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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Chacha's Qeema-stuffed Samosas

Chacha sells qeema-stuffed samosas, a non-veg delicacy which is no longer very commonly visible in Cities.

Inflation has hit him hard. Chacha is quite old now. Yet, he and his wife make 200-odd samosas, which fill his cycle's rear basket.

On road, those who know him, wave at him and buy the samosas from him. Outside mosques the business is better when people are coming out after prayers.

The best day is ofcourse Friday when the mosques are packed to capacity. Along with Biryani, Haleem and Zarda, Chacha's samosas have also many takers.

But price of mutton has been soaring and buyers don't want to spend more than Rs 2 for each samosa, which has become thinner and the quantity of qeema (minced meat) getting lesser.

There are admirers of these samosas. Those, if they came to know about the delicacy and the place it is sold, can buy the whole basket. But this is the parallel Muslim economy--Biryani for Rs 6-10 a plate and Keema samosa just for Rs 2-3, that flourishes in old quarters and narrow lanes.

The same Qeema samosa presented as an exotic dish would find a place at the top of menu of any five star hotel, and could be priced anything between Rs 30-50. But Chacha, or another elderly seller, Barkat Miyan, don't have any idea about marketing or how to promote it. They are content with whatever little they manage to earn.