Tell us about yourself
I studied in Mumbai where I also got an MBA in marketing. With previous work experiences in America for the last 16 years I currently manage the sales operations of Galeecha India Pvt Ltd. I was recently a nominee for the Niranjan Parekh Humanitarian of the Year Award.
How did you get associated with Nargis Dutt foundation?
I was always interested in contributing in someway to society at large and having met Priya Dutt and having gotten to know more about the work that NDF was doing I was inspired and volunteered to help.
Tell us about your first fundraiser?
I had for the past year been an integral part of the NDF team, after which I put together their first fund raiser in Mumbai. I’ve been fortunate to have been a small part of this effort, “Pigment”, an ART exhibition for a cause, proceeds from which were utilized in the field of Cancer Care and rural education.
Besides this I’ve also coordinated a footwear donation campaign in rural Maharashtra as well as have worked directly with children diagnosed with cancer and their families, providing support through funding and counseling.
Your son also helps you in fundraising, tell us about that?
Arav my son who is 12 yrs old saw the work I was doing and visited some of the small kids , I think the exposure helped motivate him to contribute in someway making a difference to the lives of the children. He is participating in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon to raise funds and create awareness for pediatric cancer and has raised 10.5 lacs in 4 1/2 months and organised a Christmas event by a movie showing along With gifts for 100 poor kids suffering from cancer for many of which it was their first time in a movie theatre. He also put up posters in school spoke to corporates and friends family organised a Diwali celebration with the kids.
What are the qualities that you feel make for a strong fundraising candidate?
I think at some level I’m extremely focused on any tasks, especially when this task is about helping little kids get better there is no effort that seems too much.I would say perseverance, integrity and determination are the qualities that make me a strong candidate.
What is your relation to Kashmir?
My parents are Kashmiri and though we grew up in Mumbai we were constantly surrounded by our cultural traditions. All our summer vacations were spent in Srinagar, at Rainawari where our ancestral home was. I miss all the cultural manifestations, the food, the festivities, the mountains the Dal and make it a point to go back to Kashmir every year as having traveled all over I still feel there is no place like Kashmir.
You have been also dealing with Kashmiri crafts previously, tell us about that?
My grandfather would trade in Kashmiri Handicrafts, so I was always surrounded by the exquisite art and craft of kashmir be it papier machie or carpets and realized my passion for them much later. I have been working with sourcing from the valley’s artisans so that their work may get the attention it deserves as well the customer benefits by getting a exquisite quality product.
What are your future plans?
The future is too complex to anticipate but if I’m able to make a difference in the lives of just one child or one family I think id have a fairly successful life. But the aim is to keep at it, to keep trying to make a change.
Anything you would want to say to someone reading this article
I’d like to use Gandhiji’s words, “find purpose and means shall follow” and so my advice is that this purpose must be bigger than the sum of the individual and one’s ego must be smaller. My message to parents is to encourage and instill compassion in our children and for parents to lead by example as kids learn what they see.