Karachi | Many Pakistanis worried about finding the right marriage proposals drive down to the famous Hyderabad Colony in one of Karachi's oldest areas to taste Tahir's 'Rishta Ka Achar' in the hope of finding a perfect life partner.
The Hyderabad Colony in the city is home to thousands of Hyderabadi-speaking Muslims who are proud of their heritage and identity in the diaspora of Urdu-speaking Muhajirs from India in the city of millions.
The colony is famous for its food street and it is here that 48-year-old Tahir Kaleem's family has been doing business for 73 years now.
He tells his customers to try his special pickle (achar) if they are struggling to get married. He even claims the same thing on morning shows where he is known as “Chef Tahir.” “Look, finding the right 'Rishta' for marriages is eventually God's will, but our elders say if there are methods available to help you out why not try them also,” the unshaven and ragged-looking Tahir told PTI at his shop named the Deccan Achar House, which was opened in 1950.
Pickles of different varieties made from mango chunks, ginger, cloves, vinegar and mixed with delicious spices and herbs are usually considered a traditional fare at dining tables in many households in Karachi.
Tahir's 'Rishta Ka Achar' is famous in the city and he gets many customers, mainly mothers, aunts, sisters, young girls and even young men willing to do something different to find the right proposals.
Tahir's grandmother migrated with her family to Karachi from India's Hyderabad after the Partition and opened her achar shop.
Tahir says his 'Rishta ka Achar' is also famous in India and has been mentioned in many Hyderabadi stage and television dramas.
“The elders say that if someone feeds you one spoon of the achar with love and faith you will find a good marriage proposal,” he said as two women, a mother and her daughter, arrived at the shop inquiring about the 'Rishta ka Achaar'.
He told his workers to attend to the women, who wanted to know if Tahir's claim about the pickle was true.
Tahir recalls that 'Rishta ka Achar' became even more famous after he narrated its history and a story on a morning show.
“One of my cousins who works with me was not finding the right marriage proposal, but after he ate a spoon of the achar from my hands he was married within months and is still happily married.” “So my selling motto is if everything else has failed, why not just take a bottle from my shop and try it you never know it might work for you,” he smiles while narrating his story.
Tahir proudly says many of the customers also request him to offer them a spoon of his pickle with his own hands.
Tahir's shop sells around 20 other varieties of pickles and chutneys with different herbs and spices according to the weather seasons.
Hyderabadi delicacies like Mirch ka Salan, Baingan ka raita, Dabal ka meetha, kachories etc are also popular with customers.
“My grandmother and my father were all very conscious of having the best organic ingredients in their pickles and we follow the same rules even today as we make our own stuff in a factory behind our shop,” he said.
Tahir is already preparing his two sons, who are currently studying, to run the business when he gets old.
“I am the third generation to run this shop, they will be the fourth generation.” Next to Tahir's shop is another pickle shop owned by Wajahat Khan, who also migrated from Hyderabad.
Wajahat belongs to a family of landowners and he admits that even today the 'Rishta ka Achar' is the hottest-selling item on the food street.