The article was Originally Published in April 28,2016 and updated in March 2019.
Meet 26 Year Old Deepak Ramola, A lyricist , An Actor, A Journalist, A Script Analyst, An Educator and The FOUNDER of PROJECT FUEL.
What is your life lesson?, I asked him.
“SHARE YOUR STORY”, he answered.
Having said this, he shared a ‘story’ that evening, which changed our perspectives about ‘life’ and its ‘lessons’.
Born and brought up in Dehradun, Deepak Ramola loved to listen to songs on the radio and make his own lyrics on those tunes on his way to school. Who knew that he would grow up to be a lyricist, writing songs for bollywood movies like Wazir and Manjhi, he was later also nominated as Upcoming lyricist for his song Atrangi Yaari at Mirchi Awards 2016. When he had landed in Bombay to pursue his graduation, his flair for acting introduced him to the world of theatre. The actor in him eventually got recognized by filmmakers and he was casted for movies like ‘Isee life me’, ‘Bodyguard’ and a TV serial ‘Sasural Simar ka’.
Not only a lyricist and an actor, this boy, now 24 years old, is also a journalist, a screenplay writer, a script analyst and a spoken word poet.
But at a conference where I had first met him, he was introduced on the panel as- DEEPAK RAMOLA, A LIFE SKILL EDUCATOR. As young and energetic as he appeared, it was hard for the delegates to believe that he was an educator. But as he spoke, we came to know that he had been educating people since he was 17 years old.
“My mother was pulled out of school after grade 5. My grandmother did not want her to study further. Despite being a drop out from school, throughout my upbringing, she used to give me a lot of useful insights about life and solving problems etc. I wondered that how can a school dropout be so knowledgeable. On asking, she answered that she had been learning from LIFE”, said Deepak Ramola. That answer of his mother struck his conscience. He wondered how somebody can learn while living, how life lessons can be so important in one’s life. Since then, wherever he went, whoever he met, there was one constant question he asked- “WHAT IS YOUR LIFE LESSON?”
“I collected all these life lessons. Someone gave me an opportunity to publish these. But I did not want to become another quote on the wall. I wanted to put these life lessons to use”, said Deepak.
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With this, PROJECT FUEL was born in 2009 when Deepak was just 17 years old. Collecting life lessons of different people and spreading them throughout the world is what Project Fuel intends to do. The life lessons are converted into different activities and then workshops are conducted with people at different institutions. The workshops end with collecting life lessons from the attendees. This is how people share their own life lessons and learn from others’. In 2013, one of Deepak’s sessions at a school in Punjab was documented and presented. The video of his session was acknowledged by many and he also got a chance to deliver a TED Talk. “After this, it is not quite anymore. Project Fuel has travelled a lot. I have conducted sessions across India, Nepal and Afghanistan”, gladly mentions Deepak.
Deepak once received a life lesson from a woman in Delhi: ‘If your face can surprise you in the mirror every morning, you are still having a good life’. This life lesson has helped another woman in Punjab to rediscover and regain the beauty of the smile on her face. That woman, who had not smiled for many years just because she had received a comment long time back that she looked ugly while smiling, was surprised to see her beautiful smile in a small piece of mirror during the activity conducted by Deepak. Another life lesson of a girl from Bangalore helped a boy in West Bengal to get off his drug addiction and score brilliant marks in his board exams.
“That is the power of life lessons. People who are miles away from each other and have never met, can relate with each other and help each other to move on in life, just through life lessons”, mentions Deepak, the founder of Project Fuel.
Deepak has travelled across the world and collected more than 50,000 life lessons. He has converted around 500 life lessons into activities and has taught more than 2500 life lessons to people across the world. In the past seven years, Project Fuel, a 9-membered team, has benefitted more than 54,000 people of age groups of 4 years to 96 years, belonging to diverse sections of the society like the autistic, spastic, underprivileged, physically challenged, orphans, tribals, sex workers, victims of human trafficking, doctors, engineers, architects, kids of class nursery to class 12th, immigrants, refugees, etc.
Deepak has recently been appointed on the board in Vidya Devi Jindal School in Hisar. He also performs ghazals, shayaris and mushayras across the world. Many people across the country have witnessed and got inspired at his show ‘An evening with Deepak Ramola’, which is conducted in different cities where he shares his favourite life lessons, his poems and stories from across the world.
While Deepak is transforming the lives of thousands through exchange of ‘life lessons’, his own life is a valuable ‘lesson’ for many.
Project Fuel organizes an exclusive program every year. In the year 2015, they travelled to Nepal post the earthquake and conducted workshops for over 800 Nepalese people.
In the third year of Project FUEL’s once a year exclusive program, The Masterpiece Tour, they plan to take life lessons to people affected by the recent migrant crisis- both refugees and citizens of countries that have provided asylum to them. They plan to travel to the Sweden and four other European countries that have hosted the refugees during the crisis. Through an exchange of life lessons, they will not only document learnings that arise out of this conflict but to share it with the rest of the world.
The program will also include workshops and seminars at educational institutions in the countries with the native population. This proposed five countries tour comprises of Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Hungary.
If you wish to Volunteer with Project FUEL, Click Here
Story by : Piyuli Ghosh
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