The critics of social media have a long list of complaints about new-age methods of communication, but there are occasions when they too would agree that a good objective and a timely post can bring a smile on someone’s face, like it happened with an elderly couple that runs ‘Baba ka Dhaba’, a roadside eatery in Malviya Nagar, South Delhi.
The couple sells home-cooked food and earns just enough to survive the day. This has been their routine for the last 30 years! But Covid-19 pandemic turned their world upside down, like it did to most daily-wage earners across the globe. But luckily for them, the video story of their struggle went viral on Instagram last night, and this morning, their world changed once again – this time for good. Thousands of people, including celebrities, cricketers and even corporate are urging people to go to ‘Baba ka Dhaba’ and support the old couple through these difficult times.
Vasundhara Tankha Sharma posted a video by a food blogger featuring the couple and said it “completely broke my heart”. She urged the people of Delhi to “please, please go eat at Baba ka Dhaba in Malviya Nagar”.
— Vasundhara Tankha Sharma (@VasundharaTankh) October 7, 2020
“Baba Ka Dhaba” was trending and the top tweet on Twitter. The support poured in in the form of customers who lined up outside ‘Baba ka Dhaba’ to “support their uncle and aunty.”
The video, shot by Gaurav Vasan on Thursday, shows 80-year-old Kanta Prasad share his every day routine. Prasad said he and his wife Badami Devi start cooking at 6.30 am and are ready with the day’s meal by 9.30 am. The video showed dal, curry, parathas and rice kept in large dishes to be sold for around Rs 30-50 a plate.
When Gaurav asked the old man how much he had earned in the day, Kanta Prasad broke down and showed a few Rs 10 notes from a box. Peanuts, actually, for a day’s labour!
.@RICHA_LAKHERA .@VasundharaTankh .@sohitmishra99 .@sakshijoshii .@RifatJawaid .@ShonakshiC .@TheDeshBhakt Visited "Baba Ka Dhaba" n hv done d needful to bring SMILE on their faces as promised. Will take care of them n I am starting a drive 2 take care of similarly placed people. pic.twitter.com/S9A94AmJxK
— Adv. Somnath Bharti (@attorneybharti) October 8, 2020
As it is they never made any big profit, but the corona pandemic has broken their back. The couple gets no help from their children – two sons and a daughter.
The video of the old man wiping his tears went viral within a few hours and thousands of retweets and likes followed. Many offered to help the couple financially and others announced plans for lunch at ‘Baba Ka Dhaba’. Among those who tweeted are actor Sonam Kapoor, cricketer R Ashwin, IPL team Delhi Capitals and food delivery app Zomato.
“We are very happy with the number of customers that are turning up now. We are grateful for the public support,” said Kanta Prasad. His wife added, “During the lockdown months we could not sell anything. We struggled to survive but today we are flooded with customers. We want to give our blessings to all those who helped us.”
Kanta Prasad was obviously happy to see people queuing up outside his little food kiosk. “It feels like the whole of India is with us,” he told news agency ANI.
People could be seen posing in front of the dhaba holding placards with the address.
“I am sure today #BabaKaDhaba will have more visitors than any other restaurant in Delhi. I don’t know about the money, but Baba will definitely need a waiter this week,” commented one post.
Gaurav Vasan, whose video was the turning point, was also at the dhaba. “When I came here yesterday I had goosebumps listening to their plight. They had earned barely Rs 70 the entire day. They had come at 6:30 am to set up the shop and had spent Rs 500 but even after lunchtime they had earned only Rs 70. So I decided to record and share the video to help them. I am overwhelmed with the kind of support that he has received since then. It is great that there are so many people who want to help this man struggling due to poverty,” he told NDTV.