CHENNAI: What do you do when when you're a Vice President of a company, but you don't have an office? Blessing A Manikandan found himself a desk with a beach front view - all rent free.
Six years ago, the business veteran had moved to Chennai from Coimbatore as the sole employee for the South division of Franchise India. Living too far from his clients to work out of home, he recalls, "I would drive over to Marina Beach every morning from my house in Madhavaram, set up appointments with clients and then head over to their offices to meet them." This was certainly cheaper than sitting at a coffee shop all day, he admits with a laugh. Of course, it was only natural that over time he began to take note of the poor maintenance of the massive square footage he had begun to his workspace - being dumped on all the way from reception to the low tide restroom.
However, it wasn't until over a year later that Blessing, snacking on sundal out of a newspaper found his inspiration to clean up. "I saw a quote from Gandhiji that said 'Be the change you want to see.' And that was a turning point for me," he recalls. Shortly after, he set up an initiative for cleaner beach called 'Angels of Marina.'
Clean-ups that started with a few volunteers every Sunday at 6 am back in 2012, have now grown into a few hundred - including the likes of celebrities like Sakshi Agarwal who was spotted helping out at his most recent activity last week. "We put the word out on Facebook and all kinds of people volunteer to help, or rather angels as I like to call them, the 41-year-old is all smiles when he tells us.
If you're wondering where Blessing works from these days, he tells us that he's swapped sandy shores for a corporate set up as CEO of the Paulsons group in Kilpauk. But clearly his love for Marina Beach continues to grow. Just check out his T-shirt!
To join this force of angels that opt for garbage gloves over wings, call 9176840500.