Social entrepreneur Arunachalam Muruganantham, who is now more fondly referred to as 'Padman' had a surprise in store on Wednesday. Several youngsters at his locality, were gathered outside his residence in Coimbatore and seemed eager to catch a glimpse of a guest who had arrived.
And while Arunachalam was aware that his secretary had scheduled an appointment with a 'foreigner', little did he know that the man standing at his doorstep was Trinidad cricketer and Chennai Super Kings star - Dwayne Bravo.
"I know Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar," laughs Arunachalam. "Bravo actually introduced himself to me as someone who plays a 'little' cricket!" he adds.
But initial introductions quickly melted away into a serious discussion about lack of awareness on menstrual hygiene in the Caribbean Islands.
"When he was here for the India Premier League in February, he happened to come across the Oscar winning documentary 'Period. End of Sentence'," says Arunachalam. The documentary is based on the lives of women in Hapur, a village in Uttar Pradesh, where Arunachalam's low-cost sanitary pad machine was installed.
"That is when he decided to schedule a meeting with me," he adds.
At the entrepreneur's residence, Bravo spent over two hours learning how the pads are manufactured and even invited Arunachalam to the Caribbean for a demonstration.
"Bravo made two sanitary pads himself and was impressed by the technique. I in fact told him that he could become an icon of menstrual hygiene himself," says Arunachalam. "He is interested in helping women in the Caribbean with this technology and his presence as a sports star, is bound to create more awareness on the subject," he adds.
Arunachalam points out that the presence of sports personalities will take such awareness even to young men who are not otherwise clued to matters of female menstrual hygiene.
"I hope this is the beginning of a long line of stars who want to create awareness on this issue," he says, â€śThis entire episode also shows the power of visual medium. What would have taken me 20 years to achieve in terms of awareness, film and documentaries manage in one screeningâ€ť