Dentist by profession, with a niche for creativity and always out with some new idea. I have been practicing Dentistry successfully for the last 20 years. In the last three years my daughter has been working on bringing awareness about literature amongst the kids of Gujarat. I am the founder of “Creative Square” magazine, a magazine BY kids-For kids. My book – “Fuel Your Thoughts” , is a self-help book that has been motivating and inspiring females who are fighting their life battles.
I’m a member of Valsad Racer Group(VRG), a group of runners and cyclists working towards bringing awareness about running and cycling. I’ve formed a team of cyclists who will help me with future plans. Through the collaboration with schools, colleges, local organisations and the government, I to hope promote and educate cycling.
How would you describe your mission?
My mission is to have an environmental-friendly bicycle town, thereby placing Valsad on the map of India. My cycling journey had begun as a recreational activity. But when I personally experienced the benefits for myself and the surrounding environment, I felt I should create the awareness among people around me. Global warming and climate change are the two most important concerns of the hour in India, so this triggered me even more to promote cycling to the general public.
I really wish to see an increased number of cyclists in the town I reside in for transportation and health, and not just for recreation. I deeply intend to educate and advocate for the right of cyclists, thereby creating and preserving safe biking environment.
When I came across the Bicycle Mayor program, I felt my dream taking shape, as this could provide me with a platform to bring a revolution in a small town like Valsad.
My 3 focus points for Valsad are:
- Bring awareness about benefits of cycling amongst youngsters by organising lectures and educational programs in schools around cycling.
- Making bikes available for everyone in the community by creating a ‘bike on hire’ and ‘bike to work’ program.
- Bring people from different communities together by organising heritage rides
What are the obstacles and challenges you’re facing in your city?
Cycling revolution is an urban phenomenon. To bring about a revolution in a small town is a challenge in itself. We do not have designated tracks, so cycling can be pretty scary and dangerous. Therefore my main concern is safety measures for cyclists in Valsad.
The mind-set is a challenge and to bring a shift in the mind-set is a bigger challenge.
The increased craze of two-wheelers in youngsters is part of this. It is challenging to create a mental shift in their minds towards the benefits of cycling in this fast paced life. Another challenge is to bring out more and more female riders. Females have always underestimated their strength and creativity. They themselves are unaware of the wonders they can do.
WHAT ARE YOUR NEXT STEPS NOW THAT YOU ARE THE BICYCLE MAYOR?
It’s so rightly said by Nathaniel Brandon that, “The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”
I dream of Valsad as a cycling loving town. My primary concern is to change the mind-set of both the people and the authorities to have a positive view about cycling.