Expert cook & entrepreneur - Deeja juggles roles with ease
Cooking is an art. Add some extra ingredients like love and passion, and it gets way better. That is exactly what Deeja S does to enhance the taste of her dishes.
Deeja, who lives in Varkala, Kerala, runs a catering business called Nymitra and is well-known for her delicious pickles and snack items. All of this is sold online and is a big hit with foodies in the state.
Deeja was affected by polio when she was hardly three years old and struggled to move around independently until 2010, when she got her first wheelchair. Deeja always had a passion for cooking and would watch her mother and sister prepare delicious food. Once she got a wheelchair, there was no keeping Deeja out of the kitchen.
Until a few years ago, I used to design jewellery but the market was not great. Once I discovered cooking, I decided to start a business. My mother and sister are my biggest supporters and help me make the pickles and snacks. I do not believe that being on a wheelchair brings limitations. It is a challenge thrown at you so that you can find more alternatives. -Deeja S Entrepreneur
Tryst with Nymitra
Deeja met Naushad Khan online. An NRI based in the Gulf, Khan was in touch with some NGOs that worked for people with disabilities in Kerala. That is how he came across Deeja who was looking out for ways to earn a living. After knowing her passion towards cooking, Khan proposed the idea of Nymitra to Deeja. Today, the duo have collaborated for Nymitra.
"I am from an economically backward family. So I had to make sure that I could earn on my own. Naushad is a great partner and understands my mobility limitations as well. Today, the business is doing great but we are looking for a bigger market as we do not want to stagnate", says Deeja.
Recently, the duo launched a new initiative called Pothichoru, where an entire meal is wrapped in a banana leaf and sold to customers. It is easy to pack and tastes delicious. It's a novel idea and shows that Deeja is clear headed about finding new markets.
"People might mock you for being disabled. But do not take it to your heart. I have come across many wheelchair users who are doing great. Find out your interests and chase your passion", she says.
Naushad Khan, Deeja's business partner, says that Deeja is a true inspiration.
"When I met Deeja, she used to discuss about how her jewellery designing business was more of a loss than profit. I was also planning to return from the Gulf. So I thought why not collaborate with her for a business venture? She is extremely smart and talented and had all the qualities for a business person. I have noticed that she never lets her disability come in her path. She taught me that you can do whatever you want as long as you have the will-power and passion for it", says Khan.
Being an entrepreneur is a tough business and Deeja clearly has the imagination and the will to make it big.