Startup Service: Dance of Abundance

Posted by Nipun Mehta on Oct 25, 2014



Every entrepreneur had a story. Growing up, Yash and his friends would often step out of his house at 3AM to get “idli sambhar” from a street fellow on a bicycle. More recently, he got to thinking about the styrofoam plates he ate from, and wondered if there was an alternative to stashing his trash in a landfill for 500 years. Two years ago, Aabha experimented with her diet, and after losing 12 kilograms, she discovered that her food habits had changed her lifestyle! Now, she wants to help others in similar situations. Ashish graduated from IIT, and with his wife Divya, they chose to move to the Himalayas and live very simply. What started out as playing with kids, turned into weekend retreats and now is culminating into a local school. As a professional photographer, and mother of a seven year old, Shaalini wondered if parents can be empowered with a fun and creative toolkit to teach values to their kids. For seven weeks, Meet decided to live in seven rural villages; meeting unsung heroes who have dedicated their life to service in remote areas, he saw the need for a bridge connecting them to Urbanites. A former designer and professor at CEPT, and a daughter of life-long art teacher, Lahar wanted to use the power of art to help people connect with themselves. Ketan brainstormed ways to make a humane cow-based culture relevant in today’s era while Delhi-based Shashank discovered that colleges need student-run clubs to cultivate empathy.

More than 20 such ideas had come together under one roof.

Before starting a project, an entrepreneur is usually asked for “business plan” that hangs on a fundamental “bottom line” -- financial sustainability. While that may seem reasonable for some ideas, it can be a crippling one for others. What about entrepreneurs for whom value creation goes beyond financial wealth? What if the desired outcome was to deliver intangible value that couldn’t be monetized? What if they weren’t interested in designing for scale? What if the goal of the enterprise was inner transformation of its stakeholders?

Startup Service, then, was a three-day gathering to ask such questions, innovate different frameworks, and build sustainable efforts with an eye towards multiple forms of capital. Or more fundamentally: how do we retain love in “labor of love” projects?

On the first day, all the initiators pitched their projects to the entire group of 50. Outside of the entrepreneurs, many others had come just to support. A dentist from Surat, business leader from Chandigarh, a banker who stood in Lok Sabha election and spent 14 hours a day walking the slums, India’s social entrepreneur of the year in 2009. Lots of young people, and lots of people with established mentors. Artists, technologists, businessmen, educators, poets, students, investors, philanthropists. One person had a company with 3 thousand staff, another was a CSR head of a Calcutta based outfit, a third was a professor at Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. In his opening presentation, Deven referenced how Steve Jobs planned his funeral before his passing, and gifted all his invited friends a copy of a book -- Autobiography of a Yogi. It turned out that one among us was a friend of Steve, who was at his funeral and got that book. All in all, there was a wide-ranging experience and talent in the room.



By the end of the first day, we collectively chose 8 projects to focus on and self organized into teams. Each team had a leader, a mentor and supporters with a diverse array of skills. The plan was to cultivate the idea, clarify the thinking, build a prototype, and then present on the morning of the third day. 24 hours left, sleep optional. :)

Deven and Neerad were the two anchors of the event, for whom, this event itself was a labor of love. Each had their own story of arriving here. After a long history with startups, particularly in the financial sector, Deven ended up at a 10-day meditation retreat in 2009; there, he had an experience that entirely changed his perspective on social change, financial sustainability, and innovation. Quoting his brother in law Ragu, he now felt that, “Money is like salt. You need some, but too much can spoil the sabji.” :) Similarly, Neerad was working at a big MNC with 300 people working under him; one fine day, he was given a mandate to layoff more than a hundred of them. “It was completely inhumane, but that somehow didn’t matter in the hierarchy.” It forced him to ask deeper questions, like “What is the DNA of an institution where ‘work is love made visible’?” “How can work environments be seen as a space for transformation?” “What are the personal practices that we can cultivate so we can be good trustees in our leadership positions?”

Each of the teams were working hard on the projects. Some teams had divergent ideas before ultimately converging. One team chose to disband because they couldn’t settle on a cohesive vision. Sheetal and Reena, whose musical “Maitri Festival” project didn’t originally get selected, found a way to bootstrap a “Maitri Fest” on-site itself. Ketan’s Girej team went to a local ‘gaushala’ (cowshed), engaged with the community, and brought back some fresh milk for everyone. :) In conversations, Parag and Aabha realized that they want to experiment with radical generosity while Sachi and Yash became clear, for the first time, about the foundational values of their budding company. Shaalini’s team was crafting up a kindness board game and a sample value-kit. Lahar and Priya were co-creating art in the spaces on the retreat campus itself. Meet’s team literally pulled an all-nighter for their presentation.

Outside of the diligent work, the second day also included thought leadership from industry veterans. In the morning, Michelle Long and Birju Pandya skyped in from the US. “Trees make noise when they fall, but not as they grow,” Birju said to encourage young entrepreneurs to create selflessly. In the afternoon, we had three remarkable local speakers -- Madhu Mehta, visionary of the STD-PCO movement; Jayanti Ravi, nuclear physicist who is now labor commissioner of Gujarat; Sridhar Rajagopalan, founder of Educational Initiatives. Each was asked to share anecdotes of cross-roads when their values were tested. In just an hour, they touched everyone with their candid and diverse stories of honesty, courage and compassion. Moreover, as the speakers left, they themselves were very moved: "We never get asked such questions." Jayanti Ravi closed the session with a beautiful Kabir song.

In the evening, Jignasha, Khushmita and their dedicated volunteer team, hosted a picturesque, outdoor silent dinner. It made room for teams to pause and reflect deeply on their entrepreneurial intentions.  After dinner, Sheetal and Reena offered an optional "Maitri Fest", under the moonlit night and artful candles and flowers lighting the open space. Everyone joined. Bhumika opened with a song that moved her (and many of us!) to tears. In fact, throughout the hour, many tears of compassion were shed as stories, songs and poems were shared with a transcendent grace.

A lot can be said about each of the projects. Shunya, biodegradable tableware. Sahaj, alternative school in Himalayas. Gram Setu, bridging urban and rural. Co-create Art, inner transformation through art. Onus, empathy in colleges. Girej, cow-based culture. Health for Life, change your diet, change your mind.

And a lot more will be said over the coming months, as everyone continues to support all the projects.



Startup Service, though, was not just creating content but redefining context. As a previous participant reflected: "I always thought fear and greed were the only way we could motivate people to create value and the spirit of competition is what drives us to perform better. But for the last three days, I've come to see the true potential of cooperation and compassion." Couldn’t be better stated. We all felt the love. Shukantu, a former football player whose project didn’t get selected, wrote: "This was the most blissful and memorable time that I have spent in my life so far." Divya, while working on the Sahaj project, had a breakthrough: "Up until yesterday, my project felt huge and my personal transformation felt small. Today, I’m feeling reverse."

Day Three was presentation day. By design, there would be no "winner". Everyone got eight blank sheets of paper; after the presentation, each person would write whatever form of capital -- connections, time, money, ideas, synergies, prayers -- they wanted to offer, and drop into a beautiful ‘matka’ for each project. As each team completed their heartfelt presentation, they were asked to stay on stage until the clapping ended. Sometimes they stood up there for more than a minute. :)

By the end, all the projects felt like a giant family.  Deepa Iyer, an economist turned poet, said this of her time: "After the 3 days, what I found myself experiencing was a deep sense of community support that goes far beyond ideas and implementation. I felt as though my soul journey was being held in a space of love.  When we are all leading with love, entrepreneurship of a new kind follows, which looks and feels very different."  As a poignant surprise, Siddhant and Bhumika surprised everyone with slideshow featuring a photo from the weekend, alongside their quote from the opening circle: 



In the after-hours, the entrepreneurs opened their pots. One would be hard-pressed to find such smiles of being so deeply supported. “Everything I have,” someone offered to a project. “500 bowls of sugarcane tableware for future retreats.” “Whenever you need a vacation, use our home in Goa.” Financial capital too.  Everything was offered like you would in a monk's bowl -- no strings attached. Laced in one-way-love.

We can all give, create, care. There is always enough to regenerate love in the world.

Over these three days, we started the dance of abundance -- and it hasn’t yet ended.



Posted by Nipun Mehta on Oct 25, 2014 | permalink


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  • Harsh wrote ...

    Wow. The quotes in the slides are powerful.What must have emerged must have been rocking. :)

  • Rahul wrote ...

    Dear ones ... I am still in the zone and in a sense, yet to reach home because mentally I have not left Sughad. Here are some moved by love moments I take back from the retreat. The words of Jayeshbhai with which Deven started with "pehla prem karo pachhi baaki badhu karo" and how it actualized during the 3 days formed the central message of what I carried back from the retreat. The emphasis of keeping unconditional love at the center of everything we do and then everything else falling in pl  See full.

    Dear ones ... I am still in the zone and in a sense, yet to reach home because mentally I have not left Sughad. Here are some moved by love moments I take back from the retreat.

    The words of Jayeshbhai with which Deven started with "pehla prem karo pachhi baaki badhu karo" and how it actualized during the 3 days formed the central message of what I carried back from the retreat. The emphasis of keeping unconditional love at the center of everything we do and then everything else falling in place on its own - was coming live in each of the (1.125 quadrillion?) connections that were seeded during the retreat... This message kind of came to me clearly during the final presentations (I know, I am really slow!) when context mattered so much more despite the great content that was shared as a outcome of the 3 days of labour/love by the teams.

    Overall, the purity of intent displayed by all the idea owners, the spirit of giving and child-likeness with which a learned person like Prasad selflessly offered to shared his wisdom with us...the nishkaam efforts of the volunteers, the beauty created by the rangolis, the prabhatpheris and the dhol played by the staff, how some people (I was witness to Priya, Sachi, Neil among others) just poured their heads - heart - hands into all the projects they could, the company of stalwarts like Madhukaka, Jayanti ben, Sridhar, Michelle, Birju and the insights they shared, Deven's gesture of giving a hug (and the bonus hug by Simran!) when the time was up as an example of coexistence of gentleness and persuasion, meeting an old connection Sai was a moment of serendipity .... Carrying on the theme of three, the retreat was indeed a triveni sangam of Ganga (purity of Jayeshbhai), Yamuna (the youthful love energy and radiance of Nipun) and Saraswati (invisibility and silence of Mukeshbhai and Gurididi)

    For the project that I was supporting (Onus), I was floored by the 24 carat head-heart of the idea owner Shashaank.. I felt privileged to be a part of the project to get to know him and mentor Samirbhai through this opportunity. Despite the presence of guests at his home, Samirbhai did not leave till the presentation took shape and left for his home from sughad at 3.30 am! He also offered his expertise in creating a social media strategy for Onus - I was touched by his gesture .

    Among the individuals I had the opportunity to deeply connect with during the retreat, I loved the in-the-moment spontaneity of Sheetalbhai during his first ever Maitri Fest...I remembered thinking then that just on the eve of the retreat, Sheetal was telling me about how he was living through the dilemma on whether to seed a Maitri Fest at all... and what a transition in just two days as he responded to his calling.

    I am also deeply honoured to witness how the DIY project of Shaalini shaped up, from nothing to everything - the magic unfolded in 10 hours... As if the universe responded to her purity of intent and the demokit, skit, video and an amazing pitch presented itself in no time. A key learning was her sharing her conversation with Deven about how the size of the project does not matter and in fact its all about small acts. Thank you, Shaalini and Deven!

    And one last thing.. I was clearly overwhelmed during the silent dinner and just before starting to eat, was wondering what have I done to deserve this. I looked up to the skies as I sent out a prayer. And I saw Jayeshbhai observing all of us from the terrace with a patriarchal gaze... and connecting in a language that he can speak like no one else. Indeed, it will remain one of the most beautiful images of my life :)

    Deven, Neerad, Swara and the many volunteers - I bow down to this (a)karma of all you guys..gratitude :) Words are not enough and I am sure I have missed out the moments I was blurred out while I was overcome. Here is a video of Kanti Kaka's song that all of us sang together at the end:

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  • Sukanta wrote ...

    The most blissful and memorabke time that I have spent in my life so far...the memories will be embedded in my soul forever :) in humble gratitude thanking all resoonsiblevfor this....

  • Sukanta wrote ...

    Sincere note of thanks to the countless volunteers who conceived and executed this noble and exhilarating journey for all the participants. My deepest gratitude to one and all who ensured that this would remain as a cherished journey for as long as I breathe. I would like to pledge my silent commitment as a volunteer to any project as the owners would deem appropriate in the days to come. During the course of this memorable journey I was fortunate to have some key moments with various particip  See full.

    Sincere note of thanks to the countless volunteers who conceived and executed this noble and exhilarating journey for all the participants. My deepest gratitude to one and all who ensured that this would remain as a cherished journey for as long as I breathe.

    I would like to pledge my silent commitment as a volunteer to any project as the owners would deem appropriate in the days to come.

    During the course of this memorable journey I was fortunate to have some key moments with various participants and would humbly take this opportunity to share my heartfelt thanks as these learnings will be what I will treasure going forward.

    A special note of thanks to my sister Sheetal for inviting me to be a part of this phenomenal spiritual experience.

    I will remember :

    Deven - Smiling inspiration to one and all with his belief in the spiritual conspiracy that brought us together,

    Neerad - Silent pillar behind the scenes as always,

    Siddharth - Smiling Capital Guru,

    Nipun and Guri - Inspirational leaders with immense compassion,

    Shaalini - The thoughtful mother who gifted us Simran who I fell in love with,

    Maheshbhai - Perpetual smiling presence,

    Neil - Inviting me for the silence circle and sharing his soccer prowess,

    Pratyush - The smiling timekeeper tough yet sweet,

    Meet - The passionate Gandhian,

    Meenal - Failures are the pillar of success,

    Satish - The AAP man amongst us standing tall with his values,

    Shashank - Team leader for Onus grooming individuals for tomorrow,

    Madhukar - the intellectual with a smile,

    Amit and Nandini - Direct dil se,

    Siddhant - Frisbee Guru with a childlike enthusiasm,

    Reena - The passionate Kabir messiah,

    Ashish and Divya - The cute simple exceptional Gurus residing in the hearts of children,

    Parag and Abha - The health Gurus with a divine intervention,

    Sheetalbhai - The persona of peace reflecting through his gaze,

    Rahul - The versatile wisdom monk,

    Hemant - the sports maestro,

    Lahar - the artist in all of us,

    Khushmita - the indomitable smile reflecting life,

    Dhaval - my mentor who pushed me to stand up and present my passion,

    And lastly the father figure of Jayeshbhai the silent being who watches over all with ultimate selfless love and the guiding light,

    It was a humbling experience to say the least and my sincere apology in case I have missed mentioning anybody as am still very overwhelmed with the experience...

    My deepest gratitude and love for the team and looking forward to be a part of this spiritual team going forward.

    Hide full comment.

  • Deepa Iyer wrote ...

    Thank you so much for sharing the pictures of the gathering. I have been trying to find words that would do justice to what I experienced over the last few days. Here's my reflection, as inadequate as words are, in encapsulating such a priceless gift as this gathering was: Startup Service was truly an experience of love made visible. We often talk about creating or wanting to experience a field of love - what I realized in the three days was that when the inspiration to serve from the heart mee  See full.

    Thank you so much for sharing the pictures of the gathering. I have been trying to find words that would do justice to what I experienced over the last few days. Here's my reflection, as inadequate as words are, in encapsulating such a priceless gift as this gathering was:

    Startup Service was truly an experience of love made visible. We often talk about creating or wanting to experience a field of love - what I realized in the three days was that when the inspiration to serve from the heart meets a collective intention to serve our highest truth, an automatic process of trust transports us to a dynamic field of love, suspended in timelessness, thereby allowing the best of each person to be multiplied several-fold and reveal itself in magical ways. We witnessed the manifestation of this magic through several ideas that blossomed and came alive through collective nurturing, over the three days. Coming together in the spirit of supporting each other's soul journeys, by taking a small step towards being our true self, has been the closest I have ever been to self-actualisation.

    The humility and intention of each team, to focus on the small ways in which we can change ourselves and therefore the world, stayed with me throughout. The tireless support and love of invisible hands that made this gathering possible, touched me in overwhelming ways at several moments. Those intangible gifts and memories go far beyond wisdom gained. The combined value of being part of such an experience therefore, is priceless. And love is always priceless. I feel so deeply grateful for having the privilege of being nurtured and supported by this loving community that always nudges me to embrace and express my authentic self in gradual, yet incremental ways.

    I feel blessed that I was able to discover more of myself through this rich experience and look forward to supporting more such gatherings, through all ways possible. Sending my love to each and everyone who made this possible for me!

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  • Reena wrote ...

    Dear Ones,

    Truly ... the greeting makes so much sense to me right now ... 'dear ones'

    Felt the oneness and the honouring of emergence like I haven't before ...
    The abundance and love seemed soo real and tangible!

    My tears flowed freely, abundantly ... and happily, never cried so many happy tears in 3 days ever before :)

    Rahul's sharing was very lovely and I resonated to it a lot ... I too looked up during the silent dinner and saw Jayeshbhai ... lovingly 'over'-seeing everything, the manifestation of life as it needs to be, sustained, thriving, flowing ... I am sure each one of us is in a new orbit, a plane of love, trust and courage.

    Feeling blessed and very grateful to each one of you and the birds and trees at Sughad!

    Do call upon me any time ... it will be my privilege and pleasure to serve you,

    Maitri, Prem, Prem, Prem!

  • Nandini Hirianniah wrote ...

    Immense gratitude for inviting me over for this true from the heart event!

  • Mehul wrote ...

    My heart is filled with Love & Gratitude for such a wonderful experience created by each & every beautiful soul at START UP SERVICE :-) The name START UP SERVICE and MAITRI SPACE makes so much sense to me after being there with you all for 3 awesome days, It indeed is "START UP" of "MAITRI" & "SERVICE". "LOVE" , "GRATITUDE", "MAITRI", "TRUTH", "SERVICE" & "LIFE" which were merely words before mean a lot to me. Three days were more of self realization and search within which has helped me to c  See full.

    My heart is filled with Love & Gratitude for such a wonderful experience created by each & every beautiful soul at START UP SERVICE :-)

    The name START UP SERVICE and MAITRI SPACE makes so much sense to me after being there with you all for 3 awesome days, It indeed is "START UP" of "MAITRI" & "SERVICE".
    "LOVE" , "GRATITUDE", "MAITRI", "TRUTH", "SERVICE" & "LIFE" which were merely words before mean a lot to me. Three days were more of self realization and search within which has helped me to create a path for my rest of life.

    i entered the gates of campus with the hope of shaping my project or intention with all the great heads, hearts and hands that were to attend the event. But as the time passed the anxious soul settled towards the selfless love and service realizing that it is all about COMPLETING each other and not competing. Inspired by so many people around i want to thank them:

    - A 1 year old student who was there for a selfless support to anyone who requires his expertise in web development and anything related to it.

    - A little sweet soul with 2 little chotis hair style moving around the campus like a pleasant breeze ringing bell, teasing his cousin brother and singing songs, hugging all and living life with great spirit of love and innocence.

    - A lady with big beautiful eyes and lovely soul who wanted to spread her art with love and who told me remember me if u need any help with a tight hug :-)

    - A man with mustache and little hairs on his head wearing white kurta who says "first love then do the everything else." who gave me a tight hug at the end of the MAITRI telling me "I LOVE YOU".

    - A lady with sweet smiling face who believed in listening more and speaking less, as calm as water in the pond whom I told "mother of food".

    - A man who believed his life is his project and shared wonderful experience through his prayers giving so much peace to my heart.

    - A lady who made my heart smile every time she was around I called her mother of happiness who believes that "we never loose by loving but holding it back."

    - A tall and lean beautiful soul with specs who came with her wife whom I called super women gave us all understanding of - health is very important for life.

    - A man who gave himself to service of society and mankind and helped every one with his wisdom and intellect through Servicespace.org, who gave world message GIVE RECEIVE AND DANCE and shouted out "Hey MOB" when saw me :-)

    - A man who is familiar face and name in the world of start ups winning almost all with his technical expertise and venture (Awaz de) he is working, who mentored me before presentation and is great balance of corporate and social world. Also, he lives the message that he gave, "spiritual people need to get active and activists need to get spiritual."

    - Three wonderful people who anchored and coordinated the whole MAITRI event from the start touched me with great love, respect and gratitude i got from them. I remember when i was almost finished sharing my project the slide was starting something like "i realize....... (TIME UP) that i need a hug" he came to me and gave me a tight hug with heart full of compassion :-)

    - A young at heart old lady who believed in KABIR'S thoughts and life and worked towards to spreading it to the world and help them in their life.

    - A wonderful lady with specs & a great sense of humor who believed in "We are what we do" who always walked more steps forward to ask and offer help with selflessness.

    - A girl who believes in VALUES more than SUCCESS with a smiling face and lot of passion to work towards society by her understating of environment.

    - A lady with beautiful smile and flower in her hairs who wants to change world through beauty of art and believes that art completed her life.

    - Related souls (a brother and a sister) with great sense of love and compassion full of energy who want to protect the environment with their social venture replacing disposals that we use and dump to the yards.

    - Lovely lady and a Mother who saw the tears and pain of old people and working to serve them bringing happiness to their life.

    - A tall man with beard and smile on his face who gave a message "We must not just talk the talk, but walk the talk".

    - A man from Baroda who respects COW like her mother and executing his "Girej" with great compassion.

    - A lovely man who was a great football player and aspires to serve kids helping achieve their dreams to become a sports person not forgetting his late night tea serving to all people working. :-)

    - A beautiful couple from Himachal Pradesh who worked for educating unprivileged lovely kids with selflessness.

    - A youth who believes in Gandhian thoughts and serves villages and people living there in many ways with their "Gram Setu".

    - A youth serving in colleges to add values and skills to life of students with an awesome curriculum with his "ONUS" project,

    - A Christiano Ronaldo fan who has traveled to lot of places in the world and helps selflessly with compassion.

    - "Shared Joy is double joy and Shared joy is half sorrow" was said by him who shared great smiles with me and hugs all the time we met.

    - A man with an always smiling face who believes that miracles happen :-)

    - A girl who kept capturing photographs of moments day and night who believes in "what heart knows today, mind will know tomorrow."

    - "Be good and then do good" believer who kept everyone on toes with a "time left board" in his hand presenting their intentions or projects :-) for whom Truth is all that he is seeking.

    - Tall guy who was there with selfless devotion to human service. He came to me when I was walking around telling me, "Hey MOB I want some of ur time to help you with ur application thing."

    - A Mumbaiya, while I am writing this he sends me a friend request on Facebook who always said "MAUJ MA REHVU" :-)

    I carry part of all of you in my heart as wonderful memories of MAITRI which I will cherish through out my life :-)

    Want to end it with a small story,
    Once the WAVE asked to SEA, "Could I be like you?" The SEA replied, "Its easy... Just settle down." :-)

    Thanks (is not enough though) to all the SEA (you all) for helping me settle down.

    Lots of love, smiles and hugs :-)

    Mehul

    Hide full comment.

  • Divya wrote ...

    Right after the Startup Service gathering when I left Sughad, I wrote this in order to remind myself of the few realizations that happened during different interactions with noble souls: 1. Inner purification is why we do any project, so ensure that I am aware of this higher purpose to purify my inner Self through whatever project I do. 2. I need to open my hearts to allow other beautiful souls to contribute in a manner other than financial capital. 3. Detachment from the project  See full.

    Right after the Startup Service gathering when I left Sughad, I wrote this in order to remind myself of the few realizations that happened during different interactions with noble souls:

    1. Inner purification is why we do any project, so ensure that I am aware of this higher purpose to purify my inner Self through whatever project I do.

    2. I need to open my hearts to allow other beautiful souls to contribute in a manner other than financial capital.

    3. Detachment from the project OUTCOME- whether it is success, or failure, what matters is the process, how much do I grow in the whole process. Remember Universe and I, both are complete in itself, it doesn’t matter if I add or subtract anything from it.

    4. I need to share and put my intentions into the Universe to make it happen organically, do what is in my hand right now and keep intentions clear and then just be open to receive Universe’s gifts.

    5. Put love into the center in whatever I do, forget project, remember ‘Life is a Project in itself’, I need to make myself strong enough from inside to be able to stay connected to myself irrespective of external conditions.

    In Gratitude,
    Divya

    Hide full comment.

  • Jhanvi wrote ...

    This was the second Moved By Love gathering I attended. During the first one, 2 years ago, I was shaken by Love, this retreat held me in stillness, rooted through love.

    Where my being kept shifting from me to we in every moment, was in awe to see the diversity yet oneness of purpose.

    How amazing it felt to drown myself in the moments of oneness during the project, deeply joining heart strings with pratyush (true mentor), deepa (the artist), khushboo (ever patient), kalrav (provider) and meet (most beautiful soul, my prem bhai for life) and every single person who joined their hearts, heads & hands for us, with us.

    As I close my eyes and images of every divine soul I met flash by, it brings a smile, my heart sings - moko kahan dhundhe re bande, main to tere paas me...

    Sab ka mangal hoy re

    In deep gratitude,
    Jhanvi

  • Mehul wrote ...

    My heart is filled with Love & Gratitude for such a wonderful experience created by each & every beautiful soul at START UP SERVICE :-) The name START UP SERVICE and MAITRI SPACE makes so much sense to me after being there with you all for 3 awesome days, It indeed is "START UP" of "MAITRI" & "SERVICE". "LOVE" , "GRATITUDE", "MAITRI", "TRUTH", "SERVICE" & "LIFE" which were merely words before mean a lot to me. Three days were more of self realization and search within which has helped me to  See full.

    My heart is filled with Love & Gratitude for such a wonderful experience created by each & every beautiful soul at START UP SERVICE :-)

    The name START UP SERVICE and MAITRI SPACE makes so much sense to me after being there with you all for 3 awesome days, It indeed is "START UP" of "MAITRI" & "SERVICE". "LOVE" , "GRATITUDE", "MAITRI", "TRUTH", "SERVICE" & "LIFE" which were merely words before mean a lot to me. Three days were more of self realization and search within which has helped me to create a path for my rest of life.

    i entered the gates of campus with the hope of shaping my project or intention with all the great heads, hearts and hands that were to attend the event. But as the time passed the anxious soul settled towards the selfless love and service realizing that it is all about COMPLETING each other and not competing. Inspired by so many people around i want to thank them:

    - A 17 year old student who was there for a selfless support to anyone who requires his expertise in web development and anything related to it.

    - A little sweet soul with 2 little chotis hair style moving around the campus like a pleasant breeze ringing bell, teasing his cousin brother and singing songs, hugging all and living life with great spirit of love and innocence.

    - A lady with big beautiful eyes and lovely soul who wanted to spread her art with love and who told me remember me if u need any help with a tight hug :-)

    - A man with mustache and little hairs on his head wearing white kurta who says "first love then do the everything else." who gave me a tight hug at the end of the MAITRI telling me "I LOVE YOU".

    - A lady with sweet smiling face who believed in listening more and speaking less, as calm as water in the pond whom I told "mother of food".

    - A man who believed his life is his project and shared wonderful experience through his prayers giving so much peace to my heart.

    - A lady who made my heart smile every time she was around I called her mother of happiness who believes that "we never loose by loving but holding it back."

    - A tall and lean beautiful soul with specs who came with her wife whom I called super women gave us all understanding of - health is very important for life.

    - A man who gave himself to service of society and mankind and helped every one with his wisdom and intellect through Servicespace.org, who gave world message GIVE RECEIVE AND DANCE and shouted out "Hey MOB" when saw me :-)

    - A man who is familiar face and name in the world of start ups winning almost all with his technical expertise and venture (Awaz de) he is working, who mentored me before presentation and is great balance of corporate and social world. Also, he lives the message that he gave, "spiritual people need to get active and activists need to get spiritual."

    - Three wonderful people who anchored and coordinated the whole MAITRI event from the start touched me with great love, respect and gratitude i got from them. I remember when i was almost finished sharing my project the slide was starting something like "i realize....... (TIME UP) that i need a hug" he came to me and gave me a tight hug with heart full of compassion :-)

    - A young at heart old lady who believed in KABIR'S thoughts and life and worked towards to spreading it to the world and help them in their life.

    - A wonderful lady with specs & a great sense of humor who believed in "We are what we do" who always walked more steps forward to ask and offer help with selflessness.

    - A girl who believes in VALUES more than SUCCESS with a smiling face and lot of passion to work towards society by her understating of environment.

    - A lady with beautiful smile and flower in her hairs who wants to change world through beauty of art and believes that art completed her life.

    - Related souls (a brother and a sister) with great sense of love and compassion full of energy who want to protect the environment with their social venture replacing disposals that we use and dump to the yards.

    - Lovely lady and a Mother who saw the tears and pain of old people and working to serve them bringing happiness to their life.

    - A tall man with beard and smile on his face who gave a message "We must not just talk the talk, but walk the talk". - A man from Baroda who respects COW like her mother and executing his "Girej" with great compassion. - A lovely man who was a great football player and aspires to serve kids helping achieve their dreams to become a sports person not forgetting his late night tea serving to all people working. :-)

    - A beautiful couple from Himachal Pradesh who worked for educating unprivileged lovely kids with selflessness.

    - A youth who believes in Gandhian thoughts and serves villages and people living there in many ways with their "Gram Setu".

    - A youth serving in colleges to add values and skills to life of students with an awesome curriculum with his "ONUS" project,

    - A Christiano Ronaldo fan who has traveled to lot of places in the world and helps selflessly with compassion.

    - "Shared Joy is double joy and Shared joy is half sorrow" was said by him who shared great smiles with me and hugs all the time we met.

    - A man with an always smiling face who believes that miracles happen :-)

    - A girl who kept capturing photographs of moments day and night who believes in "what heart knows today, mind will know tomorrow."

    - "Be good and then do good" believer who kept everyone on toes with a "time left board" in his hand presenting their intentions or projects :-) for whom Truth is all that he is seeking.

    - Tall guy who was there with selfless devotion to human service. He came to me when I was walking around telling me, "Hey MOB I want some of ur time to help you with ur application thing."

    - A Mumbaiya, while I am writing this he sends me a friend request on Facebook who always said "MAUJ MA REHVU" :-)

    I carry part of all of you in my heart as wonderful memories of MAITRI which I will cherish through out my life :-)

    Want to end it with a small story, Once the WAVE asked to SEA, "Could I be like you?" The SEA replied, "Its easy... Just settle down." :-)

    Thanks (is not enough though) to all the SEA (you all) for helping me settle down.

    Lots of love, smiles and hugs :-)

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  • Parag wrote ...

    Dear Deven, Neerad, Swara, First of all many many thanks to you 3 and all the other volunteers who have served so selflessly, and lovingly. Receiving such love and service itself has propelled me to step up efforts towards service and the "Eat for Health" venture, and most other aspects of life. The love and sense of community created by all the participants also was very beautiful and contributed to that. Here are some of the other highlights - in no particular order: The high levels o  See full.

    Dear Deven, Neerad, Swara,

    First of all many many thanks to you 3 and all the other volunteers who have served so selflessly, and lovingly. Receiving such love and service itself has propelled me to step up efforts towards service and the "Eat for Health" venture, and most other aspects of life. The love and sense of community created by all the participants also was very beautiful and contributed to that.

    Here are some of the other highlights - in no particular order:

    The high levels of energy, enthusiasm, and love that the team members brought to the projects
    What a terrific way to tell people their time is up - with a hug. Even though people may have really liked more time the environment was such that one was grateful for the time and opportunity, and the love one had, rather than what one didn't
    The tireless and selfless work by the mentors - giving such good guidance to all the projects and teams
    The sharing by the 3 guest speakers. I thought it conveyed hope and strengthened faith in persevering and not compromising on certain values
    One relentless volunteer who took me shopping for the ingredients of the surprises we wanted to share with the group. He was very patient when we had difficulty finding one of the ingredients
    The spontaneous song that was sung during breakfast of the 2nd day was beautiful
    The evening of inspiration and music was a great boost for the intense efforts that followed
    The reduced oil food that we enjoyed throughout the event
    The ambiance created for the silent dinner, and to be served the way we were, and the entire experience was very moving
    Many of projects were all about service, but even how tightly service is woven into the other projects was incredible
    All of the proposed projects were so noble - and I imagine most of us felt it was too tough to vote with just 3 stickers
    The final surprise slide show - I saw much of the hush-hush and diligent effort that went into it

    I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for being overwhelmed with our project - Eat for Health - and thus being unable to contribute much to other ones during the program. However, we would love the opportunity to contribute to all the other projects presented not just the ones that were worked on, and also to each of the individuals. I would like to contribute in any way needed.

    Ideally would like to acknowledge each and every person specifically but will connect individually, later, to do so.

    Thanks again everyone for everything.

    Love,

    Parag.

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  • Aabha wrote ...

    So many beautiful reflections! With my limited writing skills, i have been trying to put down my experience of the three days. After contemplating long i figured, this is one place where I can be vulnerable and not be judged, so here I am sharing some of my feelings…. One of the things I realized is that Startup Service has stirred something within that none of the MBL retreats so far have. i feel like all this while, i was only soaking my feet and feeling the waters but this time i have been  See full.

    So many beautiful reflections! With my limited writing skills, i have been trying to put down my experience of the three days. After contemplating long i figured, this is one place where I can be vulnerable and not be judged, so here I am sharing some of my feelings….
    One of the things I realized is that Startup Service has stirred something within that none of the MBL retreats so far have. i feel like all this while, i was only soaking my feet and feeling the waters but this time i have been completely soaked. There are too many things that have happened for me during this retreat. All this while, the intention to serve was only an intention being held and spoken of. This retreat gave me a spring board to take off and practice serving with ‘no strings attached’. So grateful to the man (super man) who spent 20 minutes with us at 3:00 am and completely turned around our perspective of the project. It is for the first time that i so clearly see the alignment of intention and action. It feels like i have found my divinely ordained and not economically ordained mission. Deep within, it has helped me shift from scarcity to abundance despite all the physical circumstances being the same. i have not only moved from scarcity to abundance but also leaped from doubt to faith. So many wonderful souls have deeply touched my heart during this retreat and helped me open to a plethora of possibilities. i now move ahead with the conviction that no matter what, i will be held and taken care of by the Universe. i am challenged in my ability to articulate but would like to convey to each of those present there that i felt held and cared by you during the three days which has contributed to my leap of faith. Deep gratitude to each one of you!
    Every project presented was so beautiful that it was hard to choose just three. I was overwhelmed when I saw the commitment of participants to projects that they chose to be with for the three days! It was also heartwarming to see some of the project owners leave their own projects and contribute to other projects. I have no words to describe the efforts of all the mentors. There was a clear “WE” spirit in the air that was driving each one of us. i am a little sad that i did not contribute to the other projects in a way i would have liked but i am here to support every project in whatever way i can. Please reach out….
    What is interesting from all the reflections is that so many of us looked up to the skies. I did too! There was so much gratitude experienced that I had to look up and ask: what did I do to deserve this? Gratitude to all the hearts and hands that were silently working to make not only the silent dinner but the whole retreat a memorable experience for all…
    Finally, it was beautiful to see all those offerings in our pot which made me realize the existence of all the abundance around. My cup of gratitude has been overflowing ever since i returned from Startup Service and don’t think it will run dry now!!!
    Would like to share a beautiful part of the poem “Two Tramps In Mud Time” by Robert Frost which i recently came across and deeply resonated with:

    My object in living is to unite
    my avocation and my vocation
    As my two eyes make one in sight.
    Only where love and need are one…
    and the work is play for mortal stakes
    is the deed ever really done for heaven
    and the future’s sakes.

    Love you all :)…

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  • Deepa I. wrote ...

    I really feel that Startup Service is the kind of space that needs to be nurtured to allow for alternative forms of talents to blossom and find expression. I myself had several doubts before registering -- whether my idea was too small or insignificant to be 'pitched'. There is such a baggage around the word 'entrepreneurship'; I come from a conditioning that always prepared me to polish my skills to be a good employee for someone else's enterprise. So once I signed up for the event, I had butt  See full.

    I really feel that Startup Service is the kind of space that needs to be nurtured to allow for alternative forms of talents to blossom and find expression. I myself had several doubts before registering -- whether my idea was too small or insignificant to be 'pitched'. There is such a baggage around the word 'entrepreneurship'; I come from a conditioning that always prepared me to polish my skills to be a good employee for someone else's enterprise. So once I signed up for the event, I had butterflies in my stomach and maybe a few thoughts of withdrawing at the last minute, not knowing whether my idea had any value in terms of visible impact on the world.

    What I found after I experienced being part of the 3 day process was that I experienced a deep sense of community support that goes far beyond ideas and implementation. I felt as though my soul journey was being held in a space of love, even though I was not entirely clear about the way forward with my idea or what my immediate next steps need to be. It was no longer about 'pitching' or entrepreneurship but about meeting in a space of love and being seen for who I am, as opposed to the focus being on what I want to achieve through my project. This shift gave me tremendous confidence and hearing similar stories from fellow participants really reassured me deeply that I was in the right space.

    Toward the end, some fruitful ideas on implementation did come but the process was so organic that I am glad that my idea didn't get voted for by the collective on the first day. Instead, in a totally unexpected way, I discovered the joy of experimenting my storytelling process into practice for Meet's Gramsetu idea, by putting together the small video narrative for his presentation. What was deeply satisfying to me about this process was that he felt I had been able to capture his heart's journey through the video. We both felt seen and heard in this mutual exchange of love which flowed very organically without any expectations on either front.

    I feel we really need alternative spaces such as Startup Service in order to redefine entrepreneurship and put it in the right context. When we are all leading with love, entrepreneurship of a new kind follows, which looks and feels very different. And I feel it would be great if more people could experience this and come to embrace their inner pivot to lead with love. I also loved the concept of the 'matkas' of offering.

    In the end, what I took away from the experience was that we have so much abundance that nurtures us beyond just material capital that all we need to do is follow our path and the support we require is there; we just need to realize its abundance around us and reclaim our relationship to it.

    I would love to offer myself as a volunteer for any upcoming Startup Service event that is being planned. Please keep me posted and let me know how else I can support this venture.

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  • Frank Lane wrote ...

    It is easy to see the greatest export from India is loving enlightenment!
    BeInHeavenNow.com

  • Nilamaunty wrote ...

    Wow!wow!!wow!!! My 'standing ovation 'to the start up Service!!
    I can feel the slowly building up of positive beautiful energy in this universe from all over the globe ! I was always worried what the future was going to be for the next generation .....but now I have confidence that it's going to be a 'Wonderful World ' with all the dedicated kind and Passionate children of ours!
    Please let me know if I can be be any help and support to any one of you! Keep us posted and I will keep sending more power , love and blessings to all your start ups! I'm ready to be part of the Dance!!!

  • nisha wrote ...

    Wonderful to see so many good seeds being nurtured.

  • BMDoddaiah wrote ...

    B.M Doddaiah. Secretary . Greetings from mamatha makkala mandira. Bangalore.560072,

    programmes are very good.
    I Like it. I like it.