Life is no cakewalk and who knows this better than Imran, a school dropout. It was about more than a year ago when one fateful day the world crashed for this youth, who only studied up till 6th class, when his whole family got in deep trouble over alleged death of his sister-in-law.
They family was accused of dowry death and with many of his family members behind the bar and his father on the run, 20-year-old Imran was left with an uphill task how to manage his grocery shop in Abul Fazal Enclave, very popular among the residents.
Burdened under the unexpected pressure, Imran was unable to concentrate on his shop as he was the only family member out. Being the last hope for the family, Imran started meeting lawyers so that his family members could come out of jail. And it was after long hard work that success came in.
He had to struggle to open a new shop in the locality as his competitors did every thing to not let him open the shop because of the competition, he said.
“They are all out on bail. I am thankful to my customers who helped me in getting my family members out. I hired a new lawyer. During my hard times my family members were of very little use as help came in from strangers and mostly people who were my customers,” said Imran.
The freedom came with a price. His shop, the only source for the family’s income, got closed as Imran was unable to pay rent on time. Moreover, a new shop (a competitor) also came in as another grocery shop was opened just in front of his shop.
Imran wilted under competition thrown at him by the owner of the new grocery shop. Later on he was forced to close his shop and leave the locality.
He went to Jaitpur and opened his grocery shop. But the business didn’t pick up and the family’s struggle continued.
Residents, who had been buying vegetables from Imran, missed him as they saw him grow over years as many still remember that how 13 years ago, then Imran who was just 7 years old then, used to sit with his father in a small shop. Over years, the business started growing and Imran became the “king” in the sense as a large number of residents preferred to buy vegetables from his shop.
A regular at Imran’s shop said over the years we saw how Imran’s father business grew. However, he grew arrogant as money came in, said another shopper.
But in his absence the chubby Imran managed the show by developing rare bonhomie with his customers by serving vegetables not only on time but being very courteous to them, winning their hearts and minds.
Now after one year he is back in the locality and gradually his customers are returning back. “It is good to see Imran back in the locality,” said another regular buyer.
The crowd is coming back but the competition is stiff as now there are four vegetable shops in the lane in AFE. Imran is showing entrepreneur skills to beat his competitors and is succeeded in attracting customers to his shop just like a moth attracted to light.
“He is selling vegetables at subsidized price so as to win his old customers back,” said another resident, who now again has started purchasing vegetables from his shop.
The pressure is being felt by another shopkeeper as crowd has thinned on his shop since Imran opened his shop.