Bhav Yatra in Chennai

Posted by Sheetal Vaidya on Nov 20, 2014

Meera Maran, the Compassionate Entrepreneur

By the time the Bhav Yatra reached Chennai, the mind had stopped interfering or planning about the coming day. All was in a perfect flow and there was no particular agenda in Chennai.

Anant from Coimbatore had referred me to meet Meera who runs Terrra foods [+] at Chennai. She runs an organic food product outlet and I was very impressed with all items as for the first time in 10 years, I could eat sweets without worrying about my sugar levels. So I thought of taking an official appointment to see her and try to learn some recipes for myself. We meet in her food factory –an extremely neat kitchen with all women smiling around as they make different items. The place is also aesthetically done up and upon asking, to my surprise, I found out that Meera was an architect!

Meera Mohan, Terra Foods
The story of this architect turned organic food entrepreneur slowly unfolded and beneath a hardcore businesswomen I uncovered a person who is dedicatedly holding a community of women around her very strongly with love and utmost respect. She shared that all women who work are from nearby area and they are paid at par with the industry. To promote the organic farmer who sends her supplies of fresh veggies everyday she has agreed upon a price that will support him and does not bargain at any cost. She feels organic foods need to get their due and if we bargain at this end the producer is never going to feel motivated to supply authentic material.

She believes in compassionate service and it starts from where she starts from so there’s no compromise on costs, quality and compassion. She shared a beautiful story of how one event leads to the other. One day an executive from a fairly large organization visits her with a group of employees to check her work and place a big order for a party. Meera is feeling nervous and offers them different items to taste but they keep refusing it. In the end she gets the order and the basis of the order was that the executive found that the entire team working in the kitchen was smiling and happy and that was enough a proof for them to select Terra foods as their catering partners! She said that affirmed her belief one more time in not compromising on people who work for her. She’s weaved a thread of compassion by bringing together the farmer, local women and end customer who are all blessed by her work and solid determination to hold the fort against all odds. Even if it sounds like a marketing campaign, I would love to invite you to visit Terra foods if you happen to travel to Chennai.

The Gandhi Study Circle
At Chennai with no great agenda I was resting at my aunt’s place when she mentioned that there’s a Gandhi study circle organized at one of the colleges and we can meet the team who manages it. Taking this as a message from Universe I decided to meet them. With no idea of the location or people I hesitantly called them and fixed an appointment.

The place was seemingly far and had to make my way through a lot of traffic to reach Thakkar Bapa campus. As you drive in, the place shifts to a different world and you feel you are in a serene Gandhian space. Here I meet up with Premaji, Mohanji and Chandruji who run the Gandhi study circle once a week. Youth who are interested in knowing more about Gandhian values come to this space to read, discuss and share their thoughts. There’s also an exam that is taken periodically for the same. Interestingly, I learnt that a lot of cities have these study circles but are not connected with each other. Again the value of decentralized integration was felt.

While we were chatting Chandruji makes a few calls and in another half an hour, we land up in the office of a movie director. The movie director made a tamil flick on Gandhiji last year and he intends to make a movie on Vinobaji soon and hence Chandruji thought we should meet and talk! We had some nice conversation and I could only ask him to visit Pavnar and experience Vinobaji in addition to reading and discussing about him with people who have been with him. This experience in itself was very general but it clearly gave me sign that Vinobaji and Gandhiji are just not human figures who existed once upon a time in history but they are thoughts that prevail to guide whoever is ready to delve deeper!

Before I head out of Chennai, our family packs all goodies and blesses me for the journey ahead. I wished to get my car serviced and went up to Kun Hyundai and they see the car with peace written all over and the quotes and ask me the reason for all that. I share about the yatra and they charge me one third the amount that is normally charged for others. I received it with joy and deep gratitude in my heart.

My next co-traveler Vipul (aka ViR) joins me and little did I know what Kabir poetry can bring forth in you. ViR brings this as a gift on the yatra that follows.

Posted by Sheetal Vaidya on Nov 20, 2014 | permalink

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