24 November 2006

Happy Story

I love happy stories and this is a very nice one. While I was visiting at the Arulmani Ashram complex I kept glancing over the street at a group of men hammering metal panels and thinking 'Only in India. On one side of the street an Ashram and on the other side, a metal working shop!'

I found out that the metal shop is owned by two brothers, Palani and Shanmurgan (both names for Lord Subrahmanian). Shanmurgan used to work at the brilliant local Shantimalai Organisation (here at Tiruvannamalai) for 7 years as a mechanic. While there he had a good business idea about making trailers, so 10 years back approached the founder of The Shantimalai Trust, Hugo Meier for financial assistance. Hugo Meier (who died about 2 years ago) gave Shanmurgan an interest free loan of Rs.400,000 (US$ 9,000) thus enabling him the opportunity to create his own success story the 'Ramana Engineering Works'.

15 men work at the metal shop and produce custom made trailers in three different sizes ranging in price from Rs.75,000-250,000.

Here is one man working in the tool shop on something to do with the trailer wheels.

And here is the finished produce; a nice bright and shiny trailer ready for hauling goods all over Tamil Nadu. Most of 'Ramana Engineering Works' customers come from Tiruvyurkoil, Vandavasi, Vellore, Polur and of course Tiruvannamalai. At the current time they are building about 4 trailers a month.

But what struck me about the engineering works, was how cheerful and happy everybody seemed to be. A very nice group. How wonderful that Hugo Meier's kindness had so many auspicious consquences.

India is a very difficult country for an ordinary person to do extra-ordinary things. Here one is born into one's caste and lives the live enjoined by being in that particular caste. To get away from that and thereby change the direction of your life takes a huge amount of will and grace because India is not an 'I can do' sort of place. What Shanmurgan has achieved may seem ridiculous to a Western person, but believe me when I say that for him to achieve what he has here in this small rural area in Tamil Nadu, is a true victory.

Our hero Shanmurgan standing underneath the sign of his shop displaying potraits of his benefactors.


Divyakka said...

What a lovely and inspiring story, thank you! Hearing of a hard-working individual who used his benefactor's money to honestly start a business and thrive, is great indeed.

Arunachala Living said...

Yes, and Shanmurgan seems like a very decent sort. Being that you lived in India for so long Divya, you know just how difficult it is for an ordinary man to pull himself up and start up a successful business. I am so pleased for him and his success.