Amlan Mandal

“Sir and madam, because of you two I could survive my family during this pandemic!” – one of our employees had said to us during the lockdown of 2020. By that time, me and wife had our own business. Before that, I was a part of the IT industry. Thanks to my beloved wife, I got introduced to handloom works. And during this time, I got to do a lot of things that gave me a sense of satisfaction.

When I started pursuing engineering, I joined the EEE stream, whereas my wife, who was my girlfriend at that time, had joined a professional textile designing course. Later on, after a few years, I went to join an MNC while she continued to do her work in the textiles industry. She was extremely focused on this handloom art. Watching her always inspired me. When I was in the 3rd year of my job, I started questioning myself – “What exactly am I doing to society?” I was just doing a regular corporate 9 to 5 job, working 9 hours a day and giving nothing back to society!!! On the other hand, my wife’s work kept inspiring me more and more.

Things changed in the 4th and last year of the job. Once, I went with my girlfriend to one of the weaving society in Odisha. I found my interest there… watching how handloom works, why handloom products are popular, and how to manage this… everything caught my attention. At that moment I felt – “Why don’t I step into Vani Vrtti and use my experience and expertise in uplifting the sector? I spent an entire year gathering knowledge. Finally, in the 5th year, I decided of quitting the job. It was a time in April 2019. I was supposed to get married. Then I left my job, just 9 months before the marriage. Initially, this was tough for me and it was tougher to understand and get used to “Vani Vrtti”. On my journey, I learned a lot. At that time we were 3-4 people and now it’s 50-60.

During COVID, it was very tough for us to continue but still we, as a team never left anyone out. We made sure that everyone got paid though there was no sale for a long time. We kept on helping our employees and the most emotional moment happened when one of our employees thanked us for all the efforts. At that moment, I found the fulfillment I was looking for. We were surely doing something good for society. After walking so far, when I look back, it feels like a big source of motivation. I am grateful that my wife and my family always supported me irrespective of  me taking the bold step and joining an unorganized sector . I was always a person who believed in stability than taking risks while following my dream. But my wife was never tired of moving up through lows. This was an eye-opener. It helped to change my thought to pursue my dream rather than a nightmarish job.

Well, it happens, when both the spouses are in the same profession, problems arise. This has also happened with us. But, we have kept our zone different. We don’t step into each other’s part and always have respect for each other. That’s the thing that keeps us flowing on our own boats on the same river.

At the end of the day, I smile and feel content that at least someone is earning because us . From the very beginning, we have been trying to help as much as people by involving them in our organization, crafting them and providing them a means of earning. We have successfully made this happen today. Since, Vani Vrtti always meant weaving sustainable livelihoods and we stand with it.

Total Work Experience : 5 Years (Infosys)

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