Archana Sanwal, a resident of HRC Professional Hub, has been a patient of multiple sclerosis for the past 10 years. The disease has paralysed the 52-year-old Indirapuram resident partially and rendered her helpless. Most of the time, all she can do is surf the web or stare at the TV. Other times, however, she is a dynamic entrepreneur.
Sanwal was a single mother, with 22 years of professional experience, when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Her paralysis forced her to quit working.
Last year, she received Rs 3,000 from her brothers on Raksha Bandhan. Having always had a passion for cooking, she decided to use the money to start a pickle business. In less than a year, she managed to multiply her Rakhi gift to Rs 50,000!
Pikku Pickles - Pikku is Sanwal's nickname - now has more than 14 varieties, ranging from ginger-lemon pickles to green chilly pickles. The homemade pickles are available for Rs 300-Rs 500 per kg. Most of her "marketing" is done via word of mouth and pamphlets. She has already applied for food licences and other necessary formalities required to reach the next level.
Sanwal says that she inherited most of her culinary skills from her mother, who is a superb cook. She picked up several recipes from YouTube, while some recipes, such as the ginger chutney, were a result of her experiments.
Himanshu Sanwal, her son who's studying engineering, does his bit in supporting her. He finds time from his hostel life in Greater Noida to procure raw materials and assists her in selling the product.
"There is no hardship she hasn't stood up to," says Himanshu. "She is an inspiration."
Sanwal says that Pikku Pickles has admirers from as far as Iraq. One of the largest consignments — and her biggest challenge till date — was delivering 40 kg to a marriage reception. "Experiences such as this made me grow," she says.
Pikku Pickles has quite a fanbase in Sanwal's friend's circle and family. A friend of her friend tried her mango pickle recently. "This mango pickle is so, so tasty — my compliments to the person who made it. Even the mango pickle is yummmm. Will order more soon," read her text message to Sanwal.
"It would never have been possible without my family's support," Sanwal says. "They are the bed rock upon which I started the business."