Rolling Love and Laughter at Kathi Junction

  • Aditya Sinha
  • Publish Date: Jan 19 2016 1:23PM
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  • Updated Date: Feb 12 2016 6:54PM
Rolling Love and Laughter at Kathi Junction

When an ever smiling Javid Parsa greets customers at his food outlet, little do they realize the ups and downs he has been through. Parsa, 26, who hails from Bandipora, left his engineering degree halfway after finding he was no good at it.

“I wasted two years of my life studying engineering,” he says while sitting inside Kathi Junction, his popular food outlet in the second storey of the Sara City Mall near Jehangir Chowk. After quitting engineering, he barely managed to graduate in interior designing.

“It was not my cup of tea,” he says. “I probably went for it due to lack of proper counseling but I graduated somehow.”

Taking the advice of one of his teachers to study management put Parsa’s career on path. “Management was one of our courses in interior designing degree and my management teacher thought I was made for it,” he says.

Parsa did his MBA from Maulana Azad National University (MANU) in Hyderabad and got a job in Amazon while he was still in his third semester. At Amazon, Parsa, who comes from a middle class family, worked as a Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) Specialist for two years and also got offers from different MNCs based in Dubai.

Though he was successful at Amazon, Parsa had different plans. He returned home and set up his enterprise.  “The idea of venturing into food business struck me because I am hospitable and good at speaking to people and making friends,” says Parsa who also ran the college kitchen being the MES Secretary.

Parsa did an extensive market research before launching his business.

“I went to the best of the food joints in the city, studied them, saw what they were offering, what was different in them before starting Kathi Junction,” he says.

Parsa was planning to open his joint last year on 9/11 but the devastating floods of September 6 and 7 delayed the opening. On October 31, when most of the food joints were flood hit and closed, he decided to throw open his joint and people came in droves.

Except at the launch of his outlet, Parsa has never promoted his business through conventional advertisements. “I have only been using social media and a good amount for credit of my business goes to Facebook,” he says. “Using photographs of my business on the Facebook, I am often being referred to as Kashmir’s Selfie Boy.”

Majority of the customers visiting his joint are in the age group of 15 to 35 years, most of them being students, journalists, bank employees and activists.

Satisfied customers leave encouraging feedback for Parsa. “WARNING: You may be rolled down by the Taste of Kathi Roll and Love of Javed Ji (sic),” reads a feedback left on a piece of paper by a customer from Jammu. Another customer from Kolkata writes, “A Country Without a Post Office but Javed’ Kathi Junction (sic).”

Parsa’s success is also underlined by the fact that he is able to bring customers to an otherwise cut-off location. And when the customers visit his joint, Parsa ensures he welcomes them personally.

Parsa’s Kathi Junction is not only about food. The joint offers a unique ambience with the paintings of budding Kashmiri painter, Mujtaba Rizvi, greeting the customers and making them think about Kashmir, the situation in the Valley, its art and culture.

Parsa is also aware that with its newness, he might have been able to woo customers to his joint but now he would need to innovate constantly. In addition to Kathi Rolls, Shorma, Biryani, the Dum Biryani, Kebabs, Tikkas, Shakes and Ice Creams being on the menu, Parsa says the secret of his success is two recipes that he rolls with the food at the junction – love and laughter.

Parsa says that his family was initially unhappy with what he was doing but had of late realized that he was living his dream. “Initially, there were times when not only my family but my villagers would tell me that if I had to sell Biryani, why did I go for an MBA but now my family is happy,” he says.

Parsa is a kind employer and is friends with his employees. “We go for night outs, team dinners and celebrate every target we achieve,” he says. “Having worked in a corporate culture, I know a loyal team is the strongest tool and retaining employees is important.”

Parsa employs seven youth, five of them locals from far off areas of Kashmir. “Everyone in Kashmir tends to do his bit towards the freedom of Kashmir but only few work toward the economic independence of Kashmir,” he says.