Coffee with the ‘Fab’ behind Fabindia

Like every other time, I was walking in Fabindia’s outlet in Connaught Place when I got stuck at what was written on the cover of a green colored book which said, “Making India Work”. This is 2 months ago. There was something about the statement that wasn’t allowing me to move ahead; the possibility sounded huge. I purchased the book that evening.

I have been this crazy Fabindia lover who would go to their outlet once in a while to smell the freshness that their stores withhold, the vibrant colors, the stories of a million artisans it communicates and for the celebration of what India is about. People who know me would call me a brand ambassador only! And so I wanted to meet the man himself – to experience who he is, to travel through his stories about India, to witness how he has created a blend of profitable business and a societal impact, and a lot more.

While reading “Making India work”, I could not stop myself any longer. It took me some time and a few extra actions to find his connect and I wrote to him. I told him what I love about them, why I want to meet them and why he should meet me. I poured my heart out in that mail. And just like we wake up after a sloshed night, I was sure that was all in excitement and I will never get a response. And the life continued the way it did.

A few days later, I get a reply from his assistant asking about who I am and why I want to meet him. Why would he meet me, I thought? Gathering my excitement, I distinguished and wrote back. And I told him everything I wanted to say. 14 days later, I was in class when I received an email that said, “Sir would love to meet you. Can you come to our office over lunch on 9th Sept.?” My happiness knew no bounds.

And here I was, right in front of their office at 12:30pm, exactly half an hour before the scheduled time. As I move in, I see a huge charkha on left, a very simple and elegant looking office, colorful pictures and quotations on hand made papers and some bright shining people. I was called inside his cabin after 10min. As I was moving in, an old lady with a broad smile greeted me and guided me to sir’s cabin. And what followed will remain with me forever.

As I moved in, a tall, young looking man welcomed me with a broadest possible smile. Yes, that was him! The table was laid in front of us with cutlery when he opens a very Indian tiffin packed from his home. The simplicity of food and the very thought of getting food from home for us set a lot of things in place. As we started talking, we talked about my family, my passion, Fabindia, Fabindia’s visions, Indian politics and it took him just a few seconds to make me be at home. Such tasty food, amazing coffee and wonderful chocolates I had! He would suddenly get up in excitement; put forward his radical thoughts on how we can actually make India work and sit down again. The charisma, the sparkle in his eyes and the purity in his smile said a lot of things. He was listening to me as if I am the only person he is interested in listening to and he said what he said with equal authority. This wasn’t a usual meeting. He has given project to work on till we meet next.

From being humble enough to respond to my mail and calling me over lunch, to getting lunch packed from home, from the wonderful conversations we had  to him knowing my past on fingertips from what I had shared in mail, from the excitement he carried to share to the simplicity with which he would put his radical thoughts, from the vibrancy of colors at the minutest of places to the smiling faces all around starting from the bhaiya at reception to every employee, I was mesmerized. No wonder Fabindia is what it is!

This one experience has broken multiple barriers for me today. So put off all the reasons and create what you want, take that extra action that produces results, say what your heart says, and do what you believe in; for life does exist in language and life is too short to live with “What if I did?!”!

Responsibility I am taking on:

Taking away the struggle of individual survival from people and giving them an opportunity to create their self expression in work. Inclusive growth is the possibility.”

The thought is, when there are so many people in the world and there are enough resources for each, why do people have to struggle for individual survival?

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