Keonjhar: With the sun going down behind the hills and evening slowly descending upon this town, gourmets start flocking to an eatery on the college road here.
It’s the mouth watering and crispy snacks comprising only ‘Aluchap’ and ‘Bara’ of Pitambara Behera, better known as Pitu, that the food lovers find simply irresistible, particularly in the rainy evenings.
Fifteen years ago, Pitu started his eatery at the same place where it is now. His customer-friendly approach and quality food items have made him popular over the years. When he prepares a plate of his hallmark crispy ‘Bara’ and ‘Aluchop’ along with special ‘chatni’ as an accompaniment and serves to the drooling customers, they can hardly wait to take a bite at it. They don’t mind waiting for awhile for their turn. He sells ‘chops’ and ‘baras’ at Rs 2.50 a piece.
He opens his shop, which his customers named as ‘Pitu’s Bara Aluchop’, at 6 pm. Until 9 pm, when he closes the shop, he hardly gets breathing time as he keeps getting customers. Even if anyone reaches after the closing hour, he will never let them go without having anything. At least he offers ‘pakoda’. Sometimes, he prepares samoshas, jalebis and vegetable chops at home and sells them at the shop.
Though he feels the shop requires a helping hand, he has not employed any one simply because he fears the person may not take as much care as he does in preparing food and dealing with customers.
While he himself personally buys all the ingredients needed for preparing the food items keeping the health of his customers in mind, his wife shows the same amount of care and attention to preparing the ‘chatni’ at home.
He says he has learnt the recipe of preparing the tiffin (snacks) and sweet items from his brother. After mastering the different processes he opened his own shop.
“I never complain of being tired or facing problems in running the shop as I have to feed my family comprising my wife, two children and me,” he adds. He earns around Rs 15, 000 a month. His daughter is engaged in project work after completing her PG while his son is doing his graduation.
What does he do in the day until he opens his shop in the evening? Well, he prepares all that is required for making tasty ‘tiffins’ for the evening!