To me bread has always meant ‘डबलरोटी’ and not ‘रोटी’ which it actually means. About two-three months back , when a bakery showroom opened at a walking distance from my locality- a suburb of Shimla - it was welcome , for otherwise all bakery items like pastry, cake etc had to be brought from the outlets at the Mall or Lakkar Bazaar. Bread is of course available at all places. I am taken back to the time when there were no outlets selling bakery items and bread vendors carried the stuff in a metal box on their heads. The box was of standard size and specification.To our surprise some times the vendor would walk with free hands with the box strategically balanced on the head.Some had regular customers to whom bread was delivered daily at their doorstep. , while some others passing by would loudly call out ‘डबलरोटी’ so that some people residing nearby could buy bread etc. Some others could be found on the roadside , with the box placed on a parapet and any passerby could buy whatever he wanted to. I fondly remember one Jagannath or Jagarnath from the sixties who came daily in the neighborhood to deliver bread. He was a jolly good fellow, with always a smile on his face. The box or the trunk was layered with trays. The upper layer contained pastries, middle layer stuff like cream rolls & rusks and at the bottom were bread and buns , which colloquially were called ‘band’ .The bread was a complete bread , which was cut into slices with a sharp big knife before delivery. A full bread would cost eight anna or 50 paise and half bread could be had for four anna or 25 paise.Pastry cost 15 paise.Since this was a daily supply , stuff was always fresh , bread was soft and tasted sweet .With time baking technique and packaging have considerably improved but the bread no longer tastes that good.
Apart from the stuff one badly misses, the personal bond that existed between the vendor and the customer with pleasantries exchanged from both sides. Nowadays it has become only businesslike no one bothering to know even the name of one another.