brave woman, real-life manikarnika, courageous, motivational, food street, sector14, ketchupmoms

Even during the financial crisis, she only cried while cutting the onions

If you travel to Gurugram (Gurgaon) and happen to visit the famous food street in Sector 14, you will never miss a well -dressed, 35-year-old lady, speaking perfect English, standing behind a reddish orange food cart, and selling the yummiest north-Indian food, mutter kulcha. Yes, she is our next Real-Life Manikarnika – Ms Urvashi Yadav, from Gurgaon, Haryana.

Not been affected or frightened about anyone’s perception, a lady with a devil-may-care attitude, Ms Urvashi quit her white-collar job as a teacher and took up this unconventional profession when her family circumstances demanded so.

                                      Ms Urvashi quit her white-collar job as a teacher and took up this unconventional profession  

Born to a well to do Punjabi family, Urvashi is a graduate and diploma holder in Montessori Education. She got married in 2004 to Mr Amit Yadav, son of Rtd. Wing Commander Mr N K Yadav. She lives in a joint family with her in-laws in a posh house worth Rs 3 crores. The family owns an SUV too. Urvashi was working as a teacher in Kidzee and her husband was facility Manager, Oris. They have an eleven-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son, and both go to one of the best schools in Gurgaon.

In 2010, Mr Amit met with an accident and his right leg was operated due to lack of blood flow. In May Ms Urvashi quit her white-collar job as a teacher and took up this unconventional profession 2016, he met with another accident and got hurt on the same leg. The treatment disclosed that his hip joint had collapsed, and he was advised for a hip-replacement at the earliest. This infirmity had made him immobile. He lost his job due to this mishap. He was the breadwinner of the family, though Urvashi was working as a teacher. Her salary was just Rs 13000/- and it was too less to manage the huge medical needs, school fees and household expenses. Howbeit, instead of blaming the bad fate and wait for the existing funds to deplete, Urvashi wanted to do something constructive to maintain their current lifestyle. She also wanted her kids to continue in the same school and fulfil all their dreams.

Once Urvashi was returning from a market and it was 12.30 in noon and she felt very hungry. She had stopped at a chhole kulche joint in badshapur chawk for a bite. In about half an hour, she saw a huge rush for food. The food stall guy was making good money in just a few hours. She felt amazed and an idea struck her “why not I start a food stall like this! ”. She spoke to the food cart owner and understood that it was a low investment business.

Being a great cook, Urvashi always dreamt of opening her own restaurant someday. She knew that it requires a huge investment. Now, life has pushed her to such a corner, that she had to do something productive to contribute to the family financial needs.

Ms Urvashi quit her white-collar job as a teacher and took up this unconventional profession.

My husband’s accident really quivered me. Though we were not facing an immediate financial crisis, the future appeared bleak and gloomy. I did not want a situation where I had to change the school of my children just because we could not afford. I decided to take control of the situation. Being a good cook and being used to cooking food for 60-70 people during many occasions, I decided to use this skill as my trump card. To open a restaurant or start a catering business was the ideal option for my family members and society. Unfortunately, I did not have enough funds for it. I did not want to take financial favour from my family members either. I was scared that If my venture failed, it would put me into more trouble. So, this small investment – Food Thela appeared to be the best option”, says Urvashi.

After a detailed study, Urvashi shared her food cart idea to her husband. Though he liked her idea, he was unsure whether Urvashi would be able to face the hardships and humiliation associated with this. Urvashi gave him the assurance of her determination to do this for the welfare of the family. Fortunately, her father-in-law encouraged her and supported her decision.

As a mother, I always taught my kids that no work is small or big and there came a phase in my life to follow what I preached”, says Urvashi.

15th June 2016, Urvashi started her food cart/thela, selling mutter kulcha, with an investment of Rs 25000/-. On the first day of her venture, after the food thela was ready, she pulled her cart to the nearby market. Halfway through, she got exhausted and stopped under a peepal tree. And that’s where it started. One might catenate or conjugate this as Urvashi like Buddha also got enlightened under the peepal tree. Certainly, it was the beginning. Although it is very difficult for a woman to manage this kind of business single-handedly, Urvashi was unswerving about it. As expected, people bullied her. Yet, she did not bother about what people commented about her selling food on the street, despite being a graduate and living in a posh locality. Urvashi believed “When life gets tougher, do not listen to the remarks of others, listen to your heart and you will find the way to face the challenges”.

Urvashi’s food stall business started rolling. Today, her day dawns at 6 am with the preparation of chhole salad and chutney, then getting her children ready to school, attending her husband’s and her Ms Urvashi quit her white-collar job as a teacher and took up this unconventional profession.father-in-law’s needs and gearing up for the sale by 10 am. The cart timings are between 10 am and 4.30pm. She does take a power nap in between and spends quality time with her children in the evening. The returns per day oscillated between 1500- 2500 notching it to be a profitable venture. In a short span of time, Urvashi had built up a huge loyal clientele. As rightly said, popularity comes with huge responsibilities, she had to pay more attention to the quality and the taste of the food to keep up the customer expectations.

Soon Urvashi’s food cart became an internet sensation. In a years’ time, she made a sumptuous turnover. Initially, for a few months, Urvashi had to move her food cart from one location to another. Having earned a decent profit, she recently bought a licensed cart from Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon. She got an offer from the “Sharp Group”, a tie-up for buying white peas. The ‘Catch Masala” has extended their discount offer for all the masalas used for the food preparation. She also gets party orders now.

“Jab hoslay ho buland, toh rastoon se kya darna, 
Manzil khud chalkar aayegi, Ek din phir se humara haath thamney” 

This motivational quote inspires Urvashi a lot. Her ambitious plan for the future is to own a split-level restaurant. She also wants to host all-day langar, serving free food to the needy. However, for now, she is content with her Akshaya Patra, the mutter kulcha cart and is focused to face the challenges that life has bestowed on her. For all the hardships she undergoes, the happy wave from her kids while passing by her cart to their school infuses tons of energy and courage to her.

Urvashi says,” My story is a freedom song of struggle. It is about finding one’s own purpose, how to overcome fear and to stand up for causes bigger than oneself”. Indisputably, there are lots to learn from this Real-Life Manikarnika.

So, for all our readers from Gurgaon and all those who are travelling to Gurgaon, do not miss to visit Urvashi’s stall and enjoy the delicious mutter kulcha. Also, do not forget to give her a tight hug and a grand salute from our side too.

Attitude + choice = Life


If you have missed reading about our Real-Life Manikarnika(s), click the link below:-

Sangita Marda, Mumbai, Maharashtra

Tiffany Brar, Trivandrum, Kerala

Vibha Sharma, Delhi

Urvi Sabnis, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

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Jayanti Ramnath

Ketchupmoms, as the name goes, is a one-stop roof to catchup with your life and rejuvenate your insights. We are extremely delighted but a little perplexed as usual. Delighted, because of the quality

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