“If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.” - Michelle Obama
Spirit of Philanthropy : Mrs Amruta Fadnavis
Mrs. Amruta Fadnavis, a social activist, a trained singer, actively lending her support to women empowerment and charities active in welfare, healthcare, and research! It was a pleasure interviewing this kind spirited soul. Her love for family, passion for singing and urge for social welfare was evident in every conversation we had during her Dallas visit.
The ailment research you supported through AAPI charity event is in line with the upcoming issue of TopPick media. Can you shed more light on why these issues need more attention?
I am so happy to be here in USA to promote this cause taken up by AAPI. I think it is very important in today's date to look into these serious diseases like leukemia, lymphoma and cardiovascular diseases. These are growing lifestyle diseases and majority of patients and families who can't afford good treatment can be helped by such charity causes.. Second, increasing the research activities on these diseases to help in later contingencies where people can find a complete cure is very important. Proud to perform at Jai Ho! Concert organized by AAPI to raise funds for research, awareness, and cure of these serious diseases for the needy. It is an example for all of us to follow, how an organization can come together and make a huge difference.
What would be your advice on how to prioritize health and fitness in life?
Health should be a priority because when health is lost everything is lost! One can bring back the money, but cannot bring back one's health....and character..of course!
Another cause on your agenda is 'Woman Empowerment'. You are a VP in Axis Bank , a social activist, and is also connected to a very popular political figure in Maharashtra. You must be coming across various issues affecting women, what is your assessment on where does it need more efforts to make it a better place for women and which area would you like to highlight?
I must say that women are venturing into various fields but the top corporate positions occupied by women are very few. In India, the women entrepreneurship in start-ups is only 10%. This percentage should increase. India is rolling out more women conducive policies. The maternity leaves are increased, Startup India is engaging in multiple activities to support early-stage women startups. There is a POSH law to govern the security against the harassment of women in the corporate setting. Also, there are various financial schemes and special cells for women. All these things go a long way, but finally, it is our mindset. We need to think that woman is equal to man and she can perform equally. Plus the woman also has to have that conviction in her, which comes through a family, her upbringing and her education.
We often see NRIs here are bonded with their roots and help the population in rural areas in India. Any specific rural India project you wish to bring to their attention for help?
I must say as you rightly said, that NRIs really help out a lot in India. India resides in their hearts and that is a matter of pride for us. I thank AAPI here, who sent aid to help soldiers in Pulwama terrorist attack. They are also engaged in the Ayushman Bharat initiative, helping with startups including the Indian Equity market. Maharashtra is the only state where the investment by NRIs exceeds Rs.1000 crore. In the equity market, it is currently Rs. 8500 crores. NRIs show strong support and that really increases our confidence.
Healthcare would be the priority cause to focus on where NRIs can help with their expertise by consulting on video calls, training the resources of Ananga Vadi to handle the malnutrition cases better and much more. Secondly, it would be education! We can come together to upgrade various schools in rural areas. Another focus is the village development, by adopting a village of 500-1500 people to transform into a Model Village which would include sanitation, education, vocational training, etc. These things would really help because the maximum population of India resides in the villages.
What is Mitti Ke Sitare?
This is my ongoing initiative. Divyaj Foundation, in association with Mpower aims at discovering hidden talent from the slum areas of Mumbai and honing their musical skills to showcase their talent to the global audience. Divyaj is partnering with Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (1187 schools) to identify children who are blessed with talent but lack resources to improve themselves. The Shankar Mahadevan Academy (SMA), of the critically acclaimed musician Shankar Mahadevan, is also collaborating for Mitti Ke Sitare to provide musical training to these children. Their final performance is scheduled on June 22nd in Mumbai, where International and national artists will support them through their special performances. It will be a great platform for kids to perform and showcase their talent. We have been grooming them for over 6 months now. The ones who were not selected for the final rounds are being trained to keep a positive mindset and we shall groom them more so they can try and prepare for a next chance. The few talented children are not cut for a 9-5 job, they deserve to be an artist! We have made all the arrangements at the NSCI dome, and extend an invitation for you to attend!
Any charity work on the International front that you are engaged with?
I have been part of a few peace missions on the International level. A Prayer Breakfast in USA and also a peace mission with China. I think I would like to see more work and contribution in handling global warming and environmental change issues on an international level. I have been co-ordinating with International artists through Mitti Ke Sitare to support another cause on my agenda, Women Empowerment, as well. I think it can make a great difference if we all work together.
Any message for NRIs?
I would thank NRIs for their contribution. They make us proud. The NRIs expertise in a variety of streams has helped bring India into a positive light. They have a 'Give Back to Community' attitude in their hearts. I request them to keep it up! Every bit of help done by an individual or through an organization will make a big difference to the people who need it.
Now time for some Rush-Me Rapid Fire, we would like to know your instant response to a few words.
Family? Love and bonding
Fitness? Run & be on your toes
Kids? Pure Love
Gender Equality? Necessity
Education? Must have a great independent living
Water? Inside the body
Dallas? Cowboy city that loves you back
Shrikhand-Puri? Aww...my favorite pet food!
We extended a warm invitation through her to Devendra Fadnavis-ji (Chief Minister of Maharashtra) to grace the occasion of Dallas-BMM2019 in July'19 with her august presence. We hope they can join, and we can treat them with her favorite dish, Shrikhand-puri!
Mrs. Amruta Fadnavis is beauty and brilliance teamed with a passion to make a positive impact in the world. She was born in an upper-middle-class family that gave an equal priority to education, sports and art. Her father is Dr. Sharad Ranade (Ophthalmologist) and her mother is Dr. Charulata Ranade (Gynecologist). Mrs. Fadnavis urges everyone to focus on health as a priority. Stay fit!
The voice that launched a movement.
As per World Health Organization (WHO), 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical or sexual abuse in their lifetime. Unfortunately, 70 percent of these crimes are committed by somebody known in the family and less than 60 percent off these cases are ever reported. To bridge this gap, we have formal institutions like CHETNA that help combat domestic violence through social advocacy, education and outreach. As part of their raising awareness campaign we had an opportunity to speak to their keynote speaker, the pioneer of “MeToo” movement in India, the victim turned survivor – Tanushree Dutta.
Swati: Taking your memory back to 10 years, you were a victim of workplace harassment and despite you raising your voice against it, it was largely unheard and failed to make an impact. But the same words after ten years, fueled the revolutionary “MeToo” movement in India. What do you think was different in the world then and now? What changed?
Tanushree: It all started with the “MeToo” movement in US that created awareness across the world and particularly in India. For the first time in India, there was desire to have a similar movement. Ten years ago when I shared my harassment experience, a lot was written and spoken about it.
However, due to lack of support and lack of desire to change, it failed to get the traction to create a movement. But this time around, people were ready for a change, ready to be part of this movement; all they needed was a little stir. I was visiting India after two years to enjoy a vacation and someone prodded me with the question “Why do you think the MeToo movement has not happened in India?”. My response jogged them down the memory lane to the incident that happened with me 10 years ago, only this time it was meant to create history! Before I knew, the “MeToo” movement in India went viral and I was in middle of it all, too late to look back, too late to stop and I am glad I did not!
I was honestly amazed at the overwhelming support we received and I alone cannot take the credit for it. I was just the face of the movement but the real credit goes to all the women who came forward with their stories. Also, the powerful media houses that supported this movement and helped make it become a national movement! A lot of these women who were speaking up were threatened with court cases and I remember discussing this with one of my journalist friend that this is not only unfair but would also dampen the spirit of the movement. That’s when we came up with the idea of pulling out from Twitter, the list of lawyers/advocates who had offered to provide their services for free and post it on national TV. Now all the women slapped with court cases were being defended by lawyers for free; now this is what we call coming “together” for a cause! My journalist friend, these lawyers – they were all the unsung heroes of the movement, the people working “behind” the scenes who were indeed the “backbone” of the movement.
Swati: Do you think there are certain professions or certain demographics that are more vulnerable to these crimes?
Arnav Koppala – A Young CEO and Founder with a Vision
Talented, imaginative and gifted individuals are getting younger and younger every day and are found in so many different areas such as science, invention, writing, and business entrepreneurship, just to name a few. However, an innately talented genius like Arnav Koppala, who aspires to be a particle physicist is not an easy find. Arnav fits so many of these magnificent categories of achievement and is continually adding new ones every day.
At the age of 11, Arnav published his first book of his current three-volume Pentagon Springs series, Pentagon Springs (2016), followed by Breaking Boundaries (2017), and The Journey (2018). Philanthropy showed itself in Arnav’s heart as he donated the proceeds from the sale of his first book, Pentagon Springs, to the Pediatric Cancer Centre Fund. A portion of the proceeds from his second book, was offered by him, to Save A Child's Heart (SACH), the largest international humanitarian non-profit organization working towards heart issues and a part of the earnings from his third book, was given to Zbyte Inc, the first ever non-profit global organization working towards technology addiction.
Arnav Koppala has received national and regional level recognition and appreciation for being named as the youngest 11 year old author. He has received numerous invites and participated in many high-profile interviews on television, radio, and the Internet. He has stated in his interviews, that he likes to be inspired by his imagination, and loves making the characters in his book come to life, so that he can live vicariously through his characters and their experiences.
Arnav loves public speaking and sharing his interesting ideas and beliefs with his audiences is something he is very passionate about. He is a confident, natural and interestingly animated speaker whether on camera or in front of a huge audience. He was a noted speaker at TEDx events and inspired his audiences with his wide knowledge of TED’s main topics: Technology, Entertainment, and Design. His recent TEDx speaking engagement and Talk on the topic, Growth Mindset, adding new definition to ICE was shared on social media by Irving Mayor Rick Stopher as a brilliant and thought provoking speech by a young kid.
Once again, Arnav stepped out of the normal run-of-the-mill, youth stereotype and became a CEO and founder of a new organization named Zbyte a name that steals the technical term BYTE from the a 8-bit word in computer language to create an abbreviation for Zero Bytes. Arnav started this company to create unique programs, potential rehab centers to help kids and adults to curb themselves of their addiction to technical devices.
Zbyte is first ever and only organization in the world that has been created and designed specifically to make an impact on a global platform by creating and administering methods for preventing technology addiction. Pura Vida “Pure Life” is the right of every person. Arnav launched Zbyte Inc. organization before a 700+ audience with unanimous support from Mayors, StateReps, Business Executives, Chamber of Commerce and Educational Boards.
Arnav is forever challenging himself to learn and expand his horizons. In addition to his passion for golf, music, and guitar, he also entered the field of acting at the age of 11 years. To better acquaint you with Arnav’s goals dreams, and ambitions, below are a few notable excerpts from some of his previous interviews:
Excerpts From Arnav Koppala’s Previous Interviews
Interviewer: You are barely 13 years old and currently working with State Representative, Senators, the Mayors, and major company business executives as a CEO and founder of Zbyte Foundation. How does it feel?
Arnav: It feels very responsible and I do not get nervous when I work with them because they are the elected people by us to work for the betterment of our community. I feel honored when they all are extending their hands to support our organization. This organization would not have been possible without the mentorship and support of State Representatives, Mayors, Corporate executives, Educational Boards and above all people who believe in me.
Interviewer: Young leaders are not taken seriously. Did you face challenges when you were working with them?
Arnav: On the contrary, I was received well, I have already established a level of credibility to the hard work and focus I have, so when I approached anyone I always received their support be it politicians, or corporate executives. Age is a factor that is in your mind not in your heart.
Interviewer: What plans do you have further?
Arnav: I am always a go-getter and try to reinvent what I do. My motto is Breaking Boundaries Any Time. Trust me when I say, “While working on my Book I was thinking about my TEDx Talk for my speaking engagement, and while working on the content for my Talk, I was thinking about my organization.” So therefore, I am constantly looking at the big picture and trying to move forward in a positive way in many different directions. The goal of my every pursuit is the same. It is just the way to reach that goal that is constantly changing.
Interviewer: You are an author, speaker, actor, and a founder of an organization, and above all a middle school student how do you balance? Don’t you fall behind in your academics?
Arnav: My parents made it very clear to me initially before allowing me to pursue other areas of interest in life that there are two most important points that must be addressed before anything else, that is Behavior and Academics, exactly in that order. They will not make any compromises on either of those two areas. You can rest assured that everything I do can only fit into my schedule after first, I maintain my best behavior wherever I go and with whomever I work with, and second, I must score A+ in all my academic studies. In the 7th Grade, I got national recognition by Duke University for my SAT scores so I think I am good in academics but I am a super brat at home (grins sheepishly).
Interviewer: When you first became an author you have inspired so many kids around you to write and work on their books, How does it feel?
Arnav: It makes me happy that kids are inspired by me. I definitely want to support everyone who loves to write. This is totally an out and out creative space that has no boundaries.
Interviewer: Any challenges on the way?
Arnav: Plenty of challenges. I address it with one word that is passion and having the best team to work with. When you have the passion for the mission and vision of Zbyte organization there are no hurdles, you just change the course of action but the goal remains the same and trust me so far we heard only ‘YES’ regarding support to our organization.
Interviewer: You are all over the place, author, actor, speaker, running organizations and studying, what are your next plans?
Arnav: Trust me I have a huge bucket list and one thing I don’t do is plan my next move… I follow my heart and everything in my life happens organically…. I love what I do and do what I love. After my final sequel of Pentagon spring series, I plan to focus fulltime on Zbyte because that is where my passion lies for
At the age of 13, Arnav Koppala is a three-time published author, actor, Tedx Speaker, innovator and founder of the Zbyte organization, humanitarian, and political activist working with the Mayors, state and local government officials, national representatives and senators in efforts to promote, impede, or direct, social, political, economic, or environmental reform with the desire to make improvements in society.
And that’s only the beginning point, where Arnav’s goals and ambitions may take him. His aspirations to become a particle physicist and his passion for quantum physics is clearly visible in his writings which may take him into the world of science and space someday.
Arnav Koppala is truly a young kid with a big vision, and above all he is a highly enthusiastic, creative and a compassionate kid. To date, Arnav has won over 121 trophies and 82 medals in various competitions that he has either entered as an individual or representing his school.
When he isn’t writing stories, acting, and running corporations, Arnav is super busy attending science labs, working on perfecting his golf swing, learning new guitar solos, and being featured on a number of television and radio shows.
Arnav lives in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas with his Mom, Dad, and Grandmother. He has received recognition and support from Laura Bush, President George W. Bush, President Obama, Irving Mayor, State Rep Rodney Anderson, WFAA television station, CBS, TEDx Community. He treasures President George W. Bush’s personal copy of his book that was gifted to him by the Bush family very dearly.
He is truly not a kid with a plan but instead a kid who follows his heart and his instinct into whatever endeavor finds its way into his life that he deems necessary for the betterment of man and the world.
Arnav’s leadership persona is distinct and is reflected in his personal life’s motto: “There are no boundaries in life, the only boundaries in life are set by your mind.”
Arnav Koppala Is Truly a Living Proof That Age Doesn’t Matter When We Talk About Changing The World!!
Mane Kaka – The Man of Many Faces
The success of Team India is not just credited to the brilliant performance of the cricket players who set the stadium blazing with their super sixes and fantastic bowling and fielding. Besides the players there are people who are equally committed to turn every game into a victory. One such name is 'Mane Kaka' aka 'Ramesh Mane'. Mane Kaka is the official masseur of the Indian Cricket Team who ensured that the boys were 'well oiled' for the game. Like many other people, it was destiny combined with a sequence of unexpected events that made Mane Kaka an indispensable part of the Team India.
Mane Kaka's Journey in the Indian Cricket Team:
Formerly a chemical plant operator, Ramesh Mane never dreamed of becoming the official Acu-masseur of the Indian Cricket Team. He used to participate in the social service camps held on weekends. Mane Kaka took initiative to start acupressure camp at RCF Chembur through Jai Bhagwan acupressure international and the practice helped him mastery the skills in Acupressure, Pranic Healing and Reiky. Very soon his massage session to sportsmen at the RCF Chembur became quite popular. Soon luck dawned and Ramesh Mane was approached by Balwinder Sandhu to treat back problem of the young Sachin Tendulkar, while playing for the Ranji Trophy Games. It is not surprising that later he was summoned to be the Official Acu-Masseur of the Mumbai Ranji team and served there for nearly seven years. Mane Kaka expertise landed him the job of the masseur for the Indian Cricket Team in 2005.
The Official Masseur for the Team India was fondly referred as Mane Kaka by the players. He had been an integral part of the team for more than a decade now. He travelled with the boys to different parts of the world, and wherever he went, he always carried a pressure cooker and jadi butis to make magical ayurvedic concoctions, which provided instant relief to the players. While millions of Indian fans would do anything to get a touch of their favorite cricket player, Mane Kaka did it every day, for his living. Mane Kaka has been with Team India from the time when Sachin Tendulkar became the hottest International cricket player to witnessing glorious innings of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Mane Kaka has served almost all the brilliant players of the Indian Cricket Team. His years of experience and commitment had made him an integral part of the Indian Cricket Team.
Mane Kaka was more than a masseur for Team India boys. He was looked upon as a fatherly figure by the boys, and hence named 'Kaka'. Mane Kaka loved his boys and would affectionately treat the worn-out players with his magical medicated oils. When Mane was not soothing the aching muscles, he would even cook delicious India meal for the boys when the team travelled abroad.
His duties were quite elaborate and Mane also tended to the needs of the players during the breaks in the match. He would apply ice packs on the swollen and aching muscles and also look after getting the energy drinks ready for the next session.
Mane Kaka's Music Therapy:
Not only this, Mane Kaka understood the mood of his boys and used music as a therapy to boost the morale of the players. He said that his job was not just to ensure the physical well-being of the players, but it was equally important to create a mentally relaxing atmosphere in the dressing room. He would play motivational songs from Hindi movies to instil 'josh' and keep the energy levels high. He understood the music taste of every player in the team and always carried 3 iPods to play different genre of music. It was a part of his job to visit the Rhythm House to get the latest selection of songs. From the songs of legendary Kishore Kumar and India's nightingale Lata Mangeshkar to bhajans and Hanuman Chalisa, Mane Kaka played them all before the boys were ready to battle in the ground. Mane Kaka's collection of music was very distinctive and some players like Sachin Tendulkar would even joke him about considering DJing as an alternative career option. Mane Kaka would also create a praying space for players across religions to spread serenity. His techniques were so popular that even International players like Shane Watson and Chris Gayle would take his services.
When the news of Mane Kaka being left out of the team became viral, it created shock ripples in every corner of the country. It was the first time in 10 years that Team India's favourite masseur was not travelling overseas with the players for the 3-Test Series, India Vs Sri Lanka 2015. Mane had been rendering selfless service to the Indian cricket team and has no resentment for no longer being the part of this incredible team. Yet, the 'Kaka' of the team is emotional for not being able to travel with the boys. Every morning is still a realisation for him that he is not sleeping in the hotel room but in his own house.
BELIEVE IN YOUR DREAMS AND YOU SHALL LIVE THEM!
He is currently living in his home in Vashi, Navi Mumbai. Life was really moving fast for Mane Kaka. Being a part of the team earlier, he had been quite busy preparing his boys for the D-day. He had also been travelling a lot with the Indian Cricket Team for more than a decade now. However, when his services seem to get over, Mane Kaka plans to devote his time to social service. What else could we expect from this man of great thoughts!
Mane Kaka has worked for the longest time with the Indian Cricket Team. He has witnessed the euphoria of winning the 20-20 Worldcup and also 2011 Worldcup. He has served senior players like Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and Sachin Tendulkar to the young promising players like M.S.Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan and many others. During the IPL , Mane Kaka served the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for 10 years . It goes without saying that not only Mane Kaka will miss serving the boys; his void will also leave the players aching for his impeccable service, love and care. It was the fatherly presence of characters like Mane Kaka who made the young players from smaller towns; find a home away from home.
Even Greg Chapell, the former coach of the Indian Cricket Team, was full of appreciation for Mane Kaka. In an interview from Australia, he stated that “Mane played a very important role with the team. Over and above his masseur role he was a spiritual guide for many members of the team. I have no doubt; he will be keenly missed by those who availed themselves of his guidance.” His contribution to the Indian Cricket Team can never be forgotten!
Some prominent cricket players led by Anil Kumble and Virat Kohli came together to felicitate Mane Kaka on behalf of the current Indian team for his selfless service. Virat Kohli mentioned how talking to Kaka was always refreshing. He always patiently listened to their problems and filled them with hope and positivity. Mane Kaka was the support system for many players of the Indian Cricket Team. It was indeed an emotional moment when the players thanked Mane Kaka for his love, care and affection. Mane Kaka was himself overwhelmed with the honour bestowed on him by the players. Mane Kaka humbly stated that he loved doing everything for the boys; it was much more than his regular duties. He wishes all the success to the current Indian Team and believes that there is nothing that can stop them now. The players hugged him and even clicked selfies with their favorite 'Kaka'.
Mane Kaka's story is an inspiration to young aspiring Indians that only hard-work, dedication and commitment can take them to scaling heights of success in their life.