After almost a year, we had the opportunity to travel together and, following a couple of quick meetings in Mumbai and Indore, we headed to Pune.
We reached Pune on Thursday and had a great couple of days there. We have been interacting with the Pune chapter remotely and could sense the energy but we were blown away by what we experienced last week.
We were invited by TiE Pune for a #MyStory Session and it was a special experience as we got to share our journey together as a couple. Gautam, one of our chapter members, was also the moderator for the TiE event and made sure we had a fantastic conversation on stage.
He even asked how the two of us met!
In a positive sign, one of the TiE charter members even offered us a space to move in at Pune.
The Pune chapter has blossomed because of people like Gautam and Ajay Hiraskar, a longtime social investor (147 lives impacted), and his wife Jyoti Hiraskar as well as Rang De board member Chaitanya Nadkarny who has offered his support and knowledge. Ram also had a great talk with Rahul Walawalkar (8,188 lives impacted!), a social investor and founder of Customized Energy Solutions, an energy firm committed to promoting economic development.
We even visited the deAsra foundation, a CSR initiative led by Anand Deshpande, the founder of Persistent Systems.
It looks like an official Rang De presence in Pune looks almost inevitable.
What really warmed our hearts was a chance to meet families at the Pune chapter Boat Club dinner. Ashish Mehra even brought along his Dad who is an Army veteran.
A wise old man, we met him with his wife at the TiE event and were humbled to find out at the dinner (a Rs 500 self-paid dinner that 40+ members attended!) that he was related to a chapter member. He told us he was glad to be part of Rang De and delighted with Ashish’s efforts.
It is amazing to see even parents getting involved and that too an army veteran, somebody who has been there on the frontline. That was really special for us.
There were many other meaningful conversations which we had with people who said they would offer networks, or they would put in a word in their networks, help raise awareness across platforms — there was a great deal of positivity and support from all the Pune chapter members.
We even got a chance to visit Vigyan Ashram and took Dr Yogesh Kulkarni by surprise at his office situated on the fantastic Indian Institute of Education campus. We talked to him about the possibility of having our annual get together there next year and he readily agreed to co-host the event!
So even our Impact Partner Confluence will be held in Pune and we are really looking forward to going back there soon.
A big thank you to each one of you — Srivatsa (and his wonderful mom), Jithu, Ashish, Ankur, Monica, Nalini, Pandey ji, Vineet and everyone else who has been working so tirelessly for the chapter. And anyone else we may have missed out.
If you would like to support our operations and plans in Pune then do write to us and get in touch.
Till the next time, Pune!
Smita & Ram