Visakhapatnam: Like any other woman of her age, Wasifa Bhuyan came here all the way from Assam to do her post-graduation in English. After completing her course in 2013, she took up various jobs in star hotels showing keen interest in food and beverages. She slogged for four years and got fed up with routine jobs. She suddenly thought of starting her own business preferable in food though she was not expecting any investment from her parents of friends.
Wonder woman Wasifa gives tips to desperate women
Thinking seriously about her doing a business, she returned to Assam and worked there as a teacher to raise some money. Her work in hotels in the city did not result in any savings. She returned toVizag and finally started a panipuri centre on the beach road and sought the help of her neighbouring woman expecting some unknown trouble. As she thought, the food hawkers union leader asked her to wind up and told her to put her stall elsewhere.
After wondering for some days, in April this year, she finally settled down at Lawson’s Bay Colony on the beach road which has residential complexes abetting. She invested Rs 2,000 for the modest food stall, Rs 1,000 for tables, Rs 700 for LPG cylinder and remaining for raw material.Calling it Sandwich Bar, she specialised only in sandwiches both vegetarian and non-vegetarian and the response has been overwhelmingly good.
“My old customers, who still remember my panipuri with lemon juice and alusandwiches which I sold near Elephant Park, stopped at my stall and tasted the sandwiches. Since then the crowd started swelling and I am selling about Rs 4,000 per day in four-and-half hours beginning at 6 pm,’’ Wasifa said.
Apart from making little amount of money, Wasifa is now seriously thinking about opening branches all over the city to reach out to women, particularly from the lower strata of the society, widows and challenged women.
“I also want to popularise the Indian street food all over the country taking the recipes from south to north and from east to west. I want the concept Indian Street Eatery known to the entire world,’’ Wasifa said stating that Indian culture was incomplete without street food.
Wasifa said she is also taking care of her younger brother who is pursuing his engineering degree in a private university.
“We both share a double bedroom, I cook for both and do all the household work before getting ready for the evening business,’’ she said. Asked whether she ever faced problems being lone woman selling food in the late hours, Wasifa said she came out on the street for business understanding the local culture and the people’s habits.
Hundreds of men keeping staring at her while passing through the beach road but Wasifa always kept herself busy in the work ignoring them, said a local resident.
“In fact, she is showing the way for many women who are finding it hard to lead a decent life. It requires no education or money. All that one needsis determination,’’ said a regular customer at Sandwich Bar.
By KMP Patnaik