Pani-Puri Dreams

March 17, 2014 , by Mohan Duwal, Leave your thoughts
Pani-Puri Dreams » My Dreams Mag
Entrepreneurship doesn't have to be a big, fancy word that starts off large enterprises. Entrepreneurship is all around us, in everyday life, in the people who we see all around us but ignore in the hustle and bustle of everyday business. One such person is Gopi Pandit, who operates a pani-puri cart in Dallu.


Gopi Pandit came to Kathmandu twenty years ago to earn money. His wife and six children live eight hours away from him. His eldest daughter is married and operates a tailoring business. His eldest son is studying science in 12th Grade. Gopi visits them once or twice a year at low-business season. Other times, he talks to his family from an STD booth. Every month he saves Rs. 20,000-25,000, of which he spends Rs. 3,800 on rent, and Rs. 6,000 on food. The rest he uses to educate his family.



Gopi Pandit wakes up at 5 am every day. He shares his room with three other pani-puri pushcart owners. He cooks for himself before he leaves for work.





Gopi is illiterate, but he can count. His everyday provisions costs him Rs. 800, while he makes Rs. 1,600 out of it at the end of the day.




When you show him the mobile number pad, he recognizes all the numbers. But he does not use a mobile, because he does not know how to press the numbers. Sometimes he gets missed calls on his friend’s mobile.





All his clothes are stitched by his wife. His sweater, too, was knitted by her. His wife runs a tailoring business back home. She is illiterate too, she does all her measurements ‘through the brain’.





Gopi started off with a Rs. 5,000 investment on his pani-puri cart. He had the cart custom made at a furniture store.





He raised the initial money by taking loans from people. Why would they give him a loan? “If you see someone every day, wouldn’t you know what kind of person he is? It’s the same thing, they trusted me and gave me a loan.”





Gopi makes the puri required for pani puri, and the masala and the alu, afresh every day.





Though he has been in Kathmandu for more than twenty years, Gopi started his pani-puri business only ten years ago. Before that, he was selling fruits at Pashupati. He likes the pani-puri business better, because he can make more money out of it.





Who doesn’t want to stay home and be with family? But don’t I need to raise my children? I came here to earn money, the same as you are doing with your pen. But your work is easier than mine.”





In free time Gopi likes to stay in his room. He sometimes watches Hindi, Nepali and Bhojpuri movies on his friend’s TV. He cannot tell the name of any movie he likes, because he cannot read the movie title. He likes all heroes and heroines, all kinds of movies, from fights to romantic.





I guess this is what I will be doing all my life. This is the only thing I know how to do. I guess I’ll go back and stay with my family once my children are grown.”



Photo Story by: Mohan Duwal
Text by: Sewa Bhattarai

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Categorised in: Liefstyle

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