What you see in what you see can make all the difference. This is how Y.V. Deveshwar, chairman of ITC, once explained why his company started what became one of the most revolutionary ideas in Indian business- e-choupals. Choupals have existed for centuries as a place where village elders meet to deliberate on issues at hand. In 2000, ITC started linking some of these choupals via a computer and Internet (the e) to urban or even global markets. In one step it transformed several villages, turned the idea of digital divide on its head and proved that philanthropy can be profitable. ITC saw in choupals what others couldn't.
In a different time and on a different scale, Sushil Bhasin underwent a similar experience while taking a stroll along the Ganges at Haridwar. In the pebbles on the river bank he saw a possibility that millions of others never thought of. The pebbles could be a canvas for paintings and slogans. In two years since Bhasin started 'pebble art', it has acquired a profitable niche for itself. So much so that he is close to finalising a deal with Starbucks to sell his works through the coffee chain. Bhasin saw an art form in what others saw as pebbles.
Bhasin's is one of the many inspiring stories we have profiled in the last page of MONEY TODAY-titled My Story-since the launch of the magazine. Each of these is the story of a hobby or an interest turned into a profitable occupation, part- or fulltime. We told you how N. Adarsh combines his full-time job in a media house with his childhood interest of making radio controlled aircraft. Or how Suresh Sherawat quit his job as a government clerk to become a dog trainer of global repute while his monthly income zoomed from Rs 1,200 to at least Rs 1,20,000.