Serving a pocketful of delicious street food, Mallikarjuna Rao, a 41-year-old muri mixture seller from Seetammadhara, Visakhapatnam, shares his story.
With a menu as basic as muri (puffed rice) mixture and raw banana bhajji, I had started my bandi (cart) in 1999. Though I have had my share of struggles in this journey, my wife, Lakshmi, has stuck with me through thick and thin, ever since we got married. Twenty years down the road, I now have a larger cart and a bunch of customers who come from the other end of the city just to savour my muri mixture.
My day usually begins with handpicking fresh vegetables, spices, and other ingredients, at the Seethammadhara Rythu Bazaar. After milling the gram flour, I grab a quick lunch while my wife chops the vegetables. Later on, I get down to preparing a variety of bhajjis, from raw bananas to mirchi and tomatoes to onions. I set up my cart by 6 PM. By then, a few customers will be waiting for their daily staple. The peak hours of the business (7:30 PM to 9:30 PM) witness a high demand for the traditional muri mixture and scrumptious tomato bhajjis. On a good day, I manage to earn up to Rs 1000, while on some days the daily income drops to as low as Rs 300.
The earnings see a dip owing to a highly competitive market or a change in the weather. Although it’s disheartening to see hard work go wasted, I have no plans of quitting this business of muri mixture in Visakhapatnam. I understand that fluctuations are part and parcel of any trade. All said and done, the contented smiles on my customers’ faces could never match up to the money I would ever earn in my lifetime”.
Location: Near Andhra Bank, Seethammadhara