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'When I had no food and only Rs 50 in my pocket'

By Kshitij Mehra
May 02, 2016 11:15 IST
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Kshitij Mehra, founder of Yuvshaala, shares an incident from his life that has lessons for all of us.

Kshitij Mehra

Whenever I close my eyes and think back, there is one memory that takes me down a lane in my past.

I am sitting in my room in a flat in Zirakpur and have no money for dinner. In my pocket there is a Rs 50 note, which is all I have.

I am demotivated because of my unpaid bills, the outstanding rent of my flat which I have been avoiding paying for more than a week giving the landlord some excuse or the other; my cell phone's outgoing calls are barred; my team has already abandoned me; most people think, I am a fool.

I wonder if they're right; and I'm actually crazy.

When I can get a good job and a decent salary why am I continuing with entrepreneurship?

I can easily have a comfortable life, yet here I am, hungry and dejected and with hardly any money to buy food.

The precious Rs 50 in my pocket can't be spent on food since I have to go to Rajpura to meet a school co-ordinator the next morning.

I have conducted a free introductory workshop there and I know that they normally make payments for school registration after a week. I am trying to think up reasons I can give the co-ordinator, asking for an early payment.

I set my alarm for 6 am and try to sleep. The next morning I get up with the feeling that everything is alright, I recite the Hanuman Chalisa asking the gods for support and strength and after getting ready, start walking towards the bus stop which is approximately two kilometres away.

Yes, in a bid to save some money.

I have no energy left but in my heart there is hope that things will turn for the better. I need to focus on my meeting.

I board the bus and buy a ticket to Rajpura for Rs 35; which leaves me with Rs 15 in my pocket.

The school is on the outskirts of the city and I'm expecting the bus to drop me at the gate.

Suddenly, I am alarmed to find that the bus has taken a different route.

When I ask the conductor if that is so, he stops the bus and advises me to get down right there. So here I am, around three kilometres away from the school, stranded on the highway, wondering what to do.

I start walking when a friend (who is aware of my financial status) calls up and when I tell her how things are, she asks me with great sadness how I will manage.

I tell her that if the school co-ordinator accedes to my request for an early payment then it will be fine otherwise I will have to walk all the way back to Chandigarh and see what I can do next.
She starts crying on the phone and I tell her not to worry.

After walking a kilometre, I run into a man on a scooter who is kind enough to give me a lift. He drops me in front of the school building.

Praying to Lord Shiva to handle things, I walk in.

I am inside the school, planning strategies.

If the school co-ordinator says he will pay me after a week, I will tell him I've forgotten my wallet at home and request him for Rs 500. Or maybe, I'll tell him that since there is no ATM near the school, I have not been able to withdraw money so would he at least give me the fare to go home.

All these things are running in my head while I wait in his cabin when he enters; and the first thing he says changes everything.

He says, "Kshitij, it is so wonderful that you've come. Please collect the Rs 25,000 we have collected so far." Believe me, I am in tears.

All images: Kind courtesy Kshitij Mehra

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Kshitij Mehra