WINNING COUPLE PUTS LAXMAN JHULA ON THE HEALTH MAP
A committed couple with mutual interests creates a powerful force. And when that interest is for improving the worldwide human condition, it takes on added power and attracts others who have the same interest. Like a snowball such a force begins gaining momentum to change the world.
Promlia and Dinesh Kathait are such a couple so I, a lifelong health nerd, was attracted to their juice bar in Laxman Jhula, Rishikesh, India. Our mutual interest in healthy food and living was a call from across continents; a call from their organic sugarless smoothies and pastries to a search for such goodies.
After exploring many cafés and restaurants in Rishikesh, I stepped into Misha’s Cafe and encountered the vibrant personalities of this amazing couple. As could be expected I not only got a delightful smoothie but met other wonderful people also attracted by the place.
FROM ADVENTURE SPORTS TO HEALTH
The Kathaits were not always into the healthy food business. They started their entrepreneurship by capitalizing on the beautiful Ganges River. In fact, Dinesh was one of the camping/rafting pioneers in the area. Along with Uttarakhand Garhwal Rafting Company, Dinesh’s company, Venture Himalayas, was the 14th company to do several day tours along the Ganges. He ran a highly successful business until 2015.
Unfortunately, the rafting/camping businesses were so good that everybody wanted to get part of the action and started doing the same thing. Finally, the chaos, pollution and disorder became so extravagant that the government closed down all the camp sites. That marked the end of Kathait’s company.
But all endings are new beginnings The Kathaits decided to pursue one of their other passions and open up a health cafe/juice bar. They first bought a coffee machine and started making healthy sugarless vegan pastries. Soon the juice bar became the star, attracting the most interest.
HEALTY EATING BEGINS IN CHILDHOOD
PROMILA grew up in Bathinda, Punjab and says: “My mother got me interested in nutrition by preparing health juices for me every single day when I was growing up“. She says the drinks usually included fresh carrots and oranges and adds, “I was raised on a farm where my parents grew all their fresh vegetables and I spent my childhood climbing fruit trees and eating them off the branches as well as certain leaves and raw vegetables.” This healthy start is reflected in her clear beautiful skin and her sunny disposition.
Promila earned her Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) and a one year computer diploma before getting married. Seeing the growing worldwide interest in health she says: “I figured out that the supply needed to meet the demand so I began reading and studying everything I could find about the health benefits of natural plants and I focused on those growing in my area as well as the ones that were seasonal“.
Promila began creating juices and smoothies good for different health issues such as detox, vitality, energy etc. These smoothies gained a lot of attention and soon people were coming for the health benefits as well as for the delicious flavors. She prepares their vegan pastries, sugarless dark chocolates, and power balls, on a daily basis. Misha’s Cafe is an international hub of lively conversation among walk-ins and regulars who relish heathy treats and vibrant conversation.
DINESH grew up in the ancestral village of Akhori, in the Himalayas where pesticides, fertilizers or insecticides were not used. He grew up eating healthy organic food. Later he studied IT but got his Masters in Tourism Administration (MTA). After working for a year in Nepal he returned to Rishikesh because he felt the Ganges River offered great possibilities for adventure sports and tourism.
His rafting/camping business, Venture Himalayas, was a great success until the campsite was devastated by the great flood in 2013. He managed to resurrect the business, but it came to a grinding halt in 2015. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) decided to ban all campsites along the Ganges. Too many operators had copied the camping/rafting idea and were causing major pollution and disorder.
Dinesh outsourced the rafting part of the business and moved on into the health business.
He and Promilia opened up Misha Cafe and put lots of research and passion into their work to provide the best quality for their customers. This is where I found them:
Sakshi Gopal Mandir,
Laxman Jhula, (Near Police Station Pauri Garhwal district)
webpage under construction
MARRIAGE AND PERSONAL LIFE:
The Kathaits were married via a traditional arranged marriage. What does Promila, a modern educated woman think of this? I asked her if she considered it to be part of the reason for her successful business partnership with her husband. They certainly appeared to be an ideal couple to me. Her answer surprised me.
She said she felt a marriage was a marriage whether it was arranged or was a ‘love marriage‘ (by choice). She could not see much differences between them. But as an outsider I have a different take on arranged marriages and feel that her marriage might be blessed through the wisdom of both of their families.
The Kathaits live in the Kailash Gate part of Rishikesh. They commute to their café/juice shop daily on their motor scooter and bike, crossing the Ganges on a walk bridge where roads are too narrow for cars.
They have a busy schedule taking care of the shop and socializing with their local and international customers. Their daughter Misha is five years old and goes to a private school. She already displays a solid mastery of English along with Hindi, her native language.
Do I need to emphasize yet again the importance of English? Misha is getting a head start in becoming an entrepreneur herself simply by mastering the lingua franca at such an early age. If you are an English teacher see my ESL/EFL blogs.
Note that all the international interchange happens in English.