40 yrs after Ashok Vaidya invented the gastronomic miracle, his sons join the Shiv Sena’s vada pav relaunch campaign
|HE STARTED IT: Ashok Vaidya (centre)with his wife, two sons and sister. Ashok started the first vadapav stall in Mumbai|
Each time, Vinayak Vaidya went for an interview, he hoped his future employer would ask the one question, he waited to answer — ‘what does your dad do?’ For the answer, filled him with pride, every time.
“I would tell them my father, Ashok Vaidya, invented the vadapav! It made a difference. In fact, we’ve learnt a lot from his business acumen and entrepreneurial skills,” said Vinayak, who is an MBA, and is not involved in the family business.
In 1966, Ashok started the first vadapav stall in Mumbai outside Dadar station with help from Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray. Now, 10 years after Ashok’s death and 40 years after the day that changed every Mumbaikar’s gastronomic destiny, whatever the social strata, the Shiv Sena, as approached the Vaidyas to start selling their ‘invention’ under the Sena umbrella — the Maharashtra Vadapav Vikreta Sena.
Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, “Ashok was a hard-core Shiv Sainik. We’re happy to have his family on board. He was the pioneer in this business.”
Ashok’s wife Mangal said they have ensured there’s no compromise on quality. “When we started out, the price was 20 paise per vadapav, now 42 years on, we have priced them at Rs 6, because of the hike in fuel prices,” she said.
Their stall in Dadar sells 600 vadapavs a day.
Said Dinu Randive former chief reporter of Maharashtra Times, “Big restaurants have opened in Dadar, but Ashok’s vadapav is still sought after.”
Vinayak and his brother Narendra (31) said, “We owe everything to the Sena and especially to Balasaheb Thackeray. It was Thackeray who personally requested them to stop harassing my father, when he first started selling vadapavs.”