Freedom, pride that I had the guts to take chances and money have been a few of my rewards during the 35 years of my journey as an entrepreneur. But the one that I most cherish are the stories of some bizarre incidents during my career as a businessman.
This one incredible but true incident happened about a decade ago.
I had just been successful in convincing a large pharmaceutical conglomerate to enter into a joint venture with my Company after it had turned sick and was totally inactive for over a year. We signed the term sheet along With a contractual commitment to successfully commercialize and manufacture 4000 Kgs per month of a product for which they had developed only a Lab process. There was only one Company in the world making the product on a commercial scale and it was based in the United States. I had only my manager, an office assistant and my self-confidence after having retrenched all my 150 employees a year earlier.
“Yes. We will work out an arrangement by which you will get your Rs.75 million within 4 weeks, but before that, I need to know something” said the tall and handsome Chairman of the 20 Billion conglomerate as I took him for inspection of our manufacturing facility.
‘What is it, Mr Naidu?’ I asked him apprehensively wondering if he had doubts about my ability to mobilize workers.
“Have you had your facility investigated for negative entities?” he asked me without looking at me.
I did not understand him the first time. I turned and looked at him with questioning eyes.
“Mr Mohan, Do you or do you not believe in entities and negative energies?” he asked me with a serious face.
“I honestly do not know enough about it”, I lied scared of jeopardising my God sent joint venture opportunity.
I was shocked and did not know what to say. I had heard about his implicit faith in VastuShastra, an ancient Hindu text about relations between rooms and layouts of buildings but had absolutely no clue that a the Chairman of a 20 Billion industry that happens to be an exact science believed in such things as negative entities and evil spirits. Being a rationalist and an agnostic I neither had any superstitions nor did I have faith in unscientific solutions for adversities of life, more so if such misfortunes were self-created as was in my case.
He sensed my discomfiture he said “ You know, my Hosur facility took off only after it was cleaned up of negative pockets. Have you consulted any paranormal expert on negative entities to inspect any of your facilities in the past?”
I shook my head and said meekly “No”.
“You better consult an expert and get your facility ruled out for negative energy pockets” he said fastidiously as I took him along towards the boiler room.
“Sure” I said.
I fell silent as I was taken aback that he seriously wanted a certificate from a Shaman that my entire land and buildings had been cleared for negative entities. I would have preferred any other audit, including the dreaded USFDA audit instead.
“I will surely get it done”, I repeated breaking the awkward silence as I walked alongside him and pointed my finger and said “This is the 40 TR Chilling plant” hoping for a diversion.
“There are experts in this field. If you are not able to locate one in your city, let me know. I will send someone from Bangalore. But it is essential that you get your entire 32-acre land and all buildings checked” he said unrelentingly and I cocked my head sideways, Indian style.
I spent an hour that evening going through my contacts to dig out someone who was even remotely associated with such issues. Suddenly I recalled that Sudeep, an insurance surveyor and a friend of mine, had told me a few months earlier about one of his clients hiring a Ghostbuster to rid his factory for evil spirits that he believed were blocking his progress. I had laughed my guts out.
I called Sudeep.
“Sudeep you remember you told me about a Shaman whose services your friend had hired?” I asked him, staring at the T.V. news channel in my bedroom that I had muted.
“Why? What is wrong? Is everything OK at home Mohan?” he asked me worriedly.
“No, no, no, everything is fine at home”.
I need someone who is considered an expert in such things to check out my Pandya facility. Do you have his contact details?”..
“I thought you did not believe in such things.”
“I don’t. It is a part of an unofficial due diligence requirement for a large Company’ I said.
After his usual nosy questioning Sudeep gave me details of a guy named Rajendra and said “He specializes in removing black magic spells and negative entities. He claims that has done a few assignments for Companies in Bangalore”.
I called Rajendra, who luckily happened to be in the neighbourhood and agreed to meet up with me immediately at my house.
Rajendra was a short and hefty man in his forties who looked like a truck driver and not at all like a Poltergeist that we see in the movies. He had no Talisman on his chest, any beard or long hair, any red mark on his forehead and most surprisingly he wore a trouser and a formal shirt. He wore no jewellery and had no ear piercings.
“We need your services to check for negative entities and clear our our manufacturing facility at Pandya” I said.
“I will have to visit the place, but before that, I have to make sure that you and your wife do not have any black magic spells cast on you” he said to my utter horror.
“How and when can we do it? “I asked him.
“Right now, right here. Please call your wife too” he said and went to his rickety old Maruthi Car and brought back a gadget that looked like the electromagnetic probes that water diviner’s carry to locate sources of water for digging bore wells. He made me stand and moved the instrument against and my body the two probes deflected sharply as though they hated each other.
“See your spell is very strong” he said. I bit my inner cheek to control my urge to laugh.
He then carried out the same process with Mamatha and said that she had a spell on her but it was not as strong as mine.
“What is the way out?” I asked him, trying to sound very serious.
“Don’t worry, sir. I will expel them,” he said.
“You both need to come to a temple with me. I will come to your place at 5 this evening,” he said.
He turned up sharply at 4:45 and I followed him behind in our car along with Mamatha, who was as usual supportive.
The temple near Chikka Market close to AkkanaBalaga is quite big and has a few trees on either side. I saw no visitors as we both removed our footwear before entering.
The old Purohit (Hindu priest) was the archetypal priestly Brahmin with a tuft and an unshaven face that looked like it had neither seen soap nor razor for decades. He first instructed us to do circumambulation around the temple seven times. After completion, he chanted mantras for a few minutes and picking up a coconut in his hand, circled it across my face three times in anti-clockwise direction. He then flung the coconut on the floor with all his strength. Rajendra gleefully watched the several pieces of the coconut spread all around.The same procedure was carried out with Mamatha. We were then taken inside the sanctum sanctorum for a special Puja. We prostrated before the Goddess deity and then bowed and touched the feet of the Purohit.
Rajendra brought his probes and carefully moved them against both of us. There was no deflection.
“You are free of all spells now sir” he said. “now there is absolutely no deflection. You are free from all spells”.
I kept a serious face.
Cleaning up a body barely six feet in height is one thing but getting rid of entities in an area of nearly 1.40 million square feet of land and over 60000 square feet of 16 different buildings was another thing.
“I will visit your factory tomorrow” said Rajendra and took leave.
Rajendra called me after a week.
“There are many entities and pockets of negative energy in the land,” he declared.
“Your Block 3 building is particularly bad. Removal will take a lot of work and efforts”.
“Please do whatever is needed. Money is not an issue” I said posing a sorry face.
“Don’t worry Sir. I will kick them all out” he said convincingly.
He gave an estimate of Rs.2,25,000 (USD 5000 those days) to fix the entire premises with individual copper pyramids, special metallic plates, and springs to evict the negative entities. I paid him 50% advance. Rajendra came back after a week with four labourers and a van full of Spring-loaded pyramids, crystals, and plates made of different essential metals.
I watched with curiosity as the workers dug out four large pits around the four corners of Block 3 building and placed the spring-loaded copper Pyramids in those them. Rajendra then implanted the crystals and metallic plates on the walls of all the buildings at 4-5 different points around each building.It took almost a full day in commissioning all his ghost-busting gadgets. Rajendra expressed his satisfaction and assured me that all my problems and the Company’s problems would be solved for good.
I called Mr.Naidu again and explained in detail the steps taken to ward off all the evil and negative entities from the premises. He had a few queries about the material used for the plates. I heard a relieved Chairman reassure me that the troubled times of my Company would be over and that there would be no more problems. Our Joint Venture took off smoothly, and my Company ad able to get the first commercial batch out in a week.
As appalling as it may sound, a Company that had been shut down and had seen no activity in the previous 18 months commenced activities the very same week and the production just took off skyrocketing to over 15000 kgs of the same product every month catering to almost 90% of the global demand within a year! Not a single day has the facility been stopped as of this day.
What is the conclusion that I have drawn after this sojourn with the real or imaginary evil?
Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and will fight evil as he conceives them. That is fine as long as it harms no individual. That is enough to make the world a better place.
More importantly,I learnt not to sit in judgement of one’s beliefs and convictions about the supernatural.