Somewhere in south Delhi, an elderly couple sells home-cooked meals from a tiny stand, making just enough to buy for the next day’s menu. They have done this for 30 long years.
Last night, the story of their struggle in the coronavirus crisis went viral, moving thousands of people, including celebrities, cricketers and even companies.
It all started with a tweet at around 10 pm.
Vasundhara Tankha Sharma posted a video by a food blogger featuring the couple and said it “completely broke my heart”. She urged the people of Delhi to “please, please go eat at Baba ka Dhaba in Malviya Nagar”.
This morning, “Baba Ka Dhaba” was among the top trends on Twitter.
– Vasundhara Tankha Sharma (@VasundharaTankh) October 7, 2020
In the video, 80-year-old Kanta Prasad shares that he and his wife start cooking at 6.30 am and are ready with the day’s meal by 9.30 am. Dal, curry, parathas and rice are kept in large dishes, ready to serve at around Rs 30-50 a plate.
Kanta Prasad, in an orange t-shirt and a mask hanging from his face, runs a ladle through what looks like mouthwatering matar-paneer.
When he is asked how much he has earned, he breaks down and produces Rs 10 notes from a box. In four hours, Rs 50 is all they had managed.
They hardly ever made huge profits, but the pandemic has been devastating to their little enterprise. The couple gets no help from their children – two sons and a daughter.
Within hours, visuals of the old man wiping his tears racked up thousands of retweets and likes. Many have offered to help the couple financially and others have announced plans for lunch at Baba Ka Dhaba. Among those who have tweeted are actor Sonam Kapoor, cricketer R Ashwin, IPL team Delhi Capitals and food delivery app Zomato.
Hi could you please dm me details.
– Sonam K Ahuja (@sonamakapoor) October 7, 2020
Dear DB Family in Delhi.
I know we are still severely restricted in our movements – but if around Malviya Nagar – please stop by at Baba Ka Dhaba https://t.co/WXXVB1NZKL
– Akash Banerjee (@TheDeshBhakt) October 7, 2020
.@RICHA_LAKHERA .@VasundharaTankh .@sohitmishra99 .@sakshijoshii .@RifatJawaid .@ShonakshiC .@TheDeshBhakt Visited “Baba Ka Dhaba” n hv done d needful to bring SMILE on their faces as promised. Will take care of them n I am starting a drive 2 take care of similarly placed people. pic.twitter.com/S9A94AmJxK
– Adv. Somnath Bharti (@attorneybharti) October 8, 2020
To all my friends in Delhi: Please please visit baba ka dhaba for lunch. When I worked in delhi , I survived like many other young professionals on lunch from such dhabas. The food is almost always delicious and the people are all https://t.co/m2CyiJZkhPSee Also
– Mohan Kumaramangalam மோகன் குமாரமங்கலம் (@MKumaramangalam) October 7, 2020
Spread the word around.
Wipe his tears #BabaKaDhabahttps://t.co/BE9cXGEnSs
– RAHUL SRIVASTAV (@upcoprahul) October 8, 2020
Pictures tells everything……. This smile is priceless. Thanks twitter to bring smile on his face @SonuSood@DrKumarVishwas@narendramodi@AmitShah@ArvindKejriwal@msisodia@manojmuntashir@anandmahindra@imVkohli@GautamGambhir@aajtak@ABPNews@ndtvpic.twitter.com/wIeVFUwpph
– Ankitkumarsingh (@Ankitkum6200) October 8, 2020
People have taken photos alongside the Dhaba and posted the address on Twitter. Contributions have poured in for “uncle and aunty”.
“I am sure today #BabaKaDhaba will have more visitors than any other restaurant in Delhi. I don’t know about the money, but Baba will definitely need a waiter this week,” commented one post.
A rare example of the power of social media bringing a smile to the face, many commented.
In a new video, “Baba” has this message: “It is not just me…there are many others who need help, who lost their earnings.”