Metroplus

On the moo

(from left to right) D. Raji, C.R. Sathish, R. Ramnath, B. Udaykrishna and R.K. Anil Kumar Photo: M. Periasamy   | Photo Credit: M_PERIASAMY

The air is filled with moos and the smell the dung at Kurudimalai in Saravanampatti. Cows and calves for company, green fields and hills all around – this is the new workplace for five youngsters in their late 20s. They have decided to set aside their computers for a while and get down to earth. Their passion is milk, so they call their company, quite simply, Paal. They are working to provide a healthy supply of milk to the people using an alternative model of dairy milk production. “The milk you get every morning is pasteurised to stay fresh longer. This changes the molecular structure of the milk. You are having something that only looks like milk,” says Anil Kumar, an engineering student/filmmaker. His partners are also from completely different professions. There is a Java developer, one more filmmaker and two IT professionals.

Their story goes back to their school and college days, says Anil. “Udaykrishna, Ramnath and I were classmates in school. We studied engineering only because of family pressure. My ambition was to become a caterer. And owning a farm full of cows was Udaykrishna’s dream as far back as I can remember.”

Udaykrishna is from a family of dairy farmers. But his parents dissuaded him from taking up dairy farming. “They took me to different farms to convince me that it is not a profit-making business.” He recalls how he wept for hours, when his favourite cow, Durga, was sold off when he was 18. Anil too has fond memories of Gowri, his grandmother’s cow, whose milk he was fed till the age of three.

Anil and Udaykrishna worked in Mypromovideos, a film making company for start-ups. “After a while, we ran out of creative ideas in that field. That is when we gave this a serious thought,” says Anil. Anil’s batchmate and wife, Raji, a Java developer at Infosys Chennai also joined the team. “I come from a family of farmers too. I have spent my childhood playing in the mud. I knew that this was the life I wanted to live,” she says. Soon, two other friends Satheesh in Reliance and Ramnath, who worked with Dell, Dubai hopped on board.

Anil and his friends believe that if they adhere to quality, they will automatically make profits.

Their marketing strategies are a blend of the old and the new. Even though they do not believe in major advertisement-driven promotion, they tap the full potential of social media. “Thanks to FB, Paal has become visible on online communities. One of our clients put up a picture of the paneer she had made out of our milk, saying it tasted much better than the regular one. That helped us a lot,” says Anil.

It is also about adding a human element to the occupation of dairy-farming sector. “We do not want to treat the animals like machines. We raise them like we would children.” The cows are milked using a suction pump, which does not cause them pain. Moreover, they are blessed to be surrounded by vast acres of farmland.

The team is brimming with ideas. “We have also planted some coconut saplings in the field and do small-scale farming.The cow dung will be used as manure. We want to go back to the olden days when dairy and agriculture were seen as inter-related,” says Udaykrishna.

They also want to promote the traditional concept of ‘oru maattu paal’ that encourages the method of drinking milk from one cow. “It is supposed to be healthier as consuming milk of different cows was believed to create a chemical imbalance in our body,” says Udaykrishna.

In future, they are planning to put a stamp of the cow from which the milk was reared, on the bottles. So, Paal subscribers can keep an eye on those milk bottles. It could be from Durga or Gowri, your bovine friends from the Paal farm, named after the childhood favourites of Anil and Udaykrishna!

One litre Paal bottle costs Rs.60

The bottles are sterilised

You can order by contacting the team at 82203-02020, or visit their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/paalco

The group is currently working on an app through which customers can keep track of their monthly subscriptions and cancel their orders

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 12:29:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/five-youngsters-in-their-late-20s-start-a-paal-collective/article7685363.ece

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