Sweetness extended- The journey from a sweet shop to a Bank!

Even though Bengalis have had a poor impression throughout India for being ‘lazy’ and ‘crab minded’ there are some terrific examples of Bengali entrepreneurs and successful business men, who will blow your mind away. Dwarakanath Tagore was the pioneer in setting up a series of business ventures line banking, insurance and shipping companies in partnership with British traders. He became the first Indian bank director in 1828 and in 1829, he founded the Union Bank in Calcutta.

The myth of ‘business is not for Bengali Babus’ has been proven wrong once again as Bandhan, India’s largest Micro finance company received a banking license from RBI recently. Bandhan, was founded by Chandra Shekhar Ghosh in 2001 for lending money to low income women entrepreneurs, Self Help Groups and small scale businesses. Ghosh was raised with limited resources as father had just a small sweet shop as the only source of income.  Ghosh started out as a worker in a NGO in 2001, giving tiny loans to the poor in Konnagar.

In the early days of Bandhan, Ghosh had only two staff members and the group started to give small loans, to poor borrowers in Konnagar and nearby Kolkata suburbs.

Now, Bandhan has 2022 branches operating in 22 states in India while in the race to becoming a bank, Bandhan has beaten some of India’s top corporations and industrial houses.

Among other inspirational Bengali perons, we have Barun Sengupta the founder of Bartaman, Ashok Sarkar the founder of Ananda Bazaar Patrika and Pronnoy Roy, co-founder of NDTV, all successful in the media industry. Amar Gopal Bose founded of the Bose Corporation, famous for its home audio systems worldwide. Arundhati Bhattahcarya, also a Bengali was the first woman to be a chairperson of SBI.

These personalities have taught the world, that all you need to succeed is a strong will power and dedication.

Rain Rain…Remain…

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At times when the summer heat really annoys us we pray for the sun to hide behind the clouds and let us live in peace, but seldom do we worship the monsoon… We complain about the muck and puddles everywhere… but neither of us let out that feeling on social networking sites as we go on posting quotes of other people about rain!

It’s funny how relative things can be… while a farmer in a distant village worships rain, an IT employee at Salt Lake Sector 5 probably curses the phenomenon for flooding the streets. While the passengers in a large bus thanks god for being under a shade, the man riding a bicycle or a rickshaw hates every large vehicle that passes his transport giving him an unwanted shower of a blissful mixture of mud and stone chips.

As the little girl suffering from fever watches from her window how the big boys are enjoying the rain playing football, she wishes she was not in confinement… or what if she were a boy, who could get all muddy and not have to answer what the society may think of his activities…

As She watches the raindrops drip down her window glass she recalls the well exchanged emotions that people call love, but which never really lasted for her… while He wonders walking in the rain why could he never overcome distance and preserve the bond… Both listen to their favourite music in the rain, feel connected, but never talk… ‘She should approach’, thinks he. ‘He should approach’, thinks she… and years have passed by…

The other guy thinks why he can never get close to his best friend, while the girl picturize them kissing in the rain, but as soon as they look at each other in the eye, all they see is a happy pair of faces that are absolutely content with being ‘friends’…

That little plant by the road over there, dreams of achieving great heights someday, on the arrival of rains, like that large tree across the street… but it barely knows that it’s going to get trampled or eaten by the larger and more important being of the food chain in a couple of days! While the birds that had a nest on the large tree lost their home due to the arrival of monsoon since the owners of the tree thought of chopping its branches for a better growth…

You know monsoon has arrived when you can go to the terrace carefree, dancing and pirouetting on the temporary splashy surface without anyone ogling! Even the shyest of the souls can open up their desires and minds in the rain and dance to the tune of bliss.

Rain gives a feeling of freedom and confidence… often short lived, but potent. If utilized correctly, it may help you attain great elevation. Rain makes you recognize yourself. Rain broadens your mind and cleanses your soul.

Get out and enjoy the drizzle while you can, because one day you may regret never having experienced the beauty of nature…