This story is no different from many others who have taken a path less traveled before. A successful career at a large American conglomerate, adventure cycling and trekking expedition, an independent and supportive wife and still something is missing in your life. As the cliche goes, you reach that pivotal point in your life when you decide enough is enough.
I realised the struggle within me when I was doing the long cycling expedition from Manali to Leh followed by the Great Lakes trek in Kashmir. Fifteen days in the wilderness, amidst such pristine nature changes your perspective about life. Not just the beauty, you also observe the scale of human destruction to mother nature in the name of development. As you are hiking/cycling some questions start pricking your conscience -are we (Human race) going to survive? Or are we going to survive at the expense of every other species? Is there a way that we can live sustainably with nature? How do we use the same economic development model to drive communities towards a more sustainable consumption model? What did our ancestors do to live sustainably with nature? Are there lessons that we can learn from and adapt?
This sets about a turbulence that affects your normal. The regular approach is to wait it out for a couple of weeks or a month and things start getting back to normal. This time, it was different; months passed and I could not get these questions out of my mind. I tried hard to function normally once I got back to my regular urban life, when one act of nature brought all these questions flooding back.
The Chennai floods of 2015 was a turning point in this journey. My parents were in Chennai when the floods happened, though they were least affected by it. I went to Chennai and volunteered for the flood relief. The scale of the disaster that I personally observed during the relief operation impacted me tremendously and started questioning our approach to development, economics and way of life. As these questions kept piling up, I started seeking answers. I have not found all my answers yet, but have found a key – an entrepreneurship based sustainable journey.
I am in the process of kick starting this journey and hope more join me in this endeavour. We could search for answers that can help us in this journey to a more sustainable life on this planet. This is a vast topic that can pull your thoughts in different directions. What I would love to focus on is to leverage traditional knowledge residing with different communities that can be adapted, made relevant for current urban residents and help them in the journey to build a sustainable household.