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Home > Business > Special

They dared to dream and made it big

November 02, 2006

Are you tired of your job? Or do you feel you could be using your time and talent in a better manner and earning a lot more as well? I know, we all feel this way! But there are a few souls braver than the rest of us, who can and do take the plunge. They do this by themselves or find like-minded people, who are willing to go the distance with them.

Two such people are Arpita Das and Parul Nayyar, who have founded Yoda Press, a publishing firm with a capital of Rs 200,000, which was their combined savings. This firm focused on publishing books on areas like urban studies, sexuality, contemporary art and popular culture. They intend to publish bold and offbeat titles.

Nayyar told CNBC-TV18, "We found out that a lot of bookshops would not keep some of our books. On one particular day, we sent 25 people - family, friends, people that the editors knew - into the bookshop to ask for the book and the next day, they palced orders. I don't want to name the bookshop but it's happened not just in Delhi but across the country, where they will not keep titles, which they think are controversial."

Das adds, "We have very good, respectable, solid, classical titles like The Aryans in British India by a well-known historian called Thomas Troutman but we are also very keen on doing some cutting edge scholarship and cutting edge writing, where a lot of publishers would often muzzle the author and say 'we might get protests and demonstrations outside the office'. That sort of thing is something we want to break out of. We want to say - write what you feel and let there be demonstrations and protests outside the office because that's what excites us."

Soon to hit bookshelves are Amar Chitra Katha and Essays in Anti-nationalism but their betting big on the adaptation of the screenplay of Rang De Basanti.

So stick around and look for these titles at your nearest bookshop and if you can't find them, then you can just assume, it's so hot and controversial, that you just have to get your hands on them!

For more on Yoda Press titles:

Cuisine Caper

Another young man who didn't look back after taking some friendly advice is former Wall Street banker and now owner and chef at Busaba, Nikhil Chib. This 35 year old came back in 1995 on a two-week holiday and stayed put ever since.

Once he was here, his friends felt he should start a catering business. Chib aways knew he wanted to do something with food, so he started a small business with an initial amount of Rs 10,000 - yeah that's right and there is no extra zero missing on this figure!

He then catered to a lot of A-list clients like the Birlas, Tatas etc, had over 500-600 parties over 5-6 years and then went to test the waters in Goa during the Millennium. He says, "My first restaurant was in Goa - I found a lovely little place in North Goa and went and opened a restaurant there for a season. I flew down a Thai chef from Bangkok. I had a Chinese guy, I taught some of my dishes, so they were stuck in the kitchen and I was moving back and forth between the restaurant, the bar and the kitchen. It was a crazy experience because we were serving almost 300 people a day. I didn't realise how good the response would be."

But back in Mumbai, he found a dilapidated shack in Colaba that he proceeded to make into Busaba. But before that, he needed to run around to get 15-20 licenses, raise a loan from a bank and find investors but he credits some people who were early believers and who helped him get through all this.

He acknowledges that he has lot of competition around him but his clientele have hepled him keep the faith. But he also feels that India needs some quality product restuarants and that we still don't have them. Which explains why he plans to revamp Busaba with a new name, look and management.

He says, "It's time to move on. After spending time in Europe, I realised I want to appeal to a more serious food and bar clientele and also that's where the big pay packets are."

This young man sure knows how to keep improving and his customers are sure to keep wanting more from him.

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