“Sometimes, my customers lose count of the number of plates of pani puri they’ve eaten, but they always leave with such satisfied smiles! There are times when some kids don’t have enough money, but what’s better than seeing the happy grins on their faces, right? So I let them eat for free.
I hail from a city called Kadru in Ranchi. It’s just a few kilometres away from cricketer Dhoni bhai’s place. I came to Hyderabad two years ago, along with my business partner, who is also a pani puri seller. Money was not on our minds then. We just wanted to do something on our own, and establish a good reputation. Before that, I worked at a local food stall in Bombay for three years, so you could say I have considerable experience in this field.
When my friend told me we could do good business selling pani puri and other chaat items here in Hyderabad, I immediately agreed. I trusted him completely, and now I know for sure that it was the right decision. My only regret is that I’ve still not been able to pick up any Telugu!
I wake up at 6 in the morning to make the puris, masala, pav, and pani, and my day ends at 10 every night. My Pavbhaji, especially, has a very loyal fan base. By around five in the evening, my stall is crowded with office goers, retired officers and young students.
Business was picking up steadily until February, but suddenly because of the coronavirus outbreak and nationwide lockdown, we had to shut shop. I couldn’t even go back to my village at the time.
Now that the government has eased the lockdown norms completely, my stall is open again. It hasn’t been a great year so far, but then again, I have so many friends in the form of customers. They’re like family to me, and make sure I never feel homesick. In the current situation, I can only hope for a better tomorrow and I am doing just that!”
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