I heard that Tridal had exported ‘Bhajani’ to USA. So, I decided to meet the people behind Tridal.
I knew the activities of Tridal. Dr Anand Nadkarni of IPH [Institute for Psychological Health] comes up regularly with innovative solutions for the problems of ‘Shubharthi’ and ‘Shubhankar’ which are IPH names for Schizophrenia patients and their caregivers. But this project started as the extension of the PhD work of Dr Savita Apte who is married to Dr Nadkarni.
Tridal started ten years ago as a support group of Shubharthis and Shubhankars. At IPH, they noted that Shubharthis would sit quietly. Their illness often kept them in a ‘low’ mood. Engaging them in activity was essential to their cure and rehab. Thus started Tridal!
The question was what activity? Initially they sold vegetables. A dietician associated with IPH gave them recipe for ‘CalPro’. It was a powder which could be used to make ‘kheer’ and the product would give both, calories and proteins as the name suggests. Initially this was produced by the cooperative activity between Shubharthis and Shubhankars. The market gradually grew, a marketing professional who was also a Shubharthi helped market CalPro on a bigger scale, and this little venture was earning a revenue of Rs. Four lakhs. Soon they added Chivda and Laddu, popular eatables to their product range. They stopped taking orders last year when the order for Chivda touched one hundred kilos! They now make about ten lakhs a year. But in this venture, and quite literally, emphasis is on activity and not on revenue.
Then a chance discussion fetched them order to supply CalPro to the child-patients of cancer at the Tata Cancer Hospital. Tridal adopted the product for their taste, it was important that the children suffering from cancer ate well so as to recover quickly. Another chance meeting between Asmita Mokashi who leads this initiative, and her friend in USA, got them an order for Bhajani. Soon they exported 100 Kgs of Bhajani. [Bhajani is a flour made of roasted grains and pulses like rice, sorghum, wheat, chana dal and black lentil. It is flavoured with some roasted coriander seeds and cumin seeds.]
Imagine the difficulties this organisation faces. Not just external hurdles. The Shubharthis take medicines which take toll. For example, the finger dexterity of a certain Shubharthi was adversely affected, so he found it difficult to make small Diwali lamps which Tridal makes and sells. Working with Shubharthis and Shubhankars is to begin with a handicap. It is a handicap if you are commercially driven. But it is not a handicap if you create a support group only for them, that’s the purpose of existence. Simply put, the Tridal exists for them! And working does wonders to their mental health.
Tridal earns reasonable revenue which more than covers their expenses. They have started sharing it with people who work in Tridal. The purpose is not to compensate them for their efforts. It is an honorarium. It restores their honour and hopefully rebuilds confidence.
Tridal is run in interesting way. They experiment with new ideas, and because the purpose is not to make profits but enough income to enthuse Shubharthis and Volunteers, there is no ‘fear of failure.’ The visitor notices that hierarchy plays a minimal role here. They have a system of rewarding their Shubharthis but there is hardly any talk of ‘performance management’, rather understanding the performer is the language. Recently they have introduced biometrics for registering attendance; a bus donated by Essel Group helps them commute, this reinforces the pride and self-worth of Shubharthis.
There is fundamental difference between Tridal and typical business organisations. As Dr Sumantra Ghoshal explains, the business organisations show four characteristics: they constrain, the demand compliance, they control, and they remind you that there is a personal contract between you and the organisation. Readers of this blog may like to watch the video ‘The Smell of The Place’ where Dr Ghoshal explains this so well. And he contrasts it with well run organisations which provide stretch, meaning where every individual is trying to go an extra mile, and they create a set of values to which everybody whole heartedly subscribes. Discipline, where people argue but commit to the final decision, Trust, and finally Support, where guidance, coaching, helping is valued and practised.
When you visit Tridal, you notice this ‘smell of the place.’ I wonder if Dr Anand Nadkarni met Dr Sumantra Ghoshal. And I also wonder if academicians are inspired by institution builders or is it vice versa.
As for me, I am inspired by both!
Vivek S Patwardhan
“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”
PS: Contact Tridal Here: Tridal Rehabilitation Center, Saptsopan Parisar, Dharmaveer Nagar, Next to Ganesh Udyan, Opp.Grishma Residency, Behind Dnyansadhana College, Thane (W) – 400604, Maharashtra, INDIA, Contact: +91-22-25385447, Cell:+91-9870600372