Asawari Mathur, a 22-year-old has adopted an environmentally conscious lifestyle and lives in Kelamangalam, a village near Hosur, 60km south of Bangalore. She lives with her two cats and two dogs, surrounded by nature.
Asawari completed mainstream education until Grade 5, after when her parents pulled her out of school and started Aarohi – an open learning community that explores learner-chosen, self-paced activities as a means of unschooling. She went on to enrol in the Swaraj University in Rajasthan, where she pursued a two-year degree-less program.
After attending a ‘Rethinking Development Workshop’ in 2015, where she learnt about the devastating effects of development and consumerism on the environment, Asawari was determined to make sure she gave back to the environment.
“I use cloth pads for the past 5-6 years now, and it is one of the best decisions I have made, health-wise and environment-wise. Your average pads contain chemicals and are mostly made of non-degradable plastic – meaning that it takes thousands of years to break down. Apart from this – I’m against fast fashion and instead practice thrifting, exchanging hand-me-downs, and second-hand clothes. Carrying my own containers, and other small changes have become a routine,” explains Asawari Mathur.
She spent a lot of time researching different alternatives, and then settled on what was best for her body, her lifestyle and mainly – the environment. “I first started my eco-friendly life journey by removing all chemical cosmetics, shampoos, and self-care products from my lifestyle. I wanted to replace them with natural, and organically sourced ones – but I couldn’t find affordable ones. After a lot of googling, and talking to different people about different recipes – I started creating my own hair-wash powders, bath powders, etc. Soon, my family and friends started asking me to make some for them. I thought to myself ‘why can’t I make a business out of this?’… and thus Dhanak was born,” narrates founder Asawari Mathur over a telephonic interview.
Asawari founded Dhanak Naturals in the April of 2019 and she is now an Eco entrepreneur.
Asawari sources most of her raw materials from the village and transports them in her own containers. She collects and reuses scrap papers, cardboard boxes from neighbours, and other businesses. She collects and washes plastic wrappers and covers, gathers old newspapers – and uses all of these as packaging, along with biodegradable paper tapes.
Lip balms, bath powders, hair-wash powders, tooth powders, dish-washing powders, natural hair oils, and body butter are just a few varieties of the products she makes and sells. She passionately acquired knowledge of producing, packaging and marketing her products. “Formal education or not having it does not come in the way of my dealing with customers. No one asks whether I attended college. I strongly feel that my work speaks more than a degree,” says Asawari.
She plans to make Dhanak an established brand, scale up, reach more people, get a team, and explore more other than just self-care products.
Asawari also talks about how it isn’t always easy to make environmentally conscious choices. Craving chocolate – that’s wrapped in plastic is hard to resist, she says!
“Living eco-friendly is not perfect. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. It’s up to our generation to take care of OUR planet,” Asawari signs off.
Photos: Asawari Mathu’s Instagram page
Shalini Ramesh, 14, is a student in an International School in Chennai. She is an avid reader, budding author, average footballer, blogger, and enjoys baking. She is often found on the path of self-discovery.