City Food – Kailash Kumar Sharma’s Rajma Chawal Stall, Gurgaon
The taste of hard times.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Consider the setting. A table on the sidewalk, along with two or three chairs. Some three or four dishes, and tree leaves falling down like a slow drizzle.
This is as dreamy a lunch stall as there could be in our part of the world. Here sits Kailash Kumar Sharma, 48, with his homely meal of rajma and karhi, which he serves with rice and lassi.
“It’s not fancy,” the soft-spoken man admits, emphasizing that he and his wife, Gauri, wake up at 6 every morning in their home in Gurgaon’s Shivaji Nagar in the National Capital Region to rustle out the food.
Dressed formally in trousers and long-sleeved shirt, the suave Mr Sharma speaks slowly and clearly, with a sense of deliberate resignation as if he has seen too much of life to take it for granted. “I have been through ups and downs, true.”
Until recently the rajma-chawal seller was running a garments business in South Korea where he suffered massive losses forcing him to return to his home in the Millennium City. “I had hardly any capital to start a new venture when a friend suggested the idea of a lunch stall.” Mr Sharma’s establishment is now two years old and “is running smoothly enough to help raise our three children.”
The right reason, however, to indulge in his curries and rice, and homemade chapattis, is because they are delicious—-tasting like home and also imbued with the essence of a family that is braving through trials of times through sheer hard work and innate decency. Mr Sharma’s stall, just outside the building of State Council of Educational Research and Training, opens daily from 11 am to 4 pm. Sunday is closed.
Homely flavour, spiced with struggles