After coming out of a toxic marriage, when Sharda started her dosa (& idli) stall in 2004, hardly she knew in future she would be fondly known as Dosa Aaji. Here’s her inspiring story of kindness, determination, and courage.
It was years ago when Sharda was married to an abusive husband who would never leave a chance to physically abuse her. Even though she wanted to get out of her abusive marriage, everyone tried to convince her that it was a bad idea.
After realizing that it may be difficult to be a single mother but it would be far better than being with someone, who abuses her every day. After leaving her husband, Sharda did odd jobs – selling vegetables to working as domestic help – to educate her son.
Finally, when she earned enough & opened a stall. With this, she started yet another inspiring chapter of her life. While sharing her inspiring story with TBI, she mentioned:
“I hit rock bottom when I was in my early twenties, so somewhere I knew nothing could be more terrible than this. Ending my marriage was very liberating, and now I can face any challenge that comes my way. That’s the thing about being content in life… all you need is a moment of confidence and courage to turn around your life,”
Though she wanted to earn to sustain her family, she decided to sell the food at a really low price (Rs 2). Sharing how she knew what hunger does to one’s mind and support, she wanted to help people
“There have been days when my son and I couldn’t even afford a single meal and I know what starvation does to your mind and body. I didn’t have any support for the longest time, but once I was in a fairly better position I wanted to try and help others in the hope that it could make a difference. Besides, I started the stall to serve fresh and hot dosas to school children and labourers, and had to ensure that it was affordable for them,”
Over the years other stalls in the city raised their prices due to inflation, and Sharda also had too. But she made sure the vulnerable could still afford to have a meal. A couple of years ago, she started selling two dosas and four idlis at Rs 10. Though she confessed how her low prices have taken a toll on her monthly earnings, she made sure that she does not compromise on the quality of the food. While sharing the details of her stall, which is located opposite to the Shri DD Nagar school in Nagpur, she mentioned:
“I get around 40 customers daily and I earn up to Rs 10,000 every month. Most of this income is spent on purchasing the ingredients for the stall and vegetables for the house. But it does not matter if I get profits or not. At the end of the day, seeing customers satiate their hunger happily at my stall is enough and that’s my reward,”
Although many people have told her to increase the rates, she refuses each time. Her daughter-in-law further added:
“Sometimes we cannot understand her passion cum stubbornness to keep the prices low. But every time I visit her stall, the vibe is always so positive. So seeing that, I try not to convince her. She is really a lady with nerves of steel and a very kind heart,”
But The Last 6 Months Have Been Tough
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, like many street vendors, Sharda has also been adversely affected. She has barely made any money since March. But, Sharda isn’t giving up. This courageous soul is moving forward with whatever little savings she had accumulated. She is neither broken nor shattered.
At IFORHER, we are in awe of her courage and kindness. Rather than focusing on her own profits, how she has helped countless weak and vulnerable souls set a perfect example of HUMANITY. May God bless Her!
In case, you would like to come forward and help Sharda, you can do so here.