Once again, I find myself back in the states, and once again, my carefully laid plans have gone astray. Before I left Vrindavan on December 9, 2014, I had spent months arranging, coordinating and planning with a friend I had met once in Vrindavan to take over the business of procuring and shipping items ordered from my Etsy shop. This was critical, as for any business, but particularly at this time as the shop was doing very well, picking up a lot of business, both new and repeat customers, plus 'twas the Christmas season and things had really begun to pick up from that stand point.
My "friend" replacement arrived from England (she is a PIO - Person of Indian Origin; a pharmacist living in England with her heart left in Vrindavan) a few days before I left India. I had everything organized, packaged and labeled, all she had to do was find the items, neatly labeled and organized in numbered boxes, address the envelops and ship the items out, as new orders came in. We even went through the process with several new orders that were ready to be filled. She seemed confident, and I put my trust in her, and her ability to work with her boyfriend, a long time resident of Vrindavan, to get it done! And this wasn't the end all of our business potentials - we had discussed over the many months, how we were going to grow the business together and share in the profits. We even planned to open a cafe and yoga studio later on in the spring of 2015.
....No sooner had I left India and arrived back in the states - with many new orders piling in from Etsy during my time in transit, when I got a response message from her saying she was going to Pushkar for a week - hope you don't mind - ok ?!?! - and would take care of orders when she got back!!!
WTF?!?!? - NO!! NOT OK!!
"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it" (thanks for the advice, Charles R. Swindoll)
I think Wayne Dyer's is more apropos: "How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
My reactions tend to be knee-jerk...not good I know, I'm working on it. But still, this really messed things up for me. I had to cancel almost all orders because nothing would make it to the States, or any place else for that matter, by Christmas, which is when most people wanted delivery.
I immediately put my Etsy shop on vacation mode so no more orders would come in. Called my good and trustworthy friends from Fatehpur Sikri and had them arrange to pick up all the stuff in Vrindavan and just hold onto until I got back, or figured out something more immediately effect to do. Why not ask my trusty friends from Fatehpur Sikri to take over the business you ask? Well, as much as I would trust them with my life, they are, sadly - illiterate.
Once my knee-jerk response had run it's course, I was able to reflect on my more often called upon saying, "when God shuts a door, he opens a window". Why this happened doesn't matter, it happened for a reason. I just need to see it through, relax and accept - I can rebuild loss business and customers when I return in February.
My overall react to this set back is one of positive acceptance and looking forward to where God will lead me next.
Just got back from a short trip to Kathmandu, Nepal. My India visa requires me to leave the country every 180 days. I think it is just so they can keep tabs on my where abouts and not have me just disappear into the Indian landscape. It gives me a chance to take a mini vacation from work, to explore new places and pick up new and unique treasures to use in our work here at Mahima Creations.
In the very famous Durbar Square, in the heart of Kathmandu, is one of the busiest, most amazing shopping bazars ever! My only complaint was, it was hard to take in all the cool shops and stuff for sale while manoeuvring through the very narrow streets filled with cars, motorcycles, rickshaws, loose bricks, pot holes and mud!!
I did manage to pick up some beautiful, natural wool for knitting - something I haven't found in Vrindavan, although I'm sure it could be found in Delhi.
And also some neat jewellery findings - unique turquoise and silver pendents. One was a shell pendent that I can't wait to use when the creative mood hits me.
Well...so much has been going on with Mahima Creations!!!
First, I went back to the USA in early spring expecting to stay for at least three months or more; I brought back all the items for sale in the shop so I could ship from California. My sojourn was cut short and within the month I was heading back to India to cover a staff shortage at our facility in Vrindavan. Someone had to be there to love on our widows who are working to bring you such neat and unique products.
In the process of this hurried move back, so many items from the shop were "lost", "misplaced" or just "disappeared" by the time I made it back to Vrindavan. This was so unfortunate and I sincerely apologize for anybody who was affect by this. It took me awhile, but I think everything has been straightened out without to much disappoint on our valued customers.
Then, after about a month in Vrindavan, Mahima Creations moved location to a new house, in the original Vrindavan, on the inside of the great Parikrama Marg. We moved in the last week of August into the sweetest little bungalow with gardens and a great work room, so comfortable for the widows! We are just starting to re-stock our shop which has been a little idle. Thank you are for your patience and support, and keep an eye out for new items to be added to our store in support of the widows of Vrindavan!!
What with an active Etsy account, family at home that is not on any Internet connection at all! (*gasp*), and a company waiting for new items bi-weekly, I often come face-to-face with my local postmaster. He is never happy to see me; takes three to five minutes to even acknowledge that I'm standing -waiting patiently - at the counter, and his only communication is to grunt the price of postage. But like throwing a hissy-fit in a restaurant and running the risk of getting your food spit into, I never raise a protest at this shabby treatment. After all, it's too easy for packages to "get lost" here in India, so just play nice and smile! This guy's got all the power right now!
Remember Tom Hanks’ movie “Castaway” starts out in a Russian
“FedEx” office? Remember that
new-to-capitalism-venture-into-customer-service look? Well, I found the office that pre-dates and one-ups that -
the Mathura “FedEx” office!
They were a very friendly group; and after several minutes
of searching by several standing around employees, I was handed the familiar
blue and red “FedEx” envelope – familiar, yet artistically altered with a circular
coffee cup stain; a strand of arithmetic additions in ink, and numerous folds
that had permanently captured the dirt and dust – the Indian motif look.
I filled out all the necessary forms and was ready to
pay. I was presented with a bill of $47!! For an envelope and a light scarf on its way to Florida!!
“Are you kidding me?!?!?”
Hitting the streets, I was the 12th passenger on
the next shared three-wheeled auto rickshaw back to Vrindavan heading to the
Indian Post Office.
(Back on familiar grounds at the official post office next to the
After the two postmasters
shuffled around behind the counter they were able to come up with a large
“Axis” bank envelope for me to use – and it was pretty clean, just a bent corner,
which as you will see, really doesn’t matter in the short run. After addressing and carefully
loading in the Florida bound scarf, the assistant post master took the envelop,
folded it, folded it again so it
was exactly the size of the scarf inside, taped it, weighed it, crossed out
“Axis” bank and logos and said;
“Three dollars; Three-fifty for registered.” (Notice how I’ve been translating the currency for you,
I decided to take the expensive route. But…he explains, I’ll have to come back
tomorrow to register it because the guy who registers has already left the
I leave the package with orders to send it out tomorrow by registered post. I’ll be by
sometime later to pick-up the registration slip.
You see, this is my first “Etsy” sale and I’m trying to make
a good impression, do things right!
And this is how we roll in India.