Daniel Silva has this to say about the life of a Spy. Waiting is a key skill for the spy. The life of a spy consists of long periods, days & weeks , of boring, zero-action, mind numbing waiting ( waiting for the quarry to make a mistake, commit the next crime or take the bait). These long periods of boredom are interspersed with brief spikes of action, A few minutes of high octane, nerve-wracking life or death situations in which the waiting game is won or you end up dead.
A big green field project like setting up the first krya factory is much like the waiting game ( minus the life and death situations)
It took us a month to find out the proper licensing authority since our all organic, plant based goodies could not be slotted into any known category. In this time we had to listen to an official telling us that there is no real proof that herbs like Neem or Soapberry are actually safe compared to the vast body of clinical studies conducted on Triclosan or SLS. I then understood in a small way how survivors might feel when they meet a holocaust denier.
Our first application to the licensing authority in April 2014 was not even accepted for over a month as the department was in a black-out period due to the Nation-Wide general elections. As soon as PM Modi took office, we went back to the department with our application. We were confident that now our “Acche Din Aa Gaye”. We were then told that we would be called for an interview at the next district level board meeting on June 23rd 2014.
Through the month of June we did not hear from the department despite some follow-up & we landed up in their office on the day before the interview determined to get our day in court. We were then shocked to be told point blank that our application was nowhere to be found. The entire department was actually decent in admitting their gaffe ,since we had an acknowledgment receipt , but regardless the application was nowhere to be found. We then had to re-submit the application for the next board review in July 2014.
By this time our early test batches of the Krya face –wash & Krya body-wash had gone viral ( & not bacterial since we have strict quality controls for total bacterial count) and many , many lovely people were writing to us wondering about the launch of the new products. In complete damage control mode, we made yet another test batch of products to bridge the gap till the official launch of our new factory.
On July 23rd 2014, after waiting for nearly four months for a interview, we drove nearly 100 km to the district HQ, waited a couple of hours for our slot and had an interview of precisely 5 minutes. In this time we were given a prima facie approval for our factory project subject to other regulatory clearances and financial closure with the bank.
Anti-climactic as the interview was, we had the approval, which was the main thing. But of course we were told the actual approval letter would be sent by post after obtaining the necessary signatures from the department heads. This letter was sent to us on 9th September 2014! We waited for 48 days just to receive the letter, almost enough time for Daniel Silva to have written his next novel.
By this time I had made so many appearances at the department office, that I felt like Kevin Spacey working at the diner in American Beauty , telling his cheating wife & boyfriend that “something tells me that you are are going to remember me this time”
However we are never low on gratitude and were quite excited to receive our sanction letter, delay notwithstanding.
This sanction from the local licensing authority was a key input document in our application to the bank. When we triumphantly walked into the bank this time we found out that the bank manager who had reviewed our project had been transferred. We would have to wait for a couple of weeks for his replacement to start the process. Merde ! Somehow when you say it in French, it doesn’t sound as crude as the English translation.
We waited for a few days to meet the new manager, got a large application docket and sent the completed forms to the dedicated SME branch of the bank. After a ominous wait for a few days we went back to the bank manager for a status update and were told that the SME branch never received our application. We showed a proof of delivery from the courier company that the letter had in fact been delivered to the SME branch , at which point they said that it could have gotten lost during the bank renovation. Merde !
If you have been patient with this narrative till now, the timeline reads end November 2014 and we are busy telling the amazing Krya consumers to wait just a little more for the launch of the new factory.
Something told us at this point that we needed a new bank and Along Came Polly. (Polly is of course not her real name). On a bright December morning when we were at our factory site office, a lady walked in introducing herself as the new branch manager of a nationalized bank nearby & that she was looking to fund interesting new projects.
We had driven past this particular bank branch, just one mile ahead of our factory site, many many times and it never crossed our minds to consider them. That is Life.
For every weird, frustrating road block or lost letter that we faced till now, the new bank relationship threw up a pleasant surprise. It was as if a conservation law of hard knocks and pleasant surprises was playing out in our project.
So now here we are in early February 2015, having completed every conceivable pre-launch formality required to get our factory project underway. Bank loan application completed. License approval done. Machine suppliers lined up. Raw materials on the way. Consumer tested formulations ready.
We should start the construction work on the factory in a few days and then commence a trial production run shortly afterwards.
The new Krya products – face wash, body wash & hair wash should be available for sale in March 2015.That would be 14 months after we first made a test batch of products for consumer evaluation.14 months is the gestation period for a Giraffe, Sperm Whale or Camel to give birth to their respective babies.
Thank you for the long patient wait for our new ultra green Krya eco factory a.k.a the baby sperm whale to get on its feet.
We promise the wait is nearly over.