A woman who lives in a Rs.3crore house in Gurgaon and owns SUVs is not one whom you expect to serve you at a roadside food cart.
The heat and sweat attached to the work that many would consider menial have failed to deter her from running the business which she says “is needed to build a safer future for my family”.
Thirty-four-year-old former school teacher Urvashi Yadav has been selling chole-kulche and parantha from a thela (wooden cart) for 45 days now. The sudden shift in occupation happened after her husband met with an accident — second in six years — and doctors advised a hip replacement for him. After the mishap, Urvashi feared a bleak future for her family and took it upon herself to support it financially. Till May 31, she used to supplement the family income by working as a nursery school teacher.
“We may not be financially weak today but I cannot risk the future. Instead of waiting for the situation to get bad, I had to plan something. I realised that I will not save enough money by working as a teacher. Since I love cooking, I thought why not invest in it,” said Urvashi.
Urvashi’s husband Amit Yadav (37) works as an executive with a leading construction company and her father-in-law is a retired Indian Air Force Wing Commander.
On May 31, Amit fell in their house in Sector 17A. Doctors have advised the surgery for him in December — though chances of him walking again are slim. A day after the accident, Urvashi, a mother of two, quit her job. Fifteen days later, she put up a food stall under a peepal tree in the Sector 14 market.
“I do not want my children to change school due to a financial crunch,” said Urvashi, who lives with her family in a house spread over a 300-sq yard plot. Her 12-year-old daughter Nandini studies in Blue Bells Public School and seven-year-old son Yatish is a student of American Montessori Public School in DLF Phase 2.
In 2010, Amit, who then worked with Unitech Group, broke his right leg while playing cricket. A surgery at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) had him up in two months.
Urvashi’s stall has become quite popular after it featured on Facebook page ‘Soul Stirrings by Sunali’. The post has already received 27,000 likes and 9,000 shares. After the post on the Facebook, not only has Urvashi’s customer base increased, but she has also started getting calls for help from women in similar situations. She starts her day at 8:30am and ends it at 4:30pm.
“I earn between Rs.2,500 and Rs.3000 a day. I am happy with my income,” she said.
But the success has not come without struggle. Urvashi, a graduate who speaks chaste English, had to face resistance from her family for starting the business that does not match up with its status.
“It is indeed a big change for a woman, who lives in AC all the time, to sell food on road. And definitely not easy for my family that owns a Mahindra Scorpio and Hyundai Creta,” Urvashi said.
Urvashi said her father-in-law offered to open a shop for her but she refused his help.
When she started the business, her family thought that it would not last for more than three days. Today, one and a half months later, the stall is a hit in the area.
“I know cooking. But I had to learn to deal with roadside customers,” she said.
Happy with the response, Urvashi plans to fulfil her dream of buying a food truck or start a restaurant soon.