Read How A Bird Shelter Box Inspired Arundhati Mhatre To Become An Entrepreneur.
6 June 2017
This is the story of Arundhati Mhatre, a techie from Mumbai, who has set up bird shelters in her apartment balcony. She has also launched Arenya. At Arenya, they aspire to create a culture where every second household will have contributing hands in the form of shelters and feeders placed at appropriate locations.
We at Women Of Courage brings you an amazingly inspiring story of Arundhati Mhatre.
In life, we become hooked up in so many things around us. In a way, we start feeling that this is not the way we actually desire to live our life. And one day, something unexpected happens in an unknowing way which gives us all the reasons to stay there and work.
Our today’s story is about one such woman who didn’t want to have a mediocre life. This story is about Arundhati Mhatre who always wanted to do veterinary sciences but in the cultural setup as ours, such stuff is considered stupid and so she had to land up being an Engineer. Working in the software company, the life was like a herd of a sheep.
And one fine day, her friend gifted her Shelter Box. Soon she started observing that the sparrows have nested in the box. This visual was a treat to her and was something that really excited her.
Arundhati thought of keeping some coloured grass near the shelter, which she had got from Matheran. The sparrows picked it up and took it into the shelter box to make the soft bed to lay eggs.
Now that the bed was colourful, she thought to add scent to the shelter. So she kept some lemon grass which we use to make tea and the sparrows picked up that too and took inside the box. She imagined the interiors of the shelter box to be scented along with being colourful. All of this made her realise that nature is beautiful to live in.
Arundhati started observing other birds along with sparrows, which then led her to Bird watching trips. During this initial period, she came across the Anand Pendharkar, from Sprouts Env Trust. He introduced Arundhati to many other aspects of Nature, may it be Birds, Butterflies, Wildflowers, Frogs, Snakes, Mushrooms, and Plant. He made her see the Magic in them.
Arundhati’s journey started since then with butterflies and photographing them. Butterflies taught her about different species of plants and she started rearing them in jars. She was mesmerised to see the caterpillars change colours, sticking to the rim of the jar and pupating and then emerging into lovely butterflies.
“I started rearing caterpillars and gifting these to different individual’s from my office, my friends and my son’s school. I bought different books and used social media to identify and learn more about them. I pursued a few courses one of such was a Field Botany course from Fern, Thane.” Shares Arundhati.
Arundhati was feeling joyous and at the same time, she was curious to share her joys with others. It made her happier, rather than to keep such moments with herself. So along with her friends Vishwanath Birje, Abhishek Bawakar and Shruitka, they thought of starting an initiative where they make Bird boxes and Bird Shelters, which people can buy. If a simple shelter box can transform her life, maybe it can transform other people’s life too.
While volunteering with an NGO previously, Arundhati realised that people need affordable bird nest boxes and feeders. So they came out with products made out of coconut, bamboo and clay and started an initiative called Arenya.
The Material with which they make their products is degradable, even though there are lots of China options available. They started promoting their products by participating in exhibitions, and through a website and a Facebook page.
They even guide people on how to attract butterflies in their balconies and windowsills. They also organise workshops where they teach people to make their own Bird Feeders from Tetra packs, Baby Food Tins, Coke cans
Arundhati believes, “All these activities connect people to nature. The root cause of miseries in our life is because we have been disconnected from nature. As a person, many questions which came to my mind were answered while observing nature.”
She has learned from nature that, “going slow and steady is, the key to life.” And many other things were an inspiration from nature.
When in morning parakeets visit her place, she doesn’t need an alarm to wake up. The sense of responsibility automatically instils in her when she thinks of the empty feeders. When one summer, she saw a few parakeets eating her Tulsi seeds she was mesmerised on acknowledging the fact that who taught them this wisdom. She strongly feels everyone should experience such stories around their daily routine robotic life’s, which involves only humans.
“Such acts make me work more and more towards creating awareness and promoting these Bird Feeders” adds Arundhati.
Arundhati has lately completed a one-year post graduation from Pune about Sustainable Living and Nature Conservation from Ecological Society, travelling every weekend to Pune from Bombay after by 5 days a week of software job in Bombay. It has widened her aspects in terms of ecology.
Arundhati sleeps eats and lives Nature; her existence is all about Nature. It’s her first baby that happened to her 8 years back and then her son was born two years after her first baby on world environment day, 5th June.
On asking her about her daily routine, she said, “It’s a routine day, but I look into it that we look out for Trees, Butterflies, collect seeds, pluck flowers in the Lunch break around my Office (Powai, Hiranandani). I try and keep my eyes open while travelling and look around for caterpillars, insects, new trees and its fun.”
Her life mantra is “Look beyond yourself.”
At her workplace at software IT Company, many colleagues laugh at her. They say “Kya re teri chidiya kaisi hai”, “Kya re log itne bhuke hai, aur tu birds ko dana khilati hai”. Listening such comments, she chooses to be brave and focused, because she knows people are superficial, they comment without knowing the depths.
She says, “If you believe in yourself and think, that you are doing right, just go on, and don’t think much.”
She has a message to share, “Be Thoughtful. It’s time to be conscious consumers; it’s time that we do things with awareness even if it is a small thing like toothpaste or soap, they have lots of harmful chemicals. We are poisoning our bodies and our waters by using all this.”
Arundhati is a Women of Courage because she chose to be different and denied to follow the herd. She believed she could, so she did which makes her a courageous woman.
Share this inspiring story of Arundhati Mhatre with friends and family.