Radhika Iyer Talati, founder of Anahata Organics, had an epiphany in 2009 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had long struggled with health problems and had already fought uterine cancer in 2004. Getting diagnosed for a second time served as the tipping point. Radhika knew that it was time for a lifestyle overhaul. Guided by a naturopath, she shifted base to Baba Dhuninath’s ashram in the Himalayas to recuperate. During the course of her treatment, Radhika acquainted herself with an alternate way of life as she learned more about the local culture and lifestyle. The experience changed her. A year later, she was cancer-free and was preparing to set up her own yoga studio, Raa Foundation, in Vadodara.
The time spent amid nature in the Himalayas has been pivotal to Radhika and has fuelled her passion for yoga, mountaineering, and wellness sciences. Since then, she keeps frequenting the mountains. She is one of the very few women in India to have completed the strenuous “Panch Kailash Mountains” trek. Just recently, she scaled Mt Kilimanjaro along with her three children. She is constantly seeking new experiences and each one of them has taught her something new. It is out of the same passion, knowledge, and experience that Radhika started Anahata Organics, a 100% organic and sustainable lifestyle brand in 2020.
They make handcrafted, chemical-free food and beauty products and the brand has managed to build its online presence organically. Their products like Navel serum, Kumkumadi Thailam, Aloe-vera gel, rose cream, rose water, and acne fighter sell sans any paid promotions and advertisements. Empowering local communities from Gujarat and nearby villages has been an integral part of her plan. With this startup, Radhika aims to guide others towards a more organic lifestyle. The products they sell have been conceptualised with a similar mindset. As an entrepreneur, yogini, mountaineer, and philanthropist, Radhika continues to live her best life while juggling all these roles.
While brainstorming names for our #POPxoWomenWhoWin series, we knew that Radhika’s was a story that had to be told. In a candid conversation with POPxo, she took us through her life-altering journey and her commitment to a sustainable lifestyle. Excerpts below:
It’s been years now that I work for almost 13-14 hours a day. I wake up between 4.30-5.30 AM, finish my meditation first and then complete my daily morning routine. I leave for yoga classes generally by 6.30 AM and wind up the routine by 8.45 pm every day. Post that I supervise the daily household chores, dress up and leave for the factory by 10.30. Work at the factory is exciting. Also, since we are a startup, there are things to learn everyday. I am at the factory until 7.45 pm everyday except Sundays when I work only half a day.
On most days, I cook dinner right after reaching home. It’s the time of the day that my family and I love and it’s a practice that I have been religiously following for 28 years now. We as a family finish dinner by 9:00pm max and then I spend time either reading or writing articles or conducting online meditation sessions. I generally sleep by 11.30 or midnight.
Majorly, I was working on an independent project in the US with a few promoters on an event that showcased the cultural diversity of India. But I have mostly worked as an event curator and designer. My business, Ivy concepts, is a wedding design and management firm that has been in business for over 19 years now. My yoga classes have been operational for12 years now. Plus, once you are a mother and a wife, you always have your hands full anyway.
I guess, it always was. I grew up living in a health conscious household. In 2003, after the birth of all my children, the opportunity to get into shape came with the opportunity to participate in the Gladrags Mrs. India contest. That was my first introduction to a guided routine in a gym. I went on to learn and understand more about the human body and realised the importance of fitness. But to really work deeply in the field of fitness through yoga came after my tryst with cancer in the Himalayas where I had gone for my recuperation. It’s been 12 years now and I am so attached to the methods of Yoga and all that comes with it.
It was when my husband started a new venture that unfortunately didn’t pan out. So while I had been earning and doing different types of work since I was 20, I really took charge of my career and finances when his venture was facing issues. That’s when I decided to step in to help him run the household and sustain the family.
Take each moment as it comes and give your 100% to what’s in front of you. I really know no other way. I keep my long-term goals at the back of my mind, but I am always concentrating on what is in front of me at that point in time. It has worked out for me.
Honesty towards all that I commit and discipline in fulfilling that commitment and fully being responsible for all that I suggest, speak or do. These are simple rules that have given me a lot of confidence and helped the community trust me.
Starting Anahata, since it was based completely on my experiences and feelings rather than any projected tangible product or profit. I feel throughout my career spanning 25 years, all that I worked for l, trained for and ideated for is validated with Anahata’s presence at this point.
Team Anahata is simple. We have grown together these past 9 months and there is so much that we have accumulated in this process. The best part is that when we started, we were all new to this profile. I or my directors had no experience in the field of organic beauty or food. The people we hired came from a similar background. So we collectively learned the process, understood the nuances of the industry together and it’s together that we now aspire to build this brand with our vision of where it could take us. The people we work with are simple, trustworthy and disciplined. That’s a huge advantage for the brand.
Jump right in is what I’d say. It’s the beginning of a brand new era! Sustainability and biodiversity is the call of the future. Just do your research well, hire consultants to help. Read a lot about the nature of goods or services that you wish to explore or provide.
I eat natural and organic food. I have made it a practice to buy from farmers and small scale entrepreneurs. I am a vegetarian and I generally eat fresh home cooked meals. I eat three times a day–a heavy lunch, a light snack with green tea and filter coffee in the afternoon and I finish with a light dinner. I also take a bit of green tea the night before I sleep. I avoid maida or too much sugar. I do binge occasionally but I am very conscious about it.
In so many ways. This process has made me aware of what I buy, where I buy from and how much the stuff that I buy has made me more attentive to the money that I spend. It has helped me discipline my lifestyle and most importantly it has given my family and me a new lease of health and overall fitness both mentally as well as physically.
I meditate. That’s my poison. Or I practice yoga and Pranayama and spend quality time with my family.
Featured Image Courtesy: Radhika Iyer Talati