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After brewing a tea-volution in Lucknow since 1964, it's time for Planter's to shut down!

"I didn't want to shut our doors at all but sadly, here we are", Vasu Gupta, owner.

Taking a seat in Lucknow way back in 1964, Planter's Tea Bar & Book Cafe gradually became a pally name that resonated with the youth and the oldies, alike. Starting with Roop Narayan Gupta dealing with loose tea to his grandson, Vasu, serving an expansive range of exquisite tea varieties to Lucknowites amid a contemporary cafe setup, this brand has chronicled an uphill journey since its inception. But the confines of the pandemic and its repercussions have now led to the shuttering of this iconic establishment and we don't think we're ready to bid goodbye just yet!


Brewed a steaming teavolution in the city with over 150 sorts of tea

Counted as one of the renowned establishments of Lucknow, Planter's is was a homegrown joint that has shouldered the task of brewing a steaming teavolution in the city with over 150 sorts of tea. However, the harsh lashes of the pandemic haven't spared this tea bar and now, we'll have to live with the knowledge that Planter's isn't going to be there for our next hangout plan or any one of them at all.

Speaking to the third generation owner, Vasu Gupta, we discussed the past, present and future (if any) of Planter's and it felt like a conversation that should've taken place at one of the Planters outlets because of its intensity and our emotional connotations.

"In 2014, we started with our first tea cafe, serving food and beverages, at Aminabad (Model House Chauraha). It was a small and cosy concept cafe to test the audience response. The response was overwhelming and a lot of people from Gomti Nagar and Indira Nagar were driving down to this place. After that, we came up with an outlet at Gomti Nagar-1 in 2016. My father, Rajendar Kumar Gupta, was a professional tea tester and he curated all the tea ideas and brew blends by himself."

The Cult of Planter's: Cups of chai aur charcha!

Talking about the cult of Planter's that has a grip on Lucknowites, especially the millennials, Vasu added, "I always wanted my cafe to be a destination where we would promote underground music, live performances and more, at no cost at all. Our stage has helped many musicians, comedians and other entertainers to find their paths and now, a lot of them have garnered huge success! To make it all the more better, we also wanted to incorporate books in our set up. I have been to innumerable cafes in India and abroad, which inspired me to do so and it was an instant hit amid the masses!"

He even stated, "To personally connect with all and to create a safe space, I have spent most of my time at the premises of the cafe and ensured that everyone was comfortable. A lot of places have restrictions that don't allow people to comfortably speak their minds but that wasn't the case here! I have encouraged every topic under the sun, be it religion or politics and the process of winning hearts just snowballed, I guess."

A detailed past but a blurred future!

Vasu then added, "Due to COVID, things are getting nasty for business owners. There are no tax waivers and the landlords are also not offering any concessions. As a result of this pandemic, there is no crown in the hospitality business. Earlier, we were earning around 80-90 k per day. But now, it has come down to 11-12 k a day and we had kept the brand alive through our savings. The situation has worsened and now we cannot do it anymore."

Further, talking about the comeback of Planter's, Vasu stated, "We're not really planning on coming back to the market; at least not now and definitely not where we were before in Gomti Nagar. I have another concept in mind and after 15-20 years, when I have my own land, I might start something. But not so soon. I didn't want to shut our doors at all but sadly, here we are!"

Until next time, chai buddy

Although Lucknow has umpteen number of cafes to its credits, the feel of entering Planter's and the vibe of an evening spent here, is simply unexampled and apparently, it will be so until they return again. But till then, we do have a pocket full of memories and a taste of exotic chai blends to rely upon and honestly, we'll probably never stop hoping for Planter's to put up a post saying, "We're Back Again".

Tom Junod once said, "You don't have to love cooking to cook, but you have to do more than love baking to bake. You have to bake out of love." And these home bakers of Kanpur are doing exactly the same! If you believe life is too short to say no to calories and cake, read on about these dynamic bakers who are baking deliciousness out of love.

A dessert lover would understand the importance of quality baked goods and if you are one of them, we have compiled a list of some of the best home entrepreneurs in Kanpur:

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Fighting against hunger, THESE 5 NGOs are a silver lining for the needy in Lucknow!

This World Food Day, get to know about these 5 NGOs fighting against hunger in Lucknow

There is an abundance of food-delivery apps in the market today that have managed to reduce the gap between your homes and restaurants. However, there is no such modern solution to bridge the long-prevailing gap between a one-time meal and the underprivileged. No matter how developed any city in India is today, the issue of hunger is a prominent one everywhere, and Lucknow is no exception.

But keeping intact our faith in humanity, are certain groups and individuals who're working round the clock to ensure that each day, the number of people going to sleep hungry, reduces significantly. This World Food Day, get to know about 5 NGOs working towards this cause and provide them with your support however you can. A little help goes a long way!

Akshaya Patra Foundation

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a non-profit organisation spread across India that operates a school lunch programme (Mid-Day meal). Established in the year 2000, the aim of this organisation is to counter classroom hunger and aid in the education of children. Reportedly, it feeds more than 18 lakh children every day, across the country. With its presence in several cities including Lucknow, the Akshaya Patra Foundation also worked to distribute food among the migrant workers during the COVID crisis last year. Donate to this noble cause by clicking on the website link attached below.

Contact: 097924 48359

Website: The Akshaya Patra Foundation

The Robin Hood Army

The Robin Hood Army is a volunteer-based organisation that was established in 2014 by Neel Ghose and Arushi Batra. This establishment works to get surplus food from restaurants and the community, to serve less fortunate people. The idea behind the conception of this NGO is to create self-sustained chapters across the world, that will look after its local community. Like all the other chapters, Lucknow Chapter of this volunteer-based organisation conducts various drives across the city. If you wish to become a part of this group log on to their official website now!

Contact: Send a mail on info@robinhoodarmy.com

Website: The Robin Hood Army

Roti Bank

Roti Bank is a citizen led organisation who's primary aim is to provide food to the needy. To attain this goal, Roti Bank has a team spread across the country including a bunch in Lucknow that is purely dedicated to the cause. Roti bank collects left-over and excess food from homes and events and distributes it among the needy. One can donate in cash or kind or even volunteer to become a part of this thoughtful initiative. Click on the website link to know more about this organisation.

Contact: 7905881802

Website: Roti bank Lucknow

Vijay Sri Foundation

Vijay Sri Foundation is a non-government organization, that was launched in the year 2009 in Lucknow. The main objective of this organisation was the distribution of food to the needy poor in hospitals. Initially, home-cooked food packets were distributed among attendants of poor patients admitted in various wards of Lucknow's King George Medical College. Gradually, the operations grew to other hospitals in the city as well. Currently, around 900 patients are served food everyday, under its "Prasadam Sewa" campaign. To join their team or contribute monetarily, log on to their official website.

Contact: 099358 88887

Website: Prasadam Sewa

Feeding India

Found in the year 2014, Feeding India was formed to solve the complex challenges of food wastage, malnutrition and hunger in India. As a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, Zomato acquired this organisation in 2019 to deal with these issues. With its presence in Lucknow, Feeding India by Zomato designs interventions to decrease hunger among the communities that are underserved. If you wish to donate or know more about this organisation check out their official website.

Contact: Write to them here

Website: Feeding India

Knock Knock

Even though these organisations are working hard to improve the situation, it is upon all of us to make sure that we don't waste food and do whatever we can to help and feed the poor. To fight and beat the global problem of hunger, a collective effort is a must!

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