Just Another Story of Depravity.. or Deprivation?

Today, after a long time, I went to eat to the nearby north Indian mess, so called Dilli Dhaba for dinner. I was damn hungry on one side, and on the other very tired after a hectic day. As usual, these folks would take hell lot of time to bring ur food on table, of course, unless, u shout at them, with a serious tone.. par bhai.. ab to aadat si pad chuki hai..

However, it didn't seem yet another day at the mess. I could spot the mess owner, his wife and his big lad sitting near congested counter, which was a "rare encounter". Situation looked messy as I was able to spot that two of the workers were missing and hence load was unusually high on the rest. Not very long it took me to figure out that last night those two missing faces looted whatever money left in the counter and ran away, supposedly to Delhi.

That time, only few folks were left in the mess, as I went quite late (around 11PM). No wonder they were oldies and shared much longer relationship with mess, even the owner seemed to know them well. The night was quite gloomy, they were discussing about the incident last night, obviously they were all cursing them. "why dont you complain to the police?Call me too, I will also complain against these idiots"..."tell me his dad name and village, I will get him beaten, that will surely give him a lesson of life"..."henceforth you should take complete check on these workers before hiring them"...and the wrath was all around.. and I was just silently humming Vande Matarammm...

I burped with a sarcastic laugh. I just recalled about those two folks. For almost 6 months every night I have eaten in this place, except on Sundays, as they are closed on the sunny weekend. I remembered their silly talks and the daily excuses they would make for bringing food late. I thought I knew them well. And when I heard the news, I wasn't shocked. I actually felt pity. I felt pity for the owner as well as those folks who were barking at them. I felt sad.

Let me tell you one simple business funda. If you want to make money in food business, and if you have a North Indian expertise, you can make heaps of money in BANGALORE. Bangalore boosts one of the most expensive food habits. A chapati costs you 3 to 5 bucks at the minimum even in the worst of the mess or restaurants you visit. Local food can not be your staple food. And unless you don't have a liking for south Indian meal (thats also a big business, but run by Telugu folks here), outsiders just run for these cheap food vendors. Surprised? They are actually, the cheapest.

Not to contrary, this mess also must be making huge money. This dhaba is one of the most popular in locality, actually there is no such one in the area at all and hence there is no competition. Almost all time you would find the queue for finding vacant seat (now you understood why it always took long time to serve food here). But how much do these workers get paid? Just pennies! These folks not only make and serve food, but also take care of the mess in general. Seldom I saw the owners making round of their own estate, a so called "rare encounter" as I mentioned before too. Funny that these bunch of some 5-6 guys who make the mess "run" would crave for each penny in their life. How long will they resist the temptation of owning the money they earn for their owner everyday? This act of deprivation is bound to give birth to the feeling of depravity.. and leave it grow slowly..

Hence, I felt pity. I felt pity on the cheapness of the owners. I felt sad for their extreme misery and selfishness. Not surprisingly, the owners didn't look very upset with the incident. They said they are used to it now. Because on the whole, they make more money by hiring them on rates far below to par and letting them run away once in a while with handful of bucks, with the chillars of the nation.

But I wanted to bring an important point here. I think they are missing the bigger picture. Actually, its not the money which they lost is a concern here, but the act of cheating, so called namakharami, which makes it look worse. What could be the plausible reasons for the raise of betrayal in the minds of workers, which give them their livelihood? Is this handful of looted money going to make them rich? Why do they leave a high paying city like Bangalore, where just 5 golgappe are sold for 10 rupees, and run to other cities? If these people are paid well and according to their value to the business, I'm sure not only the same breed would become the more loyal, but also a helping hand in the times of crisis.

Its high time that these "gharelu" business people pay concern to standards and ethics of their labour. Else, they would face such acts again and again. And let me tell you, in my opinion, they deserve it!


  1. I think you should start a mess of ur own. 1 to 10 and 10 to 100s a chain of food-places where business integrity is maintained and promoted... Let me know if u need any assistance of a food engineer :P

  2. You are perfectly right.
    But getting the bigger picture I think, requires a certain level of wisdom. Wisdom comes only through hard work or pain.
    I think they are going through the latter route....

  3. @ bhagwati
    sale food engg mein phd karke india mein food chain ka business karega? sachi? mere paas jo bhi hai (100-200) invest karne ke liye taiyar hun.. bolega to khud bhi aur doston ko bhi khane pahunch jayunga.. discount dega na? :P lol..
    btw, mess is just a small example.. i'm talking about the high number of labour required in large retail business in India, specially small shops..

  4. @kanan,
    too deep funda kanan.. it took me a while to understand the depth.. its true they take up the path of pain as u dont hav to "act" to bear the pain.. still I wish that business folks in India rise like service industry and pay well to the huge number of uneducated/somewhat-educated labour from remote villages, who are poor, and pay them in bits n pieces..

  5. Its happening buddy. Look at the retail sector. Will lead to a lot of jobs and social security benefits for the unwashed masses...
    This should have a trickle down effect to the people you wrote about. After all if pappu and teetu start getting PF accounts, then munna will also ask for one....