Baba ka Dhaba and the magic of social media

Kanta Prasad with his wife Badami Devi at their residence in New Delhi on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Kanta Prasad pulled down his mask every few minutes to reveal a nearly toothless smile, his eyes taking in with gratitude the crowds thronging his tiny food stall, Baba ka Dhaba, that was forlorn and empty till just a day ago, much as it had been through the last six months.

On Thursday though, everything changed for the 80-year-old and his family that was on the brink of penury. Social media spun its magic with a video of Prasad tearfully recounting the desperation of the months since the lockdown being shared widely across platforms — and customers made a beeline to eat his food as did camera crews, bloggers and journalists.

Watch | Baba ka Dhaba: viral video saves business of elderly couple

Baba ka Dhaba, a little blue box at Malviya Nagar in south Delhi, was the cynosure of many eyes across the country, including celebrities from showbiz who posted appeals asking people to go there and get themselves a meal.

A day after the heartbreaking video, #Babakadhaba was trending on Twitter and the food joint was flooded with more customers than it had seen in 30 years of being in business.

“Like everyday, my parents started cooking at 6 a.m. When they reached the shop at 8.30 a.m., they found people already lined up outside. For the first few hours, we sold only parathas and then prepared more items,” said Azad Hind, Prasad’s 37-year-old son.

By 12 noon, all items on the menu, comprising chapati, rice, mixed vegetable, and paneer, all ranging between ₹10- ₹50, were sold out — much to their surprise and stupefaction.

Before COVID-19 took its toll on businesses countrywide, Prasad would make enough to save ₹4,000- ₹5000 almost every month. His stall, which he has been running with his wife since the early 1990s, hit its nadir during the lockdown and in the weeks that followed. The elderly couple barely made enough to make ends meet.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 5:47:18 AM |

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