Woah! You wake up one day and see that the entire world has come to a standstill. Nobody is allowed to step out and if you do so, you are risking your life. Till 2019, this would have sounded like a Christopher Nolan’s highly fictional movie plot, but in 2020, it’s our daunting reality.
At the beginning of 2020, when I read about the horrific lockdowns in Wuhan, it was disconcerting. But never even for a single second it crossed my mind that India – a country of 1.3 billion people will also meet with the same fate.
It was 21st of March, when the Central and State government announced a complete lockdown. The move although necessary was so sudden that everything came to a standstill.
Initially it was all about taking care of our individual selves and families. But gradually we started feeling the impact of this lockdown – we have not just our immediate family but hundreds of weavers, craftsmen, artisans, direct and indirect employees to be taken care off.
Our connection with our team and our artisans is 4 decades long. But never before this had I ever felt such a deep sense of responsibility and belonging towards them as now. I could see so clearly that our work impacts the lives of hundreds of people and their families. This made me realize the true value of what we do or the actual worth of my work.
And so, in May 2020, when the Government of Telangana allowed private offices to open with limited capacity, we immediately started our Online division. 7 of my team members(my Superheroes) and myself with them, would come daily to office amidst the pandemic. This small team worked at triple capacity.
Everyone did everything. We ironed the sarees, packed the boxes, wrote emails, handled software bugs, made coffee and cribbed about the virus together. All in order to make sure that each and every one of the orders was dispatched on time, that all customers received regular updates about their orders and everything was functioning as if nothing had gone wrong.
Here our delivery guys from the courier services became our backbone. For if there was no delivery made to the customers the chain would simply break and further orders would not materialize. All this was being done at the risk to their own lives in delivering it to places, where even health workers would hesitate.
In my vision I saw it as the weavers and Team Unnati serving as the back-end of the system while the delivery boys became the front end. Believe me! When you have a will and a good cause to take risks for, even the Heavens lend their mite to see that you succeed. And succeed we did when by the first week of June, we could with tears in our eyes, actually realize that things online had got back on track.
This paved the way in succeeding months to plan for the year ahead, continue to surge forward with renewed customer confidence in us and provide new and newer offerings in handlooms. Now we can proudly say, with the entire Team Unnati back in their respective places, 2021 is definitely a time to look forward to.
Yes! It is Gratitude that I feel, Team Unnati feels towards one another and all who have supported us during these precarious months when so many others all around us had either despaired or given up hope.
Gratitude that we have been allowed better times to continue our service to our customers and society as a whole.
On Behalf of the entire Team Unnati
A Very Happy & Safe 2021
- Priyanka Ladha
CEO, Online Division