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They gave up BIG salaries to do GOOD for the world

Last updated on: August 19, 2011 09:09 IST

They gave up BIG salaries to do GOOD for the world

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Meghana Biwalkar in Mumbai

They are young, confident and believe in living for a cause. And they are here to make a difference.

Meet these executives who chose to give up their high-income jobs to take up the cause they strongly believe in.

So how does this feel; chasing your dream, doing some good for the world? Unanimously, they all agree: "It doesn't feel like a job anymore, it's simply the way of life."

Read on further, to know more about their work, their cause and life . . .

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Maithily Bhupatkar: Dance for Parkinson's Disease'

A promising career in HR with a leading IT company in Pune is what Maithily Bhupatkar gave up to pursue her passion. "Although I enjoyed my stint (in HR), I felt there was something missing. All this effort and work wasn't making me happy."

It took her almost six to eight months to make the transition. However, once the decision was made, there was no looking back.

"Starting at the age of 16, I have always been associated with dance. During all these years, I kept myself surrounded by various forms of dance -- movement therapy workshops or random classes across town. This is when, I was introduced to the contemporary dance form. That's how my journey to become a professional dancer from an HR professional began."

The institute that Maithily is working for first offered her the responsibility to manage their programmes and community projects.

Further, with her academic background in psychology, she was offered to take on Mark Morris Dance Group's programme -- 'Dance for Parkinson's Disease'. For this, she was formally trained in New York for two months.

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Working on a unique programme like Dance for Parkinson's Disease, in India wasn't easy. "We had to tell the students, doctors and organisations about the programme and tell them that this is a movement class and not a therapy class."

So, the institute showcased the path-breaking film titled Why Dance for PD? at their Annual Film and Dance Festival Prayatna. They also tied up with hospitals and a local support group in Pune for Parkinson's patients called Parkinson's Mitra Mandal.

Says Malini, "The response we received for our programme, which focuses on improving the control of involuntary movements and also range of movements, was encouraging."

In less than a year, the institute has over 15 participants and are now introducing programmes in Mumbai, as well.

One can almost feel her excitement, when she says, "Dance has not only helped these patients to boost their strength, confidence, balance and movement range, but has also improved their ability to challenge their bodies."

They have also received requests from associations working for Alzheimers, diabetes and so on to conduct movement based modules for their members.

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Yes, Maithily is looking at expanding her reach, as through her experience she realises that movement can be a powerful catalyst for stimulating the mind.

At present, Maithily's students are above the age of 50 years, and they have all taught her the most valuable lesson never stop surprising yourself.

It's such lernings and experiences that makes Maithily certain about her decision to quit her job. "Initially, it is difficult. But, once you earn so much love and joy, money seems secondary. Also, I believe that money is never enough. So, why not take up a job that you would simply love to do and the rest will just follow, right?". Now, that's a thought provoking question.

So, for all those who are scared to take that big step, Maithily has a word of advice: Don't panic, take your time and approach it in an organised manner.

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The Root (Nitesh and Diya Mohanty)

High profile clients, deals and accounts is what this successful graphic designer couple gave up to follow their dream.

Everything was going just as well for them. However, they always felt that something was missing and that there was a vacuum that needed to be filled. And, one day, out of nowhere, Diya was diagnosed with brain cancer.

"Our life came to a stand still and that's when we started questioning our role as creative individuals," says Nitesh.

Thus, inspired to start a more meaningful life, the Root was born. "Through Root, we found a channel to penetrate into people's hearts in a non-activist manner," says Nitesh.

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The Root is a platform of artistic expression and to create awareness about social issues. They are doing this through a line of merchandise - organic cotton tees, notebooks made from elephant dung and bags, and screening of documentaries on social, political and environmental issues at various events.

"We want to make to sure that we are not just a brand in the market. So, we tied up with stores and organisations that believe in our cause and tread on the same path," says Nitesh.

So, why choose a product that's so easily available in the market? "Root is a thinking person's T-shirt. It's a concept that someone will relate to and then endorse the product." Their products feature messages about eco-awareness, against war and violence and so on.

At present, these products are available in outlets in Delhi and Mumbai, and they will soon be available in Bangalore and Pune.

Nitesh is aware that the market for organic products is not so large. "All we need to do is create a segment for such products. If people can spend Rs 999 on a branded T-shirt, we just have to convince them to spend the amount on a organic tee to support a cause. It's all about creating awareness."

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They are doing this by tying up with clubs like Mocha film festivals, organisations that encourage organic farming and hope to organise interactive events like organic farm visits.

So, how has this transition helped the couple? "The journey has been exciting. We have learnt so many new things and met like-minded people who encourage us in every possible way. Yes, the shift from giving up high-paying job for a cause is difficult, but in the end it's all worth it. We are of course trying to draw a balance. And, we are certain that we will meet our goals soon," says the couple.

Nitesh adds, "Most simple things in life are the most difficult to create. So, the trick is to follow your heart and have faith."

Both Diya and Nitesh feel : "If you are on the right track, there is nothing to fear".

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me2green: Charvi Parikh

Meet Charvi Parikh, an IT professional, who is now recycling garbage. Yes, that's right. Charvi believes that we can all make a difference; all we need to do is start with basics separate our dry garbage from the wet, recyclable garbage from the non-recyclable stuff.

To encourage people to take up this habit, Charvi introduced the concept of Bin Hostess. The hostess a rag picker, who is trained to separate the garbage - will approach you, collect your trash and separate it for you.

"We always enjoy being served. So, when someone volunteers to separate the garbage for us, chances are rare that anyone will refuse. And, when one sees the process, hopefully they will follow and practice this on a regular basis," says Charvi, who holds a masters degree in mathematics and computers from US.

At present, Charvi's Bin Hostessses serve at malls, colleges and wedding halls. She hopes to largely work with college students and encourage this habit at an early age.

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Recently, Charvi tied up with St Xavier's college to launch "Waste Segregation at Source: initiative. The response was quite encouraging - 64 students from 16 colleges of Mumbai cleaned up Dadar Chowpatty Beach.

She has also initiated joined hands with Somaiya Educational Complex, Somaiya Hospital & Medical College, K-Star Mall Food court.

Me2Green was established in July 2010 with an initial funding of Rs 40,000 from UnLtd India, a launch pad for social entrepreneurs.

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"I felt there was tremendous scope for a waste segregation in Mumbai. Most of the garbage that is collected on a daily basis is not for the landfill, and a lot of it can be recycled and composted by separating it at source," says Charvi.

Motivated and enthused about the cause, Charvi feels that people will take up this habit, it's all about educating and creating awareness.

So, what is the best part about her job? "First it doesn't feel like a job. Second, it's always a proud moment to see the Bin Hostess, a rag picker educating students and other citizens about garbage separation. Also, when I see students asking questions about the cause or sharing knowledge with their parents, I feel nothing else can compare to this joy. Personally, it feels nice to do my bit for the environment and society at large," says Charvi.

Her word of advice: When you see your work taking up shape, all your doubts and concerns will fade away. So, don't think too much, just take the step.



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