It took a pandemic for many people to get closer to their Ayurvedic roots. Despite our rich inheritance, many of us have been guilty of not valuing and appreciating the wisdom of our forefathers laid down in the ancient scriptures. Namhya Foods founder Ridhima Arora’s story falls along the same lines.
“My dad was the fittest guy I had seen growing up. But a few years ago, his health started to deteriorate. He was undergoing treatments, but we saw little improvements,” explains the Gurgaon-based founder.
Later in 2018, they found he had developed liver cirrhosis, which severely damaged the organ and its functioning. The doctors suggested a transplant. But a liver transplant is especially sensitive because the body’s rejection rate is relatively higher.
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So, Ridhima and her family began searching for alternatives to surgery. That was the beginning of her trying to understand Ayurveda.
In this quest to learn about alternative medicine and treatments, she met many Ayurveda doctors and practitioners whose names were nowhere to be found on the internet but who carried with them a treasure of Ayurvedic wisdom and knowledge.
“The doctors I met had no internet presence but their treatments and herbs had healed hundreds of people.”
Exploring the lineage
What nudged Ridhima to delve deeper into the Ayurvedic realm was her family lineage of Ayurvedic medicine. Her grandfather practiced as a renowned Vaidya in Jammu and Kashmir during his days. But at the time, documentation or record-keeping wasn’t a common practice. So, after his passing, nobody took his legacy forward.
Although Ridhima wasn’t actively exposed to the Ayurvedic way of life, she did imbibe the principles of living in sync with nature from her Nani early on.
“I was a fat child growing up. Even though I had a moderate diet, nobody could understand the apparent reason why I was so overweight,” she says.
Back then, there was little to no awareness about concerns like PCOS and hormonal imbalances like today. But Ridhima’s mother was able to identify that there was a deeper reason behind her suffering from obesity. She was later diagnosed with PCOS.
“I had to learn a lot about my body on my own, I discussed it with my Nani and she gave me invaluable tips that helped me lose 30kgs within 3 years. During that period, I was able to regain my health and reverse my PCOS.”
This transformation encouraged Ridhima to develop a holistic view of her health. But she couldn’t envision that this had the potential to become her career. After completing her school, like most aspirational Indian kids, she completed her BTech and MBA and worked in a branding and marketing role for 5 years.
Founding Namhya Foods
So, when her father’s health issues resurfaced in 2018, she decided to educate herself about Ayurveda and reconnect with her grandfather’s Ayurvedic lineage.
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She also began drawing inspiration from spirituality and Buddhist philosophy during this time. With spiritual values imbibed in her, she recognized her calling to create awareness about Ayurveda. This led to the birth of Namhya Foods.
“I came from an MBA background and understood the market gap. That helped me lay down a plan and strategies to launch my start-up. I knew I was young and had no EMIs to pay, and if I had to take any risk, this was the time.”
With Namhya, Ridhima aims to debunk the myths of preventative care. “Healing and recovery from diseases are all within us, and we don’t necessarily have to end up in a hospital for every concern we face,” explains this Shark Tank India featured founder.
A day in her life
Currently working remotely, Ridhima straddles spaces between Gurgaon and Jammu. While the former is where she enjoys her independent space, the latter is where all the groundwork and manufacturing happens for her business.
A typical day in Ridhima’s life starts at 6:30 AM. She begins her day with her morning rituals and a little over an hour devoted to her practice of reiki healing.
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She then plans her work day, making a list of to-dos, prepping for her meals, and getting on calls with her team of 26 members. Post work, she spends her evenings immersed in Yoga and calls a friend or two before retiring for the day.
“I’m very out there socially. Due to the nature of my work, I get to talk to a lot of people, which is why when I am not working, my preferred leisure mode is staying in silence, reading or listening to podcasts.”
When asked about spending time with friends and family, Ridhima says, “I have a closely-knit circle of 5 friends that I connect with regularly.” Closest to her mum, she says her mother has also had the most influence on her. She admires her mother’s resilience and patience and hopes to cultivate them with the same grace that she did.
Giving back to the society
Raised to always aim high, Ridhima had a competitive spirit growing up. An ace topper, she scored the highest in all her classes, right from school to college. But there has been an internal shift in the last couple of years - Ridhima appreciates it more when someone is doing well or even better than her.
“I have taken it up as a responsibility to do my work well. I wish to help people serve their purpose and calling and make a collective effort to make both the process and the outcome more wholesome and meaningful.”
Through her work with Namhya, Ridhima has changed many lives and has played an instrumental role in creating awareness about the ancient science of healing. “Ayurveda has an obsolete air attached to it. It is not fashionable to sell Ayurvedic herbs for people of my generation. And that’s exactly why I’ve taken it up.”
Ridhima is proud of having broken this stereotype. She also takes immense pride in creating a meaningful impact in the menstrual hygiene and care domain, where she worked closely in collaboration with NGOs to improve period health.
“I’m also proud of my ability to have my parents depend on me for any kind of decision-making. They trust my judgment about things I have a grasp on, and the fact that I can do justice to that - both financially and emotionally - fills me with pride.”
The way forward and superpower as a woman
In 2023, Ridhima is looking forward to building her team and learning more about team management. On the personal front, she wants to be able to think bigger. “I have realized I have some bottleneck limitations in terms of thinking. I want to expand the realm of what and how I think.”
Also read: Integrate Mindfulness in Your Work
For Ridhima, her superpower as a woman lies in the fact that she does not view gender from the lens of restraint. She describes herself as someone with a gender-neutral lens and refuses to look at her gender in proportion to what she can or cannot do.
“I look at my gender as part of the energy I am supposed to represent in this world and nothing beyond that,” she explains.
She highly encourages women not to limit their potential or believe they’re any lesser due to their gender.
On her relationship with Amrutam
Ridhima has been a long-term admirer of Amrutam. She enjoys the unfiltered, authentic, and raw form of content that we put out. “It really helps me connect with the brand,” she quips. She sincerely believes that Amrutam is different from commercial brands. In her words, it is distinctive and real and helps her learn better about Ayurveda.
Ridhima’s message to the readers
“There is a Buddha in everybody; we just need to learn to tap into that part of us. We must learn to uncover the blanket of problems preventing us from reaching our highest potential. Healing and understanding higher consciousness, all is within us. Do your thing, do it honestly and genuinely. The comparisons are social media noise. The more you discover within, and the more you will be able to do outwards.”
We are grateful to have Ridhima Arora as part of our #AmrutamFamily.