Everything shuts down for the Eid holidays, even most eateries. So those who normally eat out or buy their meals on the way home, are forced to cook for themselves during Eid or depend on friends and relatives for their meals. For those who cooking is not a routine task, this becomes quite a hassle.
But that’s what business is all about, supplying where there is a demand. And so Mekhla, Salsa Bili and Sharmin Jahan and others like them grab the opportunity to cook and home deliver food during Eid and other holidays when the city comes to a standstill.
These culinary entrepreneurs pop up on the social media. A news media person, Sirajum Munira, posted a note on an online shopping platform asking if anyone could deliver food on Eid and the day after.
She said, “All food shops close down for Eid. But for us who work throughout the holidays, this can be a problem. That’s why I looked for someone who can supply meals at this time.”
Sirajum Munira’s post revealed many who were ready to home deliver food during Eid. Salsa Bili Jannat was one of them. Salsa Bili used to be a presenter and a researcher. As a mother of a young child, it is much easier for her to work from home. Her business is quite new, meeting the demand for those who need cooked meals. Now she has opened her own online page.
She said, “I cooked for about 40 people during Eid. I have similar orders for the day after Eid too.”
How does it feel having to work while everyone else is on holiday? Salsa Bili said, “I would be cooking anyway for my own family, so I just cook a bit more. That solves the customers’ problems and I can earn some money too.”
Salsa’s customers are her acquaintances. Housewife Bijoya is a regular client. She said, “We get perfect homemade food here and it’s a big help during the holidays when everything is closed.”
Like Salsa Bili, Sharmeen Jahan Chowdhury is also an entrepreneur. She used to be quite happy cooking at home and looking after her family. She never imagined taking up any such initiative. It was her son, a university student, who first hit upon the idea of channelling his mother’s skills into a business. He opened a Facebook page for her. Just two months into the business, Sharmeen Chowdhury’s kitchen already supplied 20 persons’ meals for Eid and has another 40 orders for the day after.
“It feels good to be doing something,” said Sharmeen.
“My customers come back again and again with orders. I feel a connection with them and it also feels good to be able to cook for them on Eid,” she added.
Mekhla is there for those stranded without such food facilities on Eid. She is hearing-impaired but her husband Mahdi Masud was determined not to let this interfere with her work. She has a Facebook page now, Mekhla’s kitchen and regularly gets orders. Her husband and two sons deliver the food. She received meal orders for 300 people this Eid.
“Mekhla began the food service just out of fun, but the business is now flourishing. This is an income for the family and it has also built us good relations with so many people,” said Mahdi.
Delivering food to the homes is one of the main problems of this business. The existing courier services are unwilling to deliver food. So either the client has to come and pick up the food or the supplier delivers it. That’s why the business doesn’t expand too much, but they are happy with the way things are.
Jesmin Akhter makes sweets, halwa and other desserts. Her daughter Salwa Mustafa lives abroad, and so Jesmin found herself with ample spare time on hand. That’s when she started making desserts. Her daughter opened a Facebook page for her called Mithai Monda. She makes the sweets and delivers them herself by car.
Jesmin said, “I would make sweets for my daughter when she lived here, now my customers are my kids! They love my sweets on various festivals and that makes me happy.”
*The report has been rewritten in English by Ayesha Kabir