One of the best things of travelling is that we get to meet a lot of people. People of different culture, background, values will cross our way. Each person we meet has something or the other to teach us – be it a valuable knowledge or a warning that we ought to remember. There are people who would inspire us and broaden our horizon. I write of such a lady whom we met during our travel to Neil Islands in Andamans.
Andaman Islands is itself a paradise in itself and Neil Island is a jewel in the archipelago. We met Mrs. Sadhana Naskar at the Neil Island. She runs a restaurant at the island near the Bharatpur Beach at Neil islands and that too very successfully! The beach has another restaurant and the island itself has other places to eat. But most of the tourist flock to “Mega Resturant” to have their lunch as “Boudi” (Mrs. Naskar is fondly called so by the islanders) serves a delicious platter.
To me she was Sadhana Di. Sadhana Di single handedly runs the restaurant with two girls as her helpers. She takes down the orders herself and prepares the food for her guests too. Her husband Tara da sometimes helps her with serving the food and handling the customers. Sadhana di is a great cook and her restaurant is hardly ever empty during the lunch time.
Sadhana di was born and brought up in Krishnagar, Nadia. She is the eldest among her siblings. She was married off early and with her husband she arrived at Neil island, Andamans 15 years back, where he worked as contractor. They lived in a rented house in the beginning. As Tara da used to go out for work, Sadhana di would complete her daily chores and then go out and visit the nearby villagers. “After completing my day’s work, I used to feel alone. I would go out and visit the other houses and talk to all the ladies.” Says Sadhana di. “I am very talkative and cannot stay quiet for long”, was her own rendition.
After 5 years or so, it was due to Sadhana di’s persuasion, the couple bought a land near the Bharatpur beach by Rs.50000/-. From that time she toiled hard to build her home. Sadhana di had the habit of savings from early. “I had a recurring deposit account of Rs.600/- at that time. It helped us while buying the land.” And she continued her recurring deposit since then. She had this sense of saving and a very good acumen for business. Gradually, their condition improved and in 2014, her restaurant was opened with the help of bank loan and her savings. The restaurant now provides Sea food and Bengali food items. She did not have to look back since then. Now she is busy with her restaurant and plans to extend the restaurant further. She even plans to set up a hotel for the tourists to stay from 2016.
Sadhana di is not just an entrepreneur, she is also a leader. She heads a Self Help Group of 10 women like her from the Neil island village. She actively works in the group and helps its members to get loans from bank whenever in need. She has herself obtained loan from the bank to set up her restaurant and she never fails an EMI. Villagers also come to her for advice and help.
Sadhana di works hard and is disciplined. Her day begins at 5 in the morning, after catering to her household needs, she starts working for her restaurant. She works incessantly and loves to talk to people. Sadhana di has proved that nothing is impossible for a woman if she sets her mind on it. A perfect mix of courage and brains, she is taking her business forward in strong strides. With a supportive husband and three daughters, Sadhana di is not only helping herself, but also other village women. She is indeed an inspiration!