Tag Archives: India

Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

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Kokani Hapus

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Kokani Hapus

An engineer with a successful professional life, my very dear friend—Prashant Narvarkar—whom I met at SPJIMR while pursuing Project Management Program, now has an interesting concept called Kokani Hapus – Royal Fruit for Royal Taste!

Here are some excerpts from our conversation on Kokani Hapus, the very famous Alphonso Mangoes from the Kokan Belt of Maharashtra, India.

ASMA: Prashant, why a business in Mangoes? What made you think about this interesting concept?

PRASHANT: It’s not just mangoes; it was the feeling of doing something apart from the monotonous 9 to 5 job. Something that will give me satisfaction of doing something and concept of any business gives me sense of attraction.

Mangoes…because I know this fruit since my childhood. There are so many childhood memories and I know about mango plantation in detail, so there was no doubt on the quality. I knew it’s going to stand out in market where sellers sell any mango in the name of Hapus. I was confident that people going to love mango from my native place.

ASMA: What is the story behind introducing Kokani Hapus?

PRASHANT: Well, how I began Kokani Hapus…my distant uncle is in this business since last 15 years or so. However, the scale of the business there is larger with a list of privilege customers. I have seen closely how he cultivates and takes care of the mango trees throughout the year. He has taken efforts in growing mangoes in a natural way as he has academic knowledge on agriculture and regularly visits agricultural college in Dapoli to stay up to date on the latest information on the management of mango plantation. He was my advisor and mentor in this business as well as supplier of mangoes.

This is the second season for Kokani Hapus. Besides, my uncle, my dear wife has been a great help in supporting me and yes, I do share the remuneration gained with her.

As of now, I am not a big organization with mission and vision. However, I had a small target of 1 lakh rupees this year, which I have successful achieved.

ASMA: Where are these plantations located and how are they managed?

PRASHANT: The mango plantation flourishes not very far from Kokan Sea Shore, i.e., at round distance of 1 to 2 km from sea inside the villages of Maharashtra, India. Prominent locations where Kokani Hapus grows are Harne, Hadkhal, Palande and Karde. These villages are few kilometres away from Dapoli District, which is well known for its Agriculture College.

Kokani Hapus grows in red soil of Kokan that is rich Iron, so the fruit gets iron naturally from Kokan soil. Red soil is the type of soil that develops in a warm, temperate, moist climate under deciduous or mixed forests and which has thin organic and organic-mineral layers .All these parameters help mango to be rich in nutrition value.

Kokani Hapus is fed with decomposed Cow Dung.  The cow dung used is decomposed over 2.5 years to make it rich in nutrition value before utilizing it as a fertilizer in our plantation. The soil is also fed with Cow Urine (Gau Mutra) because it acts as a disinfectant.

Furthermore, to make mangoes nutritious, Kokani Hapus plantation is fed with calcium and phosphorus in small amounts as they are essential micro nutrients. This process is done manually.

The plantation is protected from fruit bees in a very innovative way. Small pieces of cakes are hung to the tree, which have the scent of female bee; male bees get attracted to this scent to this piece of cake and get stuck to it. These are later removed, thus, tree is kept safe from bee attack.

Some anti fungal and small amount of sulphur containing disinfectant is sprayed on the trees in very early days. All the spraying of natural fertilizers and disinfectants is done in the monsoon season. These are fed through spraying and by mixing in the soil.

The area near trees is cleaned and dried. This creates certain strain on the roots, which catalyzes the growth of the mango.

The growth of the fruit is judged by its roundness of shape—a little oval in shape indicates mango is ready to ripen on its own. We never use any external factor to ripe the mango faster or in any unnatural way.

Mango that are have stains due to bee attack or because of friction caused by the branches, are separated from good ones.

Finally, mango is weighed and categorized depending on its shape. We ensure export quality mangoes to all our customers.

And yes, after all the hard work, Kokani Hapus is ready for its lovers to relish!

ASMA: Prashant, how does one get to relish Kokani Hapus?

PRASHANT: By connecting with me at +91 9870385821.

Or by liking Kokani Hapus Facebook Page; link as below.

https://m.facebook.com/Kokani-Hapus-465832766944725/?ref=m_notif&notif_t=feed_comment_reply

So, friends who have tasted the royal fruit with royal taste will know what Prashant is talking about. This year, I did get the royal taste and I was a very happy and satisfied customer. For those, who are in love with Alphonso mangoes now know the way to get Royal!

Thank you Prashant for your time! And here are some pictures of Prashant and his wife (whom he fondly calls as WiFi 🙂 ) at work while promoting and distributing Kokani Hapus in and around Mumbai…

Kokani Hapus Contact

…Ashu Bolar

 

50 Days

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There was a Bollywood movie called 100 days, a 1991 film, starring Madhuri Dixit and Jackie Shroff – one of my favourite movies. The plot of the movie is something like this – A young girl, whose elder sister is reported missing, falls in love with the next door handsome rich neighbour, gets premonitions followed by panic attacks. The visions, which gets stronger after her marriage, are related somehow with her sister, and leads her to the wall of the isolated mansion owned by her husband, behind which she finds a buried skeleton that happens to be of her murdered sister, who was a history research student investigating and writing on stolen museum monuments sold in the black market. Well, in the end the criminals are caught—some self confessed, some arrested. Interesting plot, good music, overall a great movie.

Now, if we apply the same plot to the 50 Days of Demonetization in India, then well, no one was practically murdered, but the economy experienced sudden death of the most popular and favourite forms of Indian currency – the 500 and the 1000 rupee notes. And the black money that was stacked in the safe boxes or buried in the walls, ceilings, floors, was either extracted by the one, who placed it there or by the Income Tax Department. Some amount was burnt, some abandoned in dumping grounds, some were torn, some were submerged in the waters, some deposited in the donation boxes, but most was deposited in the banks, were it truly belongs.

Post 8 pm, Tuesday, 8th November 2016, life in India took a strange turn, halt in some cases.

Despite clear announcements, there was a panic attack among the masses, with queues that no bank has ever witnessed. But the banks of India did a remarkable job. Hats off to all the bank employees, who did not shy away from putting in extra hours and efforts, yet stayed level-headed despite the ignorance, the tantrums and the anger displayed by the agitated crowds. The cashier at every bank, not just stayed calm, but was cautious and vigilant of the amount and notes exchanged.

If demonetization was a ‘Project’ with a start and an end date, then Indian Finance Industry has accomplished the project quite successfully. Yes, there were hiccups, but those are expected in a country as big and diverse as India, with a population over 1.2 billion at literacy rate of about 74%.

Demonetization received appreciation and criticism equally. In my opinion, it was an excellent call by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi. Our country was facing huge cash deficits due to various reasons, and now banks have funds. Indian economy has slowed down, but this short term risk will bring long term benefit to the nation—obvious to some, oblivious to some.

If demonetization is discussed as a ‘Change in Indian Economy’, then it was a big change and relatively successful due to cooperation by all those citizens who understood the benefit it will bring to the country and to its future. Retired citizens, senior citizens, specially abled citizens, the youth, the housewives, the corporate professionals, those aware, those who tried to get aware—all stood in the queues, Banks and ATMs, for hours, but did the needful and complied to the new rules announced almost every 15 days.

As of now, the news channels are still discussing the effects of demonetization on Indian Economy and the discussions will continue for a long time, into the New Year and post that, because this decision was a landmark decision. Digital India, Cashless India is an achievable vision. All that is required is a lot of awareness and a lot of patience with a willingness to change and to learn. And the past 50 Days have proved that the country can change if guided properly towards the goal.

We still have a long way to achieve the Swachch Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission). This is just the beginning. Cleaning anything, anyplace, anywhere is always an annoying job, but if done wholeheartedly, the results are sparkling. We are in the process of polishing our economy; it will sparkle, it will be radiant, it is just a matter of time.

I am optimistic. I am hopeful. I can see that Incredibly Incredible India we all hope and aim for.

Wishing all the readers a great year ahead…

Happy New Year!

Jai Hind!

…Ashu Bolar

You are a pain in my tooth!

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This should be a new idiom. Really, I mean it after undergoing the Root Canal Treatment (RCT).

There are articles on the Internet which indicates root canal treatment is not painful. I kept wondering how is that possible when roots – the nerve roots are involved. And I was right!

It hurts, even with anaesthesia. And that anaesthesia injection itself is a painful process. I had the best doctor – not just a dentist but an oral maxillofacial surgeon – but you got to endure the RCT even under the most experienced hands. Ideally it is a dentist or an endodontist who does RCT, but since I am from the healthcare industry, and to me, trust and my comfort with the doctor is priority, so my choice was a dental surgeon.

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The killing of my tooth – RCT work in progress

All my teeth were perfect and shining, until I broke a molar while relishing a cookie. Yeah, me too was shocked, but this did happen. On dental examination, it was found that the tooth was decaying in the inside, and so the fracture and the break.

And then the RCT begins…

  1. It is painful. It just is. And why will it not. You are actually killing your tooth!
  2. Those instruments – the drill and pins and the whatever tiny sharp equipment used scare the s**t out of you. There is a constant fear if you may swallow any of them leading to another emergency or something may get in your eyes or…many weird scary thoughts.
  3. That light straight on your face, hurts your eyes.
  4. I hate the X-ray plate positioning. The more posterior the tooth, the more annoying it gets.
  5. And the mould to get your bite impression – yucks!

Whatever, I miss my perfect molar, and now after 7 sittings, yes 7 visits to dentist, I am done with RCT—there is a cement mummified structure in place of my deceased tooth. Soon there will be a ceramic cap covering it, and I will have an expensive ceramic mausoleum in my mouth.

Brushing your teeth twice-thrice, flossing regularly, etc. etc. are all good practices. But one got to visit a dentist every six months to avoid dental emergencies like the one I faced. I got a little over confident that I have the perfect set of teeth in my mouth, and nothing is going to happen to them ever, as I consciously take care of them. Well, it did not work.

So regular visit to a dentist every six months, and on advice, to get an OPG (orthopantomography) makes sense. An OPG gives a beautiful x-ray view of your jaws and teeth – perfect ones, decayed ones, impacted ones, broken ones, filled ones, capped ones – all teeth types can be identified. It is like a panoramic scan of your teeth.

For me now onwards, anything or anyone annoying will be a major pain in the tooth, unlike neck and backside earlier. Well, it is a new phrase, and will give a little rest to my neck and backside. 🙂

…Ashu Bolar