Like many young people struggling to make a career in Bollywood before this Covid-19 took over everything and which threw life out of gear forced a budding and talented actor and anchor Jibran Dar from Hyderpora, Srinagar to come back home.
Jibran’s career had been on upswing and was about to take-off unfortunately had to leave greener pastures and take refuge in his home where is Mom was very eager to have him 24/7 in front of her eyes.
This young budding actor, anchor did not rest and started a unique business for himself during this period of recession.
Jibran found the name Chila-e-Kalaan for his product Harissa a noval business for media person.
Jibran Dar, a fearless young man and celebrity anchor started a very rare business in Kashmir and created an example for others to start their own businesses. Despite working with a Mumbai based leading channel, Dar persevered in pandemic to become a successful entrepreneur.
Jibran fought many odds to introduce the idea of home made Zafrani Harissa in the markets of Kashmir and earn from it. His journey has been full of surprises.
While he was a student of engineering in Panipat Institute of Engineering and Technology, Haryana, he first started exploring the idea of acting and storytelling. With the aim of honing his skills, in 2015, Jibran decided to move Mumbai to persue his dream job and was well settled there in Mumbai. But due to the Covid lockdown, Jibran returned back to his home land in April this year, with an idea which could survive in Kashmir.
“I always wanted to work independently and for the people of Kashmir. So, when i returned back to valley, I thought it’s good time to do something where I could talk to my customers directly,” he said.
Stressing on the same thought, Jibran took his idea ahead and started working on it.
When asked how he ventured into the innovative idea, Jibran shares a very interesting story, which can inspire anyone to follow their ideas with passion and help them to achieve their goals.
“Starting anything here in Kashmir is not that much easy, but finding a way is also not that much hectic. It took me two months to give a final shape to my idea of launching this business. All it takes is one unique idea (and sometimes a little money in a savings account to get started) and you could be there too. But coming up with an idea is the very thing that keeps a lot of people from moving forward at all,” Jibran said.
Asked how it’s made, Jibran said, It’s totally unique, first the mutton is cooked in huge Degs (Earthen Pots) placed inside wood fired ovens, the simmering firewood heat overnight, and then the mutton is cooked, deboned and then slowly stir cooked till it acquires a smooth paste form. The slow stirring is the essence of this mouth watering dish and is done manually since I started, he said.
Besides this, Jibran said, “I used earthen pots, quality packing, and colourful ribbons which caught customer’s attention.”
According to Jibran, The delicacy, which is famed to have its origin in Central Asia came to Kashmir during the Mughal era. Adding that it still remains a popular delicacy in Kashmir. “People welcome the winters with this traditionally prepared delicacy. It is generally eaten at breakfast time and provides protein, and warmth to the body, that too in times of this deadly virus (Covid-19).”
Jibran said that, Srinagar city is the hub of Harissa-making shops now a days, but unfortunately nobody takes care of its quality.
“Making Harissa requires not only labor, but also skill as well as pure Kashmiri ingredients,” Jibran said. Adding that despite having employees, he is himself delivering the home made Zafrani Harisa to his customers.
Without a shop, Jibran created a Facebook and Instagram page, where people started placing orders.
“The whole concept of our Cafe Chila-e-Kalan is about bringing this pure Zafrani Harisa to the doorsteps of our customers rather than them having to come to the restaurants, that too in early morning. To give a smart experience to our consumers we have invested logistics and customer services because we believe in giving the best experience to our customers,” said Jibran.
Recently, Jibran started working on a new venture at Chanapora under the name “Chila-e-Kalan”, which will be operational for customers in coming days. A separate library will be also set up within the cafe, where patrons can donate and borrow books, he said.
With the passage of time, Jibran has earned a name in society and more and more orders have started coming to him.
“In Kashmir, times are a changing and so are opportunities. And thus, a idea like this came to my mind, and I started practically working on it,” said Jibran. Adding that, “If monetary goal is the only thing you are looking for, then Kashmir is certainly not the right place. You have to have love for the land and the people.”
Survival is the basic challenge for a businessman in Kashmir. There could be an indefinite shutdown anytime. I make the most of each normal day that comes, he said.
” You never know whether it will be the same tomorrow or not, this is the reason i started delivering Zafrani Harisa to the people on their door steps. So in case if tomorrow will be the shutdown, I can still deliver this (Harisa) to them, without any trouble,” he said.
People around Jibran, including her mother and other relatives have always been encouraging his work.
He says, “Everyone has been very supportive of my initiative, especially my mother, Kousar Jabeen. It is because of everyone’s support that I’m prospering day by day.”