It is never too late to begin and surely age is just a number. Meet the 94 years young,Chandigarh resident, Harbhajan Kaur, who is a shining example of this. As a homemaker, Mrs. Harbhajan Kaur was always passionate about cooking and feeding people. The overwhelming words of appreciation and the happy faces of her family and friends were the only rewards to her, and she was quite happy in that role. In those times, women’s ambitions weren’t considered important and none bothered about her desires either. Until, much later,when most choose to retire and focus on spirituality, Kaur confided in her daughter Raveena Suri that she felt dejected at times about the fact that she was never self-reliant. Aware of her mother’s cooking capabilities, Suri decided to motivate her then 90-year-old mother to sell her personal favorite “besan ki barfi”.
Her dream turned into reality when with help of her daughter, her signature dish, hit a local mandi in Chandigarh which was completely sold out. a sweet journey began, thereon which is as savoury and inspiring as her delicious barfis and pickles are. what started as a weekend startup soon became an “on-orders-only” enterprise, with Kaur selling her specialties under the brand name Harbhajan’s and the tagline “Bachpan yaad aajaega (you’ll remember your childhood)“. Quickly her business spread beyond local markets and also received accolades in local media and social platforms. The story of this entrepreneur became viral when Anand Mahindra, Chairman of The Mahindra Group took to microblogging site Twitter and called her “entrepreneur of the year’
The 94 years old nonagenarian doesn’t know who Mr Mahindra is, neither she understands terms like a start-up or even going viral, but what matters is she knows exactly what all goes into making those perfectly melt-in-the-mouth barfis that the Chairman of the Mahindra Group knows her for.
What sets her and her delicacies apart is her zeal and dedication towards what she has been doing since childhood, a gastronomical ecstasy through her barfis, pickles, halwas, and other condiments. “I started cooking from my childhood; as a child, I was fond of cooking and eating both. My parents used to make almost everything at home,” says Harbhajan. In Tarn Taran, a Sikh pilgrimage town. off Amritsar, young Harbhajan grew up in a family where food and culinary was a culture and came along with festival and rituals. she cites, remembering her father making barfis during winters with great passion. When the internet was oblivious, the secret to a perfect tried tasted recipe was only through passing on through generations. On asking for the secret ingredient, the smiling granny replies- “Patience,- is the prime most important ingredient to perfect besan barfi. From roasting the gram flour, to bring in the luring aroma, mixing the batter to the right consistency, then cooking on a low flame and keep stirring to avoid lumps — it does need a lot of effort. And, of course, the irreplaceable flavor of love and passion.”
Not every step was as rosy as it seems, catering to 4 -5 kilos of sweets single-handed and limitations of a home kitchen was not easy. But with the support and inputs of her family, today this brand of organic sweets and condiments has reached stability and also earned appeal and loyalty. Many swears by the homely flavor and preservative-free delicacies as a perfect gift to friends and family staying away from home. In addition to her barfies Harbhajans also churns out traditional delights such as gur ka halwa, ghiyu ka halwa, and a host of traditional Punjabi pickles, varying with the seasons.
Today Harbhajan’s is one of the top brands for organic Indian sweets, and the business has leveled up to a much higher scale of production and packaging. Despite all the fame and popularity, this inspiring lady still draws her motivation from the joy of making people happy with her food. If you are in Chandigarh don’t forget to try the Harbhajan’s barfis, head to Four Folks in Sector 35 or Dastaan in Sector 7.
You can also call +91-9888419943 to place your order. You can also find her products online, httpss://www.instagram.com/stockhomeindia/