Food With LOVE At Road Side ...
Posted by Ritesh Gohil on Jul 18, 2017
Food with LOVE at road side food tent...
It is around 11 30 am on Monday in Vadodara a cultural city in central Gujarat. A tricycle puller, daily wager, and a construction labor are seating on the plastic mate; made from empty fertilizer bags stitching together, near night market "Ratri Bajar on Mangalpande road in Karelibaug area of Vadodara.
A man in his fifties, wearing the generous smile and neat clothes is serving rice, Dal, and vegetable from a container. beside him, a woman in her late forties is making maize chapati on Chulha (stove) prepared by arranging three cement blocks. A girl in her twenties is washing dishes. This is a road side open air restaurant run by a Rathod family for the living on the bank of Vishvamitri River which is famous for crocodile habitat.
Rekhaben Rathva, who runs this small road side kitchen/ restaurant, said "my customers are fixed, around 40 to 50 people mostly labors, auto drivers or tricycle puller regularly take their lunch here." Rathva is a woman entrepreneur, to support her husband who is also a daily wage earner, she decided to start a small set up which can provide lunch to the poor worker at very minimum cost. She wakes up at 4 am every day for preparation, and left home around 9 am along with her 22-year-old daughter, an active helping hand in her endeavor.
Her plastic tent accommodates only five to six customers at a time, customers happily wait for their turn. They sit in a circle or line and Rekha's daughter serves them. Vegetable (Sabji), dal, rice, pickle, and maize chapati is fixed menu here, However, vegetable keeps changing every day. Rekhaben makes fresh maize chapati for every customer, which is one of the favorite items of every customer. She said, " I started to earn some money, initially it was awkward that you are cooking in front everyone, but now they all have become like family, most men who are coming here for lunch are labourers living alone or staying very far from here and can't afford to go for a lunch at home, most of them are staying in slum or govt housing."
Along with tasty and healthy food, love and clan feeling are also pulling them here. "I very well know their condition at work, hardly any one talk with them softly as my husband is also a daily wage laborer. They (Customers, mostly man) come here, take their lunch, they talk about their life, family, about their children, their work.... I listen to them while making maize chapati. They say " It is like we are having lunch at our home, and they praise my maize chapati, that's big thing for me, "A reward of the day", which money collection at the end of the day can not give." she added
Deepak Rana, an auto rickshaw driver who is one of the regular customers, said " This place is peaceful, though it is adjoining a busy road. There is no match of Rekha ben's maize chapati which she always serves with a smile."
Rekhaben has fixed the time, she winds up her kitchen at 1 pm most of the time, and take lunch with family and customers if they are there. she said " I have been doing this since last five years and I love serving food with love. (Prem thi khavdava ma maja ave che....)