Baba ka Dhaba


Shiv Kumar Verma is from Ganeshganj in Gonda District. He lost his father when he was only a small boy. His mother and he came to Lucknow in 1983. Shiv Kumar began scrounging for coal by the railway tracks to sell for a pittance. He moved on to selling sev, khasta and pakori from a basket, to a stand in Alambagh off which he sold matar, khasta and pakori. After 10 years of hard work, he was able to buy a handcart for ₹ 225, on which he began to stock the same wares. “Not a single shop nearby could make a sale so long as I operated my handcart!” This went on till 1995, when he joined a political party. He came to be known as Baba. Important political leaders of his party helped him acquire a shop, where he started Baba’s Dhaba. A talented employee advised him to include veg kabab rolls in the menu. “They sold so well that fights used to break out at the shop among customers!” The menu now includes, apart from veg kabab rolls, mushroom keema, veg biryani, paneer keema, gobhi keema of a kind that is not to be had anywhere else.