Last week, food blogger Gaurav Wasan shared a video of an elderly couple selling home-made food from a small kiosk in South Delhi. In the video, 80-year-old Kanta Prasad spoke about the hardships that he and his wife Badami Devi faced during lockdown. The video went viral overnight, reaching millions of people. By the next morning, huge lines could be seen outside their small eatery – Baba Ka Dhaba. Now, Kanta Prasad has opened up about his early life and the impact of the viral video in an interview with Humans of Bombay.
During the interview, Mr Prasad spoke about his marriage to Badami Devi at the age of five and how the two grew to love each other.
“I was five and Badami Ji was three when we got married in Azamgarh, UP,” he said. “We had no idea we had been married off; so when we did meet, once a year, we’d reunite like old friends.”
At the age of 21, Badami Devi came to live with her husband. “Our friendship slipped into love before we knew it,” said Mr Prasad. Hoping for a better life for their children, the couple moved to Delhi in 1961, where Mr Prasad took up the job of a fruit seller. Hailing his wife as a better salesperson, he said that in the afternoons she would take over his fruit-selling business.
Eventually, their family grew and so did their partnership. The couple decided to start selling vegetables and then opened a chai stall. “It took a toll on us financially, but Badami Ji had faith in me and my cooking,” says Mr Prasad. ” I wouldn’t have had the courage to do anything without her. She may look small, but she has a strong willpower!”
It was at the age of 50 that Kanta Prasad started Baba Ka Dhaba. “Badami Ji does the chopping, while I prepare the dishes. There is no ‘aadmi ka kaam’ or ‘aurat ka kaam’ in our house; 50-50 partners hain hum!” he tells Humans of Bombay.
Their business suffered during the lockdown, and their older son lost his job. The family was barely scraping by when Mr Wasan showed up at their eatery.
“The food we cooked was going to waste and we had run out of money to buy vegetables. Lekin waqt hain, badalta rehta hain (Times change),” says the owner of Baba Ka Dhaba. “Out of nowhere, a stranger came to our Dhaba, took our video… and the next day, we woke up to a line outside!”
Since then, the eatery has seen a steady flow of news reporters, customers and representatives of various companies. For Mr Prasad, however, the best compliment is the fact that he works hard, which he sums up in the words of his wife, “Dekho iss umar mein bhi kitni mehnat karte hain!“
The interview has garnered 35,000 ‘likes’ and over a thousand comments on Facebook.
“Such a beautiful story! This is what marriage means — a partnership of equality,” wrote one person in the comments section.
“I love their attitude towards work. At this age, they believe that working hard at something that brings meaning to your life is a privilege,” said another.
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