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This Gandhian Samosas Cost Re 1 Only! Reads: 4038

This Gandhian Samosas Cost Re 1 Only!

Every morning he comes to college on time, clad in complete white, which has more or less become a kind of uniform for him. He monitors everyone passing by and most of them pause to greet him. No, it is not the Principal or the Jesuit priest from the college management. It is the 'Samosa Ajja'.

It obviously is not his original name, which is Madukeshwar Mudeyappa Malagi. He was born in Yendigeri Halli of Badami taluk on April 1, 1941. Born into a middle-class family that was traditionally into petty trading, he was inspired from his childhood to pursue his family business. That is what he did when he passed out of SSLC, then known as Metriculation, in 1961. He has wife and four children now.

Till 1969, he conducted his business in his native place. In 1970, he shifted to Mangalore which offered better prospects, and started selling samosas at St Aloysius College. Thirty-eight years have gone by and Samosa Ajja continues to dish out tasty snacks to students, teachers and visitors at the campus.

His day begins at 4.30 am with simple exercises followed by a puja. Then with his two helpers he prepares samosas. He has a frugal meal of jowar roti and chutney and leaves for the campus from his home at Basavanagara, Kavoor. Clad in a simple attire of Gandhi topi, white kurta and dhothi, he makes his first stop at Sharavu temple on KS Rao Road for prayers. He is on the campus at dot 8.30 am. He is totally engrossed in his work till 5.30 in the evening. It is during this time that he interacts with a lot of people, especially the students who swarm around him demanding more and more of his snacks. His business peaks from 12 noon to 1 pm and again from 3.15 pm onwards. He also goes to the Primary and Higher Primary schools and hostels in the college.

His favourite customers, the students, fondly call him Mallikharjuna, Mallappa and, of course, Samosa Ajja. He is famous for his expertise in making samosas, though he also dishes out chikkis, laddus, pedas, masala kadle, khadi, etc. Shooting prices seem not to have had any effect on the price of his samosa. For years, he has been selling them for one rupee.

Though he has a stressful workday, he always wears a smile and treats everyone with respect and patience.

Samosa Ajja is extremely punctual, and he manages this without the help of a watch. In fact, he depends on the school bell to schedule his tasks. He has succeeded every time, as you can see him at the right place at the right time.

No weekend breaks for this hardworking man. Despite his ripe old age of sixty-eight, he refuses to take it easy even on Sundays. You find him distributing his savories to his Sunday customers.

Samosa Ajja's is a known face in Mangalore and his service has not gone unnoticed. Some time ago, a school picked him as chief guest for the Independence Day function and made him hoist the flag.

Ask him whether his income is enough to lead a decent life, he says, "Money is not important, but living a quality life is. What one can do with loads of money? Rich or poor, all of us have to go to the grave when the calling comes."