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Tufanganj’s Singara Dida is an inspiration at the age of 80!

8 March, 2023 17:11:20
Tufanganj’s Singara Dida is an inspiration at the age of 80!

It is said there is no age as young or old to become an entrepreneur. What one needs for the same is a penchant to do something new and add value to one’s own life as well as to the lives of others. So when at the old age of 80 years when most people would be lying in bed, lazing off with multiple ailments, here is an 80-year-old woman from Tufanganj of West Bengal who has been running a snack shop and cooking all by herself. She is popularly known as Singara Dida in the locality and everyone loves her for the immense grit and the happy smile on her face that is displayed constantly, as she whips up one singara after the other in the heat and dust.

Surbala Mondal’s shop is an inspiration indeed not because an octogenarian is running the show almost single-handedly, but also because she is offering her delicious fare at a throwaway price in today’s world when most eatables have skyrocketed in their prices and are almost out of reach for the common mass. Her shop offers a range of snacks including the popular singara (samosa). And she has kept the price of her scrumptious samosas as little as only Rs 2.5 a piece! The singaras sell like hot cake, running out of stock almost as soon as they are made. And since the last 35 years, Surbala with a smile keeps on making the new batter and frying more. “After all no one can be allowed to leave the shop hungry,” she adds with a smile. “Even at this age, I don’t get tired of working at the shop. Rather, I enjoy it,” Surbala told the media. In the evening, people throng her shop to buy samosas and other snacks. She makes the singara with her own hands for she has a secret recipe of churning up the delicious spicy potato curry that goes as a filler within those fried conical magical wonders.

A local resident, Manasi Mondal says, “Even at this age, she is running the shop and it is a big-time inspiration for all women of our town. I have never seen Dida (grandmother) getting sick or absent, even on holidays she is working relentlessly. Apart from her grit and enthusiasm, the most interesting thing is the singara itself. The price is only two and a half rupees but the taste is wonderful. We come here every day and eat singara that she makes with so much care.”

The locals are supporting her endeavour and news of her shop has reached beyond the Tufanganj subdivision. It seems the whole of Cooch Behar now knows about ‘Singara Dida’. It’s not rare that people come from far away to eat singara and also to meet this inspiring woman. She is always there to welcome all with a broad smile and some even say if a child comes to her shop without money, she gives them at times for free. When asked why she works so hard day and night at her age, is it because she has to financially support her family, she says: “If I sit at home without working, the body will get worse. I may not live much longer. Hence I love cooking and feeding people. I shall keep working till my last breath.”

Our very own ‘Singara Dida’ probably reminds us of another news that became viral a few months ago, that of Tamil Nadu’s ‘Idli Amma’, who was gifted a house by industrialist Anand Mahindra. She was also 80 years old and became a sensation after selling idlis for just Re 1 per plate. May be the story of Singara Dida of Bengal will reach far and wide and one day she will receive some women's excellence award or recognition for the inspiration that she is. Till then she is too happy with all the love she receives from the locals. 

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