CHENNAI: I have been pampered so much, I have got whatever I kept my hands on since I was a child, says Neha Bora Tated, who belongs to the wealthy business family of Gunjan Handlooms. Touching the table side for a brief second, she whispers ‘touchwood’, before continuing, “I thought it is time to give back to society, to help the needy in whatever little way I can,” she says. This thought now rests in the form of a baby organisation named ‘Banna’, which in Hindi translates to ‘to create’.
As the name suggests, the organisation is focused on creating new products and skills. This weekend, it will host its first workshop — that of candle making. Neha, an artist herself, will be training people how to mould the molten wax. Part of the funds collected in the form of registration fee — Rs 2,500 per head for this particular workshop — will go towards various institutions that serve mentally challenged children, orphans, and the old, in the city.
“Unlike other organisations that just accept donations, I wanted people to take something back, a skill,” says Neha, who besides heading Banna, is also the marketing head of Gunjan Handlooms. In future, she plans to organise dance, photography and cooking workshops by experts.
Besides, she is in talks with a professor from Madras University to conduct classes on Jainism and prevention of cruelty to animals — a philosophy which she strictly abides by as a Jain. She thinks aloud her plans to raise money with a biannual exhibition of the products made at the workshop and probably organise fund-raising concerts. “You think it will work?” she asks in an anxious voice.
We learn that she is still brainstorming options, something which she has been doing for the past three months when the idea of Banna was conceived. “We — my friends from school, friends’ friends and husband’s friends — were at a private DJ party. Everybody was pulling each other’s legs. When it came to me, they said, your husband (Manish Tated) is doing all the earning and you are just eating up his money. All for fun. At that point, I said I am going to come up with something to serve society, and they said why not!” she recounts.
But as Neha tells about her past, we realise that this potpourri of charity and creativity had started brewing up long before.
She had started learning drawing when she was just around six, and continued for 15 years. She is a trained singer and has taken crash courses in dance. While that explains her creative side, talk about generosity, and she says, “When you are exposed to something 24x7, it tends to rub off on you.”
Bora Charitable trust and Bora Medical Trust in Saidapet are run by her family. She has seen her dad walk up to strangers prowling in the streets for food and offering them help. It has been a tradition in her family to offer money to those in slums on every occasion — be it birthdays, anniversaries or festivals. While in school, she was recognised for her social service activities as part of NSS, and in college, she added worth to the award by volunteering to help the deaf and dumb, tsunami victims in Muttukadu and organise free health check-up campaigns.
“I really want to do something for society,” she seals her intention in one line.
For those interested to take up the workshop, log on to bannaforcause on Facebook or call 9962884446