Arati Mausi's eatery has retained reputation for 50 years
Bhograi: Under an asbestos and straw-covered house in front of Bhograi police station in Balasore, a 70-year-old woman is seen preparing all kinds of food. The small eatery is named as Nana. The woman who runs the shop is known as Arati Mausi to local people for her tasty food preparation.
The eatery has made Arati Mausi economically empowered. Her old age has failed to force her to retire in life. She is rather running her shop that feeds her family comprising her son, daughter-in-laws and two grandsons.
All have been helping Arati Mausi in her work. Those who have once eaten in her eatery never forget her food. She has carved out a niche for herself as a good cook in the locality.
Government officials, students, those coming to block office and police station make a beeline for her eatery.
For her business acumen and managing skills, the septuagenarian has been an inspiration for many in the locality.
This woman has built her business a successful venture after going through many hurdles and ordeals as it was a taboo then for a woman from a conservative Brahmin's house to go out.
Arati remembers her post-marriage days. 'The family condition was not sound. Arranging two square meals a day for family members was a difficult proposition. I resolved to help my husband in his income-generating activities so that all expenses of the family can be met.'
About 50 years ago, she along with her husband started a small eatery at Jaleswar. At that time, a meal was being sold for 50 paisa. Still, the income was not enough to keep the family going.
Then the couple moved to Bhograi for better business prospects. Here they started well. The price of meals went up to Rs 1, then Rs 2 and Rs 5. Now, a meal is sold for Rs 50, she added.
For Rs 50, a person can have a plate of rice, fish curry, khata, and a few others items. Fish curry and an item made from fish eggs prepared in the shop have good demand.
In the last 40 years of her business at Bhograi, Arati Mausi earned enough to purchase a patch of 12 decimals at Dehurda. With income from the eatery, she has managed to marry off her two daughters and made a pucca house.
After her husband Khudiram Das passed away, she has been looking after the eatery and sorting out all problems of the family.
Her success mantra is: 'If someone continues to work with determination and firm will, success is sure to happen. One can enjoy life while living through struggles.'
Every morning is a challenge for the family to run the eatery successfully.
She leaves bed well before sunrise and reaches the shop along with her son, daughter-in-law and grandsons. 'I regard my shop as Goddess Laxmi,' she observed.
'Daily transaction in the shop is above Rs 1500. On wedding, festivals and other occasions, the daily earnings exceed Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000,' Arati said.
Arati Mausi is kind towards poor, destitute and hungry people. She even gives away meals to them free of cost every day. Her kind nature is another identity, known to the locals.