A Taste Of Real Life

  • Afshan Rashid
  • Publish Date: Jan 19 2017 5:43PM
  • |
  • Updated Date: Jan 19 2017 5:50PM
A Taste Of Real Life

                                                                Photo: Kashmir Ink Desk

Students at the Central University of Kashmir decide to put their classroom lessons to practical use, and the result is delicious

Great ideas, they say, come out of the classroom. Delectable ones, too, as students of the Central University of Kashmir showed a day after the New Year’s. Their idea manifested as Darbaar, a two-day food festival.

Here is how it came to be. To help the students learning event management, restaurant business and related disciplines gain “practical knowledge”, vice chancellor Prof Mehraj ud Din Mir suggested, at a meeting of class representatives early last year, that they should run and manage the university’s canteen.

“So, we decided to utilise the skills of Master of Tourism Management and Master of Business Administration students to run the canteen,” said Imran Bashir, who is in the second year of his MBA. Before they could get going, though, Kashmir was plunged into months-long turmoil. After the university reopened, the students went back to the discussion table, and came up with the idea for a food festival, said Mulla Meesaq, a classmate of Imran’s who contributed the title.


                                Photo: Kashmir Ink Desk

“Kings of old used to hold Darbaar, which wasn’t complete without food,” Meesaq said. “We hope to someday start a restaurant of this name. At the very least we want to run the canteen of the entire university.”

Darbaar was originally conceived to be a week-long festival but limitations of time and resources forced the student organisers to restrict it to two days. To publicise it, the students used Facebook and other social media platforms. They were also helped by the university’s Directorate of Students Welfare and School of Business Studies. The festival drew “appreciable” public response.

Inaugurating the event, the vice chancellor complimented the students for putting it together, and promised that “after the completion of the exams, a mega event will be organised to further nourish the skills of the students”.

CUK Food Festival

                                                        Photo: Kashmir Ink Desk

On offer at the festival were 25 mouthwatering delicacies prepared by the students, including harissa, butter chicken, gajar ka halwa, biryani, pizza, momos, fish kabab.

Nakia Yawar, who managed one of the 12 stalls, said, “Our stall is all about the integration of traditional Kashmiri cuisine with cuisines from outside. We have prepared Hyderabadi chicken and fried fish served with Kashmiri whole wheat bread.”

Aqib Altaf, Syed Madni and Sadia Mir called their stall “Soun Aagun”. They served chicken rolls and nutella almond served with a range of sauces and french fries. “Modur te Mouu’th”, run by Rufaida Nabi, served fish kabab, shami kabab, ras Malai and firni, while Rafiya Shakeel’s “Mazz E Ballai” offered pani puri, shahi tukda, chicken kabab and chicken chowmein.

While one group of students cooked the food and another managed the stalls, a back-end team of Aadil, Mohsin, Basit, Uzair, Irfan and Waqar handled the finances, designing, communication, facebook marketing and logistics.

All dishes on offer across the stalls were reasonably priced between Rs 30 and Rs 140.

The event cost Rs 78,000 and, thanks to a good footfall on both days, earned Rs 96,000. But more than the profit they made, it is the sense of achievement that has the students excited. So much so that they want such events to be a regular part of their extracurricular calender.

“It should become a regular activity for students to get firsthand experience of what they learn in class,” said Imran, echoing the sentiment of nearly all his fellow students.