I am... Bipul Dolui, a sweet shop owner

Name: Bipul Dolui

Occupation: Sweet shop owner

Location: Gangamma Circle

Bipul Dolui, who runs the “Bengal Sweets” shop at Gangamma Circle has been working in a sweet shop since he was eight. He started the shop in 1990, 35 years after he moved to Bangalore from the Howrah district in 1978, in search of a better paying job. “I started with a salary of Rs. 10 when I began work. I realised that it was just not enough to sustain my family. That’s when I quit and started on my own,” he recalls. Until he started his shop, he continued to work in sweet shops such as Gangotri and Calcutta sweets.

He now has a stable customer base which throngs his shop all day to buy the fresh rasgollas, cham chams, kesar bhogs, Krishna bhogs, and the Bengali speciality sandesh. Just as popular as his sweets are his snacks — mainly samosas, cutlets and kachoris. “My style is very different, it’s very Bengali. I make all my milk sweets only from milk and sugar. And people from different states across the country, who live here, come to buy my sweets. Our customers are permanent customers unlike in bigger areas where there are always new customers walking in.”

Conversation is interrupted by the sudden screeching of breaks. Two bikes have collided, due to a speeding SUV. Bipul is the first one to help. He sends out an employee to check on the wounded, shouts out for someone to follow the SUV and rushes towards the injured man with a box of ice. He doesn’t come back before ensuring that the injured man is sent to the hospital. “Did you see that nobody stopped to help them?” he asks. “It wasn’t always like this here. I think the problem is that people have more money now and so they have more tension. Those who have money don’t really stop to consider other people like us.” He himself has faced hostilities from authorities, which he feels helpless about. But it doesn’t stop him from doing his bit for people around, even if they are not men from his land.

(I AM is a weekly column which features men and women who make Bangalore what it is)