48-year-old bhelpuri vendor, named Mitlesh Jha has been selling the savoury snack outside Jesus and Mary College (JMC) since 1991. Unable to sell the same amidst the pandemic, Mitlesh Jha found it difficult to provide for his family of four. “Our family was completely dependent on the snack cart that I operated. The college has given me so much love and respect in the last 30 years. But then COVID-19 came and I was forced to sit at home for months without any work,” said Jha. However, the situation changed completely for him, when two former students from JMC started an online fundraiser campagin and raised Rs. 2 lakh to support him.
“Last week I visited the Alaknanda market in an attempt to sell some of my snack. I requested her to spread the word that I was operating out of the Alaknanda market in case somebody wanted some bhelpuri. Back then I was barely getting 3-4 customers a day,” mentioned Mitlesh Jha. The girl sent a message on a Whatsapp group right there. Two alumni who graduated from JMC in 2016, namely Vedika Mehta and Aishwarya Mehra, also received the message. What happened afterwards was rather miraculous.
Upon knowing how difficult it has been for their beloved “Bhelpuri Wale Bhaiya” to make his ends meet, Vedika and Aishwarya started an online fundraising campaign for him. What began from July 22, the campaign earned Rs. 2,09,567 within 48 hours. 225 people, mostly alumni and students from JMC contributed money for Jha which will be transferred to his account by next Friday. “My daughter is now in class 12 and she has to attend online classes. We were even struggling to get her a regular internet package. Now, with this support, I will be able to help her in studies as well,” said Jha.