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To energise offices, here is a new mantra

July 22, 2005 13:32 IST

Ajay Poddar's marble-floor office at Masjid Moth in the scruffy part of South Delhi, is scattered with tiny, square copper chips with circular patterns. Sitting on the table, Poddar fishes out a T-shaped instrument from his bag.

The Lecher antennae, he explains, can measure the negative electro-magnetic rays on people and offices. "But this energy can be 'positivised' by placing tiny copper chips in the correct places. Clockwise spirals beget positive energy," he explains.

Mumbo jumbo to the uninitiated, Ajay Poddar, who says he is a civil engineer, has developed the concept of Environics using the vaastu principles to scan energy via Lecher.

Like a new-age salesman, he's visited the Pepsi plant in Chembur, the seven-floor office of Central Bank in Mumbai and homes of the rich and famous.

Depending on the energy flow of an office, he says, he places the copper chips and marble pieces, "to correct the energy flow."

Last year, at Mumbai's Central Bank office at Nariman Point, Poddar placed several dozen copper chips in ceilings, walls and toilets.

When Onkar Singh Pasricha, chairman of Rs 170 crore (Rs 1.7 billion) garment company TCNS Clothing, heard about Syenergy two years ago, he decided to hire Poddar to provide design inputs to his two 150,000 sq ft manufacturing facilities.

"We had taken his inputs to organise our workplace and store." Next in the line is the Nicholas Piramal factory in Hyderabad.

Clearly, Environics is the hot new thing after vaastu and feng shui. Though there is no way of measuring the effectiveness of Poddar's tool, but he's managed to get known faces on his company's advisory board like classical dancer Geeta Chandran and detergent company Fena Ltd's promoter Pradeep Jolly.

The latter claims that he's currently initiating measures to improve his workplace in Okhla (Delhi) on the basis of Syenergy's recommendations.

"I am looking at making changes in the existing facilities according to Poddar's suggestions. It is necessary to explore the idea and validate the findings with my own experiences," says Jolly.

Prema Sagar, head of Genesis Public Relations Ltd, swears by Environics. She admits having seen "positive results in performance" after "synergising" her office.

Five years ago, Poddar placed marble pieces and copper chips at strategic points in the Genesis office -- in hallways, near water outlets and at electric points.

Whether the companies that hire Syenergy make profits or not, Poddar's fortunes are improving. Last year, his three-year-old company did business worth Rs 17 lakh (Rs 1.7 million).

This year, profits between April and June alone stood at Rs 17 lakh and he has, since, expanded office and hired an architect to assist him.

Syenergy charges Rs 50 per sq ft and insists on quarterly revisits to debilitate negative energies at workplaces and factories.

And sometimes, Poddar also gets emergency calls sooner than expected. "I got a call from the Central Bank that things have been going wrong at the office after my visit. I went back and found out there was an area which needed correction."

Poddar, a reiki master, turned to environics after his gas bottling plant in Sikandarbad, 60 km from Delhi, started making losses.

He hired a Pondicherry-based architect who used the Lecher instrument to improve the lot of his factory. "The factory's fortunes reversed and I managed to sell it," says Poddar.

Ever since then, he has been dabbling in real estate and made environics his profession. "Only 200 people in the world have this instrument designed by a German scientist," he claims, adding that he decided to call its Environics for want of a better word as his research deals with improving sick-building syndromes.

Poddar currently services 50 clients and is quite clear on the kind of companies he works for. "They have to believe in what we are trying to do and co-operate to make it work."

But he's discovering that rarely do company officials at factories and plants follow up on his advise diligently.

"I visited one of the factories and saw that a copper chip had fallen off from the top of the door. No one bothered to fix it." Also Poddar is upset when the new generation entrepreneurs view his work with mixed feelings.

"A young boy setting up a call centre wanted my advice, but I walked away when he said he'd like me to go ahead but without letting anyone in the office know about it. That's impossible!" he exclaims.

So how should one describe Poddar? A genius? A fraud? Or a prankster who is cashing in on people's insecurities. Poddar wipes his face and pauses before he speaks: "There is no reason why you should believe me. Not at all. I am not providing any miracles. I'm only correcting energy flows in offices."
Maitreyee Handique