A woman who moved from Allahabad to Delhi with no money now runs a business where she earns almost Rs. 4500 per day. Geeta Jaiswal’s unassuming road stall–Mrs. Idli–has become the hit of Shalimar Bagh, Delhi.
Despite her formal education, Geeta’s husband forbade her from taking up a job after their marriage. He believed a wife must stay at home, but made no effort to support the family on his own either. Geeta moved to Delhi in 2016, determined to provide her daughter with a better life. As the sole breadwinner, she had a young daughter and mother-in-law to take care of.
“When I came to Delhi for the first time I put up a small food stall in which I would make and sell bread pakodas and litti chokha. While it did not make me too much money, it was a start,” she told The Better India.
This first stall sparked the desire to turn her cooking into a business. The area she stayed in had many UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) aspirants, who lived away from their families. She realized that many of them might be craving nutritious, home-cooked meals. This birthed the idea to start a home-cooked tiffin service.
She would cook three meals a day, every day, for nearly 70 students. But then, the global pandemic caused a lockdown that brought her services to a grinding halt.
“In March, when the lockdown was implemented, I was jobless almost overnight. All the accommodations around my house started clearing out, and before I realised it, all the aspirants had gone back,” she said.
The months between March and July were filled with financial stress and helplessness for Geeta and her family. Not one to give up, however, Geeta got back up, dusted herself, and decided to set up a third business.
Only this time, her venture has proved to be successful, and shows no signs of slowing down!
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Geeta Set Up An Idli-Sambhar Stall Called “Mrs. Idli” In Delhi
Armed with a stool and bartans filled with sambhar and idli, she set up the Mrs. Idli stall in Shalimar Bagh.
Her reason for choosing idlis, she says, is that it is universally loved irrespective of age or geographical boundaries.
Today, she sells almost 60 plates of idli every day.
What started as a modest stall that sold idlis, now has innovative variations added to the menu – like masala idli, chocolate idli, and even pizza idli! One plate of idli comes with two idlis, two types of chutneys, and sambhar.
“I have also started making dosa and that has been a very big hit as well,” she says.
The idli plate costs Rs. 30, while one plate of dosa costs Rs. 60. Customers have been flocking to her stall every evening for the delicious dish at a modest price. Geeta also ensures that the food is prepared in hygienic conditions.
On average, she says she makes Rs. 4500 a day.
She is grateful for having found a way to earn an income during these tough times and is determined to not only keep this business afloat but to ensure it thrives.
“There is no shame in doing any kind of work. I am very grateful I have the means to put food on the plate and provide my daughter with the education that she needs,” she says.
The country today is filled with women like Geeta, unhesitatingly taking up the role of the family’s breadwinner due to lack of support from their husbands or their husband losing their job during the pandemic.
Many women’s indomitable courage and hard work is not recognized or rewarded. Success stories like Geeta’s are therefore all the more poignant and inspiring.
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Source: The Better India