"My father, Mohanlal Verhomal, had made Jodhpur city popular for spices. His name was in all the travel guide books and there were many articles on him in various magazines all over-the-world. He was one of the first players in the online selling of spices from India. His demise was sudden and unexpected. My mother, Bhagwanti, was left all alone to take care of her husband’s business and their seven daughters.
On the day of the funeral, my mother overheard our relatives plan out her life. They wanted to run the shop and give her money to take care of the household. She knew, however, that it was not a long-term solution. Something sparked to life in her. Her intuition said that nobody could take care of her husband's business like she could. She sent her two elder daughters to take charge of the shop and business as long as she was in mourning.
Many duplicate shops popped up within ten days of our father’s demise. The touts started guiding tourists away from our shop. Policemen were bribed and removed hoardings that showed the way to the shop. Our suppliers, too, were influenced by the other shopkeepers in the market, so they became hesitant to give us supplies. People even refused to sell us property because we were women, and if they agreed they wanted double the price.
The ogling from the men in the market and comments from our neighbours made it even more challenging for us. I can’t forget that we had to hold our urine the entire day as there was no facility for women close by. In fact, we stopped hydrating ourselves to avoid trips to the toilet and this in turn led to kidney stones.
These odds did not stop my mother. She ignored the naysayers and just focused on doing what she had to do. Right from lobbying for a urinal for women to opening three new shops, Bhagwanti has set an example of perseverance.She has been doing it for 13 years and has no plans to stop. She has encouraged all seven of us to be independent and fight for what we need in life. Her latest quest is finding sons-in-law who support her daughters in continuing with their father's famed spice business."