Muscat: Mahesh, the eldest of the Haridas Nensey family, came to Oman in 1961, 23 years after his father and grandfather set up shop in Muscat. The then 19-year old Mahesh is 79 now.
Going down memory lane, Maheshbhai, as he is fondly known, reminisces about the early days of the Haridas Nensey clan in Oman. There were just three business people who owned a car then - an Indian-made Ambassador - Mahesh remembers. There were also three shops functioning around that time in Muscat – Haridas Nensey, Ramniklal Kothary and Muttrah Cold Stores (now Spinneys).
Today the Haridas Nensey store, located in central Ruwi, is the go-to store for all things Indian. Be it the special theeka chutney powder used for vada paav or the filter to make south Indian decoction coffee, Haridas Nensey stocks it all. Their flagship store in Ruwi opened its doors in 1970 and is one of the few old institutions in Oman still going strong. Their second outlet will open in the uptown area of Al Khuwair very soon.
Nenseys started a Haridas Nensey store in Sugar Town in Texas too, when Maheshbhai’s family migrated there. All members of Mahesh’s family have American passports, having stayed in the US for a while. They are all back in Oman now with some members of the youngest generation still studying in colleges there.
“In the early 1970s in Oman, we didn’t have air conditioners in our homes. We used to pour water in the chaaddar (sleeping mat made of natural fibres like jute, yarn and cotton) to keep it cool and sleep on it. The only thing same now and then was the heat, but of course now we have air conditioners to keep us cool.”
Mahesh Nensey is the eldest of the four brothers. Bar one brother who looks after the business affairs of the company in Mumbai, all are in Muscat, staying together in the upmarket residential locality of Qurum. On any given day at the cash counter of the Nenseys stores, one can see the eldest patriarch of the family Mahesh along with brother Kirti and son Jigar. Another brother Vimal, looks after the shop affairs including inventory and stock.