“What began as a thela, now has 8 branches across Jaipur”
“Papa passed away when I was 14. We were a family of 4 and I was the oldest of my siblings. Maa was in a state of shock; I took it upon myself to look after my family and left my education. I took up odd jobs–on some days I’d be selling pani puri and on others, I’d be repairing punctures. But I knew I needed to find something stable. One day, as I was returning home after working in a garage, I noticed a crowd gathered around an egg stall! I didn’t know people liked eggs so much. For the next few days, I’d frequent that thela just to observe and each day, it was just as crowded. The idea of opening my own egg stall appealed to me and so, at 14 I borrowed some money from my aunt to buy the ingredients. But I came from a typical Brahmin family. Forget eggs, even the mention of garlic and onion was considered a taboo. But I didn’t want my siblings to give up on their education like I had to. So, the next day, I started making omelettes. I was so bad–I burnt some omelettes, while others became scrambled eggs. But I kept trying, and after 2 days, I made the perfect omelette! I then borrowed another Rs. 600 from my aunt and opened a thela near Bapu Nagar.
This didn’t sit well with everyone. Some relatives said, ‘Iska dharam bharasht ho gaya hai!” But I didn’t care, I needed to make money! The opening day was not too good. I only had 5 customers, but I kept at it! Soon, more people started coming in– from 5 to 10 to 30. But the best part was that I’d managed to retain 4 daily customers. When I asked why they kept coming back, they said, ‘Badhiya baatien karte ho beta!’ And so, I made it my thing. I’d strike up a conversation with all my customers. Soon, they started showing interest in my work– some gave tips on how to make better omelettes while some even brought ingredients from their homes. With their help and my practice, I got better; I started experimenting with my recipes. I’d add cheese, garlic paste and other spices to give the classic omelette a twist. And then I invented a dish called Egg Pizza; it became my speciality– people would gather around my thela for it. After that, business started to boom! And then 5 years later, I’d earned enough to leave that thela and rent a shop! Maa did the pooja; she was so happy that day! And just for fun I suggested naming our shop Egg Dee, because it rhymes with McD. It struck a chord with everyone and we decided to keep the name!
It’s been 30 years to that day now! In these 30 years, my little business helped me buy a house for Maa and settle my siblings! And now, I have a family of my own. My son is an MBA and is helping me grow this business! What began as a thela, now has 8 branches across Jaipur. We’ve even expanded to cities in North India! Who would have thought that a 14-year-old boy with empty pockets would one day feed thousands of people?”