Published: 01st November 2017
Motorcycle diaries: Shrawan Kumar Yadav is riding across the country to make emotional well-being #trend among children
Connecting Youth on Wheels is Yadav's brainchild which he began to start conversations about emotional well-being among students
After being repeatedly bullied and being called names like Bihari (even though he isn't one!) and Mansukha (Lord Krishna's childhood friend), Shrawan Kumar Yadav finally hit breaking point (or shall we call it rising point?) when he was in class XII. He simply started laughing. "This laughter was not out of ridicule for them or disrespect for myself. It was just the acceptance of me being myself," says Yadav, who used to be skinny back in the day. But now, this well-built gentleman has not only come far from where he started, but he has also taken it upon himself to make sure that kids reach their rising point too.
Yadav and Sana Iqbal were supposed to meet but unfortunately, Iqbal passed away recently
To do this, Yadav has been riding across the country, stopping at institutions and talking about the emotional well-being of students. "I simply want to say that I am not different from anyone, we are all made of the same emotions. I want people to understand and connect with their emotional self," says the biker. During his journey across nine states, he was in Hyderabad last week, visiting Loyola Academy, Don Bosco School and many more through his initiative Connecting Youth on Wheels.
I let children lead the seminar, letting them do the talking about what frustrates them the most
Shrawan Kumar Yadav
Armed with just the gift of gab, the 30-year-old doesn’t use presentations or videos at any point of his two-hour-long seminar. He just talks. "I ask students about the things that frustrate them the most and use interaction and humour as tools," he explains. While academics still remain a major source of tension, topics like relationships and being judged also make the list of student frustrations. From bigger issues like wanting to explore beyond the school curriculum to slow WiFi — all these frustrations are discussed in the seminar. He extends his services to Tier III schools too and finds that while most students have high aspirations, "they doubt themselves a lot and are in need of validation," while students from better-off schools often tend to slip into overconfidence and they lack patience.
Photo op: Shrawan Kumar Yadav during his journey
Though Yadav's plans of putting together a team or crowdfunding did not take off, he has been determined to undertake this journey, a large part of which requires him to live hand-to-mouth. He either crashes at a friend’s place or in a hostel. His dwindling resources and the scheduled December exams are the two problems he foresees in the near future. But his spirits are still rearing to go on this 40,000 km journey, of which he is now on the final leg. Other challenges he faces are minor miscreants, upon whom self-realisation dawns and they apologise after the seminar, and of course, the universities themselves, who sometimes reduce the duration of the seminar to a mere 15 minutes. We wonder if despite all this, he connects with the youth. "On September 16, I was giving a seminar at Sikkim Manipal University, after which I casually mentioned that it was my birthday and everyone, with all their heart, began singing the birthday song," he says, and all our doubts about connection fly right out the window.
Striking a pose: Yadav with his partner in crime, his bike
To know more check out https://www.connectingyouth.