While flying back to Kerala from Qatar, an industrial nurse—one who is “assigned emergency cases to provide medical aid in ambulances”—Eldhose P Raju was mulling a plan to find a similar job in his hometown. Wanting to come back home to his family in the Ernakulam district, he was confident enough to find a job as he has 10 years of experience catering to emergency cases. However, his plans took a drastic turn as his job search turned futile. That’s when the lotus entered.
Adopting a winning attitude when life dealt him a bad hand, Eldhose turned to his childhood passion. “Since childhood, I was passionate about plants and had a special love for lotus flowers. So, I set up an aquatic garden on my terrace with some bowl lotuses which were imported. When they bloomed, I shared pictures of them on my Facebook page and Instagram account, and that’s how all it started,” Eldhose tells The Better India.
With a variety of plants at home, he started watching YouTube tutorials on lotus farming and decided to cultivate lotuses at home in the month of March. From then, he began to import lotuses from different places, including Thailand, Europe and America. Once the imported lotuses started to bloom on the terrace garden, Eldhose began to fill his feed with the pretty pictures.
Social media: The saviour
Seeing pictures of flowers in flowerpots and plastic bowls on social media pages, people from different parts of India started to contact Eldhose. “Mainly people from North India contacted me for lotuses seeing the pictures I posted on Facebook. Then I began to supply lotus flowers and its tuber – its dormant roots, across India,” says the 34-year-old.
Most of the customers are from New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Pune. “People from Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram had come to my home and collected lotus plants and bowls too,” Eldhose adds.
More than the tubers, there is a demand for plants. Once Eldhose receives the orders, he removes the dirt and water from the bowls and then sends them to the customers. He adds, “The plants can survive for almost 12 days and tubers survive longer than plants. Once the customer receives the plant, they just have to replant it.”
“I am also happy to help my customers with tips and tricks to take care of the plants. I don’t encourage those people to buy plants who buy them just for fun,” he says and adds, “Seeing my plants, I feel relaxed and happy. They are my stress busters. Money will come and go, but I believe peace of mind should be there for every individual.”
20 varieties of lotuses
Eldhose cultivates almost 20 varieties of lotuses, including the Zhizun Qianban, Magnificent, Charming lips, Da Sajin and Fire bowl. From the lotus farming, he receives a “good salary”. “In a month, I make approximately Rs 30,000, which I feel, is good. In my garden, I have plants ranging from Rs 850 to Rs 3500,” he says and adds that he is proud of himself for doing what he loves.
“I also thank my family for being my all time support system. Without their support I wouldn’t be able to reach where I am today. My family respected my decision to choose the plant business even though I have a different educational background,” says Eldhose, who lives with his father, mother and wife.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)