“Bhaiya, Is it your business or you are doing it for a company?” asked 14 years old Rahul while serving rotis to me at the dhaba I had stopped by to have my breakfast. I said no. “Then why are you doing it?” he asked again, looking perplexed. Apparently the boy had read the #RoadtoBharat & 15000+ kms Road Trip stickers on my car. His curiosity and English comprehension made me smile and I shook my head, signaling no. I chose not to answer that question and focused on my late breakfast cum lunch polishing my “one meal a day” bad habit during this journey.
I have been asked this question many times by friends and family and complete strangers, young and old, men and women, educated and illiterate, in cities and villages, all of them. And the more I travel, more important this question becomes. Why am I doing it after all?
During this journey, I have seen hunger and poverty, despair and neglect, deprivation and injustice.
I have seen many 10 year olds forced to work in miserable conditions to help their parents earn a square meal. And I have learned to respect the hope expressed through their innocent questions by choosing not to answer in words. They are curious to know if this will change something for them or it is just another staged interview photo-up done by many elite class social workers and politicians.
How do I tell Rahul that there are 350 million young girls & boys in the schools and colleges of this country and many more across the world whose future is at stake?
How do I tell him that it is we, and generations before us, who are responsible for his situation as we chose to keep silent when there was injustice and loot being committed, because we were too engaged in our own selfish interests and luxuries?
How do I tell him that the situation is going to get worse as the world now faces different and bigger challenges? How do I tell him that it is not really about him or me but it is about the larger cause of humanity? That it’s about who we would become as a species, if we stopped caring for each other. I want to tell him that there is hope.
If I could become who I am today in spite of being born to illiterate parents, having raised in a remote village where I had to walk 3 kms to attend Govt. school, never attended regular college, no computer, phone or internet; he certainly has higher chances of writing his own destiny.
But he is too young to understand that the power is within him. No govt., media or anybody else is going to come as an avatar to save him, and he has to stand up, become strong and fight for his own future.
I want to tell him that the fortunate ones like us who have resources, knowledge and skills to create positive changes in the lives of millions like him need to take things personal and look beyond ordinary solutions.
I want to tell him that we Entrepreneurs are God’s agents as we can use our imagination, passions and technology to create innovative solutions.
Solutions that can change the world in a positive way. Solutions that can impact the lives of millions deprived and empower them to dream and have a better life. I want to tell him not to worry and lose hope. I want to tell him to keep dreaming and hoping. I want to tell him to trust not my words, but my actions as we Entrepreneurs work. We are “Doers”.
And while not all of us are awake and still running the rat race of glorified pseudo entrepreneurship, many of us are rising up to the task Almighty has assigned us.
We are building solutions and ways to fight and end poverty, climate change, social injustice and corruption. And that is where the hope is. And that is what this #RoadtoBharat journey is all about. This journey is further strengthening my deep rooted beliefs that the reason some of us have the vision, skills and resources better than others is so that we can do more in the larger interest of humanity. And I as an Entrepreneur have this responsibility to carry out this task. I am sure while this journey is personally transforming, it will surely inspire many others to start thinking in this direction and begin a much needed change.