Mumbai’s popular Pani Puri seller dies, grief stricken customers reach out to raise funds for his family! Bhagwati Yadav who sold Pani-Puri for over 4 decades at Napean Sea Road in South Mumbai succumbed to the deadly virus on May 23. His death would have meant nothing to the world apart from being an addition to the statistics of hundreds of people dying of Covid-19 in the country. But over 45 years of selling pani-puri at the same spot earned him the love of thousands of his customers across generations.
When his customers heard about the death of their famous Pani-Puri wala, they launched a fund-raising campaign for the family of Yadav and ended up raising Rs 2.5 lakh from among the people who lived in the same locality or those who happened to be fond of his Bisleri water made tangy Paani Puri, according to a PTI report.
“He had been selling Pani-Puri for over 46 years before I was even born,” Girish Agarwal, a tech lead in a digital agency told PTI. The taste of his Pani remained the same throughout making him the famous Pani-Puri wala in the whole area.
Yadav was also known as Bisleri Pani-Puri Wala as he always used the packaged water for making the snack. Agarwal was one of his few customers who got to know about the tragic death of their favourite Pani-Puri wala in the month of May amidst the nationwide lockdown. Feeling an urge to help the grieving family of Yadav, Agarwal contacted his friends in the locality and eventually launched the online fundraising campaign for the family.
I knew I won’t be able to do anything on my own and hence I took along the help of the people in the society and raised the funds on the internet by sending Whatsapp messages, Agarwal said. He also said that so far with the help of 125 contributors, they have been able to raise Rs 2.5 lakh for the family. Confident of raising double the amount in the coming days, the team has set the target of Rs 5 lakh.
In a moving message that was circulated far and wide in the area, Agarwal wrote that people in the area can find another snack spot after the lockdown is lifted but Yadav’s family will gravely miss a loving father and a caring husband. Agarwal also assured the contributors that the funds will rightfully be provided to the family of Yadav.’
Moved by the generosity shown by the people who raised the funds, Yadav’s daughter Kusum told PTI that her family members were overwhelmed by the support shown by the people.