Maisha, Paradise and Mushroom

An MBA dropout who became a globally renowned 'teacher of the streets', a 78-year-old organic jackfruit grower, a millionaire mushroom entrepreneur, and a Rs 5-crore handmade bag business by a CA dropout are all part of our newsletter this week

Rashmi Pratap
New Update
Maisha, Paradise and  Mushroom 3

Maisha, Paradise and Mushroom

Dear Reader,

There are no age limits to anything in life. All you need is a belief in yourself, irrespective of what others say, and the ability to work hard patiently. Our stories from different parts of India are a testimony to this. 

From Kerala, my colleague Chandhini wrote about 78-year-old VA Thomas Kattakayam, who shifted from rubber cultivation to organic farming of jackfruit in 2015. His Jackfruit Paradise Farm in Kottayam’s Chakkampuzha village is a model of agro-innovation and profitability where he earns Rs4 lakh per acre.

Apart from a flourishing nursery, which has buyers from across India, the septuagenarian is creating the world's largest jackfruit gene bank. And he cultivates 400 varieties of jackfruit on his farm, which yields crops throughout the year! Do read this piece.

From western India, my colleague Aruna has written about 31-year-old Esha Shah, who dropped out of her CA studies and is now running a handmade bags business in Ahmedabad. 

Sold under the Maisha brand, the bags are made of cotton, jute, vegan leather, and other eco-friendly materials. The startup clocks Rs5 crore in revenues annually and employs underprivileged women, making it a win-win for all. 

My colleague Partho met West Bengal’s primary school teacher Deep Narayan Nayak, who had to quit post-graduation twice due to financial constraints. Today, he is taking education to over 10,000 underprivileged children in Eastern India through open-air classes where mud walls are blackboards and the roads are classrooms.

The work has now spread beyond Bengal to Jharkhand and his innovative teaching methods made him one of the top 10 finalists for the Global Teacher Award 2023. 

Last week, I spoke to Santosh Mishra, who also could not pursue higher education due to poverty. He attended a training programme on mushroom cultivation and used his savings of Rs36 to buy four bottles of mushroom spawns (seeds). 

Today, the mushroom entrepreneur sells 2,000 bottles of seeds (worth Rs 30,000) every day! Santosh’s entrepreneurial journey is full of ups and downs. Life’s not a bed of roses even when you become a billionaire. To hold on to that position requires as much hard work as getting there. 

Our Sunday feature is on Karanataka’s beautiful and pristine Maravanthe Beach which is India’s only beach between a sea and a river. 

And in the Money section, Karan has written how gold has given better returns than the stock market in four out of the last five calendar years. So if you are unable to choose between investment in gold and equity, his article will help you decide.

Happy Reading!





Kerala’s 78-year-old jackfruit farmer earns Rs4 lakh per acre; grows 400 varieties organically


Ahmedabad girl quits CA studies, sets up Rs 5 crore designer bag venture


How this MBA dropout became a globally renowned teacher; took education to the doorsteps of tribal children



How this Odisha man became a mushroom millionaire with Rs 36 investment; has trained over 10 lakh people