“My growing up years were like any other kid in a middle class family. I needed to finish graduation, find a good job and help family. Everybody in my home was careful with their actions and how it affected others. Once I completed my engineering degree, I started working. I got an opportunity to go to Europe and work there. I stayed in about 10 countries, and I was very impressed with the way they lived. Most people smiled at you though they had no idea who you were. People were courteous and wouldn’t unnecessary shout or fight with anybody. I came back with a lot of such lessons.
A few months later, I noticed that the roads were so horrible! This was in Bengaluru. But soon, I shifted to Hyderabad and it was nothing different. As I drove to office everyday, the quality of roads would irritate me – the potholes especially. When I discussed it with others, they agreed but nobody was interested to correct it. They said it was the government’s job. Once I found the supplier to buy cold emulsion to fix the potholes, I knew there was no going back – whether I got help or not. I fixed the first pothole near Cybertowers in 2017. I wanted to do more. So I approached the supplier and asked for a discount, telling him it was social work. Thankfully, he agreed, but I was still spending my own money. By now, a few friends agreed to help and work early in the morning. Things gradually started falling in place. I then started being active on Facebook to get information about potholes. That’s how ‘We can make a change’ started. We have fixed 274 potholes in the city so far and we continue to do that every Saturday. We also started to look at bus stops and cleanliness issues and fixed 13 spots in the city. My parents also soon came to know and they were surprised. Initially, they didn’t agree, but I kept doing it without letting them know. However, soon it was in the media and my parents learnt that I was doing something good that will help many people. We also adopted an Anganwadi school and completely revamped it in a village. One of the turning points was when authorities started to notice our work. I’ve gotten calls from IAS officers who also offered help and set right things that would have probably been ignored otherwise. What started with a simple idea of being the change has brought me and so many others in my group this far. I’m an example of the phrase: change starts with you.”
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