A Bengaluru man turned his domestic worker into an internet star in a bid to set up her home-food delivery business.
Impressed by his domestic help's prolific culinary gift, Ankit Vengulerkar decided to help set up a home delivery system for Saroj, whom he fondly referred to as "didi" (elder sister). And he was able to do so, thanks to social media and Saroj's delicious crab curry.
After losing her husband, Saroj was the sole bread earner for her family of three children. While she worked as domestic worker now, she ran a small eating joint in the past in Mangammanapalya.
Taking to Twitter Ankit said, "She's been wanting to start a home-cooked food business for a few weeks now. She's extremely talented and experienced in cooking."
Saroj Didi is also fluent in Kannada, Hindi, English and is "extremely reliable".
A thread on Saroj Didi. She's 47. Has 3 kids. Her husband & she used to run a small eating joint in Mangammanapalya. When her husband passed away, she shut down the business to look after her kids and raise them by doing housework.She's fluent in Kannada, Hindi, English. pic.twitter.com/zyCS76yoOD— Gadgetwala (@ankitv) July 24, 2020
Saroj Didi's been cooking and cleaning at my Bangalore home for almost a year now. Extremely reliable. We bond over food and cats. She's been wanting to start a home-cooked food business for a few weeks now. We started today.She's extremely talented and experienced in cooking. pic.twitter.com/jEoRRofjQ3— Gadgetwala (@ankitv) July 24, 2020
Helping her in earning some extra income, Ankit said, "If you live near HSR layout in Bangalore, and would like to get a tiffin service or any yummy food, please consider Saroj Didi. It'll help her earn extra income. And you'll get some super delicious food."
If you live near HSR layout in Bangalore, and would like to get a tiffin service or any yummy food, please consider Saroj Didi. It'll help her earn extra income. And you'll get some super delicious food. Thanks for your support & kindness. pic.twitter.com/8nF9jJRTB1— Gadgetwala (@ankitv) July 24, 2020
While Saroj didi focuses on cooking, Ankit manages the order, sale, payments and delivery. The delivery charges are as per Dunzo charges.
Taking to social media, Ankit had tweeted asking how many would want some home cooked Mangalore crab curry for 300 rupees. "Your support would mean the world," he said.
Who would like to eat some delicious home cooked Mangalore Crab curry? I'm helping my cook Saroj Didi start a food business. Your support would mean the world. ₹300 for a portion. DM me if you're in Bangalore and want some. Delivery charges would be as per @DunzoCare pic.twitter.com/jFQ5RDNQFB— Gadgetwala (@ankitv) July 24, 2020
And in no time, 2kgs of the curry were sold out and 10 orders came pouring in, making "Saroj Didi so happy".
"So thrilled about the encouragement from everyone. Infinite gratitude," Ankit said.
And we've sold out 2kgs of Mangalore Crab Curry in no time. THANKS SO MUCH for all your retweets and encouragement. Saroj Didi is so happy. And a bigger thanks to all those who've placed their orders. Will DM you. Bon appetit. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/BhfGBwwz0u— Gadgetwala (@ankitv) July 24, 2020
Thanks to all your love and support, Saroj Didi's Crab Curry got 10 orders today. Pick-ups from JP Nagar to Indiranagar to Koramangala. So thrilled about the encouragement from everyone. Infinite gratitude pic.twitter.com/Xg2lp8c3Cd— Gadgetwala (@ankitv) July 25, 2020
All of those orders and encouragement made the day for Saroj Didi. Sharing a glimpse of her smiling and joyous face, Ankit said, "Saroj Didi's smile on receiving the first round of payments for the amazing Crab Curry sale. Whatever money is made from the sale, goes to her. She's cooks and I manage the sale, take orders & payments on @Paytm @GooglePayIndia and coordinate with delivery persons for pick-up."
Saroj Didi's smile on receiving the first round of payments for the amazing Crab Curry sale. Whatever money is made from the sale, goes to her. She's cooks and I manage the sale, take orders & payments on @Paytm @GooglePayIndia and coordinate with delivery persons for pick-up. pic.twitter.com/LKBr6wakhP— Gadgetwala (@ankitv) July 26, 2020
Once Saroj Didi went viral, she even grabbed the attention of chef Vikas Khanna, who jokingly asked whether she even delivers in New York!
OMG Vikas you're my idol. Thank you. This means the world to me. Would LOVE to serve you the Crab Curry whenever you're in India next. Your work to feed millions with Feed India initiative is so brilliant and noble Best wishes to you and your mother.— Gadgetwala (@ankitv) July 26, 2020
Besides, netizens took to Twitter irrespective of who tasted her food or not, to congratulate the 47-year-old cook for her venture and hailed Ankit for his initiative in this good deed.
Thank you @TwitterIndia for chronicling "this man" & his story ❤️☺️ Little did I know that my simple idea/gesture of starting a food business for Saroj Didi would resonate with so many of you ❤️"This man helped his cook sell Mangalorean crab curry"https://t.co/1IarhG8E9y— Gadgetwala (@ankitv) July 25, 2020
I check Ankit’s Insta stories everyday to know what’s Saroj Didi cooking. Today’s menu had Paratha and Reddy’s Chicken Curry. Looked absolutely divine and since I can’t eat it, Bangalore peeps do order in. https://t.co/EpWijkWl68— Mohar Basu (@MoharBasu) July 26, 2020
Good to see such initiative @ankitv. A strong helping hand by us to make thier life better. This sounds perfect example for #VocalForLocal in food industry. More Power to you and Saroj didi Stay blessed! https://t.co/nb32bDfpdu— Pranav Butani (@pranavbutani) July 26, 2020
Thank you so much Saroj Didi for the delicious lunch. Will definitely see me make orders here in the future.✌ #Sundaylunch @ankitv pic.twitter.com/qq7tL0gDwt— Sahitya Poonacha (@SahityaPoonacha) July 26, 2020
Domestic workers have been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing lockdown. As per a report published by The Hindu in June, a survey conducted among 2500 domestic workers found that 91 percent of them had not received salaries in April.