I have a deep respect for Raghu. Not because he is a social activist and talks big about his initiatives. It is because he is different from others. Right since childhood, I always see him doing something different. In fact, his way of thinking is absolutely different from others. I remember, during our college days, when we would be busy in partying, movies, gossiping, and roaming around, he would be sitting silently in some corner, or reading a book in the library. And if he is not doing either of this, he would be scribbling something on a paper of in his diary. But he would never talk anything out of context of nonsense. Rather, he would prefer to keep silent most of the times even when he is with us. When you probe him about his reasons for worry he would mildly indicate towards disturbances happening all around.
Raghu and I were in the same locality. In fact, his father and my father were officers in the same government department. That was the key reasons of the two families being quite close to each other. On top of it, Raghu was in the same school and class I was. That, in fact, was another kind of bonding. I remember, Raghu had no enemies in the school. Everybody was his friend. As a matter of fact, everybody would like to talk, share food, and spend time with him despite he being the least talkative guy in the whole class. He was dear to all the teachers including our principal. One day, Ravinder, one of our common friends threw concentrated hydrochloric acid on the front side of the scooter of our chemistry teacher during lab practicals. Next day there was a big blast during our chemistry theory class.
Social Activist Raghu
Everybody was standing in the class. Chemistry teacher had declared that he will neither teach anything nor would allow anybody to go home unless the culprit accepts his dirty act. Only a few of us was knowing that Ravinder is the actual culprit. Suddenly, Raghu raised his hand. Though the teacher didn’t believe that he could be the one, he immediately sent him home to call his parents. Otherwise, he said, he would call the police and file a case. That was a frightening threat for everybody. Raghu went out of the school but didn’t come back. But something good happened in his absence. Verma Ji, our chemistry teacher called Vinay, the monitor of our class. He had full doubt that Raghu can never do this not even to him but anybody. And Vinay told him the truth.
Next day when Verma Ji asked Raghu the reason behind owning a false blame. He simply answered that it was something quite serious and Ravinder was quite afraid after doing this. Everybody was being affected because of this and hence he came forward to close the matter. The same attitude continued in college too. His social activist face was emerging quite clearly during our college days. While the staff was on strike for some reason, there was a student who required his original certificates to submit at some medical college. Being the last date of submission, he was quite desperate but was not finding any way out. Raghu could not digest it. He went straight in the staff room and pulled the concerned person out to release those certificates. And there are, in fact, many instances like this.
Social Activist of Social Entrepreneur?
Raghu was a good fan of Satyakam. This was the movie in which character of a person overpowers everything else in life. Raghu was quite impressed with this character played by Dharmendra and he would crave to be a person like him in real life. Raghu’s sharpness and project handling capabilities came into light when we are doing a project in our final year of post graduation. We had to build a travel website for a national competition. Our team had already qualified the zonal rounds and we were representing our zone in the national contest. Even after final version, Raghu suggested many valuable additions in our travel portal ‘wetravel’. He was the person who would delve himself completely into any project with complete heart and soul.Photo via Visual Hunt
As expected, we won the national award and our travel website ‘wetravel’ became the talk of the travel world. In no time, we got an offer from Indian Tourism to deploy that portal for them. Raghu took the charge by joining their IT department for this particular project. That was his entrepreneurial color that was not visible so far. In return, there was an overall deployment cost that was quite substantial for both of us. In fact, soon after finishing this project, Raghu got an offer in an automobile manufacturing company to manage their IT department. Hola! he was the head of IT department just at the beginning of his career. But this didn’t let Raghu leave his social activist activities. Anything that would disturb him in the society, he would immediately raise a voice on his blog and social media.
Social Activist and Entrepreneurship Can Go Hand in Hand
Within a year after starting his blog, Raghu was a popular figure on the Internet. His followers on his blog and social media would keep increasing exponential. And so did his craving for society and his work. The years kept passing on and after 23 years of corporate journey, Raghu decided to live his own passion. 23 years was not a short period. This is what Raghu kept trying to convince himself. It was enough to learn and unlearn, fold and unfold, and create his own bouquet of wisdom. And there was always a fight between his mind and heart. Mind always tries to be safer, wiser, and logical. Heart, on the other hand, is just opposite. The heart has, in fact, nothing to do much with logic. Rather, it has its own way of interpreting things and jumping to conclusions.
That was the key reason Raghu was sometimes in a situation of imbalance whenever it came to leaving a well-settled job and jumping in a riskful journey of entrepreneurship. But then it was his dream. It was not that Raghu didn’t have trust in himself. He, in fact, has been the biggest critic of his own capabilities and knowledge. That is the reason that he never talks much about other people who are eager to discuss any topic on this earth and demonstrate their half-knowledge. I have seen Raghu speaking only in two cases. One, when he is 100% confident what he is going to talk about. Two, when someone provokes him to an extent that he is thrown totally out of his comfort zone.But latter would happen very rarely.
Learning from a Social Activist
Let me tell you, Raghu was as vulnerable and insecure sometimes as a turtle or an earthworm. In those moments he was vulnerable enough to just get into a shell or start running in opposite direction. When Raghu began his career as a Technology Head of an automobile company, he was strong enough to handle everything that his job profile would demand. Rather, he was more than eager to talk anything about technology in whatever area someone would like to. That was the level of his confidence. And there were a couple of reasons to it. One, he was brushing up his knowledge at a very fast pace. He would read any old or new journal, news, article, or paper on technology. Not only that, he would also analyze anything he would read and conclude it on some solid grounds.
Two, he was carrying a fire in his belly to transform his organization. That zeal he was carrying was quite beneficial for the organizations he worked for during that tenure of 23 years. He was faster than his peers working in other industries. The extent of automation, computerization, networking, connectivity, and projects he did were more trustworthy and praiseworthy. In fact, none of his projects failed. And that was the reason that even if he would demand a pilot project to perform singlehandedly, his management would never disapprove it. He never realized that this rate of success was building a different level of overconfidence in him. And then he came to a juncture when he would stop updating himself on newer technologies.
Entrepreneurs too can become social activists
Gradually, he started refraining from this routine work and started looking for something more challenging and different. And then came the point in Raghu’s life when he decided to throw his papers and start his own venture. Soon after leaving his job Raghu launched two startups. One was about collaborating all the social activists across the nation on a single platform. That brought all the scattered energies at a single place. Now they would talk, write, raise a voice in a collaborative manner to get quicker actions. Now, Raghu is living his own dreams. In fact, he has become my own boss. And earning manifold what he was getting at his last job. This earning comes from his second venture that is an online global travel website.
Wish Raghu had taken this decision much earlier!