‘Freedom lies in being bold’— Robert Frost may have penned this line eons ago, but it stands true even today. And it’s clearly reverberating amongst the young Indians who are breaking the conventional norms, making bold moves and are defining the future of our country.
Whether it’s academics or sports, fine arts or entrepreneurship, or any other field, the young leaders of tomorrow are throwing caution to the wind, and inspiring the rest of the nation to join them and play bold in all walks of life.
Here are a few young achievers who have courageously overcome all odds to chase their dreams…
She is only 26 years old, but this li’l mermaid has conquered all five oceans and has become the first Asian woman and the youngest in the world to set a record in open swimming in Antarctic waters. Bhakti, who started swimming when she was 2 years old, has set a world record by swimming 1.4 miles in 52 minutes in one-degree temperature in the Antarctic Ocean. She is only the third person in the world to have swum in the Arctic Ocean, and her feat of swimming in the freezing waters of Antarctic Ocean has even earned her recognition from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Achieving the impossible of course wasn’t a cakewalk for Bhakti, who practiced swimming in freezing waters in an inflatable pool filled with 10 tonnes of ice, but nothing is impossible to a courageous heart, right?
To follow your dreams all you need to do is play bold, and none can tell us this better than Divyanshu Ganatra. He is an IT expert, a clinical psychologist, an adventure junkie, a self-made entrepreneur, winner of a National Award from the Vice-President of India and he is BLIND. Divyanshu who lost his eyesight at the age of 19 to glaucoma has broken all stereotypes and myths with his passion and courageous moves. Divyanshu has never let his blindness come between his dreams and passion. The Pune-based shrink has founded a company called the Yellow Brick Road, which provides corporate training and counseling. He is also a diehard adventure junkie who has scaled the Milam Glacier and the Kumaon range of the Himalayas among other peaks. He is also the first visually challenged person in India to undertake solo paragliding flight. Take a bow Monsieur.
In a country, which is so sensitive about almost everything, one needs to be really bold to come up on a stage and speak about sanitary napkins and vaginal tightening creams. Aditi Mittal not only does that but also has the audiences falling off their chairs with laughter with her wisecracks. This gutsy gal is one of the first women to do stand-up comedy in India, and undoubtedly is an inspiration to thousands of women. Aditi’s bold and funny acts have put her on the list of India’s top 10 stand-up comedians by The Times of India. She is featured in CNNIBN.com as top 30 witty, intelligent, and incredibly funny Indian women to follow on Twitter. Aditi has also been featured in the American documentary Stand-Up Planet, along with American and South African comics, which is a stand-up comic’s quest to find some of the best humor coming from corners of the developing world.
To climb up the earth's highest mountain – Mount Everest, is indeed a brave thing to do. But achieving this feat when you are an amputee is called playing bold. In 2011, 24-year-old Arunima Sinha was thrown off a moving train by thugs for refusing to hand over her gold chain. She lost her left leg when a train went over it but instead of preparing herself to live a life of a handicap, this brave girl made a decision to climb Mount Everest. And in less than 2 years post her accident, she conquered the highest peak and become the world’s first female amputee to climb Mount Everest. She has been awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India for her achievement. The brave heart, who has also climbed four other highest peaks - Kilimanjaro in Africa, Elbrus in Europe, Kosizko in Australia, and Aconcagua in Argentina, dreams of opening a free sports academy for differently abled persons. She proves to the world, grit is all one needs to beat the odds.
Computers have obsessed this award-winning tech junkie since the age of 11. When he was just 13 years old, he started his website called Hacking Truths. At the age of 15, he published a book on ethical hacking - An Unofficial Guide to Ethical Hacking, which made him the youngest author to be published by Macmillan India and soon enough his hobby became a profession which not many were willing to explore. He is India’s first ethical hacker and has hosted a popular show on MTV called ‘What the Hack!’, where he gave tips, tricks and tweaks to get more out of technology and the Internet. Widely recognized as a computer security expert, he has delivered more than 1000 talks in 25 countries, received several awards, and trained more than 20,000 people in India and China.
Anuj Shah and Prashant Issar
With an agenda to generate wealth for the society in addition to individual wealth, the founders of ‘Mirchi & Mime’— Anuj Shah and Prashant Issar made the bold move of setting India’s first restaurant with a fully deaf- mute staff. Recruiting and training the staff was a long drawn process but the two were determined with their mission. The company recruited 27 staff members from various hearing and speech impaired colleges and job fairs. They even chatted with the selected staff’s families, since they were skeptical as to how their children would be treated in the outside world. And after an intensive eight-week training program, Anuj and Prashant finally succeed in setting up a restaurant, not to generate sympathy for the staff but to suggest that they are far more hospitable, focused, enthusiastic, intuitive and better servers than normal people.
She is dynamic, passionate, and responsible for transforming the lives over 12,000 villagers in the remote Spiti valley. A Tata Institute of Social Sciences graduate, Ishita Khanna left a comfortable life and made a bold move to settle down in the Spiti Valley, to help the local community there lead better lives. Amidst severe climatic conditions and inaccessibility to popular culture, this young daring lady has successfully managed to remain focused on her commitment. She founded Spiti Ecosphere, a social enterprise with the objective of responding to the need for developing alternate and sustainable livelihood avenues that responsibly use available local resources (natural & cultural) and protect the environment. Thanks to the efforts of this young social entrepreneur, Spiti today has become one hot tourist destinations and the locals are leading a far better life than they used to.
Well, in a country, which is laden with talent and brave youngsters, this list can go on-and-on. So please don’t hesitate to add more names of other inspiring super achievers in the comments below.
And yeah, go India, get inspired and don’t forget to #playbold
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