Never Too Late to Follow Your Dreams: Entrepreneur Harbhajan Kaur Launched a Barfi Start-up at 94


Never Too Late to Follow Your Dreams: Entrepreneur Harbhajan Kaur Launched a Barfi Start-up at 94

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

By most accounts, 2020 will be remembered as the least motivational year in recent history. Over the past few months, even procrastination has turned into a task that requires a whole lot of effort.

But while watching Instagram stories of more productive people mastering the art of life can be overwhelming, the story of 94-year-old Harbhajan Kaur’s besan barfi startup is a reminder that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

Chandigarh-based Kaur turned into an entrepreneur only four years ago at the age of 90. While most people her age had long since retired in favour of a quiet, work-free life, Kaur decided it was time to breathe life into her startup, “Harbhajan’s”, which sells homemade besan ki barfi and a variety of pickles — turning her into an online star overnight.

It started after a conversation with her daughter, Raveena Suri, during which Kaur expressed her deepest regret — that she had never earned any money of her own. In an effort to help her mother stand on her own feet, Suri encouraged the then 90-year-old homemaker to step out of her comfort zone and start her own business.

And it’s safe to say that the effort has been a success!

An amazing cook, as described by her daughter, Suri decided to sell homemade besan barfi as an ode to her childhood. This also gave her the tagline, “Bachpan yaad aajayegi”.

In conversation with The Better India, Suri recalls the first time Harbhajan Kaur stepped out to sell her barfi at a local organic market and came home with ₹2,000, “her first ‘own’ earnings”. The incident not only marked a new beginning in Kaur’s long life but also instilled a sense of confidence that women of her generation rarely experience.

In the last four years, Kaur has made over 500 kg of barfi, preparing between 5 to 10 kilos of the dessert each week. When her granddaughter insisted that her nani make barfi to send out with her wedding invitations, Kaur obliged, and made an additional 200 kg of barfi for the occasion.

Kaur’s inspiring story caught the eye of business tycoon Anand Mahindra earlier this year, who took to Twitter to call her his nominee for “entrepreneur of the year”.

Captain Amarinder Singh too agreed with Mahindra, saying that the success story proved that “start-up” was no longer a term to be associated solely with millennials.

Harbhajan Kaur, who many have said personifies the saying “age is just a number”, has also been hailed on social media as a “real life superwoman”.

As well as a true motivation in these uncertain times…

If you needed proof that dreams and passion have no expiration date, look no further than the inspiring story of Harbhajan Kaur.