In a maximum city like Mumbai, you are spoiled for choice. But when you are short on cash and crave ghar ka khana, you can drop in at these Poli Bhaji kendras to take away steaming goodies
NAB Trupti, Worli
A visually impaired member grinds wheat. pic/datta kumbhar
Sandwiched between a hotel and a bank, the National Association for the Blind (NAB)'s first floor Poli Bhaji Kendra called Trupti, is run by seven fully and partially visually-impaired women. It's fascinating to watch them co-ordinate their activities, to dish out meals to delicious, hygienic and cheap. Trupti was started eight years ago since the complex didn't have a restaurant. With the overwhelming response they've received, the NAB team plans to approach corporates, banks and schools, Parimala Bhat, Honorary Secretary, NAB, tells us.
NAB was started to empower visually impaired women. It is now completing 30 years. Since inception, they have been performing activities to help blind people overcome their hurdles and make a living for themselves. They teach them how to make candles and food items and also run a rehabilitation centre for people who recently lost their vision.
Chapati Bhaji (Rs 20), Dal (Rs 4 for half a bowl), Curd (Rs 4), Buttermilk (Rs 3), Egg Curry (Rs 8), Chicken (Rs 18), Sabudana Wada (Rs 8), Toast Sandwich (Rs 8), Vada Pav (Rs 4), Misal Pav (Rs 6), Upma (Rs 8) and Sheera (Rs 8). They take special orders and make snacks too.
At: NAB, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan Road, next to Punjab National Bank, Worli. From 8.30 am to 6 pm.
Call: 24960074 / 24935369
Kutumb Sakhi, Prabhadevi
Kutumb Sakhi was started by a group of women who stitched petticoats. With a view to supplement their income, the organisation turned to cook and sell over-the-counter snacks. Over the years, it has become a famous landmark in the city's eatery landscape, and helped empower several women along the way.
Kutumb Sakhi was the brainchild of author and social worker Dr Chandrakala Hate. Formed in 1975, it was based on a Girgaum survey that found that families there had a single breadwinner. The women lacked higher education or other professional skills. The one skill they did have, that could fetch money, was the art of cooking. The center helped socially disadvantaged women turn self-dependent, says Sandhya Belwalkar, Vice President of Kutumb Sakhi Audhogik Utpadak Sanstha.
Thirty three years later, it employs more than 150 women, many of them divorced, widowed or belonging to underprivileged homes, With 10 centers in Mumbai, spanning Nariman Point to Worli, they are planning to open their next branch in Andheri.
Interestingly, Kutumb Sakhi centers employ women living in the surrounding area only. They work in 8-hour shifts. All the foodstuffs is made on the spot, is fresh and cheap.
It is a model organisation; the women working there are given medical benefits and their income is put in a bank account. They are stakeholders in the company and if the company makes a profit, they are given their share in it.
Vada Pavs (are to die for) cost Rs 6. They also sell Rice (Rs 5) and Dal (Rs 6), Chapati-Bhaji (Rs 20), Masala Bhat (Rs 15), Chatni Patties (Rs 15), Modak (Rs 10), Sabudana (Rs 12), Poha (Rs 12), Sheera (Rs 12) and Khichdi (Rs 12).
At: Kutumb Sakhi, Gokhale Road, Prabhadevi. From 8 am to 8 pm .
Call: 2253977 / 24462804
Mahila Mandal's Jhunka Bhakar Kendra, Mahim
In a small nook opposite Goa Portuguesa restaurant, it's a blink-and-miss kitchen that was started a decade ago by seven women. Homemakers, they are now entrepreneurs for whom the kendra is more than a workplace. "It's fulfilling when customers share their lives with us. They make us confidantes, and together with serving them khana, we also try playing problem solvers!" says Vrushali Ravindra Mayekar, amid chatter that fills the kitchen. The women for four hours a day, usually in shifts so that the centre stays open all day long without any of them having to sacrifice family time to earn a living.
They serve Jhunka (a Mahashtrian staple dish made from gram flour), which is served with Bhakri (Rs 4), Dal-Rice (Rs 12 for a full plate), Vegetables (Rs 10) and Roti (Rs 2), Idli (Rs 5), Poha (Rs 5), Makka Patties (Rs 6), Sabudana Khichdi (Rs 10), Upma (Rs 8).
At: TH Kataria Marg, near Mahim Post Office, Mahim. From 9 am to 8 pm.