Amidst the chaos of the busy Guwahati streets where life has become monotonous and the schedule hectic, there is a man named Arjun who has been feeding hungry stomachs and housing interesting discussions since 1918.
Mahamaya, one of the oldest restaurant in Assam is situated in Panbazar area in Guwahati and is owned and managed by Arjun Chandra Barman. It was established by his father, Late. Naroram Barman in the year 1918. After graduating in the year 1965, Arjun Chandra Barman engaged himself in his father’s business. The prime motive of opening the restaurant was to make a hub of good discussion rather than just making it a business.
Recognizing his father’s contributions, the sports council has been regularly organizing a memorial football tournament in the name of Late, Naroram Barman for the last 39 years. Personalities like Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha, Narendra Modi to name a few, have tasted sip of tea in that restaurant. In 2018, the restaurant will be celebrating 100 glorious years of existence.
Arun Chandra, the owner and manager of Mahamaya Restaurant
Here is Arjun Chandra Barman in conversation with TNT- The Northeast Today News.
TNT: Whose idea was behind the inception of the restaurant?
Arjun Chandra Barman: Late Mr. Naroram Barman, my father established it in the year 1918 with a motive to provide food rather than making it just a business. At that time density of Guwahati was only 1500 people. As Mahamaya was the first ever restaurant at that time, people from every corner of the city used to come down to the place for a cup of tea. During that period a cup of tea cost only 1 paisa whereas, sweets were 2-3 paisa. Pulao and Chop was added in the year 1964.
TNT: What is the speciality of the services in Mahamaya? What are the different dishes available here?
Arjun Chandra Barman: Generally the prices of the dishes are very low in comparison with the other restaurants in the locality. We believe in keeping our dishes delicious and affordable at the same time. The menu consists of Pulao (Veg/Mutton/Egg/ Chicken), Omelette, Roti Sabji, Paratha Sabji, Sweets, Tea and Boondia Ladoo.
TNT: How has the journey been since its inception to the present day?
Arjun Chandra Barman: It’s been a great journey since its inauguration till date. I joined here after graduating from Cotton College in the year 1965. My dad Late Mr. Naroram barman supported me a lot at that period.
TNT: Is there any obstacle that stood on your way in this journey?
Arjun Chandra Barman: No, there isn’t such obstacles as during the time of Independence of India, I have seen renowned personalities like Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, Lakhyadhar Choudhury, Bishnu Rabha sitting together and discussing about the situation of Assam and the country as well. I have seen my father talking with them and gulping together for a cup of tea
TNT: Who visits more often; Young or old?
Arjun Chandra Barman: Customers of every age group visits equally as the restaurant menu has been made keeping in concern of the common people. So, during lunch time a lots of professional and students use to come.
TNT: Is there any future plan for expansion?
Arjun Chandra Barman: No, I haven’t thought anything about it as if I expand the hotel at the same time the prices of the food items will rise parallely. As I have mentioned earlier that the restaurant is for the common people thus it will stay like this.
TNT: How will you celebrate your centurion existence?
Arjun Chandra Barman: Many renowned personalities have come forward to celebrate its 100 years of existence. We are thinking of doing together in a grand manner.
It is very hardly that we find a food joint that has captured the essence of a century and yet live son to tell the tale of the times gone by.
By: Rituraj Boruah | Source: TNT-TheNortheastToday