Can We Make a “Baba Ka Dhaba” Miracle Happen Again? Show Some Love to this 86-Yr-Old Bhelpuri Wala

Social Commentary

Can We Make a “Baba Ka Dhaba” Miracle Happen Again? Show Some Love to this 86-Yr-Old Bhelpuri Wala

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

A week ago, no one had heard about “Baba ka Dhaba”. Today, it’s one of the most popular eateries in Delhi. The video of the sobbing old owner went viral, moved the nation, and the internet rallied behind “Baba ka Dhaba”. And it hasn’t stopped since then.

Now another heartbreaking video has surfaced online. This time, 86-year-old Chhanga Lal Baba who sells bhelpuri in Haryana’s Faridabad is in urgent need of some help. The video and pictures of the octogenarian were first posted on Facebook by Vishal Chaubey on Sunday.

In a Facebook post,  Chaubey wrote, “Brother & sisters I request you all that. You don’t need to go to Delhi to support baba dhaba, just look around yourself, you will find hundreds of small vendors who work hard for their living so help them.”

Changa Lal lost his wife years ago and of the two children, one is no more; the other is paralysed. The poor old man is trying to make ends meet by selling bhelpuri on the streets, charging anywhere ₹5 and ₹10 for a serving.

He wakes up early in the morning and hits the streets. During the pandemic, senior citizens have been advised caution, but it is a luxury that Chhanga Lal simply cannot afford.

In an interview with Indiatimes, he said, “Only god knows how I managed to survive in this pandemic. In the lockdown, we got ration once or twice while there was no financial help.” He lives in a rented apartment and has to pay ₹1,200 every month. Thankfully, his daughter-in-law lends him a helping hand, working as domestic help. Baba revealed that together, they make about ₹6,000 but there are also medical expenses to bear.

Let’s hope like Baba Ka Dhaba’s couple, Chhanga Lal also sees better days. Helping local vendors has turned into a social movement of sorts since the Delhi dhaba story went viral. Online groups are mobilising funds and getting brands like Swiggy and Zomato involved to list them on the app.

There is no better way than going vocal for local.