Thoda Aur Milega Kya!

16th Jun, 2018

| by Karishma Desai , karishma_desai

Age is just a number for the 71-years-old Vidhya Desai, a chirpy grandma, who is always ready to learn a new thing or two.

Nanu, as I call her, is one of the few most important people in my life. Whether it is about taking her own decisions or sharing love-inspired, warn moments, I’ve always turned to Nanu.
Born to a typical middle-class Gujarati family, the high-spirited Vidhya got married to the man she fell in love with (In those days!) when she was barely 19 years of age. A mother of five children and a woman of substance, Nanu has always been the one who took care of all her responsibilities, lovingly.

“Raising five children kids has never been an easy task,” she opened up to me one day. “Those days, we had just shifted to Mumbai from our native village in Gujarat, and as migrants, it was difficult to make ends meet. To sustain, I would stitch and fix patches on torn garments. My younger son then delivered those on his bicycle to the clients.” Always the one to make lemonade out of the lemons that life threw at her, she says, “I enjoyed my work, even then.”

Then, nearly two decades and a half ago, encouraged by her equally feisty elder daughter, she started making paapads and achaars (pickles), first as a hobby, and later as a profession.
Today, the business is so strong (Touch wood) that Nanu has her regular stream of clients who are hooked on to her delectable ware and are always gunning her for more.
A smart, self-taught businesswoman she takes pre-orders on full advance and only makes a limited quantity, so there is no inventory pile-up. Once an order is confirmed, she trundles to the local market, picks all fresh ingredients, and gets on the serious task of making her pickles all by herself. Even at this age, Nanu takes no help from anyone.

Usually, clients pick up their orders, but in rare cases, she even manages to have it delivered to them, with commuting charges, of course! Nanu is famous in the whole locality for her lip-smacking khichya papad, mango achaar, murabas, potato wafers and sambhudna sticks.

Unfortunately, her home-based business is seasonal that runs only from April to June. So when she is not making paapads and achaars, she keeps herself busy making hair clips.
And now the best part – my great grandma is also alive and kicking!

Perhaps this is what keeps my Nanu going – the responsibility of looking after her 97-year-old mother, as well as running our ancestral home, responsibilities that she shoulders without complaint.

That said, Nanu has her own share of challenges. The most serious one is dealing when abrupt cancellations when the order is ready to be delivered. All her time, efforts, and the ingredients go for a toss then and since her product has a limited shelf life, she has to begin to look for another client to buy her products, at a reduced price. Luckily, given her reputation, she is always able to find a willing client.

Working in a clockwork fashion, Nanu puts in about seven to eight hours of hard work into her day, to maintain the cash flow. But her real reward is the non-stop appreciation that flows in from her customers.
“I have struggled to come here,” says Nanu. “I will go with my boots on,” quips my spunky Nanu.

Karishma Desai

Karishma Desai

Social Media Marketing Manager

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