?   

No comments:

Post a Comment