Delhi: Northeast Delhi is well-known for its several old markets and mouth-watering street food, which draw the attention of Delhiites, particularly for breakfast and evening snacks. In this scorching heat which Delhiites have to endure, everyone needs to keep their cool quotient up. For that, there are several vendors across the capital selling different beverages to keep you hydrated. One such vendor is Fakir Chand Bhatia, 79, who has been serving tangy and refreshing jaljeera for the last 59 years.
Bhatia sets us his stall and sells jaljeera from his stall located in front of the Jain Sthanak in Balbir Nagar, Shahdara, near the Arwachin Bharti Bhawan Sr. Sec. School. A glass of refreshing jaljeera here is served for as low as rupees 2. Fakir Chand, gets up at 4 every morning to start preparing for his day. At 6 in the morning, he goes to a nearby mandi to buy ingredients for jaljeera such as lemon, mint and chilli and sets up his stall by 11 am. By 2 pm, he is almost sold out for the day.
Earlier, Bhatia used to set up his stall near Shahdara railway station and used to sell jaljeera for 50 paisa. In 1980, he moved his stall to Balvir Nagar in Shahdara. He tells us that it gets a little challenging for him to run the stall in the scorching heat but he does it because serving people gives him happiness.
More than money, Bhatia runs this stall for the happiness of serving people in the sweltering weather and the love he has received from people for so many years.
Bhatia's family consists of his wife, daughter and two sons. With his small stall, Bhatia has been able to provide a bright future to his kids. While his daughter, Dr Sumati Bhatia, is a researcher in Germany, his sons are also well settled in Delhi.
Bhatia has earned immense respect and several repeated customers over almost six decades. "I've been having his Jaljeera since I was a child, and the taste hasn't changed," says Ragbir Singh, 45, a resident of Shahdara. Furthermore, he stated that the fakir's uncle has a very upbeat personality.
Sunita Devi, a resident of Ram Nagar, Shahdara, stated, "It's been four years since I moved here, and I had heard a lot about his Jaljeera and now, every summer I come here daily to have his Jaljeera."