‘Relationships evolve with time’: Meet Delhi's first family of food

They have varied interests but together, Dildeep Kalra (37) and Zorawar Kalra (42) are two peas in a pod.

Published: 22nd March 2020 08:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd March 2020 08:26 AM   |  A+A-

Dildeep Kalra (37) and Zorawar Kalra (42)

Dildeep Kalra (37) and Zorawar Kalra (42)

He’s a typical Delhiite and she’s a true Chandigarh-wali. He’s into racing, building computers, and golf; she loves reading, painting and cooking.

They have varied interests but together, Dildeep Kalra (37) and Zorawar Kalra (42) are two peas in a pod.

The couple, married for 14 years and counting, jointly run Massive Restaurants –an umbrella brand comprising food and nightlife hotspots such as Farzi Café, KODE, Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra, Made In Punjab, TYGR, Bo Tai, etc.

Before marriage, Dildeep didn’t hold a job.

“I was a spoilt child. I used to get up at two in the afternoon, read the newspaper... When I got married, I didn’t even know how to deposit money as I had never been to a bank! But now I handle the finances and manage so many people. I am no longer that small-town girl,” said Dildeep, who holds a Masters in Mass Communication.

Zorawar remembers how they met, saying, “Dildeep would very often visit Delhi to chill out with common friends. We used to end up meeting each other at a lot of parties, and in 2005, the relationship started to bud.”

The very next year, they married and soon enough, Dildeep started contributing to Zorawar’s business that mainly comprised outlets at food courts. “I was just 24 and the mall trend was very new to India then. We had outlets at almost every mall.

"In MGF Metropolitan Mall, we had five kiosks, from where I started working. I used stand at our kiosks all day.”

Every night, Dildeep would collect the money and deposit it in the bank next morning. “I closely monitored the cleanliness practices in the kitchen. But back in the day, a young girl instructing the staff was not taken positively. Though that has changed over the years with more women joining the force. Sometimes, I would be the till girl, some days I used to take care of the back end,” she says.

Zorawar is still in awe of how quickly his life partner adapted to become his work partner as well. “I was very new to the business but she jumped into the deep end with her life-saving tips. She was very good at food development. I am the managing director, but she takes care of the international deals, and I don’t interfere. She manages HR operations and marketing, too,” says the son of the late Jiggs Kalra, (called‘Czar of Indian cuisine’) who owned Masala Library and whose shoes Zorawar has tried to fill with Massive Restaurants. 

Both have extensive travel schedules; Zorawar, 15 days a month and Dildeep, five times. “When we are not travelling, we are working in our offices next to each other. Sometimes, we meet for lunch, but mostly we don’t get time because we are on visits.”Lost time, however, is seldom spent on bickering. “About 90 per cent of the time, we agree on things to deliver the best to our guests,” he says. “After all, at the end of the day, he’s the boss,” chuckles Dildeep. “And she’s the boss at home,” retorts Zorawar.

Post work hours, the two just relax. “We eat early and sleep late. So, we watch a lot of shows on Netflix. He was watching a crazy show, You, and I didn’t want to watch it, so I sat outside and read a book instead. Apart from this, we go to the club with kids,” says Dildeep.

Between the two, Dildeep is the cautious one, but also more understanding and accommodating. Zorawar is gung-ho about everything, but admits he’s still the immature kid. “In every family, someone takes the role of holding the other person back. Moreover, relationships evolve, and ours has become better and stronger. At times, working together can get overwhelming, but those are the testing times, and Dildeep has always been my support system at those times,” concludes Zorawar.

His plans for self-quarantine

Will hit the gym

Her plans for self-quarantine

I will make napkins and do beading and embroidery. I am also working on a painting for my house. I have already painted coasters.

His quirks

No matter, how interesting the movie is, he falls asleep.

Her quirks

She sleeps with her mouth wide open, and she will wake up at the faintest sound. Then there’s her collection of weird Punjabi songs on icloud music library.

I was very new to the business but she jumped into the deep end with her life-saving tips. I am the managing director, but she takes care of the international deals. She manages HR operations and marketing, too.

India Matters


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