Imagine you were a successful businessman, had everything going for you, name, fame, money etc. Imagine it was your birthday. How would you celebrate it? Lavishly, right? A big birthday bash, three tier cake, delicious dishes and drinks to go with and lastly the excitement of opening all those presents! But there are few who believe in the “gift of giving!”, giving back to the society that’s given them the name, fame and success. Dr. Yogesh Lakhani, Chairman and Managing Director of Bright Outdoor Media Pvt. Ltd. is among the latter.
Call it a moment of epiphany or homecoming, the parties of the head honcho of one of the top 5 outdoor advertising agencies in India used to be the talk of the town. The parties were replete with the biggest of Bollywood stars as attendees. Rumour mills running off for months feeding from stories of those parties. But then there came a point where the decided to turn towards his society and towards the people that helped him reach the heights he has today. And it’s been a long while since then that he started keeping a low-key profile on his birthdays in the social circle and started giving back generously to the place he came from.
“I came from a small chawl in Malad. I grew up borrowing money for my fees, borrowing clothes from other people to wear. I used to sell newspapers at railway stations. Worked at my uncle’s office as an office boy for a salary of Rs. 100. I did all odd jobs while pursuing my dream of becoming big someday. I rose from strength to strength, and this is where I am now. I really don’t think it would’ve been possible had there not been the people I met along the way who helped in my difficult times. Today, I want to be that person for many such as I was back in the days,” says Lakhani.
It is learnt that every year, on his birthday, Dr. Yogesh Lakhani feeds thousands of people living on the streets on his birthday. The man’s contribution goes beyond that, as the President of an NGO, every Sunday, he feeds 5000 hungry people. Not just that he’s also set up a state-of-the-art dialysis facility which can be availed for free by those in need. And through donations has also helped various old age homes, orphanages, blind schools etc.
“I really want to give back to the people. These are all my people. This is where I came from. If I hadn’t had those people who paid for my tuition and schooling, who gave me their clothes when I so needed them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I want to be that person to those in need. I want to ensure everyone gets the opportunities and help I got along the way. God has been kind and made me capable of achieving so much so why not do the right thing. Also, it gives me a lot of peace and sense of satisfaction,” says Lakhani jubilantly.