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The Art of Man-making: ‘Helping others is more about quality rather than quantity’

Any act where you think of another person is how this winner of Dr Stya Paul Award for Human Values defines such values



Each one of us wants to do a good deed. Almost all of us love to see the smiles on others’ faces when they think that we have done them a favour. Doing a good deed, just for those few minutes, focus your thoughts on others. The blessings you get from them make you happy and have a positive effect on your physical, emotional, and mental health.

Most of us do a good deed not with the intention that we are validated or even awarded for our efforts but if we receive accolades for the same, it makes us feel nice. And the same can be said for Shriya Maini who is pursuing her MBA from Apeejay Institute of Management and Engineering Technical Campus (AIMETC) in Jalandhar. In 2021, she was conferred with the prestigious Dr Stya Paul Award for Human Values.

In an interview, she talks about her start-up that she started during the COVID-19 lockdown days and the role her teachers have played in shaping her professionally and personally.

Tell us about yourself.

When I was in college, I won the consolation prize in TiE Business Plan Competition with a cash prize of Rs 5,000. After I completed my MBA from AIMETC, I decided to venture out on my own. So I started Immuno Eats; our focus is on health-based products. We are making these using millet. The UN has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets and therefore, I decided to go with it. The second focus is to make these sugar-free. This is because India is often referred to as the diabetes capital of the world.

How did you come up with the idea for this start-up?

I started this venture during the COVID-19 lockdown. I was an obese child. I found it difficult to shed weight. So, I was always looking for ways to cut down on sugar-free sweets. I wanted to make products that were not only sweet but healthy too. I did a lot of research and studied a lot. During the lockdown, I gathered all the information that I needed and started Immuno Eats. After a lot of trial and error, I finally made a list of products using millet, something that we don’t eat but is extremely good for our health.

When and how did you hear about Dr Stya Paul Awards for Human Values?

I have been an Apeejayite right from the nursery. At school, I was a student at Apeejay School, Mahavir Marg at Jalandhar. For my graduation, I enrolled at Apeejay College of Fine Arts and for my master’s, I was at AIMETC. So, not only have I heard of these awards, I have won them three times – once in school, once in college, and once last year.

What inspires you from Dr Stya Paul’s life?

Growing up I heard so many of his stories and the hard work he put in. Every year, on Annual Appreciation Day, we would hear about his sheer determination and that despite being a person with a disability, he never gave up and continued to struggle till he reached his goal. He was a freedom fighter, a philanthropist, an eminent educationist, and an industrialist.

How does one do an act of kindness?

Each person does a good deed according to his/her capabilities. It doesn’t have to be something very big; even a small act of kindness goes a long way. Buying a meal for a poor person is also a good deed. Just because you can only feed one person doesn’t mean that your act is any less. Any act where you think of another person is how I would define human values.

So every winter and summer, I take out clothes that I no longer wear and donate them to the needy.

What has the role of your teachers been in hones human values in you?

They have had such a huge impact. One can get an education anytime and to test that, we take the exam at the end of the year. But teachers have a much bigger role to play in a student’s life, especially mine. I was an introvert. My teachers were the ones who encouraged me to participate in all the school activities. So much so, that I ended up being the president of the Student Welfare Association and enrolled at NSS when I was in college. This helped me develop my personality.

You have won the award three times. How does it feel?

To be honest, the work that I do is not to get recognition. Of course, it feels good but I wouldn’t stop helping others just because I didn’t get an award for it. I just feel good when I see the smiles on the faces of others.

How tough is it to live by such values?

It is very easy. It is as natural as eating or even breathing. We just have to develop a habit of being kind to others and slowly, it becomes part of one routine. One should not wait for a particular time; just take one step at a time. You also don’t need huge monies for helping others. One can even feed two rotis to a dog – it is all about quality and not the quantity that matters; it is all about willingness to help.

Each person does a good deed according to his/her capabilities. It doesn’t have to be something very big; even a small act of kindness goes a long way. Buying a meal for a poor person is also a good deed

Shriya Maini, Founder of Immuno Eat and alumni of AIMETC

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.