Megha has been invited to speak at the ‘Achievers under 30’ seminar. Read what she says about her magic ladle.
Megha walked towards the stage amidst a thunderous applause. She smiled and look towards the audience as she was about to take her seat. A part of the ‘Achievers under 30’ seminar, she was invited to share her success story with aspirants from around the World. Megha had attended several such functions before, but today was different. She was seated next to some of the most renowned entrepreneurs in the world and she couldn’t believe that she was one of them. Moreover, to add to her nervous excitement, the talk was being helmed by Mr. Sen, the CEO of one of India’s most loved and renowned companies.
“So, Megha, I’m going to begin with the most boring question ever. How are you feeling right now?” asked Mr. Sen.
Megha let out a chuckle and replied, “I feel humbled, Sir. It’s an honor to be among stalwarts such as you.”
“Ah! Thank you. But tonight is not about me. It is about you. You ‘young guns’,” raved Mr. Sen.
The crowd once again burst into applause at his words. Then, looking at Megha he said, “Tell us Megha, about your journey. It isn’t short of a fairytale, is it?
Turning to the audience, he spoke, “I’m sure none of you know about her journey. Megha has fiercely guarded her private life and only a few know that her hike to the top has been a tough one. I hope each one of you gets inspired by what she has to say.”
A silent moment pervaded through the hall. Clearing her throat Megha said, “First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who thought of me being worthy to be a part of this panel. As Sir rightly said, I have lived a very private life and now with his words ringing in my ears, I agree that it has been nothing short of a fairy tale. What I’m about to share with you is not a sob story because I finally don’t regret what I’ve been through. I was born in Andhra Pradesh and was the youngest of three siblings. My parents were extremely hard working. They owned a fishing business and my father used to personally go out for a catch religiously. There was food on the table every day and we were taken care of very well. Everything was perfect, until one day the tsunami displaced us and our entire lives. The tall waves took away my father with them. We had a lucky escape that day, as we were in my mother’s hometown in Goa at the time. The news was devastating, but we knew we had to bounce back.”
There was pin drop silence among the audience. All eyes were on Megha.
She continued, “We decided not to go back home as we didn’t have anything left to salvage. My mother tried to keep a brave face to bring us up happy. She worked from home, doing any odd jobs she could. That’s how we got through school. We did not have the best education, but we made the best of what we had. Time flew and we all got through college. My brothers and I took up part time jobs in factories or shops to contribute towards household expenses. Life without dad was quite empty as he was the binding source of all our happiness. As we grew old and realized our potential, we went our separate ways. My brothers were off working in Mumbai and I took up a job as a secretary in Goa. Growing up with limited means, we never developed a broad perspective towards things. It was just work and home. I never was an ambitious child, but a chance work trip changed my entire life. I was to accompany my boss to Singapore for a 4 day seminar. My excitement knew no bounds as I’d never travelled abroad!”
She spoke further, “So the D Day arrived and my boss helped me through all the procedures at the airport. We arrived in Singapore and business went on as usual. The night before our departure, having eaten out on all the 3 days before, we decided to whip up a little something by ourselves. Thankfully, we had a small service apartment for our stay and that’s when I decided to make a simple Goan fish curry for dinner. I went out to the market and got all the ingredients. I quickly got back and cooked the curry and rice. Now fish curry was an everyday affair for us, but when my boss tasted it, she was blown out of her mind.
“I hope you remember this recipe because I’m going to need it in writing” were her exact words. I didn’t know what was so special about it. Of course it reminded us of home cooked food, but I never saw it as something drastically different. Anyway, I gave her the recipe. The seminar was over, we got back home, but every so often she insisted I cook something and get it for lunch. I liked cooking and was always a little inventive with my dishes, so I never hesitated doing it. Every time I did make something, whether simple or elaborate, she used to ask me for the recipe in writing. I always thought that the recipes were for her personal use, but one day on my birthday, she gifted me something bigger than she ever had. It was a thick rectangular shaped item wrapped in a velvet cloth. I opened it and I was shocked beyond belief. It was a recipe book with my name on it!
First of all, I couldn’t process what had happened, and when I did, I couldn’t thank her enough. She told me that cooking was my calling. I wasn’t very sure about it, because for me it was an everyday chore. But her assurance and encouragement made me pursue it seriously. I didn’t know how to go about it and that’s when she helped me realize my dream. Social media had just started to boom at the time, so we brainstormed and came up with recipes for housewives, recipes for on-the-go meals and other such categories. I carefully documented all of these and that’s how my food journey began. A couple of books later, I started a company with her support. She funded me initially and we became equal partners. We started selling ingredient kits for whipping up quick meals. There was no looking back after that.
My mother and grandparents were astounded at the success I had achieved in such a short time. I used to sometimes feel disappointed with the way life was. But I never did anything about it. I stopped dreaming. I stopped living. That’s when my boss came into my life as a fairy angel and lifted me up from the doldrums. And in my case, the magic didn’t come from a wand but from a ladle! She made me realize my true potential. I know that everyone may not have that privilege of being encouraged, but you should know that encouragement doesn’t work if you truly don’t believe that you can achieve something. You have to give it a shot. You may fail, you may succeed. But always try. I know I did. And, I was rewarded. The reason I’m here today is for all of you to know that I’m here for you.
I’m young and I have a long way to go. But, I’m here for anyone who needs wings to fly. You don’t stop dreaming.”
The crowd cheered and erupted in applause for Megha. Megha then thanked the audience, turned to Mr. Sen and said, “You were right, my life is a fairy tale, only thing, there’s no witch in this one!”
- Stalwarts – loyal, reliable and hardworking people.
- Salvage – rescue.