Seated in the audience at the RID 3132 District Assembly in 2013, 23-year-old Kshitij Choudhari, charter president of RAC Techplorers, was taking notes from a speech being delivered by PRIP Kalyan Banerjee. “At one point I just stopped writing and listened in rapt attention just like everyone else in the room. He wasn’t just making a speech; he was actually talking to us. He said, ‘We cannot simply go home and say we shall try our best. We need to commit ourselves, absolutely and fully, and do what needs to be done. With that resolve at least one of you will succeed because to do anything we have to start ourselves.’At that point I made up my mind that I was going to reach within and do something for my community,” says Choudhari, who has a dual membership of both Rotaract and Rotary. He thanked PDG Prafulla Mirajgainkar for “letting us Rotaractors experience the international spirit of Rotary by allowing us to attend the assembly”.
Last year he was inducted as a member of RC Aurangabad East and is the club secretary this year. “I thank Kalyan Banerjee for inspiring me and hope to see him soon,” he adds.As a Rotaractor, working on RILM projects was one of his favourite things to do. “RIPE Shekhar Mehta showed us that we have to first work locally to succeed globally. Even as we all were stuck at home and wondering where to start, he raised crores of rupees to fight the pandemic and has already signed MoUs with a dozen other organisations and the government for future programmes. The way he inspires others is by doing it himself first,” he says. He recalls meeting Mehta at the Rotaract district conference he had hosted as DRR in 2018–19. “Simple, humble, and to the point, he was full of appreciation for the projects Rotaractors had done.”
Having participated in two consecutive RYLAs he was encouraged by Rtn Anupam Goval of RC Aurangabad East to start a Rotaract club in his college — Maharashtra Institute of Technology, Aurangabad. RAC Techplorers was chartered in 2011 and Choudhari says, “this was the best thing to have happened to us engineering students. It was so difficult for us to crack campus interviews because our language and speaking skills were poor.” As president of the club, he started the Rotaract School of Leadership, a certificate course for language, communication, and leadership skill development in his college. “Unlike big cities, there is very little scope for us to find a decently priced and authentic training programme outside the college. Through Rotaract we could help local students with this programme,” he says.
The PDRR has also served as editor for the newsletters of RSAMDIO (Rotaract South Asia Multi-District Information Organistation, an RI initiative to train Rotaractors, connect DRRs, and help them look beyond the club level). “With RSAMDIO, we get an opportunity to attend conferences, get involved in projects and participate in training seminars on a local, national and international level,” he says. Rotaract gave him a chance to travel, look outside the boundaries of his State and learn new things. “I met my wife through Rotaract and got my business idea when I was a district youth exchange student. So you can say Rotaract shaped my life so far and Rotary is shaping my future.”
Choudhari owns a gaming centre, NGG E-Sports, in Aurangabad, and has a Rotary-Rotaract dual membership. As a Rotarian, he feels welcomed and happy to be part of RC Aurangabad East, a 35-year-old club. “I am in the learning phase of a Rotarian and have a long way to go,” he says.