CHENNAI: What do you do when when you’re the vice president of a company, but you don’t have an office? Blessing A Manikandan found himself a desk with a beach front view — rent free.The whole beach was his office, recalls the founder of ‘Angels of Marina’, an initiative for a cleaner beach.
The business veteran moved to Chennai from Coimbatore six years ago as the sole employee for the South division of Franchise India and lived too far from his clients to work out of home. “I would drive 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,” he says.
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 of 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. “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 ‘Angels of Marina.’
Clean-ups that started with a few volunteers every Sunday at 6 am 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, 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 a firm. But clearly his love for Marina Beach continues to grow. Just check out his T-shirt!
To join the Angels of Marina, call 9176840500.