This post is a part of Neer, a collaborative project by DCB Bank and Chaaipani to bring out stories of individuals and initiatives that are working hard and smart to save water.
I could not remember the last time I did something for the first time. So when I got to know I would be doing my first ever interview, I was ecstatic as a bibliophile smelling the pages of a new book. To get more charged up, I made myself some Chaai, and with a flurry of emotions I spoke to Swaathi Kakarla.
Swaathi, is like any of us, in the sense that she is trying to make a few dents in this world in her own little way. But before we jump to that, we need to see what makes Swaathi the frugal genius that she is.
In 10th class, she was faced with the burdensome option of deciding which stream to choose, and like most of us are, she followed her friends and took biology. Little did she know that wasn’t where her heart wanted to be.
Things took a turn when during her summer holidays, her laptop broke.
“My father said that he would not take it for repair and that I had to fix it myself.“ she recounts.
“Adamant as I was, I spent all my time trying to repair it. Opened it, looked for problems here and there. Put it back together, installed Linux and Windows and viola! At the end of the day, I took care of the problem myself.”
It was at that moment, it dawned upon her that she had a knack for this, that she loved coding. She was finally able to see enough to go through the tunnel on her own two feet.
Trying to find her own way, she went to various meet-ups and gatherings during her college days where she met like-minded people who did what she desired to do. And along with the awareness came the harsh reality; that there were not many female computer programmers in the country. Be it due to a lack of role models, negative stereotyping, or social pressures. Swaathi wanted to change that, she wanted to make dent now.
“I know how it feels like to be alone in a room. To be different.”
Swaathi is the co-founder of a company called Skcript. A very successful CTO (Chief Technology Officer), she works with a group of 6 people. They are a core engineering team who build compression servers that compress data, along with a host of other things.
“My passion lies here. Anyone who works with me has passion for what I do.”
In the middle of the interview, I realized I had taken my last sip of Chaai. Feeling dejected, I was about to get up to make another one. But then, when I asked her more about what the office culture at Skcript is like, and her voice turned a completely different inflection. I did not need my cup of tea anymore; the way her voice became bubbly and full of life was enough to charge me up.
“I have always liked energy wherever I work. Lots of it. In the office, our blinds are always drawn, windows open and lots of light and greenery can be seen. Can be felt. Everyone works happily.”
And then she is, as I personally made the name myself, the Water-Whisperer.
“Usually when we take a glass of water, we do not really know how much we are going to drink, right? So I noticed that a lot of water sometimes is wasted because people do not drink all of it, and then that remaining water is thrown. I decided to do something about it. On every employer’s desk, we have a pot or a potted plant. Whenever at the end of the day, water is left in our glasses/bottles, we pour it in the pot. Thus, we save as much of water as we can.”
And that’s not all. At Skcript, for every new customer they plant a tree in their office, water it, take regular care and even send a picture of the plant which literally ‘belongs’ to that customer. How refreshing!
This made me think that some way, in those two boring years where she studied biology, her love for nature crept into her technological aspirations. And it is indeed benefitting everyone around her.
We all agree that we must do a little something for the environment. Some are prodders; they encourage and move others to take some action. Some are the backseat generals; they only acknowledge the fact about bringing a change but do not take any action. And then there are game changers like Swaathi, who not only do what makes them happy, not only find people who like doing the same thing as them, but along with having a successful venture they do a little bit for the environment and for themselves. And that, my readers, is how you do something so little for the greater good.
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