Kalpana Purao and Nandkishore Purao: Mumbai’s favourite snack changes lives

Vada pav, a dish popular with all Mumbaikars. In 1986, Kalpana Purao and her husband Nandkishore Purao decided to start their own vada pav stall in Chembur, Mumbai. Today, their modest venture has evolved into one of the most popular vada pav stalls in the city. "I was a rickshaw driver in the 1980s and my wife was very fond of vada pav. I decided to quit my job as a rickshaw driver and start a vada pav stall with assistance from my family and friends. Over the years, our vada pavs have become very popular and today, my loyal customer base includes even celebrities and NRIs," said Nandkishore. As a rickshaw driver Nandkishore used to earn on an average of about Rs 35 to Rs 40 per day. "Those days when I used to go out with my husband, a vada pav would cost around Rs. 2 and we were sceptical to spend that money because his earnings were meagre. But, today from the stall we make on an average Rs. 5,000 daily," said Kalpana, who has earned the moniker of vada pav aunty. The stall owned by the couple is known as Nandu Vada Pav and operates between 4pm and 9pm every day. The couple has plans to start a franchise business model. "Franchise model will ensure that our vada pavs will reach other parts of the city," said Nandkishore. His message to budding entrepreneurs is that they should work with full dedication to establish themselves. “Success never comes overnight. Patience is required to achieve your dreams. The later the business blooms, the more are the chances of long-term sustainability,” said Nandkishore.