BHAIRAHAWA, Feb 18: A man selling something as simple as bhuja (puffed rice) has been earning far more than his son who has gone abroad for employment. Nandalal Kewat, 70, works day and night and earns pretty good money. The simple business which he has been doing in his own land for the past 55 years has rewarded him with both satisfaction and livelihood.
For Kewat, a resident of Unoch in Nawalparasi district, his work starts as early as the sun rises in the morning. A sack full of puffed rice, a bicycle and the spirit to work hard to make a better living for himself and his family motivate him to leave early for his work every day. But once he sets off on his bicycle, he rarely keeps in mind the time when he returns home – sometimes a week later, often in a couple of days, and sometimes the same day itself.
Chanting the same catchphrase, “Bhuja le lo, Bhuja le lo (buy some puffed rice)” Kewat reaches as far as the other district of Rupandehi and sometimes even beyond the border.
Kewat says that selling puffed rice is his family job. His grandfather did it, his father did it and he's doing it. “I inherited this skill from them,” he sounds proud.
When he was young, Kewat would often go out with his father to sell the sacks of puffed rice. It would amuse him to see people coming around and buying puffed rice from his father. "As he knew nothing else so well" he took up the same job when he grew up. Even for his children, he wanted the same – they may make a simple and hassle free living by selling puffed rice. But his son left for Malaysia for employment.
“I wanted my children to live and work here only. But my son wanted to go to foreign land," he said, adding that life abroad is very hard. Moreover, ensuring job abroad as well as the cost of the trip turns heavy for a normal family, he remarked.
"We spent quite a good sum to send him abroad for foreign employment. He had hoped of making a very good earning there but it did not turn out to be so. In fact, I earn more than him while working here only,” he said, adding that he manages to save around Rs 100,000 a year while the son remits just over Rs 50,000 a year.
Even at 70, Kewat feels quite active. The secret is, according to him, he is passionate about his job. “It is something that my family has been doing for a long time and there is a different satisfaction in continuing with it," he says.
There are many others like Kewat who are into the business of selling puffed rice. For all of them, it's their family business. Items made with puffed rice such as laddus and other sweets are quite popular in here. According to Kewet, the modern day technologies have made edibles better in a way, but at the same time adulteration in food is another problem. "In our times, puffed rice would be considered a healthy snack or diet. These days, things have changed. And yet, puffed rice is in demand and more so during festivals," he said.