I love Gurgaon: Chhole-kulche seller on a culture that nurtures, aids entrepreneurs
After her husband’s accident in Gurgaon, Urvashi Yadav started selling chhole-kulche as a roadside vendor in June 2016. Within a year, she has graduated to owning a small restaurant in Sukhrali village.I Love Gurgaon Updated: May 29, 2017 11:04 IST
My journey which began on a push cart selling chhole-kulche on the roadside in sector 14 in June last year has led to a small restaurant in Sukhrali. And all this became possible because of the support and help given to me by the people of Gurgaon. The road has been tough, and there were many moments when it seemed that the end was near, but each time someone came to the rescue and helped my business to survive, and also thrive a little.
The experience made me fall in love with Gurgaon. The way people support entrepreneurship, the free business tips, and solutions to day-to-day problems given to me were a great learning experience.
My journey started on June 16, 2016 when I, along with an employee, pushed the food cart from our house in Sector 17 to the Sector 14 road near Gulab Sweets. It was a very testing time — an experiment that very few supported.
For the first few days, sales were negligible so we shifted to the spot opposite the sweet shop and here we started finding some clients. While the business was slow, some auto drivers from UP helped me in perfecting the imli-base needed to prepare the chhole — I was wrongly using lemon juice.
The business really took off when a blogger wrote a post about my struggle, and it went viral. After that, a number of media houses published articles about my venture, which not only brought more customers but also corporate executives and professionals, who offered help. This turned out to be a game-changer for me. People from across Delhi, NCR and even Chandigarh came to eat at my stall.
However, what made me survive was the immense support given by a company that made available peas and masalas at concessional rate, and other firms that placed a large number of regular orders. Each order, word of support, and contribution by the people reiterated faith in myself and also reinforced the resolve to make the cart successful.
My husband Amit Yadav, who was unwell and my father-in-law, Wing Commander (retd) NK Yadav, stood by me.
There were a number of times when I felt the business has collapsed, but at every instance a saviour came in one form or the other. Post-demonetisation, the sales nosedived and it was almost a miracle that just to support me, large orders were placed by well wishers. This also led to redoubling my faith in Gurgaon’s professionals, self-made men and top businessmen, who were ready to give a chance to a woman who had less business experience and little resources. Even the commuters, workers from nearby factories and auto units empathised with me, and supported my endeavour. What else does one need?
My parents and my daughter were initially not convinced but with time they realised I meant business and they also came to my side. The journey of the last one year has been difficult as the weather can be extreme and the glare of some customers can be even more piercing.
When construction began at Maharana Pratap Flyover in December, the business went for a toss again. I paid money to get a cart from the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon but there was no assurance of the location. I bought a food cart out of the money that I earned from the push cart, but it is lying unused.
The flyover construction proved disruptive for business and I had to start afresh. But, by now, I had the confidence to set up a small food business in Sukhrali village. I have also set up a website, and put my business on WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media. I know it’s a struggle, but I have faith in Gurgaon to give me another chance.
Looking back, I must say that I am in a far better position than I was last year. I have been able to support my family and learnt to be a far better human being.
I had set up the food cart after my husband had an accident and needed a hip replacement ,but today his condition has improved, and he helps in the business. In this journey I have made several friends, who taught me never to give up and always have faith in God and Gurgaon’s ecosystem.
I wish the city will keep helping other strugglers like me to make this an even better place to live.
(Urvashi Yadav, who lives in a Rs 3 crore house and travels in a SUV, had to start selling chhole-kulche on the roadside after her husband met with an accident. The 34-year-old former school teacher runs a small restaurant in Sukhrali.)