My childhood friend Raj and I have been very close friends since the age of 4 ! She and I studied in the same school and later had to depart because of our careers. Though our careers were demanding, our friendship remained strong and we would always find time to meet each other.
Raj was a beautiful girl and always wanted to fly high. She studied French and eventually because of her beauty and brains got a job as an air hostess on an international air carrier company. We all were so happy for her as during those times it was very difficult to get such a lucrative job with a handsome salary. She stayed abroad in Hongkong, UK and almost every day we would see her in some new country. We all envied her lifestyle. She also got a life partner who was a pilot on one of the flights that she was on.
The career span of an air hostess is limited. Once you get married and have kids, most of the time one has to give up one’s career. And so did Raj! She had 2 beautiful girls and lived abroad in a small quintessential town in Europe. She therefore couldn’t even dream of continuing her very demanding career. She settled to take care of home and family. Her husband of course flew high and eventually became a captain of one of the prestigious airlines.
Raj spent all her time raising the girls who didn’t really need her now as much as they needed her when they were younger. The daughters also got busy with their studies and their friends. With a husband flying all the time and daughters not having much time for Raj, she started getting bored and didn’t know how to spend her time meaningfully.
In India, you can visit friends and family but abroad one has those restrictions too. Eventually, on one of her holidays here she confided in me. She wanted to spend the time that she had now in plenty, doing something meaningful.
I counselled her and told her that she can actually become an entrepreneur. She can think of starting her own business. She laughed! Never in her life had she even uttered the word ‘ business’ and here was I giving her advice to start one!
I gave her a lot of ‘Gyan’ which I am used to giving to students around me. She would simply laugh and change the subject. However, my perseverance continued. In all our WhatsApp chats I would continue to give her the confidence of ‘ she can do something on her own. We discussed all kinds of business, from selling Indian pashmina shawls abroad to even cookery classes!
As Raj had so much free time, she started spending some time on her brother-in-law’s farm, helping him to sow crops and at times even plough his field. One day she realised, she is actually getting interested in farming and agriculture! She started reading and getting knowledge about this new subject and eventually realised that this was her calling.
She started growing a few vegetables and selling them in the local market. The response of buyers made her work harder. Raj started growing a variety of vegetables now.
She also set up her own company along with her brother-in-law and gave a lovely name Primal produce.
Raj started the business with zero balance. They are 3 partners now who have invested nearly 100,000 Euro in infrastructure – irrigation systems, fixing glasshouses, compost etc. One year into the business only, and one of them is a fully paid employee- the other 2 are still working for no wages so that every penny they make goes back into the business.
Though Primal caters to a local market, Raj is confident that she can grow her business in her country with sustainable farming as the focus. She wants to keep the carbon footprint low! She doesn’t want her produce to travel for miles to get to her customers. Time will only define the reach of Primal Produce!
I couldn’t imagine that a beautiful girl who was flying high in the skies will someday fly high as an entrepreneur!
As they say… where there is a will and hard work there is a way!!