In the days when malls were a rarity in the Nawabi shehar
, Amrutha Mall was quite the rage. The place had the indoor equivalent of an outdoor kids' zone, with a sea of plastic balls inviting you to drown in them. It was a pity that at five feet five inches, I was a foot too tall to plunge in.
Terminator beckoned from around the corner. Opportunities to save the world abounded, with the gaming section full of violent alien attacks and zooming motobikes. Prime Time
was so crowded over weekends that getting a token for a game was the most challenging game of all.
Alongside, the Bakers
started setting up Inns, and a few stores took refuge inside the Mall itself. Minerva Coffee Shop
opened its Somajiguda branch with great pomp and ceremony.
Those were the days of innocence, when there were no Lifestyles
to lure us into paying four-figure sums for a pair of blue Jeans. Minerva, along with Shanbhag
, was the reigning restaurant in town. Then the software revolution boomed, busted, and boomed again, and money and people came pouring into Hyderabad, and the city's character changed forever. So did Amrutha Mall.
Once it became fashionable to shop at malls, the aging Amrutha fell far behind her newer and hipper cousins. Despite crowd-pullers like CCD setting up shop on the outer periphery of Amrutha Mall, the rest of it remained a forgotten relic of the past, a past bereft of bowling alleys and multiplexes, a past where it was either Amrutha or nothing at all.
To be fair, Amrutha Mall failed because of its own refusal to innovate. Prime Time remained stubbornly open, despite the cold indifference of city crowds. Despite the high value of the real estate, no high-end brands were seduced to set up shop here for a considerable time.
Brands like SF Jeans have only recently started to occupy space within Amrutha Mall. Large parts of the mall remain forlorn and unoccupied. While there are currently several small shops for baby-needs, trendy pubs and high-end stores like Woodland have only just sprung up. And with competition from the likes of Lifestyle, Central and Babukhan
, all of which are a mere stone's throw away, Amrutha Mall will have to work much harder to beat the new pros at their game.