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My Walk and Talk with Mr. Kalra

Though living in great comfort, travelling to 42 countries as a coach to various taekwondo teams around the world, a happy married life until destiny had different plans for him.

During his travel, he had encountered war in Iraq, seen people being chopped, dead bodies every where but nothing made his heart bleed except for a time when he saw a dog and a baby eating from the garbage. His bold step of starting a foundation for the helpless which led to his family deserting him, vexed by his devotion towards his NGO and his general altruistic zeal. Then ‘The Earth Saviours Foundation’ started.

Mr. Ravi Kalra, the founder of TESF is a karmic yogi. He believes that serving without expectation, claim, personal gain and going beyond self and serving is what Karmic yoga is! Mr. Kalra dedicated his life for improving the lives of destitute children, abandoned senior citizens, victimized women, and mentally disabled people. He feels that all of them deserve a chance to live with dignity.

After five futile attempts (reason being financial, no family support, commitment in business and also technical problems) in the year 2007, he has recognized his calling. He discovered his path of serving the humanity and gave up his professional life to perform Holy Karma. This was not an easy decision as he lost his family and also certain other important aspects of his life. When I asked him whether he overcame the loss of his family or still finds it difficult to move on – he says” I’m completely over it when I realized I’m not for me.”

His dedication and commitment to just be there for people in need and give them not just a roof over their head but also that love and care which makes them feel at home made me speechless. At present, he has his center at Mahipalpur in an open land where under tents people have taken their shelter. In recent years the Governor had approached Mr. Ravi Kalra acknowledging his work and granted a land for their organization. But, the land was never given by the government, hence Mr. Kalra had to stay on footpaths for a while which took the lives of many people.

When he took me through his experiences, the only question in my mind was where did he draw his emotional strength from? He encounters at least 10 deaths every month in his organization, how does he deal with it?

His answer was ”I do not think about myself anymore. One has to feel blessed and respect the comforts he have. I believe this is my true calling. Nothing gives me more bliss than serving these people.” He works for more than 20 hours a day. He has converted his house  to a back office where the accounts, reporting, and documentation take place. Children leave their parents on road; old people are a burden, the poor are lying on the road side waiting for their last breath, but Mr. Ravi Kalra is no less than a savior for these helpless people. “I wander along the streets of Delhi at midnight to spot these people and bring them to my Gurukul/Ashram to provide home, food, medication. Everyone deserves a good life and I would like to contribute in creating one for these helpless people.”

Their first center at Vasanth Kunj was razed by an unfortunate fire accident in which two people were completely turned into ashes. Presently, they operate from a farm located in the interiors of Mahipalpur. After spending few hours at the NGO and interacting with Mr. Ravi Kalra, I was speechless at the amount of work he has been doing as a Karmic Yogi for these abandoned, homeless people. At present, his Gurukul hosts 125 people. As I was walking through the Ashram, taking in all the experience that I was exposed to for the first time I came across a corpse lying in one of the tent, when asked about it Mr. Kalra says ”There are at least 8-9 deaths every month. These deaths are mostly of the people picked up from the footpaths. Their health completely degrades and they do not survive even after medication.”

As he was speaking about the contradictions that he encountered in his life from dropping his graduation to later on earning a master’s degree in International Instructor (Taekwondo) from South Korea, from no electricity and money to travel by bus to layer of profits ranging up to 1 lakh per day, from bunking school and running on railway tracks to travelling 42 countries across the globe, he says he never wished for all these. But, he was starving to do something for the underprivileged. After 6 unsuccessful attempts, in the year 2007, he established TESF and donated his life to serve the needy. He draws his emotional strength by feeling blessed about his work, and not thinking about the self. He adds, “People should respect their parents. They should realize that whatever they are today are because of their parents.” His life is a crusade to help the needy and destitute and contribute to protecting the environment. Among mentally challenged, destitute, even rescued dogs, goats and cows live in the shelters of the farm.

Mr. Ravi Kalra is also known as the “no honking man of India” for his never ending fight to stop drivers from honking unnecessarily and reduce noise pollution. He is a world record holder for wiping out “Horn Please” sign from over one lakh commercial vehicle. He is battling to save forests in India by filing PIL (Public Interest Litigation) in the Supreme Court of India for saving the forest and its habitats. Some people are like salt in the food. A salt is white in color and has a texture. When added in food, its color and texture disappears but the taste remains.

Mr. Ravi Kalra through his selflessness has definitely proved to be one of this kind!

Rohini Vemuganti

2014 fellow, worked with Give India, across the country - documenting best practices in communities and non-profit organizations

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