Bhubaneswar, July 11 (LocalWire) : In a generation where everyone is hell-bent on having a high profile job, loaded bank balance, lavish life-style and social recognition, we crossed paths with a gentleman who quit a well-paying MNC job to run a food truck in the city.
Like every other day, me and my colleague were on our way to office on scooty, I turned towards KIIT square taking the inner lane to avoid the noisy main-road, and as we crossed the Infocity square, we saw a man, dressed in dapper clothes, with a pair specs and tilak on his head, serving idly from a food truck.
Curious, we drove towards his truck. That’s how we met Ananda Raman.
He served a plate of delicious-looking idli with sambar and chutney and a plate of halwa, as we had asked for.
Our curiosity peaked when we heard him speaking in fluent English.
We told him who we were and expressed our desire to interview him, to which he agreed without much hesitation.
A former Volvo India head for Odisha Raman who hails from Tamil Nadu had his share of transfers and promotions but he decided to quit the job in 2014 after a kidney transplant surgery and decided to set up and run his food truck.
“I actually wanted to open my own South Indian Restaurant where I could serve my customers authentic south Indian dishes on banana leaves for a moderate price.
But I realized that it would bring me only customers who would step out of their cars. I didn’t want that.
I wanted to feed the lower and middle-income group people. So, on a friend’s suggestion, I took out my car and opened my own food van,” he explained.
Raman started his food van, Lalita’s Madras Tiffin and Snacks in November 2015 and ever since then, he reaches Infocity Avenue in Chandrashekharpur every day by 7:30 am where he serves home-made idly with sambar and chutney, halwa and pongal till 11 am.
“My mother prepares idly and the rest of the dishes are prepared by me and my wife,” he said adding that, “Earlier, food used to be our medicine but today, medicines have become our food. We serve Pongal as it is salubrious. It is made up of rice, mong daal, gol mirch, jeera, and adrak.”
Talking about his former professional life, Raman highlighted that it was a need of the moment as his son was yet to complete his studies.
“My son was still studying. So I decided to wait until he gets settled and has some stability. The moment he qualified as a CA, I left the job and started what gave me more satisfaction – the food van,” he stated.
The entrepreneur has a son and a daughter. While his son has completed his CA and taken a job, his daughter is studying in class 12.
He has been living in Bhubaneswar for over eight years with his mother wife and children and the family manages with whatever he earns from the food truck.
Sharing about his experience running the food van, Raman said that he may not have earned a lot of money from this business, but he has earned a lot in terms of values.
“Good-will is most important plus I am mentally satisfied because I can very honestly say that I am serving good food to my customers,” he adds.
He serves the home-made dishes at a minimal price of Rs 20 for a plate of idli or pongal and halwa at Rs 10 for a half plate and Rs 20 for a full plate.
Like in all businesses, Raman too had his share of hardship during the initial days of setting up the food truck. He was threatened by a local guy, but those are all passé and things have settled down now for him.
When asked about any payment he has to make to the Government for the food-van he replied, “I used to pay but now no one comes. I am ready to pay tax if the collector comes with a receipt-book.”
Apart from this part-time business, he also works to generate funds for some orphanages.
He meets people, gathers all the assistance possible and provides it to the needy orphanage.
“Self-satisfaction and values in life are way more important for me than just earning money,” he says as we conclude our interaction.
Reporting By- Pratika Priyadarshini