The PhD Connection Of This Roadside Thela In Kerala Reminds Us Of Sunny Winters

“Hustle isn’t just working on the things you like. It means doing the things you don’t enjoy so you can do the things you love.” – Unknown

The couple in question did hustle and how. The story you are about to read below is a story of a young woman who did something unthinkable, in spite of facing criticism regarding her field of work, but with her husband's support, she still did it anyhow. This story is about perseverance, love, sacrifice and hard-work and we hope you enjoy reading it.

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In Thiruvananthapuram's Technopark, there used to be a thattukada, a roadside food joint, where this couple could be seen selling paranthas, serving momos, pani puri, aloo parathas, dosa and sambhar and gulab jamun.

Wife Sneha Limbgaomkar is a PhD student in Kerala, and her husband Premshankar Mandal is with her after he quit his job at the CAG office in Delhi to be with her. They worked so hard just to ensure Sneha was able to complete her PhD without any hassles. Like a lot of love stories even this began in Orkut. Due to their difference in caste, their parents’ vehemently disapproved it, yet they went ahead and got married in 2016. She always dreamed of doing a PhD, Premshankar was extremely supportive of Sneha’s decisions.

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As a PhD research scholar in the Bioinformatics on the subject of Carnivorous Plants at Kerala University, she got financial assistance for the first two years of her research through the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF). After the fellowship ended, the need for money for day-to-day expenses arose. Sneha was the first to come up with an idea of a roadside eatery. "Initially, my husband was a little hesitant that it would be on too small a scale for us to benefit off of. I said that it doesn't matter. We realised that it the most sensible thing for us to do would be to start a small business considering our economic situation." she said in her interview with The Better India.

They would spend half of the day preparing the food and the other half selling it. Prem used to start the joint from 3 in the evening and she would join him at 6 after wrapping up her work. When asked how did she manage both studies and work, she said," He (Prem) was the one doing most of the heavy lifting. I used to go to him during lunch time and help out. What I would do is, I'd help him whenever I was able to afford the time. When work was over at the department, I used to rush to go and help him wash dishes and whatever little help I was able to do."

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Initially they had to face a lot of resistance from the people who had issues with the idea of such a business being run by a student near the campus. But after a conversation with the University's registrar and the support from the university, they were able to run their small business without much trouble.

But in August 2017, things got really difficult for her. They had to visit Jharkhand as Premshankar required a surgery. They were in there for three months, finally she had to come back without him as he was still unwell. Now she had to manage everything herself and sadly, the number of customers had gone down drastically since they took a three month break. There would be times when she had to return back home empty handed, due to lack of customers.

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Finally she decided to put her business on hold, as she had to concentrate on her studies. “Of course, I wish to continue my education. I would even like to study abroad. I'm making a lot of plans but it will all depend on how things go. If we need more support, I will definitely choose to go for a job first and then continue my education at some other time." she said.

Sneha, who was working in the Revenue Department of Maharashtra when she cleared the Kerala University entrance and secured the JRF. Has gone through many difficult situations in life. She agrees that most of the times it’s difficult to be strong when faced with adverse situations in life but if you have confidence and you work hard it can bring success. 

Picture Source: IndiaTimes; Edexlive.com; TheNewsMinute

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