Conversation with Lakshmi Menon at different times.
We meet frequently, talk and it is fun. She has learned from whatever I have not done, where I am learning from whatever she is doing. I am one among the many, she discusses her projects with and asks will it work ? A Godess asking me whether what she does will work? High sense of humor.
She finds happiness in everything she does,
She is a doer, she believes in being part of a solution. She is a big lesson on awareness, compassion, lateral thinking, recycling, upcycling, blossomed lotus in muddy water, safe and fast driver, a collector of speeding tickets on the highway.
She feels blessed to have been born to emulatable role model parents and relatives, who helped her to nurture her capabilities and made her a confident personality. She was brought up without any gender bias in the family, that helped.
Besides her various creative and innovative projects, she is lecturing, inspiring and motivating female gender, to free them from their shackles by unconditioning. She wants them to be independent, decisive and confident. Education should be used to serve the society, nation and be economically independant and not be a slave to her husband and in laws. The guys should be on same footing with the gals and share the responsibilities equally.
Marriage should be one more incident in life, not a wealth flaunting celebration. Dowry system should go like Sati ( where the wife had to jump into the burning fire of cremation of her husband).
The man is in simple clothes while the bride is all decked up in Jewellery and expensive costumes for their wedding, driving many parents into debt traps. She herself had set an example, dressed in simple Kerala costume and a single plain necklace, driving her car to reach her wedding venue, an event with a few relatives and friends. She had to draw lot of flak for leaving out large number of her friends and parent’s from attending, when half of Kerala was in their network. However, they were informed and told about the scale size of the event. She was making her talk, walk. She could afford a lavish ceremony, she set a precedence to keep it simple.
She is the Author of creation of AMMOOMMATHIRI, CHEKUTTY, Rolapena, THE SEED PEN, Shayya, Quilt India Samman etc..
When asked why she does not patent some of her products, she want others to copy and take it forward to make it far reaching and not wanting anything out of it. If at all she patents, it would be to prevent somebody else patenting , stop it’s free flow and discourage volunteers, whereas she would open it to the whole universe.
Paper pens are eco-friendly alternative to disposable plastic pens. Rolling paper over refills lead to the name Rolapena.
Chekutty expands to Chendamangalam Kutty or Cherine Athijeevicha Kutty, which translates to the child who outlived mud. the state in which Kerala, emerged from the floods. The weaving community saw all their handloom products, ready for sale for the oncoming onam festival, drowned and damaged in the muddy waters of the flood. The ingenuity of Lakshmi converted all the weavers’ damaged stock and created the now-iconic dolls that went on to become a viral sensation and brought in a lot of relief funding to wipe out the losses, putting their life back on track.
Psychiatrists used the chekutty story of resilience to counsel the people with suicidal tendencies. The dolls became a status symbol and were found swinging in hangers, cars, necklaces, belts, all over.
Wicksdom’ is wicks rolled by people of wisdom, an initiative to make wicks for oil lamps out of cotton yarn. The loving hands behind this initiative belongs to elders in old age poor homes. They find relief in this activity to use their time effectively and also to have an additional source of income. The project brings joy to many women who were earlier deprived of care. “Most of them were abandoned and orphaned by the relatives. They won’t even have a single paisa with them. Now, many of them are able to meet their small wishes like visiting a friend, going for a funeral, to have a snack etc…” Menon said. A meaningless life found meaning.
‘Wicksdom’ – wicks for oil lamps. (‘Ammoommatthiri’ in malayalam language)
PEN WITH LOVE
A value added Rolapena is a wonder pen that when pushed into the soil after it has run out of use, grows into a plant, into an agastya tree, well known in Ayurveda for its medicinal properties. The seed has been quietly slipped in, at the base of the pen
Quilt India movement
“This is a quilt India movement- a social fabric of collective consciousness to support artisans from various parts of the country stranded with no sustenance in the lockdown’s aftermath.
The lightweight bedroll is made from the scraps of the material used to make Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) gowns.
Salute to the lady for whom nothing is a waste.