It’s a universal truth that nothing can beat the taste of a home-cooked meal. It’s the food prepared lovingly by our mothers and our love for it knows no bounds. Hot homemade food is what we crave the most when we are away from our homes. So consider it to be sheer luck if you get exactly that same taste somewhere else other than your home.
I recently met a lady named Rajni, who runs a small stall at Delhi’s Ashok Vihar with her husband, Shiv. And let me tell you, that it’s not a proper stall in fact there’s just a table on which they sell home-made food, set along with a small banner of their stall named ‘Punjabi Tadka’. They have been selling home-made food for the past 4 years.
What’s In It?
When I came across their stall, I was surprised to see their menu. They sell Rajma rice, Korma rice, Kadi rice, Soya Chaap, Idli Sambhar, Idli Vada, Lassi and everything that is enough to make you miss your home. I instantly ordered my favorite food, Rajma Rice. Rajni topped it with pieces of onions and Ambi pickle that gave this meal a nice spin of sourness. The moment I tried it, I felt like I was home, and this was the very Rajma rice prepared lovingly by my mom. Yes, it’s that good!
A Peek Into Their Lives
As I savored the delicious home-cooked meal, I couldn’t resist asking them ‘Their Story’. And trust me, it was a long and touching story, which I’d like to share with you.
Rajni and her husband Shiv got married 11 years ago. At that time Rajni was a housewife and Shiv used to work in a private company. But life at that time wasn’t very kind to them.
In 2012 Shiv’s mother fell sick. She was bedridden and needed a lot of care. But after a few months, she passed away due to her illness. Rajni was pregnant at that time with her second child. And she faced a lot of trials and tribulations due to her complicated pregnancy. Shiv left his job and stayed back to be there for his wife. But when the couple’s child was born, he had a swollen kidney and needed extensive medical treatment. Their savings were exhausted and they faced a severe monetary crunch, which led to Shiv facing depression.
Punjabi Tadka Arrives
It is during this difficult time, that Rajni decided that it was time for them to start their own business, their own food stall. But how do they invest? Moreover, Shiv wasn’t comfortable to sell food by the roadside. So he kept dodging Rajni’s entrepreneurial idea for about a year.
When the couple was hit with financial debt, Rajni put her foot down. She aspired to give her kids a comfortable life where they could study in a private school. So she took the reigns and firmly told her husband that she will go ahead with her idea. From the very next day, Rajni and Shiv started ‘Punjabi Tadka’.
Things were difficult initially, as not many people would visit their stall. Their first day’s earning was a meager ₹450. But Rajni, being the supermom that she is, did not give up hope. And as they say, ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’. So as time passed, Punjabi Tadka slowly started getting recognition, a lot of students from nearby colleges started pouring in to have their taste of ‘Ghar Ka Khaana’.
One day, a group of students gave them an idea that they could start delivering their delicious, top-quality food to PGs. That day, tables were turned for Rajni and Shiv. They started with 1-2 PGs in the beginning. It gradually rose to 20-30 PGs. Now, they sell food at their stall from 10 am to 3 pm every day and then provide tiffin services to PGs, throughout the day including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Rajni prepares the food herself. Shiv and Rajni both wake up by 4 am every day. Rajni gets everything ready, while Shiv goes out to buy vegetables from the Sabzi Mandi. As soon as he comes, they start cooking together. Once the food is ready and put in containers, and the kids are sent to school, the couple proceed to their stall at 10 am.
At 6 pm in the evening, Rajni and Shiv start preparing food for the dinner delivery. They work tirelessly the entire day to earn their living. And in spite of their hectic schedules, they take out time for their children. They leave no stone unturned to fulfill their wishes. When they were telling their story to me, my heart was touched, to see that life gives so many challenges to people. But it’s upon us to face them bravely.
What Do We Think?
Rajni is a free-spirited woman who doesn’t care what people think or say about her. It’s her family that comes first. She didn’t think twice to take responsibility in her hands for her family’s well-being. And it takes a lot of courage to sacrifice your desires to fulfill others’.
In this story, her husband Shiv is the unsung hero. Though initially, he didn’t like the idea of selling food on the streets yet he trusted his wife and supported her throughout. That’s a companionship that every marriage needs.
Women like Rajni truly deserve our praises. Due to her courage, her children are enrolled in good schools today, living comfortable lives.
The size of their stall, Punjabi Tadka in Ashok Vihar may not be big, comfortable or have cozy seating compared to other restaurants, but the taste and quality of their food is definitely spectacular.
So the next time, you crave for ‘Maa ke Haath ka Khaana’, you know where to head to!
Address: Punjabi Tadka, Ashok Vihar, In front of Satyawati College, Delhi
Timings: 10 am to 3 pm
Cost for two: ₹80/-
Phone no: 8587949055