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Touching Lives, One at a Time.

Updated: Aug 15, 2021

"I want to create a community where people can stand out for what's right and make a difference in the world."

-Nahid Khilji

Author: Stuti Ajmera

August, 2021

Independence was the one thing that coursed through my veins from an early age.

We experienced a lot of financial problems growing up in a joint household. Despite the difficult circumstances, I learned a lot about money management then. From saving to using it and not spending irresponsibly, it had become second nature to me. My entire family was quite liberal-minded, even if I don't recall much of my youth. Despite coming from a Muslim family, my sister and I had a lot of support from our family regarding our education.

We were always encouraged to pursue our ambitions and make a difference in our lives. My father and uncle were both well-educated, with my uncle working as a doctor. My mother was always in favor of our education, even though she had not pursued much herself due to her father's early passing. She instilled this spirit in us as well. We had a positive mindset and an encouraging environment when it came to schooling. There was never a period when we weren't allowed to pursue whatever field we wanted. Even though some of our relatives were backward in their outlook, our family's thoughts were never influenced.

I was a member of the hockey team when I was in school. In our family, I was the first female to be exposed to sports. My father once came to see one of our games, and our coach deemed me one of the best players on the field. That was the proudest moment of my life. Unfortunately, since my attention to academics diverted because of Hockey, I had to leave the sport. Still, the look of pride and delight in my father's eyes on that day will be embedded in my mind forever. He's always treated us as equals, never telling us what we couldn't do. “My daughters are no less than sons,” he continues to remind us, and his love remains unwavering even though we are thousands of miles apart.

I am a dietician by profession, and for almost nine years, I was a consultant at Sanjeev Kapoor's 'Khana Khazana,' and I still am. My friends and I were young entrepreneurs who worked for another company for 4-5 years; we always wanted to start something of our own. I didn't want to be supervised, and neither did my friends, so one of my friends founded a wellness company, ‘Health Hatch.’

Nahid and her business partners

I helped her a lot while she fabricated the initial proposal, and later I joined her as a co-founder in 2018 after its initial establishment in 2017. Although the firm was still in its infancy, we worked together day and night to build our cause.

At ‘Health Hatch,' our first goal was to educate people. To inform the general public about health and nutrition and guide how to overcome health complications. We focus on lifestyle changes and health coaching programs for corporate firms. While our goal was lofty, we were still a fledgling organization, and many were wary of us. There were more significant and more well-known businesses in the market than our competitors, and many customers were hesitant to contact us. Fortunately, our previous clients were beneficial and connected us to the corporate world for larger projects.

The more significant challenge was finding like-minded individuals to join us. It wasn't about the money for us; it was about making a positive difference in other people's lives. It was challenging to find dietitians who shared our values because many were motivated by financial gain. Because we didn't have any juniors or seniors, it drew a lot of interest from aspiring dietitians eager to make a change in the world. Our company slowly took off, and today, we’ve touched over 20,000 lives in terms of diets and nutrition.

In August of 2020, I was afflicted with COVID-19. As my condition deteriorated, I realized how critical it was to maintain a healthy diet to recover faster. As a result, once I recovered, I made it a point to assist COVID patients with their nutrition on a pro-bono basis. At the same time, a client in the city of Berhampur in Odisha contacted us because he was looking for a dietician in a facility there to help him plan a menu for Covid patients. The program was so well-received that the CM tweeted about us! We were ecstatic because our mission of empowering and educating people about nutrition and health was becoming widely recognized.

Seeing how our company helped such a large number of people recover inspired us to do more. Furthermore, because we frequently dealt with health issues, we had many patients who conquered theirs, which motivated us to give it our all every day.

The book co-authored by Nahid

Today, I've co-authored two books, 'Winning over PCOS' and 'Beating Diabetes,' have my own business and a supportive and loving family, and am striving to fulfill my biggest dream: to buy a house for my parents in Bombay. It's no small feat for me, but I'm currently in Kuwait and looking at the market which has a lot of scope, and I believe I'll be able to realize my dream in a few years. I never imagined I'd make it this far, but here I am.

We did have many regressive members in our family when it came to educating women, given our family history. Islam, on the other hand, does not teach us this. The first lesson is that we must educate ourselves and encourage others. Women pursuing their goals and being financially self-sufficient is nothing to be afraid of. The role of a male does not change if a woman is working.

People were initially wary of my working, but because I was affiliated with such an excellent corporation, my parents and family gained more power. Things do change when you believe in yourself. I was always at ease in my skin, and my employer and coworkers were always friendly and supportive. For the most part, I never felt out of place or inferior to anyone.

Nahid with her family

Presently, I'm married and have a son I want to raise in the best way possible. I want him to be educated, respect others, and speak up against any occurring injustices. In the same way that we were raised. Even for my husband, the truth takes precedence over all else. I want to create a community where people can stand out for what's right and make a difference in the world. I'm aiming to raise awareness and impart those kinds of liberal thoughts wherever I go and empower more girls to stand on their own feet and become independent. I'd like to say to every person pursuing their dreams: ‘Let no one stop you because you can reach for the stars and beyond, Let no one make you forget that.’”

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