At the age when people struggle to rise over the stress of future, complaints about pressure, issues of time management and arguments on no party life, this guy from Kolkata is living his vision, dream and plan with no ignorance towards his interests. People know him as a speaker, storyteller, entrepreneur, video blogger, presenter, and adventurer. The person in question for this week’s TalkZone is Divyanshu Damani, the Marvel of Kolkata.
The MagZone spent some inquisitive time knowing about India’s youngest Motivational speaker and social-media influencer marking some significant changes in the society.
Excerpts from the interview:
1. You speak about the significance of the values in the life. According to you what defines values and importance of their presence in the present generation?
In the words of Divyanshu, “I believe every human should have a mission statement that they should probably write it down somewhere, which becomes the goal for their life. To achieve that mission statement we should inculcate certain qualities, a belief system that help us accomplish the goal we set for our life. These belief systems are the roots to achieve. Therefore, values are the belief systems. They are the things that allow you to achieve whatever goal you set for yourself or whatever you visualized yourself to be, let us say 10 years, 15 years down the lane. If I have decided and I have belief system ingrained in me then nothing can shake that out of me.”
2. You take simple yet complicated and ignored topics for vlogs, which are motivational. What urges you to sit before a camera and talk about them?
“Right! You have to look at the back-story a little bit. I just recently graduated from college. While I entered college three years back, I used to read a lot of value-added books like ‘How to win friends and influence people?’ and ‘Think and grow rich’. I have a myriad of the book collection, which I have read. I used to watch a lot of good content online and the kind of people I used to meet helped me. As I said in one of my vlogs that I want to become like a blotting paper where I can take in the good qualities from everyone.”
Revealing his college ventures, “When I was in the third year of college, on the micro level I used to influence people around me like my friends, my family and keep selling my thoughts on multiple things that I used to learn about from all these various mediums. Accordingly, I thought that let’s take the quality of mine to more macro level and social media is the best way to do that. I did not really have a plan that Oh my god! I want to be a social media influencer. I just thought that if I could share my thoughts, which I believe are helping few people around me in a larger community and if it helps even one person then that would be awesome. When I released my first video the kind of fraction I got, I was amazed by that. I thought that there is this requirement among the youth. So, let’s continue with this, further grow myself and help others to grow along with me.
Congratulations on your graduation?
(Chuckles) Thank you.
3. So, can we say that your thought process, your books and your hobbies inspired you to become a youth influencer? What inspired you to set a foot on this path?
He agrees and adds, “I can totally say that. Even in college, I was never too scared of taking risks. Thus, I started this social entrepreneurship venture called, ‘wakeup kid’ where we were creating micro-level solutions for macro-level impact. That venture also helped me to grow as a leader, and allowed me to grow and understand humans in the much better way.”
4. Can you tell us more about wake up kid and you being an entrepreneur?
Divyanshu Damani tells us, “I started wakeup kid along with my friend Ishaan. In the beginning, we were looking at creating a little bit of awareness on the variety of issues. As it was a social issue primarily, so I was already in front of the camera from that point of time and these issues were the things people do not think. So something like how we bargain with the poor, but when it comes to the other places we don’t usually bargain like the Parking Wala in the streets we bargain with him for 10 rupees; but when we go to the mall and pay Rs. 50 for one hour, there is no hitch that we find. Then we tackled with an issue which is more locally based called the hand pull Riksha. We created a petition and met a lot of top politicians in the city to get the hand-pull Riksha replaced with a more convenient means of transportation for these Riksha pullers. Therefore, we created awareness and we got lots of fraction from many places on and off social media.”
Reminiscing another successful campaign of his he spoke, “One major campaign that we held was the cleanliness drive, but it was with a batch. We mobilized around 10 to 15 schools. We chose certain spots across the city and we transformed those spots entirely just like ‘Ugly Indian Art’. It has been above two years and those spots, which we transformed two years back, are clean until date. The two major changes we wanted to create through wake up kid is sustainable and mindset change.”
5. Would you like to share about your talk show?
“I am launching it at the end of this month. I am getting young people from diverse fields like sports, music, entrepreneurship, journalism and politics to have an insightful conversation with them about their journey. To know about their inspiration to achieve something incredible. We invited troop of ‘Penn Masala’ as my first guest followed by one of the world’s best Billiards player Sourav Kothari and Master Chef India winner, Kirti Bhoutika. My focus is to get across extraordinary stories of both success and failure that people do not usually hear.”
6. What is your parent’s opinion on you getting into these kinds of ventures?
“My parents have been very supportive. I will tell you I am a smart guy. Since I have Marwari blood flowing into me I negotiated a couple of years with my dad and I told him, ‘Dad give me two years if I am able to create something sustainable out of it then good enough. If not we can plan anything after two years.’ So, there I played the negotiation card and got my thing going.” He says with a quiet laughter.
7. You are an influencer marketer. What are the aspects you consider before associating yourself with a brand?
“Relevance is the most important aspect I consider. I cannot go to wild stone and say that I will do the marketing for you. I want to find brands that are actually doing well in relation to serving their customers. Like brands which add value to youth, education or internship process.”
8. Your Instagram bio- reads, ‘have a vision’. What is your vision for Divyanshu and he being part of this society?
Divyanshu voices, “I have two visions. One is to become the largest influencer in the world having a positive impact. I will give you a reference of the blogger and vlogger Caseen Gaines. He does this cross funding campaign for a UPS delivery guy per around 1 crore rupees approximately. From the time he posted that video, I think within an hour or within a day, he met his crowdfunding campaign 200%. He raised 2 crore rupees all because of the influence he has on his audience and he could benefit such a huge bit and that really drives me. And my second thought to my vision is that I really wanted to make an impact on people’s lives like that’s my whole belief. I want to really add value to people because I believe that if I will be giving this then I have to make most of it to enhance other people’s life. Even on the micro level I keep motivating people or I won’t use the word motivating, I give points to the people on how they can improve and be it whoever I meet, even the uber driver I meet I keep talking to him and on points he can improve and I keep learning from whatever these guys say. So two visions- one is to become the biggest influencer in the world and secondly having a massive impact on anyone in the life.”
9. You shared a story of a community called Codezone, which witnessed light by taking inspiration from you. How do you feel being an inspirational figure to others or influencing people into right path?
He expresses sounding excited, “I mean exactly that’s what I want to do and human beings have so much of potential in them which are untapped, unreached and I believed that it is not long enough to sleep at night. I mean so much of potential we can use to do so many amazing things with the time that we have here and helping people to reach that potential is an insane feeling.”
10. How does journey from being the citizen of India to a public figure of the country changed you?
“I think it constantly allowed me to improve by automatically getting ingrained within myself. I am talking about appreciating people through a vlog, and it allows me to understand the importance of appreciating people while at work or at home. It has a huge impact on me. In fact, I will give you an interesting story here, the person who shoots my vlogs, my director and I discuss the content. My director also says that after directing the vlogs, he can see the considerable impact on him as a human being because of the positive content. I believe this as a reason that we could create an impact on other people.”
11. You are part of TEDx videos and you share your stage with prominent personalities. What is your experience of being part of TEDx?
Sharing his excitement with MagZone, “Firstly, I am humbled. 6 months back I was among the organizers of such college events and now being a speaker along with such eminent figures who have accomplished is overwhelming. The kind of attention that I got there, I was never expecting something like that. I did not know that I have reached people such a way. You can only see the number of likes on social media sitting at home, but you cannot really feel it. There I really felt the kind of impact I am making and it was an awesome feeling. My TEDx talk will be out soon by this month. I am also excited about that being released because I have created a concept there, which I am very willing to share with all.”
12. You believe that Great power comes with great responsibilities. What are the responsibilities you are planning for your future to hold?
Laughing inwardly he tells, “Being the social influencer, I already got such a huge responsibility to influence the minds of young generation. There can be nothing bigger than that, but with relation to my future plans like I want to connect with people more on a personal level rather than just social media level. For 2018, I plan to come up with shows and seminars in many places where I can connect with people on a more personal level and have longer interaction with them instead of being there on social media. My plan is to get off social media.”
13. You spoke about insensitive response towards ‘Kamlesh’ and interviewed documentary director ‘Dheeraj Sharma’. Please share your opinion about the people who make such memes? Is there any line you think they are crossing in the sense of comedy?
Divyanshu intoned, “With relation to memes, there are two sides to it. One is memes are the trend. It is a good way to show your creative skills, but you need to choose your content carefully. For example, it is fun to create a meme around the Kamlesh story; but at the end, you act a little bit responsibly by adding a disclaimer to it that this 13-year-old kid is drug addicted even for not a viral meme. You create awareness along with comedy.
Most of the people did not do that, it came from such a serious documentary before my vlog. It shrinks actual impact around and making fun of it trivializes the whole issue. On the other hand, there is a positive angle in the argument, the video would have never come across unless it has memes that have flown all over social media. Nevertheless, that is not good enough reason to share that or make fun of that 13-year-old kid who is under the influence of drugs. His life is at such a stage that it is very difficult for him to come back from it. I strongly believe in the first part although there is an argument that, unless it is not us you would have known about this; but trivializing such a huge issue by making fun is not acceptable.”
If it was not because of you, most of the people could have ignored the source of the meme.
“Thank you so much. Glad to hear that. In fact, even I did not know it was coming from a documentary before I researched on it and then we reached out to the director and asked his opinion. Even he was appalled at the way people were reacting, creating meme’s out of it, and making fun of such a serious issue. That was something that I am really glad that I could share on the social media.”
14. What is that one place you love to book a ticket to, as you are a travel enthusiast? Which book would you like to hold close to your heart?
“I love horses, so I am a polo player. My dream place is obviously Argentina; because it has plains and plain and expands plains. I think just trot on my horse and I would like to carry my favourite How to win friends and influence people?”
Polo is an unexplored sport by Indians. What interested you in that sport?
“I had a love for horses in my childhood. I used to go to Victoria Memorial for horse riding, but I thought of taking it to next level by playing Polo. This is the second fastest sport in the world. I love it as a sport because the racing horses cause an adrenaline rush. There is a fear, a chance of it causing satisfying feeling. (Laughs). I love adventure sports as well. I am a professional level spear and scuba driver. These are the things that I really love.”
15. What message would you like to give to your 3 million followers and advice to those who are going to follow you from here?
“I don’t like to call them followers. All of those people watching my content have some unbelievable amount of value and potential in them. So, just make sure to not waste it. There are many avenues to waste it and an easy thing to do is sit back and relax, but the amount of amazing things these guys and every one of us can do is insane. So, make sure to reach up your potential.
Advice to the MagZone?
“You are doing some great stuff. I checked out your social media and everything. Continue to get inspiring stories, so that people can really look up to all of these individuals and you being the medium, you are doing a great job with that.”
Talking to Divyanshu Damani inspired me to do something good to myself and to the society. He leaves a silent statement through his acts that there is no age to start doing what you like to do, to make a difference. You are never young enough to do what you want. Start now and use every opportunity and your full potential to make a difference to yourself and society.
The MagZone wishes him all the best for his future ventures. Drop your views in the comment section below!