On most days, the Amrutam office is bustling with activity. Some tapping on the keyboards here, some phone calls there. But today, the office is quiet. It is a Sunday. As I sit in the vast space, I cannot help but notice the cinematic view the room offers. Hundreds of books adorn the dark brown wooden shelves; a delicate bottle of Kumkumadi Oil quietly placed on the cupboard in the next room.
A few minutes later, Mrs Chandrakanta Gupta arrives. She’s wearing a pink cotton saree and her ever so radiant smile. Within minutes of exchanging pleasantries, she has very kindly agreed to tell me a story – the most important one of her life. The story that not only is a testament to how illuminating and miraculous her life has been but is also continually changing so many lives. One day at a time.
A magical tale
She begins by telling me about her childhood. Born in the culturally-rich town of Gwalior, Mrs Gupta’s family moved to the Karera district of Shivpuri shortly after her birth. My curiosity about her early life prompts me to ask about her life when she was still a child.
“What happens when one is young? There are parents’ love and care, little desires, and fun with friends and siblings. I was brought up in a small town and wasn’t very familiar with the bustle of the city life. But we were happy with whatever we had.”
As the daughter of a homoeopathy doctor, Mrs Gupta developed an inclination for learning about home remedies since early on. Even today, she tries to treat flu and minor ailments at home itself. But her transition as an Ayurveda practicing person happened only after her marriage. Mr Ashok Gupta was working as an MR when Mrs Gupta’s parents found him a fit life partner for their daughter.
Before their wedding, they only met when he was invited over for meals – an opportunity for brief encounters. At 17, she was engaged and by 19 she had entered his house as his bride. “In earlier times, girls had little ambition. Our only goal was to get married, look after our families and lead a simple life so naturally, I could never imagine helping my husband run his business,” she explains. And now, after almost three decades of running the household, Mrs Gupta proudly wears the badge of the Founding Principal of Amrutam.
Within a year of their marriage, their first child Agnim was born. “We had a lot going on. Living in a joint family and looking after everyone’s needs would get overwhelming sometimes but my husband really made it easy. He held everyone together, was extremely responsible and made sure all things were taken care of,” says Mrs Gupta, with a wide smile on her face.
Two years later, Stuti was born. The house was enlivened but everyone had things to go on about. Soon after, they amicably decided to move on to a new house where the initial upbringing of the children took place. Life began happening more quickly; Mr Gupta began a new job, children started going to schools and this allowed Mrs Gupta to have ample time to ponder upon what to do for the rest of the day.
“It was gradual but eventually I began picking up on the organizational tasks. Checking on supply, storage among other things became a part of my daily routine. I wanted everyone to feel involved so I would talk to everyone and see how their work is shaping.”
I had the privilege of spending the auspicious day of Dhanteras with the OG Amrutam Family at Amrutam Factory. The way everyone was included – right from playing cricket to making rangoli to lighting the diyas – I can firmly admit that Mrs Gupta holds the entire organization together. She will browse through Amrutam Patrika to make sure the content is on point but will also insist on everyone eating at least two kachoris and having fun.
The beginning of Amrutam
“Amrutam was born in 2006 when my husband had worked hard enough in the Ayurveda industry to realize he wanted to start something of his own – something more meaningful,” she tells me. Mr Gupta travelled extensively and would never keep his eyes off of books if he were ever found to be free. Years passed, and as he gathered more knowledge about the potent remedies that lay in nature, he began crafting Ayurvedic recipes and products under the name of Amrutam, which meant – ‘the Elixir of Life’.
While Mr Gupta would work on the field, curating recipes and blends at Amrutam Factory, Mrs Gupta supervised the activities and work at Amrutam Office. Brilliant teamwork. Things slowly began to unfold. Amrutam’s first product was ‘Madhu Panchamrut’ that has been recently launched on the e-store. It was working out well, the team was working hard. But as they say, a life without struggle is no life at all.
“It was in 2016 when things suddenly began to take a back seat. We had to terminate our partnerships with major companies. Both Agnim and Stuti were also starting out with their careers so we didn’t feel like bothering them, though we longingly waited for their arrival. We tried to keep the business going somehow. But when in 2017, the children came back, I knew that we would bounce back stronger and more self-reliant.”
The transition from an on-ground, regular business to an e-Commerce one was clearly not an easy one. But when a bunch of passionate and determined individuals comes together, an outcome of something larger than life is the most natural one. The children became more involved than ever and though it was fully natural to have her apprehensions, Mrs Gupta was incredulously confident about Amrutam taking a leap of faith. “Amrutam is like a Banyan tree, the branches of which will give rise to new trees and Amrutam, from one tree, will and has been growing into several other things – not just an Ayurveda product company but a lifestyle brand in its true sense,” she adds.
An unparalleled loyalty
What I find truly fascinating yet extremely natural is how she talks about Amrutam as if it were a distinct entity. “Before Amrutam went online, we had Deepak take care of most of the tasks. He has been with us since the beginning and he had an extremely crucial role to play in how Amrutam grew and expanded over the years,” says Mrs Gupta. She goes on to tell me how every person who has ever been and continues to associate with Amrutam gives their 100% which is testimony to the fact that they are for Amrutam and Amrutam is for them. She adds, “There is no such thing as small work or big work. Work is work. We need to do it with persistence and determination.”
Although things began to work out in their favour, Mrs Gupta had inhibitions: that her children, were working on Amrutam only because they felt pressured to do so. “I tried to convince Stuti otherwise,” says Mrs Gupta, “I persuaded her to apply for higher studies, take competitive exams and whatnot.” But Stuti was resolute; her will, indomitable. Similarly, when Agnim left for Bangalore to work on SqrFactor, a thousand thoughts ran in Mrs Gupta’s head. Quite fortunately, soon enough, she learned to her own sweet surprise that all of Agnim’s hard-earned skills and experiences would prove to be a godsend for Amrutam. “He incorporated new technology into how Amrutam functioned, which became a game-changer!”
On Yash’s role at Amrutam, Mrs Gupta says a little too many adjectives to put into words. It was in late 2017 that Yash decided to join Amrutam. “He has made his life’s mission to ensure Amrutam reaches on the top. He has been very persistent and honest in his efforts and has been a wonderful team-player,” she elucidates.
Needless to add, the Team had a vision – the one they had been relentlessly working for. A vision, that is becoming clearer as each day passes.
Mrs Gupta also fondly talks about the process of creation and manufacturing at Amrutam Factory.
“When we say that our products are made with love, care, and prayers, we actually mean it. We take special care of all the plants and herbs in our Amrutam Vatika, we wash all the ingredients thoroughly and practice immense care in handling the whole process. While making recipes, we always think and carry positive thoughts because thoughts become energies. And this energy is transferred into the process of creation. We want only positive energy to reach the person using or consuming any of Amrutam’s products. Positive thoughts are just as important as positive actions.”
An unshakable belief
Mrs Gupta’s work ethic is incredibly strong, and her belief, unshakable. I ask her about Mr Gupta’s role at Amrutam and at once, she says words that will always stay with me, “Wo aatma hain, (he is the soul)”. As if Amrutam is a whole body and we are all parts of it – limbs, bones, head, says Mrs Gupta, he is the soul that keeps Amrutam alive and going. We are all under his shadow, constantly learning and gaining from him.
But it would be a disservice to even insinuate that it is only the four members of the Gupta family that make Amrutam. “It is the thousands and thousands of our community members and contributors that constitute Amrutam,” she says, humbly. Despite founding one of India’s fastest leading Ayurvedic lifestyle brands, Mrs Gupta heavily relies on a value system that never lets her feel snobbish about her achievements.
By this point, I cannot help but be in absolute wonder of the woman sitting across me. I have gained many learnings in less than an hour and as a part of my ritual, I ask her if she has a message for the readers. She says:
“Integrity and truthfulness are the two most important things for me. Not just Amrutam, if you are working for any organization, you must keep these two values in mind. Do not take your tasks as lability – try to look forward to it and surely, you will see it reap benefits. Put your faith in your work or anything you want for that matter. It is the ultimate instrument that will manifest your thoughts into something big. Do not ever fear working hard, be patient and persistent. And soon, all your energies will come together, and make that one thing you so badly want, happen for you.”
Mrs Gupta’s work ethic forces us to look inward and be better versions of ourselves. Her one true dream is for Amrutam to reach every home in the world. “I want everyone to have Amrutam as part of their routine – be it starting their day with Amrutam’s Dentkey Manjan or consuming Chawanprash or kadhas during the day to applying hair spas and oils before they sleep. I want people to feel as much as part of our family as we do,” she concludes sweetly.
Amrutam will very soon become a family of millions, I see it happening in front of my eyes. An organization that is built on the values of family and together, it continues to change lives, including mine, every day. Here’s to expanding our family across continents and timelines, by oceans and differently coloured skies, through love, faith and care.