Savitri is 59 years old. Her ancestors belong to Morang district in Nepal but she is born and brought up in Tamu, Myanmar. She knows Hindi and Burman language. After getting married to a Burman man, she is handling the business of her in-laws family. The Dhaba is located in Tamu bazaar.
In her family, she has mother-in-law, husband and a daughter who is 25 years old. Her family comes from a very normal middle class.
When did you start your journey?
“I got married in 2002 and my father had a shop in the market area so I knew the background of trading things. After marriage, I shifted to my husband’s house and started helping my mother-in-law in the dhaba business. She helped me a lot to learn and in our family, women handle the family business and men go outside and work. Since then I’m handling the dhaba on my own. I hired a couple of girls to help me in the kitchen so after school, they get to earn as well. It is beneficial for them too,” she said.
How tourism has helped you in growing?
“Initially, It was just a one-room Dhaba and kitchen outside when I first saw this place. Later, our major development happened when more tourist used to come and we made an observation that they look for more local food as compared to foreign ones so we specialised in Burmese cuisine. The best thing happened when the India-Myanmar border got opened for tourists. We got a really good response and the winters used to be a major season for the crowd to come. More and more people started to come and that made this place grow into such a big dhaba. We still provide the local and authentic taste of Burmese cuisine to the people. I think it’s the tourists and some locals who made this place big,” Savitri said.
What kind of travellers do you get in here? Have you met some interesting personality?
“There’s no particular kind of travellers who come to this place. It’s a place for all so we tend to see Indians as well as foreigners in our dhaba. Solo men or women or groups of both genders and even family comes to this place. One girl who was from some foreign country has visited this dhaba and later she continuously came for more than a week and used to have food here only. She was doing some research work over here and was staying nearby. She told me many things about her country and also helped me to learn a bit of English. The best part was she knew the Burmese language so we could communicate properly,” she said with a smile.
What do you think about the future of this place?
“According to me, this place will see more tourist in the coming year. Now as you see more and more homestays here and even the roads and electricity is getting fixed by the government. As tourism will grow more, the government will develop the area. After the gates are opened between India and Myanmar, more development is happening here. Water supply and road repair has already been started,” she said.
What about rain and pollution in these areas?
“Rain happens a lot in the monsoon season. Last two years have been a great rainfall time sometimes being problematic as well. Deforestation is the problem happening frequently. Due to this, the summers have become hotter compared to how it was 5 years back. Locals are getting into the timber business which can hurt nature. As a human being, even I felt bad whenever I see some tree cut down. But people don’t realize this I hope they realize this really soon,” she ended.
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