Real Stories from 2020
we're all set to bid adieu to the roller coaster of a year 2020, I wanted to
share with you the trials and triumphs that the team at Healthy Buddha went
through, all the while never losing sight of the ultimate goal - to
deliver healthy, organic food to our customers, covid or not! While it
has been a life changing year for all of us, for me, personally, it was a year
full of challenges, which to be honest, I absolutely enjoyed.
The highlight for me is the way my team handled the sudden lockdown and the overall Covid situation. I'm proud to say, we really came together as a team and delivered to our customers, when it really mattered the most to them.
Here are few true stories from the year
“Tomorrow is lockdown” “will you deliver?” “Everyone else is closing” “ will
you be open? ”
I had no answers. Me and my team were bombarded with such queries as soon PM Modi announced the 21 day lockdown. I had no clue what that even meant. “Are we even allowed to work? If yes, we will do so.” This is what was going on in my mind. Moreover, we are largely a perishable produce business. It is not something I can easily pause or postpone to another day. If vegetables have been harvested, it is imperative to give it to customers within a day. If I close it would mean vegetables, painstakingly grown, worth lakhs, would go waste. Thankfully a few of our regular and valuable customers (especially Mr. Santosh), who work with the government, gave me some clarity on the lockdown rules. This really helped us march ahead with delivering, while many stores in Bangalore (including online ones) left their customers in the lurch.
2. "Hey, where is your essential police pass. You cannot deliver without it" Our team got stopped multiple times on the road by cops, during the initial days of lockdown. We tried for the pass multiple times, without much luck. The police themselves were unsure about the process of getting one. Not wanting to give up, I then went to the office of the assistant commissioner of police, in Whitefield, and told them "I run a essential service company and we are unable to deliver without a pass. If you are not planning to issue passes, please let us know, we will have to stop delivering produce to thousands of our customers who depend on us." I was then asked to wait outside the assistant commissioner's room. He came out, looked at me, and without any questions, asked his subordinates to take care of my issue. I was immediately given the pass without any questions. This was a big life saver for us!
3. One morning during the lockdown, around the end of March, I came to my office to see many of my employees waiting outside the office. “Sir, every other family member is at home and they are insisting that we stay at home too and not go to work, because of corona”...."our parents are worried about what will happen if we get corona". I said to them that while I completely understood the valid concern from their family members, it is also our obligation and commitment to our customers, as essential service providers, to try our best to ensure that we deliver. We are making a difference to the lives of so many families who are depending on us to ensure that they are able to eat in peace at home, because of the work done by us. I assured them that we will take every precaution to ensure a safe experience for not just the customers, but for our delivery boys and other team members too, and that I would take care of any issues that crop up. I told them that I would continue to work and whoever was comfortable can join me. Each and every member was onboard from then :)
Post this incident, we set up the customer fund for employees - I am super grateful to our customers for having contributed so very generously. We distributed a portion of it as a token of appreciation to the employees for working through these times, and have reserved the rest for any emergencies.
yes, I was scared too. More so for my family since I was outside all the time.
A big thanks to my wife for being understanding, for being by my side, and
letting me do what I had to do.
Big thanks to my farmers, vendors, deliver team members and drivers, who made it happen for us. I am especially thankful to my core team for having stood strong during these times of uncertainty- Ravi, Bala, Amar, & Vinod.
Finally, a big thank you to our customers for being understanding, forgiving our slip-ups, and supporting us all through.
Let us be positive and hopeful for an amazing 2021 and at the same time, be ready for any challenges it might bring along.
Wish you all a wonderful and healthy New Year. Happy 2021!