Food for Fuel | The First Money-Making Idea

In Sanskrit, Revati means wealth, prosperity and all those other beautiful things every businessperson is looking to invite into their lives. A few months ago, someone asked me to think of ‘a money-making idea’. I thought up so many that I didn’t know where to start. From the ocean, to life on earth, to the cosmos: prosperity and wealth is all around you and at all times.

We live in a world that is abundantly rich.

And yet, so many people in the world feel a deep sense of lack, a sense of scarcity and a sense of impoverishment. On some level, every person’s goal in life is to have a rich life, even if their goals are not purely financial. We can have lots of money, but we never feel loved. We may be intelligent, but our intelligence doesn’t lead to financial success and so on and so forth. We somehow tend to always feel a sense of lack somewhere.

There are deeply rooted imbalances that exist in the world because of the ‘haves’ who have too much and the ‘have-nots’ who have too little. But that whole equation doesn’t make sense. Who has too much of what and who has too little of what? Why don’t we share, distribute and give away what we have too much of and receive what we feel we have too little of? The truth is that regardless of whether we have or don’t have, we can still feel a sense of lack.

Why would anyone feel such a thing when wealth and abundance is all around us?

The Food Business

I started my day at Lau Pa Sat. Do places have memories? It seems they do. When you go there, you recollect certain moments that you’ve forgotten. Perhaps not forgotten, but maybe they’re not in the forefront of your mind. I remembered a lunch I had there once. Sometimes when you return to a place where something has occurred, you can see it again as an observer instead of a participant in the event.

The kebab I had at Lau Pa Sat was good. I remembered the first time I ate there. The meal was good, but somehow I found something amiss. The lamb I had there could have tasted better. Why would anyone remember these things?

Do places change? In some respects, yes. In some respects, no. Infrastructure goes through its changes. People come and go. But the Land is there, observing the comings and goings. Does the Land remember those who have walked on her sacred grounds? 

It is an old school business. Selling food. You bring whatever you ate in your country of origin and set up shop in order to sell it. You adapt it to the local context based on the taste of your customers. No matter how much we snazz it up, it’s still fuel for the body and a delight for the taste buds–if it is done right. In addition to that, food is something that connects people. People eat together and it connects them to each other as well as the place.

I remembered a half-baked idea I had in my late 20s to open a restaurant. I met someone who was interested in opening the restaurant with me. Although I was initially excited about the idea, something in our environment changed. And as the story goes, once the environment changes, we do, too… Or we will have to find a new environment that will still support the old ways.

As long as we need to eat, though–the food business will always be a viable option. So that was my first money-making idea. A restaurant.

Maybe it was yours, too.

At a Punjabi restaurant on Singapore’s Serangoon Road

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