Marila Latif

Srinagar, Sep 15: Shuaib Shah, 29, has established a food studio— ‘RIZQ’— at Lal Bazar here after completing Masters in Business Administration.

Son of Moulana Showkat Ahmad Shah, assassinated president of Jamiat-e-Ahle-Hadith, Shuaib decided against well-paid job prospect and chose to start his own business where his individual efforts would determine his future.

In a chat with Kashmir Glory, Shuaib says that his father taught him to be a good human and that he inspired him to emulate high standards of humanity and truthfulness.

Recalling a fond memory, Shuaib says that it all started with a ‘humiliation’.

“It was back in year 2002 after an anxious wait of months for my 12th class results, I failed to sail through. I was afraid of the consequences but my father told me to bring chicken from market to celebrate this rare ‘feat’. I was so shocked how in the world can my father treat me like this? But it happened! This ‘humiliation’ had a lesson which otherwise I could have never learnt.”

He told me, Shuaib says, “what you earn is not that important but ‘how’ you earn that surely is. “Those words continue to reverberate in my ears and this made me to start a business on my own where I can manage everything in a ‘Halal’ way.”

It was a matter of sheer chance that Shuaib opted for MBA. “I never had any passion for MBA but when I start studying this subject I found it very interesting and a lively subject,” he says.

Soon after starting a marketing research consultancy, Shuaib suffered a ‘blow’ as his father Moulana Showkat Ahmad Shah was killed in a blast at Maisuma locality of Srinagar in 2012.

The responsibility to support his family after the untimely demise of his father shifted on Suhaib’s shoulders.

“The death of my father made me to realize that there is something more important for a person than money and studies and that is one’s family,” he says.

“I had planned to move abroad but didn’t want to let my family alone,” says Suhaib who has a younger sister and mother in his small family.

“My childhood friend, Shajeel, is my business partner. After a thorough survey, we found there is no proper restaurant from Dargah to Lal Chowk, so we established ‘RIZQ—the food studio’.”

Shajeel says that Shuaib provided him space and he helped him by managing the restaurant.

The restaurants in Valley, they say, fleece the customers on the name of varieties they offer. Chicken Biryani that is consumed on a regular basis almost everywhere is sold on exorbitant price, they say.

At ‘Rizq’, they say, “we serve you while keeping the standards into consideration. Our aim is to satisfy the customer and if we fail to, we pay them back.”

Revealing as what actually made them to name the food studio as ‘Rizq’, Suhaib says: “The name ‘Rizq’ attracted me to this food studio. ‘Rizq’ is a blessing from Allah and it keeps everybody going and everybody keeps going after it. I am trying my best to serve this blessing in the purest and the best possible way.”

Shuaib is scheduled to pursue PHD degree in marketing from University of Kashmir and he is planning to expand the business at least in Srinagar.

“The best compliment I ever received came from an elderly couple who was sitting in the corner with their two kids- the wife told his hubby that she wanted to have ‘Tandoori chicken’ for which his husband said ‘No that is utterly raw inside’. I overheard the conversation and told them to try out and the response I received after was overwhelming,” says Shuaib.

‘Rizq’ has been acclaimed by customers for its special and unique food varieties which include ‘White Qeema’, ‘Malai Chicken’ and the ‘Haleem’.

Based in Deccan and Hyderabad, the credit for introduction of ‘Haleem’ in the valley goes to ‘Rizq’.

‘Haleem’, a more or less like Kashmir’s very own and cherished ‘Harisa’ is available on weekends in the restaurant.

“I never had thought it would be like this, but it has been a smooth journey upto now, all praises to Almighty Allah,” Shuaib says.

“My father’s blessings are with me and I wish to live his legacy of being a respectable person earning my livelihood according to what my religion has taught me to. ‘What’ you earn is not that important but ‘how’ you earn that surely is! And it surely is the mantra that has been the guiding principle.”