This is an inspiring story of Aphe, a former cancer patient from Mon, Nagaland. Today, she heartily sells Pani Puri and Chooski in the streets of her hometown.
While working as a teacher at a private school in Dimapur. She was diagnosed with throat cancer and battled it for two years. After recovering herself through the devastating period of chemotherapy treatment, now all she want to do is live her life to the fullest and give hope to the cancer community.
“After winning my battle with cancer I felt like I couldn’t stay at home doing nothing because God has given me back my life and I wanted to make the best of it,” She told YouthNet Nagaland.
At first, she thought of starting a clothing store. Until one day, while she was visiting Dimapur. She saw a non-local man selling Chooski and Pani Puri at a roadside in Dobinala that she realized none of the Nagas are into this category of business and decided she would like to try her hand at it.
Smitten with deep interest of curiosity, so for the next two days, she closely observed him and the way how he dishes out Chooski and Pani Puri and sells them to his customers. She finally managed to persuade him to teach her the secret recipes, who readily accepted after learning from others that she was a cancer survivor.
Then he took her to meet his father who taught her all the basics to start the business. Aphe said, “His father was so kind enough to teach me everything. He advised me to use a wooden hand planer to shave the ice block as it gives better texture and it is easier to shape them. After learning everything I could I got back home and practise it for days. I had cut my fingers countless of times but I was determined to perfect it.”
“Once I was confident enough, I invested Rs 20,000 to get a table, an umbrella and an ice block to kick start my business.” She recollects her first ever flavors she used for Chooski to be strawberry and pineapple.
Like every business, she too had her challenges. One of which was the delivery of ice blocks from Assam. Most of the time the ice block would be melted by the time it reaches her or they refuse to supply because of the shortage of the packaging as the fish mongers also used it for the packaging.
So she invested Rs 18,000 and brought a freezer with which she is now able to make two relatively smaller ice blocks for a day. Everyday she wakes up early in the morning, sometimes even 3 am to get ready to open her stall for school students who are her best customers.
She earns about Rs 800 to Rs 2000 a day. “God gave me a second chance in life so I want to do everything I can to help anyone and everyone who is in need,” she disclosed it when asked about her future plans. Her dream is to build a franchise one day where many youths can be employed across Nagaland.
We are truly inspired. We wish her all the best!