Life in Mumbai: A Roadside Seller’s Story of Struggle & Strength
Yogesh Banjare has been selling Litti Chokha in Mumbai for three years, but is struggling to feed his own family.
Yogesh Banjare is the sole breadwinner of his family. He came to Mumbai from Chhattisgarh with just one aim, to earn more money, so he could give his siblings the best education.
Banjare started working when he was in Class 10 so that he could fund his own education. After his father fell ill and stopped working, he had to take on the responsibility of the house and his two siblings. He dropped out of school and moved to Mumbai to earn more money, but life hasn’t been easy since.
“I had to leave school because I had to take care of my siblings and run the house too. I thought if I don’t take a step now my siblings will have to quit school, just like me. So I took up some work that paid more and secured them and their future. I decided to come to Mumbai to try my hands at something new.”Yogesh Banjari, Litti Chokha Stall Owner
Yogesh’s journey of struggle started when he came to Mumbai and joined a small restaurant as a helper. The hotel wasn’t doing too well and he wasn’t paid his salary for months. With no roof over his head and no food to eat, he took favours from strangers. Until one day, when he decided to borrow money and invest in his own roadside litti chokha stall near Versova beach in Mumbai.
Earlier this year, a customer of Yogesh’s shared his story on Twitter that went viral. Zomato and Swiggy approached him to list his stall on their platforms.
“After my post went viral, Swiggy and Zomato have helped, but it hasn’t really helped the business yet. My customers haven’t increased. I didn’t ask for help because I wanted to get listed on Zomato or Swiggy. I asked for help because I don’t want to run a stall on the footpath anymore. I’m always scared that I’ll need to pay extra money to the BMC or that someone will steal my stove. I feel like shutting the stall sometimes because people hurl abuses, or threaten to shut my stall if I don’t pay them.”Yogesh Banjari, Litti Chokha Stall Owner
Today, Yogesh earns Rs 15,000-16,000 every month and sends all of it back home, so that his siblings can get better education and live a better life. Yogesh's neighbours in Mumbai give him food to eat and he has rented a small room, where he cooks, eats and sleeps. He’s seen hunger and that’s why he makes sure that whoever comes to his stall , whether they have the money or no, don’t go back hungry.
His struggles are far from over but he is not ready to give up just yet.
Camera: Sanjoy Deb
Camera Assistant: Gautam Sharma
Editor: Veeru Krishan Mohan
Producer: Divya Talwar
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