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While the pandemic had changed many, what is left unchanged is the heart of Delhiites As an old saying says, Delhiwale Dil Wale (People from Delhi are people with heart). In a recent incident, thanks to the power of social media, an elderly couple managing a road-side restaurant had managed to grab India’s attention. Mass support from the Indian social media users had brought smiles and opens up to a conversation on supporting the local business during the pandemic.
Visuals of the old man wiping his tears racked up thousands of retweets and likes. It got many to offer financial support for the couple and huge queues outside the tiny kiosk.
In Malviya Nagar, South Delhi, the elderly couple, Kanta Prasad and his wife, sells home-cooked meals from a tiny kiosk for almost three decades. In a day, they make enough to buy for the next day’s menu or not even that. Last night, their story went viral, moving thousands of people, including celebrities, cricketers and even companies.
Their story started with an Instagram IGTV post and a tweet.
“Baba Ka Dhaba” was trending in twitter by morning. This led to a constant stream of customers at the kiosk.
The video was shot by blogger Gaurav Vasan. 80-year-old Kanta Prasad shared that he and his wife Badami Devi cook at 6.30 am and ready to serve by 9.30 am. Their menu had Dal, curry, parathas and rice, which were kept in large dishes to be sold for around ₹ 30-50 a plate.
#BABAKADHABA Baba wait for me – This month #FeedFood4SSR campaign will be done with you this time – pic.twitter.com/xtceMZLCPG
— Nilotpal (@nilotpalm3) October 8, 2020
The 80-year-old, in an orange t-shirt and a mask hanging from his face, ran a ladle through a pot of mouthwatering Matar-paneer. When he asked how much he had earned, he broke down and produced a few ₹ 10 notes from a box, his scraps for hours of hard work.
This little enterprise of theirs hardly gave them huge profits, the pandemic made it even worse for them. The couple is also on their own in this venture with no help from their children – two sons and a daughter.
The story of the elderly couple moved thousands of people, including celebrities, cricketers and even companies. Within hours of visuals, it racked up thousands of retweets and likes. Among those who tweeted are actor Sonam Kapoor, cricketer R Ashwin, IPL team Delhi Capitals.
“We are very happy with the number of customers that are turning up now. We are grateful for the public support,” said Kanta Prasad. His wife added, “During the lockdown months we could not sell anything. We struggled to survive, but today we are flooded with customers. We want to give our blessings to all those who helped us.”
Kanta Prasad beamed at the queues at his stand. “It feels like the whole of India is with us,” he told news agency ANI.
Gaurav Vasan, whose video was the turning point, was also at the dhaba. “When I came here yesterday, I had goosebumps listening to their plight. They had earned barely ₹ 70 the entire day. They had come at 6:30 am to set up the shop and had spent ₹ 500, but even after lunchtime, they had earned only ₹ 70. So I decided to record and share the video to help them. I am overwhelmed with the kind of support that he has received since then. It is great that there are so many people who want to help this man struggling due to poverty,” he told as reported by NDTV.
Another video that came up showed queues and cameramen outside filming the Kiosk. In this, Baba passed his message: “It is not just me…there are many others who need help, who lost their earnings.”
As the video went viral, Dr Nandhini Sharma, Councilor of Malviya Nagar handed over the Government assistance to the old couple.
Provided the PM street vendor's AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) form to Baba at #BabaKaDhaba which gives ₹10,000 for street vendors. Let’s educate more such people about the government schemes and empower their lives.@narendramodi @AmitShah @JPNadda pic.twitter.com/vNzdM3j82A
— Dr. Nandini Sharma (@DrNandiniBJP) October 8, 2020
The food delivery app, Zomato has come out and agreed to list the eatery on their app and help them with their business.
National Restaurant Association of India had taken a trip to visit Baba ka Dhaba owners in their house in Malviya Nagar and pledged to upgrade their infrastructure and equipment, making them COVID-compliant so they can continue with their legacy of serving others with a smile, according to their Instagram post. Anurag Katriar , the president of the association has mentioned this on his LinkedIn page.