The Mirakle in Mumbai: Life inside a social business

The Mirakle in Mumbai: Life inside a social business

Rohan Mehta provides an insight into his work at Mirakle Couriers, a profit-making company founded by an ex-banker which employs deaf adults to deliver mail
Mirakle Couriers
Dhruv Lakra at Mirakle Couriers Churchgate office, their hub for South Bombay, while the other is in Andheri, a hub for the northern suburbs.

 

"I just got back from work. 

To do that I took a train from Churchgate and an auto rickshaw from the station to Khar (W).

I’m so Bombay now.

As you might have heard, the trains are absolute madness. I am grateful for my eager teen concert going days where I learnt the important life skill of navigating through a sea of stubborn bodies to get closer to a stage. This is exactly how you get off trains here. Throw your body weight into the crowd and squeeze through tiny gaps of passengers who stand their ground firmly. Then you have to deal with the strong current of people coming on to the train. None of this British "after you sir" attitude. It’s quite a fulfilling feeling once you get off though. 

In the morning I usually go to the Churchgate office.

I get there around 10:00 and see everyone's smiling faces. They say good morning to me (a hand gesture that reassembles something like a flower opening up followed by a thumbs up.)

I am currently working for a company called Mirakle Couriers. A For-Profit social business enterprise that employs low income deaf adults to collect, sort and deliver corporate mail. Some of the big business industrial companies are our clients. We have also recently got more into delivering specialist magazine publications to their subscribers.

We have 45 deaf employees (ages 20-30), 15 girls who handle back office data entry and 30 boys who run deliveries in a designated areas.

We are not a charity and not an NGO but a profit-generating business. We don’t help the deaf community. We merely help them help themselves by employing them where others do not. All over India the deaf community faces harsh conditions, their inability for aural communication also means they don’t get heard or lobbied, their oppressions are literally unvoiced. 

Dhruv Lakra, founder and CEO of Mirakle Couriers, calls it the silent disability.

So here we are giving them self worth, opening bank accounts, giving them pan numbers, making them pay taxes, giving them insurance.

Plugging them into the market…

Plugging them into them into the Matrix.

That's what we do.

Day to day I’m busy with various different activities: creating invoices, emailing clients, updating the company blog and websites, and other marketing activities.

Often Dhruv meets clients in the mornings and so is not always in the office when we get there but he comes an hour or so later. But he enters like a FireCraCKER.

"BAM BAM BAM OK I WANT THIS THIS AND THIS DONE, OK WHERE IS THIS, OK LAST NIGHT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS, OK WHERE IS MY TEA AND NIMBU PANI, WHERE DID YOU GO OUT LAST NIGHT? OK HOW MANY SHIPMENTS HAVE GONE OUT, LLEEETTSS GOOOO!!"

With this, an amazing wave of energy sweeps into the room and brings life into a usually quiet office.

The other fun things working at Mirakle Couriers is the silence even when there is a lot of commotion. Dhruv gives some big pep talks from time to time to push them to deliver more. Power deliveries, and they all get very excited. You see this on their faces even if you don’t hear voices cheer you know that is the same emotion they are feeling. It's wonderful to be around.

Leaving the office is another bizarre experience. Suddenly the sounds and noise of Bombay attacks you. All day you have been hearing quiet shuffling of papers and a few claps and hand movements and suddenly you are overwhelmed by obnoxious honks and wild conversations.

Then for the next hour or two I forget that everyone isn’t deaf and that they won’t understand my mal-formed signs to get their attention or ask them questions. It’s pretty funny.

Dhruv apparently dreams in sign. I can believe it."

For the entire diary entry go to Heliopathic Creations.