Kanta Prasad and his wife Badami Devi own a small eatery in New Delhi, India. They were on the verge of shutting down before a viral Twitter post saved them.
Local food stall owners Kanta Prasad and his wife Badami Devi in New Delhi, India, have become heroes in their community thanks to a viral video uploaded on Twitter, BBC News reports. In the clip, owner Prasad explains his plight during the pandemic-induced lockdown. He cries over the severe, livelihood-threatening lack of customers. The video called on anyone who could help to eat at the proprietor's stall. Since it was first posted online, dozens of customers have flocked to his eatery, finally helping him make ends meet. Celebrities, from Bollywood stars to cricket players, have also taken note and offered to help. While Prasad and Devi should have been ensured social security by the Indian government, this is a story about what can happen when a community comes together to support one another.
The video was first posted to Instagram by blogger Gaurav Wasan. It quickly traveled to Twitter, where a woman shared it, commenting that it "completely broke her heart." She urged people in the Indian capital to visit the food stall, named Baba Ka Dhaba, and help Prasad and his wife. Soon enough, celebrities spotted the video and shared it. The clip has since been viewed over four million times. Eventually, the business at Prasad's eatery started picking up, until Prasad had a stable source of income once again. Food delivery app Zomato even helped him get listed on their platform so he could deliver his food through the online service. More importantly, however, customers have thronged in the dozens to his stall.
The eatery has allegedly seen a "steady flow of customers," with many lining up to take selfies with the now-famous business couple. Even television crews have shown up, increasing Baba Ka Dhaba's visibility. Prasad and Devi have thus been able to raise $2,700 in donations to repair their stall as well as make repairs to their home. "It is all because of Gaurav that the customers have lined up today," Prasad said in an interview with local news outlet ANI. "Yesterday there [were] almost no sales. Today I feel that the whole country is with us."
Baba Ka Dhaba is but one business in a sea of thousands in India that have either closed completely or been on the verge of shutting down due to the ongoing pandemic. The central government imposed a strict lockdown in late March, the effects of which continue to ripple across the country. Reportedly, over 122 million people in India lost their jobs in April. Unlike other countries with sophisticated social security systems, India was able to provide little to no unemployment benefits to its citizens. While Prasad and Devi have benefitted from a once in a million opportunity through social media, the futures of millions of other Indians remain volatile.