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Guest Column: When passion & philanthropy join hands

17-October-2012
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Guest Column: When passion & philanthropy join hands

It’s just amazing to see how even the smallest of initiative can bear fruit if done with sincerity and consistency. My passion for cycling met with a divine intervention when Vizeum acquired the media duties of TI Cycles. Cycling was an activity I simply loved during my student days. But I was forced to give it up after I was bed ridden for three months just before the board exams with a knee fracture, performing some cycling stunts.  

Based on a business insight (for the client) of getting people together with the same passion from the same vicinity, a sudden desire for cycling was reborn in my system. Consequently, without much thinking, I initiated a drive through Facebook to get like-minded people together to cycle. It wasn’t about simple fun or stunts any longer. The idea was also to create a platform for meaningful conversations on various topics and eventually make some contributions to the society in general and some under privileged in particular.

We formed a group called the Chembur Cylooers. The initiative quickly got six of us together with the same spirit.  TI cycles came forward to offer some help as well.  We invested in a basic version of GT, brand imported into India by TI Cycles (higher-end of the same of is used by Lance Armstrong)
 
We decided to meet every Sunday morning. For the first couple of weeks, we did the same.   Some kept dropping out for various reasons. Though it was quite difficult initially – knee and leg would hurt badly; had to even ride alone at times – I decided to keep the motivation on and eyes fixed on the goals. I soon found opportunities to connect with others through offline and online discussions on the subject of cycling. Some of it was again divine interventions where one discussion with someone lead to another and came across other cycling enthusiasts in different parts of the city as well as within my locality and we started connecting and engaging.  Some members of our small group who dropped out started coming along, getting others together too with them.

The momentum is surely gathering.  We are well connected family of cycling enthusiast now, from different groups. We enjoy our rides and conversations which normally takes place during the weekend. Physical state is getting better – no more knee problems.

Common spirit also exists in the group. One of the groups led by my friend, Vishal Sharma, already makes contributions to an orphanage, Swagat Ashram at Manori. Some of us were there at the Ashram couple of weeks ago.  

I’ve my eyes fixed on the balancing act of fun with a purpose and am sure I will find enough and more ways to do this too since the focus is sincere.  I ran the half Mumbai marathon last year with a fund raising pledge to support a tribal school in Tamil Nadu just as I was recovering from a malaria and dengue attack, much against my family’s wishes. The pledge just kept me going and I managed to finish the 21 kms, without any training under a timing that some veterans do.

Moral of the story: Believe in the task. Once on the path of making it happen, be consistent and do not ever look back. Keep self motivation alive. People who will embrace the passion with the same sincerity will walk along. Eventually you will reach your destination as a victor!
 
Last but not the least, Try Cycling!! 

The author is MD, Vizeum, Indian Subcontinent

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