Mission Delhi – Kaunen, Sadar Bazar, Gurgaon
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
He had never encountered the word “entrepreneur” until February last year. “I first heard it in a computer class,” says Kaunen. “I then joined a two week free class on how to start and run your business, and to become just that thing — an entrepreneur.”
Kaunen, 27, is chatting on WhatsApp from his home in Gurgaon’s Sadar Bazar. A law student, these days he is attending his college classes online through his mobile phone due to the pandemic. He lives with his father, who actually is an entrepreneur too—he runs a modest tailoring establishment on the pavement.
But Kaunen’s aspirations of being an entrepreneur have a more ambitious scope. “I love nature and I want to make a business in which I can help the world become more green-friendly.”
The young man talks of a recent trip to his father’s village, where he found many old trees amiss. “They were chopped down, I discovered to my total sadness.” With the help of friends, he planted new trees right where the old ones stood.
Some months back, Kaunen himself rustled out a small machine that he says helps conserve water in households. To be honest, he confesses with a dazzling smile, similar machines are available on the market “but I’m planning to keep the cost very low, so that more homes can afford it.”
Selling this machine was to be his first step in becoming a successful entrepreneur. The coronavirus-triggered lockdown upset all his plans. And now he is left with a single machine that he installed in his own house. Taking it off from the wall and holding it in his hands, Kaunen talks of his arrival in the metropolis in 2004, when his father decided to make him a mechanic. “But a retired judge in the town convinced my father to let me continue my education.” Describing that guide as his godfather, he says, “I consider Sitaram Sharmaji above my papa, and my papa knows that and respects that.”
These days, he feels the conditions aren’t bright for any kind of business. Unlike in the pre-corona era, he is finding it impossible to get part-time jobs either. “And when I watch news channels on TV, I feel our entire country is collapsing.”
And yet, he is confident about starting a business “that won’t only help me earn well, but that will help the environment too.” A few minutes later, Kaunen Whatsapps recent pictures of the trees he had planted in the village.
[This is the 367th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
A portrait of the entrepreneur as a young man