Demi and Josh are married for 10 years. But they never got the pleasure of getting children, and for this reason they are having a difficult time in their lives.
Through his work, Josh met Joji, a guy from India who invited them to visit his state in India. He suggested to visit the province of Kerala, and learn something of Ayurveda. Although this was not Demi’s and Joshes plan as they were in a difficult time in their relation, they decided to get a ticket and travel off to Kerala.
The environment was beautiful as they saw. And then they were invited to get an Ayurveda treatment.
They went to Vanamoolika, a project started by a priest who helped women and their families to organize a wellness treatment based on Ayurveda and in this way, get a better life themselves as well. The first impression they got was the open minds and strength of women who worked at the project.
So when we as friends sat together we asked Demi and Josh about their travelling to the Vanamoolika centre.
They were very enthusiastic telling about the different aspects of the Ayurveda treatment and told very lively about the people, their commitment and their talks to Joji and others in the centre. My husband and I were a bit surprised, but very happy to see they looked good again.
Thus we asked what their best experience was. Both of them looked at each other and nodded, it was the house of woods. We had a renewed experience of nature’s goodness to our wellbeing and our happiness. Of course we had the Ayurveda treatment, which was great. But the house of woods made it feel more intense. This was our place where we slept and retrieved to relax. The different scents from the different woods and herbs had an effect on our wellbeing we did not expect at all, and renewed our commitment as husband and wife together. We are happy regardless our deeps wish.
We all got silent.
Brenda’s friends are short stories of experiences of modern women. As Brenda is entirely made up by the writer, notice that she and her friends do not really exist! Thus people and stories are fiction. We hope you get an insight in our thoughts and values in life. Sometimes serious, sometimes just funny. Enjoy and we hope you get good understanding about Brenda’s approach to life!
Never in a million years would I think of going to India.
Not because I’m snooty or anything. It’s just that I wouldn’t know if I could survive Mother India, after all the stories I’ve heard about “don’t drink the water”, “don’t get ripped off by porters” etc. My best friend travelled to India many years ago and she told me that they had to do their toilet business somewhere in some bushes, covered only by opened umbrellas!
So I didn’t really have that much expectation when Nic and I went to Kerala, India recently with our client, the team and management of Paul Penders Co. We were invited to tag along as they were doing a feasibility tour of a new business they intend to embark on in the state of Kerala.
I wasn’t even excited. I was thinking, OK, this is for work. Hopefully I won’t get dysentery or some stomach bug.
Paul and his team ready to get off the plane at Bangalore
The AirAsia flight from KL to Bangalore took 4 hours. The thing is, we travelled to the west so we gained time. Though we left KL at 3.05pm and the plane actually took off much later (after some dawdling on the runway), we arrived in the ultra-modern Bengaluru Airport about 6pm India time. Bengaluru is the local name for Bangalore. For our Malaysian stomachs, it was 8.30pm and we were thinking of dinner.
Inside Bangalore Airport, before the arduous form-filling!
Before we could exit the airport, we had to fill in the immigration forms. I felt a bit peeved because the form asked for so many details. Fortunately the Indian customs officers are not as rude or curt as the HK ones.
Have to fill up the Incredible India arrival card!
It was here that we met an Indian national who had completed his work contract in Malaysia. He was smart; he heard us speak BM and pounced on us in a friendly way. He wanted me to help him fill in his entry form because he was illiterate.
More forms to fill before they let you get out of the airport
Anyway, what with the form filling and etc, we finally got out of the airport and Joji and Jegan, our Indian hosts for the one-week trip welcomed us with fresh roses. So there we were, a huge group of different nationalities – Dutch, Malaysian, Indonesian, Indian and Chinese. We were going to be travel mates for the next 6 days, exploring the Ayurvedic-herbal route.
What we didn’t know was the car journey from Bangalore to Wayanad was going to take 6 hours. In the end, we found out that it is possibly 6 hours if the roads are like our PLUS highways. On Indian roads which are pot-holed and narrow and in some places, without adequate street lights, the journey took us 12 hours!
(At this point, I am glad we gobbled our ‘dinner’ aboard AirAsia. A travel tip: Eat first if possible. One never knows how long some journeys are. It is better to eat dinner twice than not to have one at all. Even going by local time, we figured we would arrive in VanaMoolika at midnight. Someone said there was going to be a feast for us! By Malaysian time, that would be 3am. Could I even eat at that hour?)
As we left the airport, we headed straight into the city and by that time, it was the evening rush hour where people were getting off work. Jegan, who sat in our car, told us that some 27 million people lived and worked in Bangalore. That’s like the entire Malaysian population in one city.
The most eye-opening experience for me was the fact that honking is very much a driver’s pleasure and pastime. The second was their utter disregard for traffic. Cars, autos (resembling tuk-tuk’s in Thailand), lorries, buses and animals all wove their way on the roads, honking, swerving and driving too close to each other. I didn’t know if it was our driver who drove badly or the traffic was horrible but the start and stop jerks of our Toyota Innova made Hong car-sick.
The third eye-opening experience was everywhere is your personal rubbish bin. When Hong puked into a plastic bag, she was gripping tightly to it and told us she was going to throw it at our next toilet stop. Our Indian guide told her to wind down the car window and chuck it out of the car! (Over the next few days, I found out that it is so hard to locate a rubbish bin. You see people throwing rubbish everywhere!)
The Atria Hotel where we stopped for tea
Finally our Indian hosts decided to make a quick stop at a local hotel so we could go for our toilet break and have some tea and snacks before the really long car journey. I thought, “OK, this is where we get some food!” By then we had all but digested our airplane food.
A quick stop at the hotel coffeeshop for samosas and tea
They still insisted that we would be having our ‘dinner’ some 5 hours later so some snacks would be good. In the end, we really had tiny morsels of food, samosas which were tasty but too small to make a dent in our tummies. Luckily I downed it all with a cup of masala chai, a very silky smooth milk tea scented with cardamom.
We packed ourselves back into the Toyota, bracing ourselves for the next 5 hours.
Paul Penders Company is not a “me too” producer of natural organic cosmetics. We not only use exclusive certified organic herbs, certified organic color cosmetic ingredients and many more certified organic ingredients in our products, we also go to the smallest details to check out our raw materials first and to be assured that all is “WHOLE” in what we believe in. Proudly I can state that our small company always has been a pioneer in the field of natural cosmetics in Europe, USA and now also in Asia.
Our aim has never been growing the company big; but always growing the company better! Readers of this blog that follow each day a new story about us understand better what we are and who we are. It is not me, the owner of this company… it is all of us that are sincerely committed to the very same. And Paul Penders Company…. For 40 years in business…. we take commitment seriously.
As an integral part of the above statement, in servicing our customers worldwide with the best natural and ethically produced ingredients possible, all of Paul Penders Company at Langkawi UNESCO Geopark went to India. Our friends of Paul Penders India Pvt. Ltd, assisted us in whatever needed during this journey, including visiting certified organic farms, (last time visiting Indocert – the Indian Organic Certification Board – and Vanamoolika – the “375 daughters of the Woods”).
All of us travelled to Kerala State for more verifications and in-depth studies of raw materials for our products, for authentic Ayurveda healthcare, yoga and meditation, and for the set-up of our new “Pure Wellness Travel, Inc” division . All together we travelled with almost 30 people, including drivers, guides and of course, our friends of Paul Penders India.
All cars used during our stay in India
The caravan vehicles continued days of hectic driving through mountains, narrow roads and hairpins from Bangalore all the way to Kochi where we stayed for 4 days at Sopanam Ayurveda Hospital for treatments, yoga, wonderful prepared vegetarian meals, meditation and original Ayurveda massages.
GMP facilities at Vanamoolika. Marcel our webmaster a closer look to one of the herbs!
As we were on the way to Sopanam Ayurveda Hospital, we were hosted for 3 days at Vanamoolika, the certified organic farm, and also visited a successful certified organic farmer in Kerala who was appointed by the Indian government as the best organic farmer in the State. We got to spend some time to know his family and they had prepared a wonderful vegetarian lunch & juices using his organic plants, herbs, flowers, coffees and much more! I bought some beautiful painting from his daughter who is a gifted artist.
The selection of organic food & juices was great! We truly enjoyed the variety of wonderful food
Sopanam Multi-Specialty Ayurvedic Hospital – a truly wonderful healing place
Besides that we also did a rafting as well in Kuruva Island, situated on the tributaries of the river Kabani, a fabulous picnic spot.
Rafting to get into Kuruva Island
Our spiritual teacher Acharya A.J. Shehadas
In a several articles that follow, each of us will write about their own experiences. You can visit Facebook where Krista wrote about her experiences, while her article will appear on this blog as well.
The flowers and wild nature in Kerala is truly wonderful
Paul Penders blog is read daily by thousands of people in over 60 countries. We look forward to your comments. We are always here to serve our customers better and better. Paul Penders Company is ALWAYS on the lookout and search for the best possible ingredients, wherever in the world and prepare these in natural cosmetics made by heart and soul. We thank you for your support.
A tired but happy bunch returning to Langkawi UNESCO Geopark
The word ‘paradise’ means different things to different people. To me, it means a place where people live beautifully and in peace. Where they can feel positive about themselves and the environment. A place where they have the ability to do what is best for mankind; without worries about religions, money, time tables, ego and selfishness. A natural environment for all that is good.
In this respect, I worry about the state of mankind. This concern gives me the ammunition to do what we do at Paul Penders Company.
This last week I have experienced paradise, as it should be. I had the enormous privilege of meeting and talking with Father Joseph Chittoor, a true visionary and humanitarian, and wondered why he never got the Nobel Peace Prize.
I was thinking about my 2 aunts who were devoted nuns in Holland and both artists as well. They were offering me their convent to do “animal tests” on them for 6 months in hopes of convincing the Dutch Government that animal testing was cruel and inhumane. 60 truly devoted nuns were waiting for me each day for the cause in hopes of ending animal suffering in Holland. And finally they won, as Holland was the first country to legalize no-animal tests for cosmetics.
With that in mind I hope that Father Joseph Chittoor will be seeing more results from what he started 20 years ago. His vision to empower women who had nothing, the daughters of the woods, in a rural area in India, giving them the tools to take care of themselves and their families. Now 375 of them own Vanamoolika and when I was there their songs of prayer had quite an emotional impact on me. I have made the commitment to support the work of Father Joseph Chittoor.
I was a guest of his creation and I cannot remember anything over the last years that have gripped me as Vanamoolika and “the daughters of the woods ” has. This charitable organization that they proudly own and that is supported by Indocert certifying their lands as organic and all of their products as a result. The Ayurvedic plant medicines are now accepted and they own their own GMP manufacturing unit.
They looked at me as a foreigner from another part of the world that could help in their growth, to help more daughters of the woods in more parts of India.
One of these daughters became a licensed and professional Ayurvedic doctor and heals though their own produced plant medicines, yoga, and meditation and Ayurvedic treatments.
Paul Penders Company has made a commitment to them. It will be for many years to come and it will involve lots of devotion, sharing of knowledge and happiness for all involved. Together with Joji we have formed a Paul Penders India company that will guide, assist and train the daughters of the woods in being more effective in their work. We will send over our own R&D people and we will assist in exporting their beautiful organic Ayurvedic products to many countries, including China, Europe, USA, Saudi Arabia, Australia and more.
We will set up a travel agency EcoBio Wellness Tourism Club where people from all over the world will be able to go to Vanamoolika – stay there for a week, get medical Ayurvedic consultations and ancient treatments such as yoga, meditations, and Ayurvedic massage.
Visitors will be fed some of the most delicious vegetarian (and some non vegetarian) foods coming from Vanamoolika’s own gardens. They will stay on 15 acres of land with rolling hills, and a true jungle of medicinal plants and trees. They will stay in cottages made from the wood of 3o different medicinal trees. Even the beds are made from 30 different medicinal trees! I can guarantee you, when you wake up in the morning you will feel refreshed and wonderfully energized.
Joji, as part of Paul Penders India, will help to further develop the training programs for the daughters of the woods, strengthening their work with certified organic cultivation of herbs, plants, fruits and trees producing them into Ayurvedic medicines. The one and only Ayurvedic system given by the Acharya that originated 5,000 years ago. Increasing their GMP factory will bring more financial means, helping expand the vision and work of Father Joseph and all 375 daughters.
The Paul Penders Company has donated their first automatic filling machine for filling cosmetics that are proudly produced in Malaysia. Cosmetics that will now contain 22 certified organic herbs lovingly cultivated and harvested by the daughters of the woods. All of these herbs certified organic by Indocert, the government certifying body associated with NOP (National Organic Production, USA) . Paul Penders Company is donating a website for them as well.
Thank you Vanamoolika, the future will be good and the vision of Father Joseph Chittoor will be executed!
The long journey back from Vanamoolika to Kochi was a 10 hour-fight. The road consisted of endless hairpin turns, filled with huge lorries, as it threaded through the massive mountains. If you consider the acrobatic movements of typical Indian roads, it was an exciting accomplishment to arrive in Kochi, the beautiful city of Kerala State.
In Kochi, a meeting had been organized with officials of Indocert, the Indian organic certification body. Indocert is associated with NOP (National Organic Production, USA) certification with the acceptance of conformity assessment for accreditation of certification bodies by USDA.
We had a meeting with Mr. Sreekumar, Deputy Director of Indocert and Mr. Praveen Kumar, the
Program Manager. Vanamoolika has strong connections with organic certifying bodies while the President of Vanamoolika himself is director of various organic farmer associations. All cultivation methods and products of Ayurvedic Vanamoolika are certified organic.
Readers of this blog are aware of several objections Paul Penders Company has against the practices of some of the certifying organic bodies. Now I had the opportunity to formerly share them at the right place. These include the high costs involved and yearly fees. We also object that Ecocert and others allow certain chemicals to be certified, even PARABENS are allowed. We strongly disagree with this.
The Paul Penders Company is at the brink of a strong cooperation with Vanamoolika, including promoting their beautiful Ayurvedic products in and outside India as well. Paul Penders Company will have its R&D and Regulatory people traveling to India soon to discuss how we can clear up the misconceptions and resolve our objections. The goal is to obtain certification of Paul Penders products. We deserve that certification as we use the best certified organic ingredients already.
Today was a good closure to an exciting trip and tomorrow we will make a summary including the exciting news ahead in supporting Vanamoolika, obtaining their wonderful herbs, and supporting “the daughters of the woods.”