A late-night visit to Mukesh Chowk in Kemps Corner presents you a peculiar sight of men yelling names of various paans across the street. These are people who work for Muchhad Paanwala, taking orders for customers who pay a visit to the shop to get a taste of the mouth freshener, considered one of the best in all of Mumbai. Five brothers run the shop and all of them sport big moustaches, true to the name of the establishment.
The paan shop was started by Shyamasharan Tiwari in 1957 and is now run by his grandson, Bharatkumar Tiwari, with the help of his four brothers. The family hails from Uttar Pradesh. The shop sells as many as 84 varieties of paans and while business starts at 7 am, it’s close to the closing time of 1.30 am that business gets really brisk, post-dinner.
“My grandfather always loved paan which is why he set up a shop for it. After that my father took over and now I look after it. I joined the business in 1987 and find working here extremely satisfying. This shop is our bread and butter,” Tiwari (43) says.
The shop offers a diverse range of paans including raspberry, chocolate, strawberry and pineapple-flavored paans, among many others. However, Ganga Jamuna, that has an eclectic mixture of fillings, sells the most among customers.
The shop has seen many loyal customers who have stuck with Muchhad Paanwala ever since it opened shop. Tiwari claims to remember all of them and said that none of them have ever given him any trouble. The shop has also been graced by celebrities and politicians. “Most celebrities have visited here. We have had Amitabh Bachchan, Sunil Shetty, Govinda, Salman Khan and many others as our customers. The fact that the shop is so close to Napean Sea Road also helps,” he said.
The shop even has its own website where it takes orders online. To keep the cars from blocking the road, Muchhad Paanwala has its workers stationed on the road at night, where they take orders and deliver quickly, so the cars don’t cause a traffic jam.
Tiwari says it’s safe at night, thanks to heavy police presence and patrolling. Sales have also increased over time. Although Muchhad Paanwala does not indulge in any advertising, word of mouth has made sure of its success. When asked whether the shop will continue running after him, Tiwari said, “Till now I have run the shop and have led a fulfilling life, all because of God’s blessings. This shop, which is our livelihood, was started by my grandfather. My family will never abandon it, no matter what the situation.”
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