The deciding Moment
It was a trip to the Andamans in December 2013 that changed the way Ruby Ray looked at life. It was meant to be a holiday with family and friends and therefore a no work, and all play getaway. But that was not to be. The reason being, the official laptop Ruby Ray carried at the insistence of her boss. While her friends and family were enjoying the sights and sounds of the island or marvelling at the museums and other architectural wonders, Ruby would be busy with something else. She was constantly on the lookout for a nook or corner to hook onto her computer and quickly finish some official chore, much to her consternation. Guilt added with rebukes from friends and family left an unsavoury taste in her mouth at the end of the trip and by the time her plane landed in Kolkata, she had made up her mind.
The very next day, she went to office and headed straight to her boss’s chamber with a piece of paper in hand – a resignation letter from the post of marketing lead in a well known retail chain. Coming out of the initial shock, the boss tried to convince her to stay. But Ruby had had enough.
The new chapter
First two months after leaving the job I did nothing. Just wandered around, met friends and spent time with myself. It was great to have the pace of life slowed down. I enjoyed my leisure and it did me a lot of good,
However, spending time idly is not everybody’s cup of tea. It certainly was not the thing for Ruby Ray. After the initial few months of lazying around the workaholic in her started getting impatient and she decided that it was time to engage herself again, albeit in an easy way. She began by helping out with some charity works with a number of NGOs in town which included teaching underprivileged children, and taking part in health awareness programmes. “It was during this that I came in contact with DRCSC, an NGO, working with farmers, making them aware of the importance and benefits of organic farming. They also provided hand holding to the farmers who were interested to shift into organic farming. It took my interest and I joined their work,” informs Ruby.
Doing things her way
Her association with DRCSC helped her learn about urban gardening, and also about organic farming. “While working with them I came to know about the problems faced by farmers in Purulia district and
accompanied the NGO members there. We came to know that soil erosion and deforestation have ruined the agricultural possibilities of the place. Alternate aspects of farming were explored and step cultivation was suggested to the farmers were water will be collected in natural reservoirs made in three levels so that no amount of water is wasted. This proved immensely successful and the farmers started growing organic food and crops there,” says Ruby.Ruby’s association with the farmers of Purulia grew day by day and now she procures their yields from the fields and sells them to customers in Kolkata. “I came to know that the farmers have a surplus production and are at a loss about its sale. It was then that I thought of starting a business with the products. Initially it was my close friends who bought the products which includes staples and vegetables. From six today it has grown to 200. I inform my customers about the availability of products at the beginning of the week and they place orders according to their need. Once the list is ready I send it to the farmers to deliver them to me by the next day. The delivery to the customers, all presently in Kolkata, is done by six delivery boys. Whenever there is a surplus I find a bulk buyer and sell it to them,” adds Ruby.
12 years of experience in FMCG and retail has helped Ruby in running her organic farming unit and now she has plans to go completely digital as far as marketing is concerned by the end of this year.
I am taking life easy now and start my day according to my wish. I am in no hurry but if things go well I would like to tie up with major players for the staples and build a brand for my products. Once the supply chain gets steadied I will also like to set up a store for my organic products,
signs off Ruby Ray, happiness twinkling in her eyes.