Manzilat and Doctor on Wheels

A food entrepreneur belonging to a royal family, a couple who quit their corporate jobs in Mumbai to grow organic paddy in Thrissur and Madurai's Doctor on Wheels are all part of our newsletter this week

Rashmi Pratap
New Update
organic paddy pavithra

Manzilat and Doctor on Wheels

Dear Reader,

Those of you who love cooking would know the importance of using every ingredient in the right proportion at the right time in any recipe. Any deviation can alter the taste and texture of the dish, which is fine when you are experimenting with food. But when you are trying to keep alive a culinary heritage, it’s best not to tinker with the original recipe.

That’s why Manzilat Fatima, the great-great-granddaughter of Awadh’s (now Lucknow) last king Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, does not make any change in the 167-year-old royal recipes she has inherited from her mother and grandmother.

My colleague Partho writes that Manzilat is mainstreaming the royal Awadhi cuisine through her eponymous restaurant in Kolkata (where the Nawab spent the rest of his life after being dethroned by the British in 1856). 

Earning Rs35 lakh annually in revenues, Manzilat is keeping alive Awadh’s food heritage which comprises many types of kebabs, biryanis, phirni, pulaos, rezala, chaaps and much more. 

The food entrepreneur with an all-women team minimizes waste by taking pre-bookings and allowing others only if an order is cancelled. To her, the restaurant – Manzilat’s – is a means to popularize the traditional Awadhi cuisine, empower women and keep alive the memory of her royal ancestors.

Our other interesting and heart-warming story is from Madurai. My colleague US Anu spoke to Dr C Swaminathan – a 34-year-old doctor providing doorstep healthcare services to senior citizens and the specially-abled. 

His experience while working in a private hospital made him realise how hospital admission and post-hospitalization care of the elderly make a big hole in the budgets of families. He knew the costs would be less than one-third if doctors could provide home check-ups and monitoring facilities to the senior citizens.

So he started Doctor on Wheels – which operates within a 20km radius of Madurai. The charges start at Rs300 per visit and go up to Rs800 for faraway areas. During COVID, when clinics were closed, he served 700 patients at their homes out of whom 696 survived.

There’s a lot that this young doctor is doing and it’s all part of Anu’s story. Please look it up. With a whole generation set to cross 60 in the next decade, we need more such doctors who can make healthcare for the elderly more affordable and convenient.

Last week, I spoke to Pavithra P and her husband Mohammed Rinas who quit their jobs in Mumbai and now cultivate organic paddy on 25 acres in Thrissur. This land was barren and had been lying uncultivated for 35 years when the couple took it over. They began by handpicking plastic, glass and other waste to clean up the land.

Today, the yield of some native varieties grown there is up to 1500 kg per acre and the Rakthashali rice sells for Rs225 per kg. The couple also processes paddy into flour and flakes to ensure that their organic rice does not end up as flour with added preservatives and chemicals.

Apart from conserving the native rice of Kerala, they are helping other farmers in marketing their produce. In all, it’s the type of work that satisfies the heart and the soul!

Our Sunday story is on Auli, the picture-perfect town in Chamoli, Uttarakhand. It is a paradise for lovers of skiing and trekking, and also offers panoramic views of the Himalayas.

In the Money section, Karan has listed the top 10 equity mutual funds that have done better than the market by a big margin in the last one year. So if you are planning to invest in MFs, do read the piece.

Happy Reading!





Manzilat: The food entrepreneur keeping alive Nawab Wajid Ali Shah’s culinary legacy


How this Madurai doctor’s doorstep delivery model is revolutionizing healthcare for the elderly


Kerala couple turns barren land into organic paddy farm, sells native rice at up to Rs225 per kg