"I wish someone would give me adequate funds to run Parikrma without anxiety."
My name is Shukla Bose and I am the Founder-CEO of an NGO called Parikrma Humanity Foundation that runs 4 schools and college for children from the streets, slums and orphanages of Bangalore in India.
Times of Youth: Your wisdom and courage has inspired several lives in your country today. What/who inspired you in the first place to be who you are today?
My mother inspired me when I was in school because she made me believe in my self and that everything was possible. When I was in college I volunteered with Mother Teresa for 7 years and she inspired me to understand that life without service was no life at all.
Times of Youth: Considering how long and closely you were privileged to work with Mother Teresa, what was the most beautiful anecdote you derived from her work?
Mother Teresa was ever loving and warm. She was the most humble person that I have met. She had no idea the impact she had on other peoples lives and was amazed at the adulation she received because she always thought she was a just simple nun in the service of God. I have seen her take care of desperate dying beggars with such love and humility and that is what made her so special.
Times of Youth: Despite of a successful corporate career, you had the courage to venture into teaching the less fortunate with extraordinary passion. When and how did you aspire to achieve all this? What helped you the most in the long run?
I decided that I needed to turn my life inside out and make my life more meaningful. At one stage I became fascinated with obituaries and began writing my own obituary. I realized then I needed to be written about as being someone who made a difference to lives and not just financial balance sheets. I was very clear about what I wanted to do and that clarity and focus helped me.
Times of Youth: Your NGO's name, Parikrma, hails from a unique Sanskrit word. What was the actual background behind choosing this name and its nuance?
Parikrma mean a circle and for us it was the 'Circle of Life' of the child that we were influencing because of our 360 degree program. It also means a journey and for us it was the journey of transformation that we wanted to achieve.
Times of Youth: Although your teaching stint in Bhutan years ago was kind of short-lived, you still manage several schools. How did that experience benefit your work and what lessons since then do you still uphold?
I knew what happens in a classroom and therefore could guide my teachers more effectively.
Times of Youth: Currently as a prominent Indian education advocate, what are your hopes in the field of education?
I would feel happy if other educationists and policy makers would pay more attention to creating sensitive schools that makes marginalized children feel good about learning.
Times of Youth: In the wake of how popular you and educationist work has become, what is your ultimate dream at the end of it all?
I am not sure if my work has become that popular. There are many that have done even better work. I have told the students of Parikrma that I will hand over Parikrma to them in 2027 and they must get ready for it.
Times of Youth: After being called as speaker and motivator to put forth your say in favor of educating poor Indian children at several events, conferences and fundraisers, which one would you say has been most fruitful and memorable?
I enjoyed speaking in Brazil because although many could not understand English and had to use technology to understand what I was saying. I felt I connected with them and there was a kindred spirit.
Times of Youth: What has been your biggest moment of pride?
When my first student became a software engineer and got a job in Cisco, and when he came to me to give his first contribution from his monthly salary was the biggest moment of pride.
Times of Youth: How has your family been handling your success filled journey?
You are making me out to be a celebrity. I am far from it. My family does not bother about my success. We are just a regular family.
Times of Youth: Do tell us one incident that totally changed your life/perspective.
I found a little 6 year old girl crying on the streets. She was being sold by her uncle but fate had different plans. I found her and put her in an orphanage and she began coming to Parikrma. We found her parents when she was 14 years old and now she is a qualified teacher in Parikrma.
Times of Youth: What is the first word that comes to your mind when you read the following-
Achievements: to make a difference
Times of Youth: What makes your day? What spoils it?
Makes it- When I come to school and see the cheerful faces of my children when they come running to greet me.
Spoils it- When I have to go to meeting to convince people to support my program and I cannot come to school that day.
Times of Youth: If you were given one wish, what would it be?
I wish someone would give me adequate funds to run Parikrma without anxiety. I would like to be spared the chore of raising funds and be given the time to spend it with my 1700 children and develop minds and citizens of the world.
Times of Youth: Considering your enormous intellectual potential, we believe that you have the power to bring a rational change in the world. If given an apt chance, what would you do to make this world place a better place?
I would like to encourage people to look at education differently. I believe true education does not create consumers of products but caring human beings who share.
Times of Youth: What advice would you give to the budding generation with regards to seeking knowledge?
Knowledge is of no value if people think only for themselves and not others.
Times of Youth: Any message for your fans and followers via Times Of Youth?
If you want to do something meaningful don't wait for the right moment because the right moment is NOW!
Times of Youth: Do tell us how your admirers can reach you to share their appreciation/queries.
They can write to me or comment on my blog. (And this, too, does change)