The Spice Girls of India
Contributed by Gloria Amoah [of Greater Accra, Ghana]
News went viral after seven daughters in India took over their late father’s popular spice shop. According to reports, this was rare in Rajasthan, India. To most people in the city of Jodhpur it was a step in the wrong direction for these sisters because the women in the community “belong at home”.
It all started when the famous spice legend Mohanal Verhomal passed away and his daughters decided to take over the management of their father’s business in such a male-dominate society like Jodhpur, India.
Out of the seven sisters Neela said her sisters Usha, Neelam, Nikki and Kavita have taken a strong interest in their late father’s business.
Taking over their late father’s business has given these sisters the name “The Spice Girls of India”.of
They credit their achievements to their dear mother and their father. According to Neela, ‘We got this title ‘THE SPICE GIRLS OF INDIA’ because of our father’s hard work and our mother’s strong determination. Without them we are not The Spice Girls of India.
In an interview with Neela, she narrates how difficult it was for them to survive in the society in which they found themselves. The market was male dominate and women in such a market was rare. “It wasn’t easy for us as women to survive in a male dominated market and yet, we never gave up” said Neela. They were new to the business but were assisted by the boys who used to work for their father on top of the support they received from their mother.
Neela recounts the numerous challenges which should have made it easy for their exit in the business and yet they were never discouraged. “People would intentionally use abusive language, start fighting with us on silly things, and threaten us by fighting rigorously in front of our shop so that we would get scared, close down the shop and run away” Neela said. She also told us, “People make fun of us that we are seducing them or giving customers extra perks”. These were all means to break these sisters down but they still remained strong.
THE SPICE GIRLS OF INDIA as popularly known stood their ground. They knew they were unique and could do everything the men could do. They believed in their skills and worked hard in the face of criticisms. “It was a fight to stand in a strong male-dominated market” Neela said. Within the market there are a lot of fake spices, so the girls devised methods and by using these methods they wanted their shop to stand out. Making their customers happy was the sisters’ top priority. “We started reading our father’s notes and learning from our mother and repeat visitors from all parts of the world. By learning about it all made the work easy for us to make our customers happy” said Neela.
Neela praises their mother; “Our mother has a positive attitude, strong will power and determination. She never gives up and always fight back no matter what”. She believes in them and encourages them to continue their father’s legacy. Stories of ‘The Spice Girls of India’ cannot be told without their mother.
“We have to prove to the world that we can do it. They think that just because we are women we aren’t able to do it…but we are more than what they think”. When women come together, they can do unimaginable things!
They continued what their father believed in; which is QUALITY. “If you sell quality, people will return back to you”, she said. They continued to produce quality spices and also improve their relationship with their customers. According to reports, MV spice shop remains the best spice shop in India and still provides top quality spices.
The shop which is now managed by these sisters in honor of their father has gained much attention and is here to stay. The stones that the builders reject, will one day become the corner stone.
Women make the impossible possible in every way. Each woman is unique and when we come together, we do great things. Flowers in Winter are rare to come by.