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Boli Swami, serving a taste of nostalgia in Kerala for decades

Sundaram Swamy along with his family members. Photo: Anuradha Sreedevi

In a quaint corner of capital city of Kerala, there is a culinary gem fondly called Boli Swami that has been captivating the hearts and palates of people for the last many years through bolis, a sweet dish.

It’s the unwavering dedication and commitment to quality which helped five brothers of an agraharam at Valiyashala in Thiruvananthapuram earned the collective brand name “Boli Swami” after they started making boli and set up a shop “Jai Sitha Sweets” to sell them. The success of Boli Swami brand is an example of how a collective effort and dedication of a family could build a business from scratch after one of the brothers, who knew how to make bolis, decided to start making bolis to earn a living one fine day.

The family has poured their heart and soul to run the boli business from their shop for the last four decades. What more, ‘Boli Swami’ has turned into a culinary masterpiece with no rivals since its launch on October 1, 1981. The centrepiece of the boli dish is a closely guarded secret recipe that has given it a unique taste and brand name for all these years.

Sundaram Swami, 72, one of the brothers, says that they could continue to remain as best boli makers and emerge success in business because of the collective effort and unity within the family. “We work in unity and  never compromise on quality. If you want to go fast go alone, but if you want to go far go together. We have come this far because of our collective effort,” he said.

Originally hailing from neighbouring Tamil Nadu, Sundaram Swami’s family moved to Thiruvananthapuram during early 1950s. During school days, Sundaram Swami used to spend his spare time helping his guru Boli Mahadevar in making and distributing boli in the  neighbouring households. As boli making wasn’t that profitable those days, Swami had to start working in a medical store after completing his SSLC. But people started coming looking for him asking for his boli. This ignited a passion within him, a burning desire to start making boli and serve them to others.

“It was those customers who encouraged and pushed me to get back into boli making. They would say that they couldn’t find a substitute boli which could match the quality of our boli. This made us to start Jai Sitha sweets”, Sundaram Swami told Open Digest.

Sundaram Swami and his family strive for perfection with every batch of their signature boli. Swami says that he owes the success of the business to the entire family. “When we faced fund shortage to hire labour, the family members themselves chipped in to overcome the labour shortage,” he said.

The success of Jai Sitha Sweets would not be possible without the unwavering support and dedication of the entire family who are putting their efforts ensuring that each dish retains its unique character and authenticity.

Jai Sitha Sweets which started with boli expanded its portfolio with the passage of time and included jalebi, ladoo and gulab jamun in the list of best sellers. Boli, however, continues to be on top of the chart with bulk orders from different parts of the district. On expansion plans, the family is still a bit conservative and say they are not planning to branch out immediately as they feel it might compromise on quality, which is their USP.  Sundaram Swami says “I eat one boli everyday and it is my favourite sweet”.

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