Shukla Chaat House

Lalbagh, Lucknow

Dinesh Shankar Shukla, about 65, retired as a banking professional. For the past 50 years, he has manned the dispensing of batashas at one of Lucknow’s iconic chaat outlets—Shukla Chaat House. This outlet is unbelievably tiny. When asked, he responded that they never felt the need to expand. This much of space was sufficient. The outlet opened in 1968 when his father Mangala Prasad Shukla was motivated by his wife Kaushalya Devi to get into business. Mangala Prasad was himself in service. Kaushalya Devi had a passion for cooking, and would serve her kids delectable savouries, including chaat and bataashe. Even today, the outlet follows her recipes. “It is because of her (Kaushalya Devi) that we are so highly appreciated” says Dinesh. He confesses that his heart was in manning the outlet ever since he was small. Even while working in his bank, he would look forward to the end of the day when he could get back to the shop and help his father. They are four brothers and two sisters, of which three brothers are engaged with running the shop. Kaushalya Devi is no more. Mangala Prasad is still around. Dinesh Shankar is proud that his three offspring are well educated and gainfully employed elsewhere.