Nikunj Mehta is just another ordinary 20 year old. He is a Final Year Commerce Student from Hinduja College,Mumbai. Well-dressed, charismatic, he cleans up real good. But this boy has an amazing story to tell. Now a successful entrepreneur, Nikunj is on the road to build his “Rawdust Empire”. But what lies beneath that cool, composed exterior? How did the founder of Rawdust- a youth magazine, end up here? Let’s dig a little deeper. This is his story.
It all started at the age of 18, when Nikunj was but a teenage boy going through struggles of his own. With the negative energy looming over him, this boy made the decision to not only change his life for the better, but to change lives of those around him. His first endeavor was “Helping Hands”- conceptualized to reach out to people. His incipient event was-“Chhaya” (named after his mother), its essence –‘a day out with the homeless’. He gathered children and took them out for a movie, bus ride, and meals for the whole day. Seeing the illustrious smiles plastered on the children’s faces only reinforced Nikunj’s drive for social change and outreach. For his next event he pooled all his creativity and resourcefulness into- “Project Happiness”. He took 1500 cookies to the streets of Bombay to spread smiles everywhere. Cookies were exchanged for smiles and selfies. The atmosphere was ecstatic and Nikunj elated.
The next plan of action was to play ‘fairy-god-father’ to people from all spheres of life. After interactions with the target age-groups, Nikunj attempted to make their dreams come true- a bicycle for the little boy, a vendor cart for the hassled vendor and jewelry for a villager burdened with the marriage of his 3 girls. As his work became increasingly recognized and Helping Hands gained momentum, the events increased in magnitude and reach. The next on the list for our do-gooder, was “Up in the Air”. He took 300 balloons onto the streets and asks passersby to write down their problems on them, and then release them into the sky. This therapeutic activity was well-received as people with a diverse range of issues watched as their troubles fled away.
After receiving countless words of encouragement, Nikunj further decided to put his socialization skills and zest for life to the test and founded “Rawdust”- a platform and voice for the youth. The conceptualization of this magazine is best described by Nikunj himself. He says- “I always felt like a jack of all trades, master of none. So I decided to build a platform for the masters of these trades- our everyday youth. Bringing talent together- is my very own talent.” Given Rawdust’s success in Bombay, Nikunj decided to expand- choosing Hyderabad’s culture and talent. Rawdust Hyderabad has been a fruitful endeavor. Rawdust has successfully more than 30,000 + youth readers across.
Nikunj has also efficaciously held Rawdust’s very first Talent Parade- where an array of performers showcased their talent. The atmosphere was electric- singers, dancers, bloggers- it truly was for the youth, by the youth. Big names such as Salman Yussuff Khan, Manoj Joshi and Suresh Mukund of Kings United also attended and the event was deemed a big hit! After putting in his blood, sweat and tears into Helping Hands and Rawdust, Nikunj has been recognized for his work and has received a number of accolades.
He is now working on “Club Rawdust”- A youth-centric platform for socialization. Operating in Bombay, Club Rawdust aims to be the fresh new platform where youth and ambitions will collide to create magic!
Despite all the success garnered by him, Nikunj remains modest and grateful as ever. This same teen in angst from 2 years ago went from being a dreamer to making dreams come true. He knows he has a long a way to go- social changes to make, obstacles to conquer, experiences to garner. But the goal is simple- ‘Reach out to the people. Give them a voice’. The rest is semantics. Nikunj believes it is important to be the best version of yourself and his sincerity, passion and resolve is reflected in his work.
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