ON a sunny morning in Kathmandu, hundreds of newly minted entrepreneurs are converging for the annual conference of Tupperware, the $1.2-billion plastic containers multinational. An unusual business conference this. More silk sarees here than neckties, delicate perfumes rather than the aroma of coffee and cigarettes. No brainstorming sessions on strategy, marketing and consumer psychographs. Instead, boisterous spirits, more reminiscent of a high school reunion than a business meet. Uninhibited display of camaraderie and spontaneity.
Managing director Pradeep Mathur arrives on stage to whistles and the deafening sounds of tambourines, damroos and dandiya sticks. He points to the rainbow erected overhead: This is a symbol of hope, colour and a new beginning, he says. Life is full of endless possibilities. Of choices. Make your dreams come true. Follow your Tupperware rainbow and you'll find your dreams. He strikes an instant chord. A group of women on one side of the hall break into a chant: Give me T.... Give me Upper... Give me Ware... What does it spell? Tupperware! A group of cheerleaders on the other side flail their arms. Gold and red pom-poms swing in the air. The frenzy ebbs and flows as more plastic containers are unveiled, superperformers crowned and honoured with mementos, diamond pins, stars and sashes. Every woman here is a heroine in the eyes of her peers and all present.