Laddoo Chanakya

KD Singh Babu Stadium, Parivartan Chowk

Laddoo Chanakya

KD Singh ‘Babu’ Stadium, Parivartan Chowk

When he was 17, Darshan Singh ran away from home. From Faizabad, he moved to Kanpur, and got a job at a shop that was renowned for kulfi. One day, the then Chief Secretary to the Government of Uttar Pradesh came to have some kulfi. Darshan Singh recognised him, because they were distantly related. When he was paying his bill, Darshan Singh came up to him, and said “Do you intend to get off so cheaply?” The bureaucrat was taken aback, but Darshan Singh went on “If you could help me acquire a shop in Lucknow, I too will become a respectable shopkeeper. You are my uncle through so-and-so, after all!” The Secretary was amused at Darshan Singh’s audacity, and when in 1983, shops built along a section of the outer wall of the stadium were to be allotted, he did help his ‘nephew’ acquire one. He started out with laddoos laden with nuts and candied sugar, with acaia gum to bind the granular mixture together. Peda, burfi and buttermilk were also available. The signboard said “Netaji’s Shop—don’t be scared: we may be cheats but aren’t robbers.” When admonished, he agreed to the tame-sounding “Laddoo Chanakya.” People used to say then ‘this rustic will ruin whole market.’ But the shop is justifiably famous today. Especially for its advertisements.

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