Positivity in times of panic

Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, Mapusa-based Ashish Kumar is on a mission to inspire and spread hope. 

With the novel coronavirus pandemic dominating the headlines of late, the public’s stress and anxiety levels have reached an all-new high. In a bid to put minds at ease, Ashish Kumar has started a new initiative on social media to spread positivity during this time of panic.

Taking to Facebook, the Mapusa resident launched a page titled ‘ASHpiring Minds’. The aim, he says, was to reach out to people during these hard times. “The emotions are running high when it comes to corona, and I wanted to not only spread awareness but also spread positivity,” he says. And quarantining at home like the rest of us, Ashish began churning out original content and videos in the hope that this initiative would make “a small difference in the way people think and look at the current pandemic and the world in general”.

Armed with a decade of experience in the sales industry, Ashish states that he always wanted to get into the field of motivational speaking. But due to hectic schedules and long working hours, the transition didn’t happen. “The best thing was the lockdown. It gave me time to evaluate certain factors and create content that would inspire people out there. And I thought Facebook was the best medium to do so.”

Every day, Ashish, who strives to emulate motivational speakers like Tony Robbins and Jay Shetty, spent four to five hours researching and creating content.

And the response, he says, has been amazing. The videos posted on the ASHpiring Minds page have garnered much attention from the public over the course of just six weeks. In fact, one of Ashish’s videos ‘A bigger pandemic than COVID-19’ has garnered over 24.5k views as of the date of this publication. “A point came when I realised that the country is not fighting one but two pandemics. And the second one is more deadly – it is the pandemic of hate,” he says.

“Whenever you scroll through social media, you notice so much hate; hatred towards the community, hatred towards people, towards Goans, towards non-Goans. There is so much hate when it comes to caste, creed, religion. And the fact that this hate is happening right now makes it more dangerous than the pandemic itself,” he adds. Ashish rallied the message out to his friends, friends of friends, frontline workers such as nurses and cops, and citizens from as far as Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh – all of whom contributed to the video by sharing pictures of themselves holding placards that said, ‘Don’t hate’.

And in tune with his mission to spread positivity, in another video, Ashish lists out seven positive things that we have achieved as individuals and the world during this quarantine period. “All of us have big dreams and lofty ambitions, but nobody is willing to make the first step – we are too caught up with sitting at home and worrying. Another video I made is about individuals making that first step – writing their goals down and working towards it. However small the step is, we have to work towards it,” he says.

Looking ahead at a post-COVID world, it is Ashish’s goal that we all live in harmony. “For Goa, I envisage citizens that are more loving to each other, more supportive of each other and local businesses, more environmentally conscious, and self-sufficient,” he says. Because what makes ASHpiring Minds stand apart is that it serves as a reminder that there is still good in the world. “The page is a melting pot of inspirational and socio-economic topics that is targeted at anyone and everyone whether you’re a student, a working professional, a homemaker, or an entrepreneur. We all need a little motivation during these times of crisis and confusion,” says Ashish, adding that his main goal is to give back to “fellow Goans nuggets of knowledge and skills and thereby make Goa shine bright”. He eventually hopes to launch his own website and YouTube channel to present webinars, orientations, and skill-building programmes on topics in the areas of motivation and sales to students, aspiring entrepreneurs and sales professionals.

Anna Fernandes| NT