There may be countless haunts popular with students in Delhi University’s North Campus, but a shop called ‘Andhein Ki Dukaan’ [Blind person’s shop] stands out above them all. As the name suggests, this tiny shack is run by two visually impaired men, Pradeep and Umesh.
Fighting all odds
Set up in 1995, Andhein Ki Dukaan sells snacks such as chips, biscuits and eggs, soft drinks, and yes, cigarettes too. “We started off with nothing, and used to sell chai and samosas,” says Pradeep.
Running a shop isn’t easy at a place where the influx of customers increases as the day progresses, so Pradeep and Umesh put in an effort to learn things that could help them in running the shop smoothly. They trained themselves to recognise money and all the items in their shop by touch alone.
Today, they can distinguish a bottle of one cola brand from another; a fake note from the original. Now that they can manage the shop well, the fear of losing it to someone has also vanished.
The thought that someone may cheat them hardly bothers the owners. “I love my job and have trust in people. No one dares to steal from us, for they know that God punishes a man who steals from the blind,” says Pradeep.
The shop stands next to the Hostel For College Going Blind Students (Louise Braille Bhawan), Kingsway Camp.