The lesson that Ammalu Paati taught us

Ammalu Paati walks by our office every day, lost in her thoughts, watching the stray dogs, pausing and stopping to pick up jasmine flowers from the profusely flowering plant in our yard. She always has her bag and a steel thuukku slung on her arm. When she sees any of us, stops to chat. She told us that she used to work for our house owner until a few years back. She works in some nearby household as help for a couple of hours. She is great friends with M, our office assistant, exchanges news and pleasantries and watches curiously the various items we are drying, cleaning etc. She had curiously asked M about what we do and listened intently to his explanations about organic and no chemicals etc.

Since a few days she had been asking our team that she wants to buy some pasi payaru ( moong) from us, they tried dissuading her saying that it is a little expensive and she could get it cheaper elsewhere. They were being kind. The day before yesterday she turned to them and said,‘ Are you afraid I won’t pay? Don’t fret, I will pay in advance; I want to buy this pasi payaru.’  Yesterday she stopped by and asked to buy the pasi payaru, they packed and billed it and gave her a discount as well.  When they asked her why she bought it despite the price, she said in a matter of fact manner, “Well I know this is all without chemicals, it looks like nattu payaru, looks like a good variety and I want to try it. And you can’t always worry about money when you want something that is good, you have to be willing to pay the right price.”

Ammalu Paati

A life lesson for our young team; leaving them stumped and exhilarated at the same time. In Bio Basics we have lovely, exhilarating, strange and sometimes disconcerting experiences with people. Many people love us, many are committed to buying from us regularly, and on the flip side, we have also had people stop buying because they think its expensive. Since we provide the organic food we also face questions about the source, doubts about the authenticity of the food, questions about the price, the availability so on and so forth. Our young team also forms opinions about who buys organic food, however sometimes our notions are pleasantly and surprisingly turned on their head.

Yesterday was one such occasion. Ammalu Paati taught us yet another lesson. She reminded us that one has to clear about one’s priorities; once that is so everything else will fall into place. She also made our day and gave us the energy to continue to evangelize about organic food. Coincidentally, after the team told me about this I sat down late evening to write this for today’s letter and that’s when the announcement came that currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 are no more legal tender. It was an irony to realize that what we think has value can lose value in a matter of moments, by the stroke of a pen or an announcement. However, real experiences, good health,  positive emotions, love, laughter, family, friends, healthy food, meaningful work and all that matter will always retain their value.  Wishing all of us a week of reflection about what really matters! Thanks, Bio Basics

... and spread the good word!

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