Kavita Bagga, Director, KARA Organics

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In my previous life (yes it seems like one!) I was considered to be an experienced, versatile and successful business manager adept at handling challenging roles within dynamic and growing organisations . While handling the diverse roles that helped me demonstrate my versatility and ability to balance creativity with commercial acumen to deliver strong business results, I also somewhere evolved as a leader and had the good fortune of training, leading and growing with some exceptional teammates. I had a penchant for speaking at large forums and totally loved the attention. Having spent many years in the FMCG and the liquor industry as being one of the very few women in a leadership role, the attention was compounded nevertheless but so were the struggle and the conviction to make my presence felt and point heard in a largely male dominated working environment. However, I totally loved being the woman in a man’s world.

Till one day the struggle, the conference room bloodbaths, the appraisals, the target chasing etc began to seem redundant to my personal scheme of things and as I got older and more and more successful within my work circles, I started feeling rather lame and insipid inside. What was I working for? Who did it really matter? Was the annual business plan my only future? What were my personal targets? What would be my footprint? These questions began to invade my sleep every night as I shuttled from airport to airport, hotel to hotel. 

I started to introspect, perhaps at one of the airports waiting for a delayed flight to take off. And on a borrowed paper I began to note down the things that I truly enjoyed, that truly touched my being and those that I wasn’t able to make time for. A little before this I was interviewed by Monsanto, to come on board as one of their vertical heads. With little knowledge about the company and the world of agriculture I began to zealously scrounge the internet for all possible information. And the more I read the more aghast I was, not as much as what was written about GMO Seeds, chemical inputs, conventional farming etc.  but more so at my sheer ignorance of our most basic necessity i.e. Food. We were consuming chemicals every day, in every meal. Slow poisoning ourselves, our environment and our future generations and we were so oblivious to this. Thus germinated the seed for thought and the urge to do something not just about my own ignorance but also appraise the people I could on how their basis sustenance could be their silent killer. So the first point I wrote on that paper was Food. I love eating, I love exploring new places to eat, new recipes and mostly I love learning something new. I realized that in my work, I had stopped learning anything new except on how to handle a crisis in more and more innovative ways. So my second point on the paper was Agriculture. Where did my food come from, how was it grown? Why can’t I grow it myself. Why can’t I be the master of my own health and when on earth will I actually start doing something for real for the earth that we thrive on but callously abuse! How could I truly make a difference? 

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