Let’s pretend like the Time machine exists. Come, sit and fasten your seatbelts. Adjust Year to whenever you were a seven year old living in the 90’s. You’re a kid again, in search of Board games, preferably ‘Scrabble’ as that’s what your ‘intellectual’ kid friends have been bragging about since a while. The local‘Play-store’ is your Go-to. The ‘Games Uncle’ has all kinds of games you want to buy but you’re with your Parents and not every Parent is the ‘Beta, jo chahiye le lo’ kind. The shopkeeper has that trending ‘Brick Game’ Handy video game, Badminton rackets, Carrom Board, Chess, Digital watches, Rubik’ssquare, Ludo, and the list goes on. Almost every household used to have a Ludo, Carrom and a Chess board and if your home had one too, you would often go to this very store to refill the lost pieces.
Sharda Sports – Time Machine Rebooting to Present Day
Why oh why you ask? Well if that helps you still have the most localest ‘Play store’ that resides inside your cell phones. You can buy your games from there, because that’s what kids of this generation do!
When was the last time you visited an actual, real life Play Store? More than half a decade back I guess?
Well, I certainly did. Recently, I happened to visit a Multi purpose Sports Store in Powai after a very, very long time and nostalgia came flying to me. If you’re a 90’s or 2000’s kid staying in Powai, you know which store, I am talking about. You probably don’t remember the name, which I did not either until recently when I had an interaction with the store owner as I had gone there to buy some games.
‘Sharda Sports’ owned by Mr. Nn Putran, is a Game Hero long forgotten in the busy streets of I.I.T Main Gate. Lying in the corner most gala inside Apna Dukan shopping centre, previously familiar as ‘Apna Bazar Shopping Centre’ or ‘Parivar Shopping Centre’, this shop was very popular amongst kids growingup in between the 1980s-2005
Mr. Putran hails from Mangalore and has been in this business since the last 50 years. Before commencing with this business, Putran used to work in Telephone Exchange and later in a private company that got shut down and motivated him to start a business.
Both his sons are software engineers settled outside India and he has been managing his business here. At times, his wife also accompanies him in the shop. The sales have unfortunately not been doing so well in the past few years ever since the trend of online video games has picked up among young kids.
‘Pehle toh business bohot acha chalta tha, ab din me 3 ya maximum 4 customers khareedte hai’ (Backthen in those days, the business was going good and now I barely make 3-4 sales in a day)
Some of the games look slightly old in appearance. It has been 2 years since he refilled the store inventory and he did not have the need to restock because no one buys like before! And due to this, he cannot spend extra money to hire a help to assist him with the procurement of newer stocks .
Despite all of this, Putran has not lost any hope in his work and cherishes the happiness of kids whenever they buy from him.
When I visited his shop after years, I put up his and his wife’s picture on Instagram, and the reaction that followed was very overwhelming.
It was very nice to see how people even older than me reminisced the memories of buying from him and they look forward to meet him personally again after all these years. I showed this post to him and he was happy to know the reactions.
I urge all readers to visit your local forgotten Game Store Hero, meet him, greet him, buy from him and if you have kids, do introduce them to this gaming platform so they take a break from their online world and get a glimpse of the games we played when we were kids. After all, every kid loves an adventure; and a real adventure would be an added advantage to them, won’t it?☺