Now Kashmiri Wazwaan is just a click away. After they quit their less paying jobs, two brothers decided to tickle people’s taste buds by serving the cuisine online. Zafar Aafaq reports
The famous Kashmiri cuisine Wazwaan is now available online too. Now, one doesn’t need to hire a cook, or visit a restaurant or make arrangements to relish this delicacy. All you need to do is go online and place an order on Kashmiri Zaiqa, an e-commerce venture by two brothers, Mushtaq Dar, 25, and Javed Dar, 28.
“This is the first and only e-commerce venture in Kashmir exclusively dedicated to serving Kashmiri Wazwaan at door step,” claims Mushtaq.
The idea behind the venture was to keep Zaiqa of Wazwaan (taste of Wazwaan) “real and authentic”.
Before venturing into online sale of Wazwaan, the duo tried their hands at different jobs, mostly part time, including working as computer operators, Adhaar supervisors, enumerators etc.
“We were paid lesser wages than we deserved. We felt it was wastage of time,” said Javed. “The business was outcome of that realization.”
What helped the brothers to venture into e-commerce business was their respective expertise; Mushtaq has a degree in Business and Javed is a student of computer sciences. “Besides, our father is an expert cook in Kashmiri Wazwaan,” said Javed.
The duo regards their father as the most valuable asset they possess in their personal as well as professional life.
“When we discussed the idea with our father, he approved it straight away,” recalls Javed.
They run the operations of their venture from their home in Nowshera in Srinagar. “We don’t have a separate office yet,” said Mushtaq. “Our bedroom is our office.”
Started in January, 2017, Kashmiri Zaiqa provides employment to five people.
The first challenge brothers faced was how to publicize their business, given the limited resources they had. “We placed a few ads in local Urdu press but that didn’t help,” said Mushtaq. “Then we took to social media for publicity.”
The idea of promoting their services online worked wonders for them. Instantly, they started getting orders from not only locals, but from NRK living in Europe, America and other areas.
However, as of now, Kashmiri Zaiqa delivers only within the limits of Srinagar city. “We don’t have proper packaging facility to deliver overseas,” said Mushtaq.
For non-resident Kashmiris (NRKs), Kashmiri Zaiqa has an option of gifting a pack of Kashmir Wazwaan or Harissa, as a surprise to their friends and relatives. “We have delivered a number of such orders,” said Javed.
As of now Kashmiri Zaiqa offers a limited number of varieties including five Wazwaan dishes, Harisha and Chicken Platter. “Harisha is the most sought after product on our website,” said Mushtaq.
The demand for Harisha peaked during winters. But given heavy snowfall the delivery of orders became a huge challenge. “We delivered most of the orders ourselves,” said Javed.
One of the memorable deliveries was to a customer in Rawalpora locality in Srinagar outskirts. “He placed an order at 7 am and had a flight to catch at 9,” recalls Mushtaq. “It was quite a challenge to deliver within such a short time. But we reached his house 30 minutes before time.”
Mushtaq still recalls the look on the costumers face when he received his package. “It gave us immense joy,” said Javed.
Kashmiri Zaiqa also takes orders for parties and functions, said Mushtaq. “We visit the venue and install our makeshift kitchen,” said Javed. The meals are served in traditional Tramis (wide copper plates).
The packaging limitation prevented Kahmiri Zaiqa to respond to offers of collaboration from Delhi and Banglore.
“It requires special packaging which keeps the food fresh and resists the wear and tear of transportation without having to add artificial preservatives,” said Mushtaq.
They had approached JK Agro — a corporation — for supplying packaging but the request was turned down as they only take bulk orders. “We are soon going to buy our own machinery for packaging,” said Javed.
Mushtaq and Javed are looking forward to serve globally once the packaging issue is resolved.