Category Archives: Project Hope

I am alive.

 

This is an email I sent to every single contributor to Project Hope on January 12, 2014, the first year anniversary of Hope.

 

 

Hi,

A very happy new year to you!
Today is a special day. It is the first year anniversary of Project Hope. What better day than this to write to you and share what we have accomplished. Nothing of this would have been possible without you. Thank you.
A few of you wrote to me in the earlier months asking my whereabouts. So here it is.
Five months, one full term and 15 kgs lighter I must say I am doing pretty good! Although I don’t have any major update at this moment as grades for the three essays from the first term are yet to be announced. Yes, I am not in the best of situations but nothing ever goes as per the plan. I really wish I could devote less time thinking and planning expenses as the money is woefully short. In my previous emails I did mention about the forex rates hitting my budget hard but this is worse than I imagined. But this isn’t anything that can’t be tackled. I am doing everything possible to make it work and will sail through. Just that, as I said, I wish I could worry less about money.
I am fully satisfied with the course and am really enjoying it. London is pretty and on many days while walking back home and looking at the skyline I think that I can’t believe I actually made it. And I think of each one of you, your emails, your words of support and thank you in my heart. I hope you get the hiccups on a regular basis.
I will write again by the end of this month updating about the grades for the first term.
Cheers!

This is it. Day Zero.

This is an email I sent to every single contributor to Project Hope on September 8, 2013.

 

Hi,

I fly to London tonight.
To be honest, there was a point in the past month when I thought that this email will never happen. But here it is.
Thank you once again. In its truest sense believe me that this wouldn’t have been possible if not for your unconditional support. I am overwhelmed by your love. Definitely my past life’s karma is paying me off.
After being in touch over the past months I am sure you have realised how dramatic I am (cues in some Gothic music), hence I am christening today as Day Zero.
This is where it begins.
Cheers!

 

Pound touches 100

This is an email I sent to every single contributor to Project Hope on August 19, 2013.

 

Hi,

Six months ago when I sat down to budget this MA plan I had to take a worst-case scenario. I took 100 rupees to a pound. Today this nightmare has come true. It is not that I don’t have this money. The question is whether I am being arrogant by still going ahead with it when affording it means looking like a fool.
This is not the first time I am apprising you the currency fluctuation. Some of you replied after my earlier email that I should have handled currency volatility by certain methods. Although, it is really not in my hands. The visa rules needed money to be in the account for a specific period of time. This means that I had no option but to see the rupee slide and see Project Hope expense swell like its been stung by a bee.
By the time I came to a stage where I could buy pounds it had already crossed 92. Obviously I made a mistake by hoping that the RBI guidelines and the government’s actions might come to the rescue.
The question is whether Project Hope is tenable? Am I being pure foolish if I don’t abandon this now? 
Sometimes one needs to go by the gut feel and discard the economic tangent. I am beginning to feel that the increase in monetary implication cannot be ignored anymore.
I am trying to find answers to the above asked questions. Its my job to keep you posted, hence this email. I will communicate my final decision by the end of the week.
Regards,

At What Cost?

This is an email I sent to every single contributor to Project Hope on June 20, 2013.

 

Hi,

To begin with, there are a few who are getting this email for the first time. Well, all of you are getting this particular email for the first time but you have been getting this newsletter kind of email for sometime now and some are receiving it for the first time.

The world has changed since I last wrote to you. And it has changed a lot. Do we change with the changing times or should we act like the stiff tree and stare at the risk of being uprooted?

I started Project Hope in January. The weather was pleasant back then. So was the journey. By March, Mumbai was scorching hot and incidentally the well of Project Hope began to dry up. Everyone waited for the monsoons. Project Hope, too, waited. It arrived. By now the weather and Project Hope were tied to each other’s fate. What followed was torrential rains. We are in the midst of it. How could Project Hope not react to it?

In January, the rupee to a pound was at around 82. I budgeted at 86. Today, pound closed above 92.

What does this mean? This means that my entire expense of 23,000 pounds goes up by Rs 20,000 each time the pound gets stronger by Re 1. If I was spending Rs 19,80,000 when pound was at 86, I am spending Rs 20,00,000 when the pound reaches 87.

Currently, one pound costs Rs 92.

At this point in time I am forced to rethink. Is this too expensive? Is this even a valid question? Am I acting plain stupid now?

The cost-benefit analysis clearly is against this. But I am glad I am not good at this cost-benefit analysis. The returns on imagination is far greater than any the numerical projections.

To some this might look like my plea to ask for more money. I am not asking you for any more money. ‘From the burrow I fell. To the Earth’s core. I did not burn. I got stronger. For I was sand before.’ (Sorry, couldn’t help at trying my hand at a few lines. Clearly, poems are not for me. Also, chemistry is not one of my strong points.)

Moving on.

Although a couple of days ago I did tweet about restarting Project Hope but aborted that plan. Coming back to Twitter to find this money somehow felt like a dent to my credibility. Now you may ask that I am whining about rupee-pound on Twitter all the time. “Yeah, I am working on it,” I would say. Habit of 26 years won’t go in a day. Bear with me.

With this email, I am apprising you of the current position of Project Hope. Turning back from here is not an option. I am not turning back. We have found Rs 24 lakh and this rupee volatility is not going to stop us.

Once again, thank you for being part of this extraordinary journey. My next email to you will be of the visa stamp.

Regards

We made history!

People say that the problem with me is that my writing is crude because it comes straight from the heart. I guess that explains why I am writing this email at 2.30 am and sending without editing or proofing. I can’t sleep. I am soaking in what we have just achieved. Project Hope. Rs 8 lakh. We are through.

I can’t be happier than to announce to you that we have done it. And we have two more months to go for the deadline.
You know, some said that I pulled it off because it was me. This is just half of the story. Maybe, even less than half. I pulled it off because it was you. Couldn’t have done this without you. You made this possible. Thank you.
I survived every single slander, smear, smug and schmuck behaviour all because of the faith you put in me. Incidentally, all these and I have a common beginning. The letter ‘S’.
I am not making any sense, am I? I am glad I am not. Because there is no better way to explain that I have no words to express my gratitude for what you did for me.
January 12. This is the date when I officially launched Project Hope. I still remember that moment crystal clear when I just told Manisha Lakhe that this is what I am going to do. She has been the backbone of this Project and with this letter I thank her. Without your support and her constant brainwashing I would have quit a long time ago.
I can’t even begin to thank every single one of you for contributing in whatever capacities you could, in spreading the word, in asking others to do the same and in not giving up on my Hope.
I received contributions ranging from Rs 400 to Rs 2,70,000. My hands shiver as I type this because I still can’t believe that we pulled this off. Once someone asked me if the amount of money an individual gave mattered or not. I replied, “Its the intent that matters more than what one gave.” I hope you will agree with me. We are a team. You and me.
You know, when we work to make something possible and that takes over our lives? That’s what Project Hope has been since January for me. I have breathed, eaten, slept and lived Project Hope. There hasn’t been a moment when I thought of anything else. I am glad I am unmarried else my wife would have divorced me for Hope.
And during this journey I realised this strange thing about a goal. When you set your eyes on one, you can’t see, think, imagine anything else. That goal encapsulates your existence. It enchants only one song. It drenches you in the rain where every drop is a reminder of your goal.
But when you achieve that goal life just zooms out and you realise how that goal, which till now was everything, is actually just the first step of a ladder.
We have made history, but in reality, this just turns out to be my first step towards a larger goal I set out to achieve.
I hope I am able to live up to the expectations you put in me. I hope I am able to live to the expectations I put in me. And I hope that with your continued support and love we continue to change lives day after day after day.
We were just 60. Imagining what more of us can do is exhilarating.
Oh and yes, Good morning!
Cheers!
Shubhashish
PS: This is the email I sent out last night to all those chose to a part of Project Hope.

Project Hope in The Hindu

Project Hope in The Hindu.

Project Hope in The Hindu.

Mid-Day’s story on Project Hope

Mid-Day's story on Project Hope

When the news-writer becomes a news-maker.

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