Pakoda seller father-son duo: ‘It does feel bad when they make fun of pakorawalas… just for votes’https://indianexpress.com/elections/pakoda-seller-father-son-duo-it-does-feel-bad-when-they-make-fun-of-pakorawalas-just-for-votes-5730316/

Pakoda seller father-son duo: ‘It does feel bad when they make fun of pakorawalas… just for votes’

A resident of Sector 38, Rajesh Prasad, 60, started this business in Sector 23 over four decades back and is now joined by his son, Amit, 32.

Pakoda seller father-son duo: ‘It does feel bad when they make fun of pakorawalas... just for votes’
Rajesh Prasad and his son Amit at work in Sector 23, Chandigarh, on Wednesday. (Express photo: Jasbir Malhi)

WHILE PRIME Minister Narendra Modi’s comments on pakora sellers haven’t been forgotten by the Opposition, for this father-son duo, pakora selling is not only a way to earn a livelihood, but also a form of culinary art from which they derive immense satisfaction.

A resident of Sector 38, Rajesh Prasad, 60, started this business in Sector 23 over four decades back and is now joined by his son, Amit, 32. Today the duo is known for their pakoras across the Tricity. Newsline spoke to Amit to find out how he views his calling.

For how long have you been selling pakoras?
Dad has been putting up this rehri for the last 39 years. I joined him when I was just seven years old. We started with pakoras and samosas, and gradually added tikkis as well.

How much do you earn a month?
We earn around Rs 40,000 a month now. Rs 2,100 is given as licence fee to the Municipal Corporation and no estate office, police troubles us because we have a licence. Yes, we change our thela (cart) every three to four years because it gets worn out. Initially when dad started, he used to sell six pakoras and samosas for Re 1 and today one piece is sold for Rs 8 each.

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What are your work timings?
Although we set up our rehri around 2.30 pm, my wife and I start preparing the batter around 6 am. There is a lot of work. You have to wash the potatoes, peel and chop them, boil them, make the batter. It is around 10-11 am when we start stocking our rehri. We begin our sale at 2.30 pm and it goes on till 9-9.30 pm. By the time we wind up, it is 11 pm and that is when we reach home. We have some fixed customers who give us big orders.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments on pakoras, there has been a hue and cry from Opposition. Congress as a symbol of protest sells pakoras. Don’t you feel it is like belittling your profession?
These political parties just want votes. It does feel bad when they make fun of we pakorawalas showing that this is a very low profession. But tomorrow they can make fun of any other profession as well because their motive is just seeking votes.

Are you satisfied with your work?
Har kisi mein hunar hota hai aur ye hamara hunar hai. I just know that more than earning our livelihood, it gives us satisfaction. At least we have a peaceful sleep at night. We are earning after putting in hard work and from there we derive immense satisfaction. And this is our business. We are known across the city. People from Zirakpur, Mohali come to us to eat our pakoras.