How these two 21-year-olds are going about inspiring other young people is truly admirable
Supriya Paul, all of 21, overturns all the jokes about Delhi girls and their tendency to say ‘Clubbing chalte hain, yaar’. In fact, it was the pointlessness of it all that got this BCom Hon graduate of Delhi University thinking and paved the way for Josh Talks, a platform for inspirational stories.
“Sometime in my third year I began to find myself in a sort of rut,” says Supriya. “You’re café-hopping, going to the sheesha bars and it’s the same thing over and over again. I was beginning to feel directionless and wanted to do something about it. Around the time I met Shobit Banga, now a co-founder of Josh Talks, and we talked about this for several months. It was many conversations, not one Eureka moment, that led to Josh Talks being set up in December 2013.”
Because she’d done her BCom, Supriya says it was assumed she would go on to do her CA. “But what if you want to do something different and break away from the predetermined path? That’s the question I was asking myself,” says Supriya. She and Shobit decided that real stories, of people who had followed their passions and achieved success against the odds, might provide the answer and serve as inspiration to them and other young people who were at similar crossroads.
So, they created Josh Talks which would be a showcase for the inspiring stories of people, from all walks of life – technology, business, art, music, sport, NGOs and more. “We spent several months doing research and zooming in on people who could be part of Josh Talks,” says Supriya. They scoured the media, went through blogs and leveraged their youth network. “We would land up at 6 am at Gurgaon railway station, speaking to doodhwalas and newspaper vendors,” says Supriya.
“There was this chaiwala we spoke to. We asked him what he would do if money were not a constraint,” says Supriya. “He told us his life was already a success. He had come to Delhi with nothing and now earns enough to send home Rs 6,000 every month and was able to arrange his sister’s marriage. So you realize that there are stories of inspiration to be found everywhere.”
One of Josh Talks’ biggest and most successful events was at SRCC. “Some 4,000 people wanted to attend, but the venue could only take 1,500,” says Supriya. They had the likes of Boman Irani and CJ Papa as speakers, but it was Nirman Dave, a 17-year-old professional hacker who had also manufactured a 3D printer, who was mobbed by the students afterwards. “So, we realized that young people are now more likely to be inspired by stories of success achieved by ordinary people, rather than stars and celebrities,” says the young woman behind Josh Talks.
Tickets to the talks are priced at Rs 500 per head and include a meal if it’s an all-day event, plus various goodies. “We are self-funded at the moment and I’m not sure we want to be swallowed up by one of the biggies,” says Supriya.
While the speakers she gets for Josh Talks have inspiring stories to tell, Supriya Paul herself is inspiration for scores of young Indians.
Check out the Josh Talk videos and follow their upcoming events at www.joshtalks.com
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