DELHI: The golden rule when hunting for street food, is if they have a crowd then the food they serve is delicious. Nanne ke Kebab, in the meandering alleys of Abul Fazal’s Thokar Number 3 is a breath of fresh air among clouds of dust, being immensely popular in the locality for serving the best seekh kebabs.

And its owner Nizamuddin is one of the rarest individuals who did not bow down to the hard circumstances of life, preserving and continuing his passion for singing while serving up these delicious seekhs.

“I have grown up eating these kababs and I’ve seen this shop grow, but what has remained constant is the taste of his seekh kababs. For 25 rupees the seekh kabab roll doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket, and the taste is to die for” says Zaki, a student of architecture in Jamia.

Established in 2004, Nanne ke Kabab was set up by Nizamuddin to help him move out of the hard circumstances he had to face in order to earn a living. Married with two kids, he and his wife initially had just 2000 rupees a month to run their house.

In such tough times people usually give up on their dreams and goals, but Nizamuddin and his love for singing could not be diminished come what may. “Rozgaar ke liye restaurant shuru kiya lekin passion bhi jari rakha,” he tells us contentedly - I started the restaurant to make a living, but kept my passion going too.

Nizam at his shop, Nanne ke Kabab

Migrating from Bihar to Delhi, he started singing when he was pursuing his BA by correspondence from Jamia. “Maine album mein kaam kiya hai, Zee Salaam pe naat gayi hai aur Bhajan Sangraam mein first bhi aaye thai, ghazlein bhi gaatein hai aur Ghalib Academy mein bhi perform kiya hai apni padhai ke vakt.” (I’ve worked on an album, sang a naat on Zee Salaam, came in first on Bhajan Sangraam, and I also sing ghazals and performed at the Ghalib Academy while studying.)

He lists his singing accolades with the same sense of pride and joy that we could see on his face when we were photographing his restaurant.

What boggled us was that he even had his own YouTube channel by the name of Nizam Ahmed, with 146 subscribers and a music video titled “Socha Karta Hoon” that has over 8,000 views.

The music video has him singing the song moving from one location to another with a girl joining him later. One can sense that burning passion for singing even in the video.

He informs us that the very first thing he does each morning is riyaaz (practice) and playing the harmonium. It is only after completing these rituals that he goes about preparing for the restaurant.

Nizam is a living example of how one should not give up on their dreams, their passions no matter how hard one’s life may be.

The beauty of how he’s struck a balance between passion and profession is an inspiration. It is this very beauty of personality that shines through in the taste of his food and the melody of his voice. A voice that we should hear and heed.