Mita Mukherjee is shy and soft-spoken. But when she gets into the e-rickshaw filled with frozen meat – chicken, cockerel, dressed duck, lamb, quails, pork – she is a different person altogether. She is a complete professional then, her tone matter of fact yet warm and polite enough to get her more customers every day. There’s also ghee, honey, quail eggs, mustard oil among other things her e-rickshaw is laden with.
Driving her e-rickshaw – locally known as toto – through the lanes of Kolkata’s Baguiati selling Haringhata Meat, she is not your run-of-the-mill salesperson, nor the girl next door. Her earnings? Anything between Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 per week, close to Rs 1.5 lakh per month!
A Masters in Bengali from Rabindra Bharati University, Mita wanted to do a government job after completing her education. But she had to give up on that dream after marriage as it was impossible for her to prepare for the qualifying examinations after doing house work and looking after her child.
But she didn’t give up dreaming of doing something that would make her successful, and this meant a lot to her especially because she couldn’t think of herself as dependent on someone. She always wanted to be independent. That’s how Mita ventured into her own business in 2016.
Her husband suggested she could start her own business. Why not? She thought, and she started off with a small outlet named Healthy Diet. The shop sold processed meat and she earned Rs.3,000-Rs 4,000 per week from the shop. But she didn’t want to stop there. Soon after, she bought an e-rickshaw and started selling packaged meat and other animal products of Haringhata in the area.
Mita says that she was scoffed at initially by people who couldn’t accept the idea of an “educated housewife” selling meat on e-rickshaw. The term “housewife” is often used to mean someone “useless” no matter how hard housework is. And here she was doing housework and earning a decent amount of money through her own business, but still being identified as a “housewife”. Luckily for Mita, her husband and in-laws were supportive of her and they didn’t care about such criticisms.
The business got hit when a few years back various eateries and other outlets in Kolkata were accused of selling rotten carcass meat. But she was able to overcome the situation due to people’s trust in the brand name and reliability of Haringhata Meat.
She has bigger dreams, says Mita. Now, she wants to expand her business further. She has already started selling vegetables from Haringhata. She is also supplying her products to various big and small government and private organisations.
For an entrepreneur like her, sky is the limit.
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