Has the smell of delectable dosas and spicy chutneys often stopped you in your tracks? Then this guy is to blame. Standing by his non-descript cycle on one side of the road, loaded with huge stainless steel canisters packed in the wee hours of the morning, he gives us a tasty and economical option to kill those hunger pangs! Have we ever thanked him for that?
Simhachalam, wakes up at 2am to assist his mother, father and sister in the process of making dosas. The family works together for the next 3hrs – the women make dosas, while the men break coconuts, grind peanuts and garnish for the chutney. When the whole process is done, the women pack the food in big steel containers, and his father loads it carefully on to the puny cycle.
Simhachalam then starts from the suburb outside Uppal, 15kms away, and cycles to the Osmania University Campus, Hyderabad. He, and many others like him, trickle their way to the numerous hostels in the huge campus and by 5.30am, its time for the show. They offer steaming-hot, casserole-packed dosas with coconut and peanut chutneys. Each plate of 2 dosas retails at Rs.10/- which makes it pocket-friendly for the Government Hostel students here. Few morning walkers and kids drop by at times for the treat too – dosas with distinctly flavoured Andhra chutneys.
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Osmania University has been the epicenter of the Telangana Struggle, which has now become the newest state in the country. We have heard many stories of hatred, violence and animosity between the Andhra settlers and the Telangana locals, yet here are these North Coastal Andhra migrants who have found friends in these supposedly fierce students of the University. In fact, Simhachalam says the students have been kind enough to let him collect water from their hostel and store his plates, boxes etc there.
Its amazing how, the real stories of commoners and the truth on the ground is so different from what is reported and agreed as real. As Simhachalam says,
My struggle is a repeat story of a generation of young Indians, whose parents have migrated to urban areas and have realized, that the stories of wealth and well-being that they had heard had been just that – stories. Yet, they never complain but move on, doing what they should, and always greeting people with a smile.
See more Invisible Heroes of Everyday here.