New Delhi, 23 July-2014, Swati Sharma, Parmita Uniyal/IE: A decade and a half back a young PhD holder from prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) decided to follow his heart by opening a dhaba at his ‘alma mater’ itself.
After around 15 years of taking this decision, Mamu (as he is fondly called) has set an example among his juniors and many outsiders who visit his dhaba regularly to relish the food. The guy was also called at the swearing-in ceremony of PM Narendra Modi.
Shahzad Ibrahimi, a doctorate from JNU started his dhaba with Rs 500 and never thought in his wildest of dreams that his dhaba would be a great success in years to come. Mamu’s dhaba not only serves food at affordable prices, it also offers free food to people, irrespective of their religion, at the time of ‘Iftaar’ during the month of ‘Ramzaan’.
“If you are at JNU, all you have to do is ask for mamu’s (mamu ka dhaba) you will get instant directions,” says Mamu proudly.
Talking exclusively to Indian Express, Ibrahimi reveals how the dream took wings. “The dream came true only because while I was in school (at a madrasa in Arihari village in Sheikhpura district of Bihar), I hated studies. The only things I showed interest in were Urdu and food. Once in Class XII, the mess in-charge of our hostel vanished. I gathered some of my school friends and made two kinds of vegetables, yellow dal and chapatis for 25 people,” adding, “everybody earns money, some earn more others less, what matters is how much one is satisfied with the amount of labour one is putting in his work.”
It was just the start.
“After this I decided to open a dhaba because food was all I could think of. I was always obsessed over onion and tomato salads. I cut them in zigzag fashion; not the straightforward chop. I think everybody can make food but being different is what makes you special,” says Mamu.
The dream took shape in the form of ‘Mamu Ka Dhaba’ that began in 2000. “Bihari Thaali and Litti Chokha is my specialty. JNU is my home. Sixteen years gone. More to come and go,” shares the excited Mamu, adding, “I am my own boss here.