Cannons, Dhunuchi and MBA milletpreneur

An MBA millet entrepreneur, the 63rd generation of a family continuing its Durga Puja in Bishnupur, Dhunuchi dance, Tamil Nadu's first zero-waste, plastic-free retailer and tips for switching to organic farming are all part of our newsletter this week

Rashmi Pratap
22 Oct 2023
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Cannons, Dhunuchi and MBA milletpreneur 

Dear Reader,

Autumn is the season of festivals in India. From Ganesh Chaturthi to Durga Puja and Dussehra to Deepawali, one festival follows another. It is the time to take a break from our busy lives and surround ourselves with lights and laughter.

Festivals also remind us to honour our customs and uphold our cultural values. And this is what the royal family of Bishnupur has been doing for the last 1027 years! The 63rd generation is now carrying forward the Durga Puja customs that go back to 997 CE. 

In this unique Durga Puja, also the oldest in West Bengal (and possibly India), Maa Mrinmoyee Devi is worshipped for 15 days, cannons are fired thrice daily, and there is a closed-door ritual on Navami, writes my colleague Partho. He visited Bishnupur to see the Puja, which begins 15 days before Shashthi heralds Durga Puja celebrations in the rest of India.

His in-depth story is replete with history, legends, unheard-of rituals and a family's dedication to continue the tradition even though there is no king or palace today. Don’t miss this one!

My colleague Anu wrote about EcoIndian, which is promoting sustainable living in Chennai. Set up by Prem Antony and his wife Mary Catherine, EcoIndian is Tamil Nadu’s first plastic-free zero-waste retailer, which does not sell branded products. It sources organic grocery and other handcrafted items from farmers and cooperatives in the state and sells them in paper or cloth bags.

In the store, all the items are kept in glass or steel jars and dispensers and if customers bring their own containers, they get a discount. You can buy as little as 10 gm or 10kg of any item. The concept is interesting and if it can be replicated in other stores, it will definitely cut down plastic pollution.

Last week, I spoke to Krishnaa Kantthawala, an MBA who quit her well-paying job in Singapore to become a millet entrepreneur. While working in Singapore, she saw the locals eat bread, porridge and other items made using buckwheat (kuttu), amaranth (rajgira) and millet, considering them superfoods. 

She knew that back home, people were forgetting these foods. With an MBA in marketing and experience of 15 years in the luxury retail space, Krishnaa knew millets could find a market in India. She launched the Smart Eleven brand of millet-based noodles, pasta, cookies, flour and khakhra in 2021 and now exports to five countries. Her monthly revenue is Rs12 lakh and growing rapidly. In fact, she sent her first overseas consignment to Norway within three months of the launch. Do read the story of this millet entrepreneur to know how she set up a profitable business in less than three years.

For our readers who enjoy gardening or are into farming, we have put together a piece on shifting from traditional (chemical-based) agriculture to organic farming – costs involved, time duration and tips for the transition.

And since festivities are in the air, our Sunday feature is on the Dhunuchi dance where performers hold a clay incense burner filled with camphor, coconut husk and dhuno in their hands and between their teeth while dancing energetically to the beats of dhak (traditional drum) during Durga Puja. 

In the Money section, Karan has listed five points to help you create a winning equity portfolio as the market has taken a breather after rallying for a year and stock valuations are now reasonable. 

Team 30Stades wishes you a happy festive season!





Bishnupur’s 1027-year-old Durga Puja continues with cannons and offbeat customs


How this Chennai couple’s zero-waste plastic-free retail business is promoting sustainable living


This MBA quit her Singapore job to become a millet entrepreneur; earns Rs12 lakh monthly revenue