Yousaf Chohan says he sold over 350 gola gandas during the quarter-finals in which Germany defeated France and Brazil knocked out Colombia to proceed to the semi-finals. - Photos by Muhammad Umar
Yousaf Chohan says he sold over 350 gola gandas during the quarter-finals in which Germany defeated France and Brazil knocked out Colombia to proceed to the semi-finals. - Photos by Muhammad Umar

KARACHI: Yousaf Chohan loved bright sugary treats ever since he was a young boy. His sweet-tooth first led him to set up a lemonade stall when he was just nine years old.

The young entrepreneur would sell lemonade from daybreak to dusk on his pushcart at the corner of Gabol Park in Karachi's Lyari Town where he has resided all his life.

"While I enjoyed selling lemonade, I really wanted to have my own gola ganda cart," the 50-year-old Chohan told Dawn.com. So in a few years when he had saved enough money, Chohan rolled out his own gola ganda push-cart full with bright lights and colourful syrups poured on finely crushed ice to beat Karachi's heat.

Despite the volatile situation in his neighbourhood, the years have been kind to Chohan. The childhood fascination steadily turned into a healthy source of income and he expanded his small business. Today, he owns a tuck-shop in a nearby school and also runs a small-time catering service for sweet treats at weddings.

Despite his success in other ventures, his colourful cart remains his first love.

Chohan's mobile shop offers seven delectable flavours, including Rose, Pineapple, Mango, Orange, Blueberry, Coke and a 'mixed' special. Each iced-treat costs between Rs20 to Rs100 and extras include cream, coconut shavings, pieces of pineapple, finely chopped almonds and pistachios.

On an average day, Chohan says he can earn about Rs7,000 to Rs8,000 but every four years when the football World Cup comes around, especially when Brazil is playing a match, his daily earnings double.

Chohan takes ice shavings and adds on colourful flavoured syrups with cream to make his famous gola gandas in Lyari. - Photos by Muhammad Umar
Chohan takes ice shavings and adds on colourful flavoured syrups with cream to make his famous gola gandas in Lyari. - Photos by Muhammad Umar

However, Chohan says this year's football season hasn't been as festive as the last FIFA World Cup. "There is a a lot of internal conflict this time round. Last time, we all sat and enjoyed the game together," he says.

A united Lyari is of course good for business as well. During the 2010 World Cup, Chohan says he would earn up to Rs25,000 a night, three times his regular income.

But more than the economic aspect, Chohan says peace is important for Lyari's youth to deter them from getting caught up in gang wars and other criminal activities.

Through his gola ganda business Chohan got his only son an education who now works at a bank. "During extremely busy seasons my son helps out but I have made a conscious effort to keep him out of this line of business. I loved doing this but I want more for him," he says.

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