Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

One can find several examples of people who fight against all odds to pursue their education. However, it is rare to find a girl selling paani puri or golgappa on the streets while pursuing her engineering studies .

Here we bring the story of a young girl who broke the stereotype and is selling paani puri while pursuing her B.Tech engineering.

Golgappa or paani puri is a street snack famous across India. The sensation of putting a crispy-fried puffed ball, filled with mashed potato, chickpeas, onions, and spices, and served with flavoured tamarind and mint water, drives many crazy, irrespective of age and gender. However, the health concerns about eating golgappa from a street stall can’t be ignored.

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Twenty one-year-old Sakshi Upadhya sells golgappa on street in Delhi’s Tilak Nagar. What draws everyone’s attention towards her golgappa stall is its name reading: B.Tech Paani Puri Wali. While the crispy puffed balls are generally made from maida (refined wheat flour) and fried in oil, Sakshi has a different approach. 

She does not use maida for preparing the puris and instead of oil, they are air-fried. For preparing the flavoured water, she uses mineral water and pink Himalayan rock salt along with other essential ingredients. 

Selling paani puri is the first step in her start-up dream while continuing her 3rd-year B.Tech studies, says Sakshi. 

“It is said, age is just a number and it is applicable to me. Several people said to me, why study B.Tech & sell paani puri; being a girl why sell paani puri standing on the streets. You must focus on the work that girls do. There are several other things people say, but, I don’t pay heed to them,” says Sakshi.

Further, she adds, “Being a girl, I am able to do all these works. So, anyone can do it. As I have become an inspiration for many, I wish more girls to step forward. Not only paani puri, but they can do any job of their interest and become an inspiration for others.” 

Describing her unique paani puri, Sakshi says, “Every day we come across different news of diseases on account of consuming contaminated food and water. I ensure to serve healthy food. The one flavour I serve is health flavour. I serve healthy paani puri.”

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Briefing about her start-up dream, she adds, “Be it chai (tea) or paani puri, whatever you sell, you must make a start. You must start something which has never been done by anyone else and it should also prove good for people and solve their problems. No work is small.”

Sakshi has customised her paani puri cart and attached it to a bullet bike which she rides. She also follows different hygienic measures to ensure serving healthy and delicious paani puri.