Tag Archives: London

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,

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.

Mid-Day’s story on Project Hope

Mid-Day's story on Project Hope

When the news-writer becomes a news-maker.

Bajaj Capital just offered me a 0% interest loan!

Bajaj Capital just offered me a Rs 15 lakh loan on 0% interest rate. That’s right, you read it correct. 0%.

Is there a catch? Of course there is. Do I know what the catch is. Of course not, I don’t know.

I don’t know how these schemes work. And they way the agents sell the plans its just impossible for a naysayer like me to read between the lines.

Anyway, so here is the deal the agent tried to sell me on the phone:

For example if I go ahead with a Rs 5 lakh loan with 10 year repayment I will be paying Rs 50,000 every year.

Bajaj Capital will invest the loan repayment EMI in a life insurance policy which will have a maturity of Rs 9.60 lakh (This is where the locha is). This entire money will go to the company.

Since Bajaj will get Rs 9.60 lakh at the end of the maturity they don’t need to charge me any interest rate. Hence, I get the loan at 0% interest rate and Bajaj still makes its money on the life insurance policy.

Now I want someone to explain how this works and what is the catch.

Project Hope. Day 2. The commitment.

If love could be measured by the money I received today even a Rumi poem would have fallen short by a mile.Two absolutely beautiful souls contributed Rs 1 lakh. And the emails I got did swell me up a lot. But this is a day to make a commitment. A commitment to give back.

I faced a couple of issues relating to my genuineness and keeping some of the identities anonymous. I am glad some of you asked questions and were satisfied with my answers. One thing I wanted to make very clear since some of you had this query. The total course fee is around Rs 22 lakh. I have half of it sorted through a bank loan and my personal savings. Its the rest that I am trying to raise through Project Hope.

Some of you said you don’t want your names to put up on a public forum. Fair enough. I deleted all names from the public file.

Some of you said you don’t want the money back. In normal circumstances I would have used it to build a fresh corpus to see the world but that can wait.

The amount of love and support I have received is simply unparalleled. This has emboldened the thought that if you set out to achieve something people will come forward to help.

A few emails were from people who are in the same boat as me and yet contributed. I just can’t thank them enough.

The last time I said so many “thank yous” was on my engagement day! That did not survive. This will.

Its time for a commitment.

In approximately four years from now I will match the money I am able to raise through this Project Hope in the coming three months. That corpus will be used to fund education of people like me.

Say Yes! to Project Hope.

Project Hope. Day 1. The Emotions.

When I started Project Hope it was very different from what its now. In just one day it has managed to make me cry so many times that I can straightway work for Ekta Kapoor.Some of the emails are filled with individual stories of so much struggle that my Project Hope seems dwarfed in front of them. And yet they have contributed. If this is not ‘hope’ then I don’t know what is.

Its not about money anymore. On Day 1 itself I am saying this. Yes, its not about money anymore. The absolute love people have showered upon me during the last 12 hours is in itself life altering.

How many people will just part with their money because a stranger wants to go to London to study. No questions asked. Nothing. I met these people. And whatever I deserve in life is now secondary.

Its no more my dream or goal. It is our collective goal. When I go to London its not me alone who will be going there. Its us. All of us. Including those who just encouraged me with their words. Because as I said, now its no more about the money. Its a journey. Not mine. Ours.

Hope.

Hope. And paying it forward.

Hope makes us do wonderful, strange things. This is my hope.

If you are willing to risk just a little on what Kipling called “a turn of pitch-and-toss”, if you can spend some money for a cause good enough to rack up bonus brownie points for your Karma account, read ahead. Even if you aren’t an altruistic Rockefeller, read on – you might just have a change of heart by the end.
All I have is the hope that springs eternal.

How far would you go to make somebody else’s dream come true? If that someone else is your wife? Or husband? Or a friend..? Or even just a stranger like me?

Before we go any further, how much of your money are we talking? Is this charity? A donation? Or something else altogether?

Rs 800. That’s all it takes. And it’s crowdfunding. An investment – in me. In my ability to make a difference in the years ahead. In my resolve to make that difference.

I got positive feedback when I discussed this idea with a couple of my friends, but I have no doubt this is harder than climbing Everest without oxygen.
Yet, hope makes us do wild, wonderful, strange things.

Am I embarrassed to be discussing my finances with you? Not at all.  I know there are many others out there without a college fund. I want you to be mine. Some of you know me personally, but don’t know this story. So here goes.

This blogpost is about education. And my right to have one. And my struggle to bring Earth and Sky closer to get one.  This is just one step in that direction.

In 2007, right after my graduation I applied for my MA degree in the UK. I got admission but couldn’t go – my wonderful grandparents and extended family who had funded my education couldn’t help anymore, and I had no money of my own. So I went to work instead – I’ve been a journalist for the last five years.
After five years of working, I’ve decided to clinch that duvet of hope yet again. And here I am again, at the same crossroads, looking yearningly at the path ahead, with no wherewithal to take that first step. Yet, take that step I must. This is not merely about my future – it is about my resolve to make a larger impact to society. I have it in me.
I know there are many other ways of making a difference, but this is the path I have chosen for myself. I’m proud of having taught some wonderful students in two Mumbai colleges – I hope with positive impact. Now I want to add to my arsenal of skills to use for good. By getting that MA, in the UK.

With crowdfunding. From you. I am counting on you.
Yes, you – I am counting on you.

You must be wondering why I don’t apply for a bank loan. After all, our dear finance minister stressed the fact that banks cannot refuse an education loan to any eligible student. That’s true – almost. the devil is in the details. For foreign education, a maximum loan of Rs 25 lakhs is available. That is good news but like in a Hindi film, there is a catch. You must produce collateral for any loan over Rs 7.5 lakh. And this effectively means that, like so many students in our country, I cannot fund my college through a bank loan.

Scholarships? Yes. That’s a hope. I have applied to every single one of those I could under the sun. Am I counting on them? Yes.
Am I counting more on you? Yes.

Here is my proposal:
I need to put together Rs 20 lakh ($36,000) in the next six months so that I am able to  go to London for my MA beginning September 2013.

Each of you send me Rs. 800 ($15).  That’s all it takes.
Why Rs. 800? The crowdfunding idea came from my Twitter and Facebook lists. I have slightly over 2500 followers and 600 friends, and if half of them funded me to the tune of Rs. 800 or $15, my means are assured to help reach the goal. Of making a difference!

I won’t get into the conscience stirring stuff about an evening out or an impulse buy, but this much I will say – a small amount to each of you, put together, is a dream realized for me.  Helping proves there is enlightened altruism in this world and that people will come together for someone like me. And in return get back their principal, with 8% interest and the bigger promise of me making use of that education for good. To make a difference.

Yes, I have  every intention of  returning this money to you. Every one of you – in seven years time. With interest. I don’t want you to be an unknown donor. I will tabulate every single contribution in cash or kind, update and make that document public on this blog to ensure transparency.

Please email me your investment in me with your bank account details and complete address and phone numbers. How else will I keep a track of you and return the money when I can?

My email id is shubhashish@msn.com if you have any questions, or if you want to help in any way that you can. I will be more than happy to engage.

And I will pay this altruism forward, all my life, helping others as I have been helped.

I sincerely hope that you will send me the money and become part of a history in the making.
 A history that will change the course of my future. And with me, the world.

Email me if you are interested to help and I will email you my bank details. If you want to PayPal my id is: shubhashish86@gmail.com.
I can email you my offer letter, degree certificates, bank account details, et al to satisfy any questions you might have.

Shubhashish

My LinkedIn profile: http://lnkd.in/cKPixb

My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/shubh1608

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Shubhashish

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