Bajpai Kachauri

Naval Kishore Road, Hazratganj

About 9 Km away from the current premises, the Bajpais had a sweet shop in Patiyala/Rahimnagar. When her husband died, the widowed Mrs. Bajpai took her three small children and started working for Seth Durgadas in nearby Narhi. Her younger son was 15 when he got a job at a flour mill run by a Kashmiri pandit on Shahnajaf Road and her elder son as a mechanic in Aminabad. The person who runs the shop today is the grandson of that Mrs. Bajpai. He tells us: “I was never interested in studies, but somehow passed High School. My father was very unhappy about my being a wastrel. He decided to make me sit at a shop all day, so that I would be occupied and earn some income.” There was some vacant space in the flour mill. The owner permitted him to set up a shop there. But my father didn’t have enough money. His friend, Ghanshyam, used to sell ice on Shahnajaf Road. He borrowed a thousand rupees from Ghanshyam’s mother and started a shop selling poori-sabzi. The master craftsman Tej Bahadur and the adolescent Bajpai were in business. The first day, they sold stuff worth ₹ 295. A poori used to cost 15 p at that time, and if someone gave them a rupee, he would get 7 pooris. Now, a poori sells for ₹ 15. “The population wasn’t so dense then. We catered to every class of customers, from rickshaw pullers to the rich families, and the place was always crowded. There were multitudes of shops in Hazratganj even then, but nowhere else could poori-sabzi be had. We have always dealt with complete honesty. It is not as if, now that we are famous, we rip off the customer or sell substandard stuff. We have seen very bad times during 1965-1972—so much so that we had to sell of our cooking vessels and depend on charity for food. The Income Tax people gave us so much trouble. Then, in 1978, we could open a second shop, selling tea. There used to be great crowds at that shop as well. I told my brother that I wouldn’t work at the tea shop because crowds irritate me! …All the children in our family are well-educated. They have studied in the top schools. My son wanted to go to Bangalore to take up a job. I told him he should work at his own business, and branch out later. He now helps me out at the shop.”