Thursday January 10, 2013
Naga tours the world after years of selling vadai by roadside
By YVONNE LIM
PETALING JAYA: Some say Nagaiah Muthalip's vadai is the best in PJ a reputation that he has painstakingly built up selling the snack for close to 30 years.
The vadai (a type of deep-fried Indian pastry) seller's life is an inspiring example of how hard work and perseverance always pay off.
The 58-year-old is now seeing the fruits of his labour his three children are degree-holders with successful jobs, and he and his wife are now able to live their dream to travel around the world.
In the recent five years, Nagaiah, or fondly known by his regular customers as Naga, and his wife, Challam Vadivelu, 54, have toured Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Bangkok, Delhi and Kashmir.
“We really enjoyed ourselves during these trips, where we got to see and experience things we used to be able to only dream about.
“Now that our children are grown up and have their own jobs and families, we can go on our holidays,” he said, adding that he and Challam would visit the upcoming Matta Fair in March to decide on their next vacation.
“Probably Cambodia, as my wife wants to see Angkor Wat,” he said when met at his truck yesterday.
Naga and his wife have been selling ulundu vadai, masala vadai, pakoda, steamed chick peas, and an assortment of muruku (Indian snacks) from a truck parked in front of Giant Supermarket in SS5C here since 1983.
Recalling their humble beginnings, he said they decided to start selling vadai and muruku from what was then a simple stall outside the supermarket to supplement his income as a bakery delivery truck driver.
“Back then, I was the sole breadwinner of the family and simply not making enough to support my wife and three school-going children.
“To make ends meet, Challam decided to fry some vadai at home, using a recipe she inherited from her father who also sold vadai in Sungai Siput. She got me to sell it here after work.
“We didn't know that our vadai would become so popular. We almost never have any left by the end of the day,” he said,.
Challam fries the vadai fresh using a fryer in the truck, which also has a chick-pea steamer. Naga retired from his job as a delivery truck driver in 2008 and now helps her full-time.
He said the secret to success was in having the right attitude.
“Hard work, no matter what the job is, always pays off.”