Josef Stanley Babu’s Indian Hotel in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntakal was a sort of an institution. For years, the unassuming city in Anantapur district gorged on toothsome snacks and gulped down what many describe as the “strongest cup of tea” served by a man who wears his heart and patriotism on his sleeve. What made the Indian Hotel a household name was Stanley Babu’s love for his country and the grand Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations organised by him.
He has been celebrating the national festivals for over two decades with the money earned from the tea shop. Each festival happens to be a month-long affair. While several programmes are organised on such occasions by government offices and schools, it’s Stanley Babu who made the celebration of national festivals a public affair in the true sense.
But like most small businesses hit by the pandemic, Stanley Babu’s shop too couldn’t withstand the Covid-induced lockdown. When it tried to reopen, Babu couldn’t afford to pay the rent which the owner had hiked after the lockdown was lifted. While he hopes to reopen the shop sooner than later, Stanley Babu’s love for his country hasn’t wavered an inch. If anything, it has become stronger.
Ask anyone about the important festivals celebrated in Guntakal, and “Stanley Babu’s I-Day and R-Day celebrations” are mentioned in the same breath as Pongal and Ugadi.
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