6
June

Remodelling Kitchens

Story by Bilal Handoo in June, Kishtwar

: After passing through a testing phase of life, Tariq Masood Malik from Kishtwar managed to do something which eventually ended Jammu’s monopoly on Kishtwar Kitchens. Bilal Handoo profiles an entrepreneur from hills and his ‘modular’ venture

Sweated under the moral obligation

On one fine morning of 2006, a young man from the hills of Kishtwar left home for a desert-bound Dubai. Just like thousands, he went to Gulf in anticipation to flip his life for better. He was very excited for his computer operator job in Dubai’s food processing company. But as he landed in Dubai, he was left shocked. Instead of computer job, this man from Kishtwar’s Fareediya Mohalla was shifted to Mechanics department, which totally messed him up.

For the next seven months, Tariq Masood Malik, 38, bore the brunt of machines he was not accustomed too. He was growing restless, besides thoughtful. With the same state of mind, this father of two returned home.

Back home as his period of idleness prolonged, Malik could feel an invisible burden mounting on his shoulders. Being the eldest among the five siblings in the family of ten where only his father was an earning hand, Malik sweated under the moral obligation.

To break idleness though, he shortly engaged himself in many private stints. Besides working as marketing and sales guy, this Class 12 pass-out also worked as a sports coach in a private school in his hometown. But somehow the condition of his home wasn’t improving with his insufficient income.

From valley to plains of Jammu

Promised better returns

To strike the change, Malik again left Kishtwar. This time he wasn’t in air for Dubai, but on surface for Jammu. After facing many twists and turns, he eventually landed in an insurance company. He was again working as sales guy in a sector where better performance promised better returns.

Raged and discouraged

After some time, however, the ‘backbreaking’ performance in the sector started draining him out. But he made a perfect peace with his job until his area manager frequently started abusing his colleagues for failing to meet the set target. This left him raged, besides discouraged.

A ray of hope

It was during his stay in Jammu that he knew about Entrepreneurship Development Institute’s (EDI’s) SKEWPY program. The program was promising financial support to those who wanted to start their own venture. The opportunity came like a ray of hope for Malik. He applied and received 10 days training. But just then an untimely death of his cousin forced him to give up the training mid-way. Grieving Malik returned to Kishtwar.

Took his time

EDI at Kishtwar

A week later, he could sense a strange stress building up. Being a jobless man was an obvious trigger behind his sad state. He didn’t want to resume his insurance job in Jammu. He wanted to stay back and do something of his own. It was then he heard that EDI training has started in Kishtwar. He quickly enrolled for the training.

Training wasn’t enough

It was April 2013. He eventually completed 15 days training. But mere training wasn’t enough. He had to complete his market research, paper work and project report.

One of its own kind

By February 2014, Tariq Masood managed to setup the ‘only shop of its own kind’ in entire Kishtwar. He started a first modular kitchen shop in Kishtwar. “I didn’t want to follow the footprints of others,” says Tariq, a skinny man beaming with confidence. “That is why I took my time to zero in on my venture.”

Quality and costs

Variety than quantity

He was sanctioned Rs 9 lakh under SKEWPY program. But the sanctioned amount, he feels, wasn’t sufficient. “But I managed it very smartly,” he says. “Some kitchen accessories even cost me Rs 50,000. But what I did is: I immediately equip my shop with variety than quantity based on affordable prices. Now, I mostly purchase costly items on order basis,” he says.

Boost his morale

Malik managed to book three modular kitchen orders in the first month itself, which boost his morale. “What exactly I do is,” he elaborates, “I equip the kitchen with modern kitchen accessories. The cost of the accessories ranges anything from Rs 1.5 to Rs 7 lakh. It is a quality of kitchen items that determines the cost.”

Getting good response.

He was sure of the success of his venture keeping the ‘construction boom’ in Kishtwar in view, he says: “Most people now prefer modular kitchen in their newly constructed houses,” he says. “Earlier people used to purchase the accessories from Jammu. I am quite happy that I have ended Jammu’s monopoly on the local market. By God’s grace, I am getting good response.”

EDI gave me a platform to excel

Feeling empowered

Post-EDI, Malik is living an “empowered” life with good income. “EDI gave me a platform to excel,” he says. “Obviously, I can feel the difference.”