Hari Matar

Near Agrawal Stores, Gadbadjhala

Hari Prasad (Vishnu’s Blessing) started the eponymous establishment Hari (Green) Matar (Peas) and Sohaal about 50 years ago with the homonym as its sole decoration. His family is originally from Fatehganj, but it was from Faizabad that they moved to Lucknow to seek a livelihood. Hari Prasad is illiterate, but was quick to learn the art of making sweet and savoury green peas. He set up his own stand and started selling peas with the fried pastry, Sohaal, served up on a palaash (flame-of-the-forest) leaf. It is today a permanent structure, and his son Rajesh has been helping him run it for the past (about) 25 years. Rajesh tells us: “The magic that is in Father’s hands has been maintained. I just do whatever he tells me to. Our whole family is involved in the enterprise.” Spices are still ground using a grindstone, green peas are sourced from the wholesale market, shelled, and prepared hygienically. A serving used to sell for one rupee when Rajesh started out. It is now ₹ 40. Hari Prasad says that he now feels too old for doing anything other than chopping up the onions, cilantro and chilli peppers. “Old customers still visit us, though they are themselves old now. They, their children and their children’s children—all know about our outlet. Big, important people also visit our shop and praise our green peas. We have figured in newspapers, and visited by– what-d’you-call it—YouTubers. I’m happy to see all this.”