Inspirational Stories

Inspiring Story of Shila Ghosh – The Proud 89 Years Old Street Hawker!


Jodi Tor Daak Shune Keu na Ashe, Tobe Ekla Cholo re.”

It is a famous quote of Rabindranath Tagore that says, if they do not answer to your call, just walk alone. Many people have walked down the aisle alone and succeeded in life. But today, I am not going to talk about success; it is all about inspiration! It is a common belief that every inspiring story has a happy ending and a famous name tag. But why someone has to famous in order to be inspiring? Why can there not be stories that do only not inspire us to be successful but just to keep going? Well, the inspiring story of Shila Ghosh will surely enchant a different moral here.

The ‘Papad Dida’ of Kolkata – Inspiration for Life

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It was every day that I watched an old humpback lady in pale white Saree, selling ‘Papad’ on the street on my way back home. With overflowing curiosity, I approached her once and bought a packet of papad with 30 bucks. I indulged in a little more chit-chatting with her, and that opened a whole new layer of a story to me. This 89 years old lady, Shila Ghosh, would travel from Bali to Exide, Kolkata to sell papad because her family was not well endowed with money. It was she and her grandson only, who have to bear all the expenses of the loans of a prior deed. And the inspiration quotient of this article starts from here.

Early Life of Shila Ghosh

Although she could not remember her birth year, she insisted that she is 89-90 years old. Born in a family of a doctor, Shila Ghosh belongs from a village named Bishnupur of West Bengal. She was a tomboy in her childhood and loved swimming. She studied till the third standard and afterwards she was married off to a station-master. She had her first child when she was only 14 years old. Being a mother of 3 children with a loveable husband, she had a happy life.

Tragedy took a Dramatic Entry

But her happy life did not last long and that started soon after her husband’s death. After that, her eldest daughter passed away at class 9 followed by her middle daughter who had a chronic mental disability. Her only son followed the path of her husband, but that happiness did not last long too. He died of a lung cancer in the year of 2010.

Motivation Inspires us to Bounce Back – The Real ‘Businesswoman.’

With her son gone, she and her only grandson had the expense of a huge loan and her grandson was jobless too. This was the time when she first decided to set up their own little business. She started out with selling candles, but that soon fall apart because of expenses. After that, her grandson provided her with the idea of peddling papad on the street. Considering her grandson incapable of selling anything, Shila Ghosh took the job in her own hand saying that ‘people may feel pity for this old lady and actually buy something’– she chuckled while uttering these words. Not only that, but she also refuses to take any kind of unnecessary money from strangers unless and until they buy from her. She is proud and uses her charms as her business techniques – I have not seen such amusing character ever in my life. And in spite of having such hardships in her life, the cute, charming smile never leaves her face ever!

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Current Status of Shila Ghosh

Currently, she had gone through a cataract operation, the money of which operation has been given to her through fundraiser as she could not afford it. She may have bent the double, but she is still kicking her business with 1200rs a day! She cannot walk on her own; her grandson helps her to get to the spot of her business and the traffic police near Haldirams help her a lot.


Her voice may have faded with age; her health may have deteriorated too. But one thing that never had an expiry date and that is her soul. Many people commit suicide and turn away from problems easily, but Miss Shila Ghosh surely gives one great advice,

“Don’t try to escape it. Face it and deal with it.”

I cannot possibly imagine what this world would have been if everyone had the same courage like her. She is still there, selling papad on the streets. We share a smile every day. Her one glimpse makes me strong, and her glance often whispers, keep going. She is the inspiration of life. The inspiration that utters, life is all about facing our worst fears, our worst dilemmas and our worst nightmares. Just we have to keep facing it every day.


Written By: Subharthi Bhattacharya


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Our team at include members who write Inspirational articles for this inspiring blog. Page maintained by Krishnendu Pramanick.

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