This Delhi University graduate is teaching people a new way to live life ie sans money

Pratul Jain aka Prat encourages people to live with the locals in remote parts of the world, help them in their chores, and learn about their life struggles.

more lifestyle Updated: Mar 13, 2018 18:40 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Backpack,Pratul Jain,Delhi University
Pratul Jain aka Prat lives his life by helping people, and mentors others to follow the same.

Do you need a hand for any chore? This 31-year-old chap is all up to help you, and learn something in the process. Thinking how much will he charge for his services? Nothing! Don’t believe us? Meet Pratul Jain aka Prat, and know the blissful way of living life sans monetary transactions.

“I realised early in life that if you remove money from any equation, then life becomes beautiful,” says Jain, who belongs to a business family of Indore. “When studying B Com (Hons) from Delhi University’s Hansraj College, I learnt about so many things… from theatre to politics. After graduation, I took to fashion designing, and even studied at National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT). Soon after, I started a workshop with three of my friends, and our business grew exponentially in India and even abroad,” says Jain, recollecting vivid memories of the days when he used to party all night and remain engulfed in the glamour world.

Sitting casually in a t-shirt and a cool pair of bermudas, today, Jain relents a mysterious laugh telling about the time when his life turned upside-down. “Coming back after judging a fashion show at a college, I agreed to stay back at my friends place. The next morning, my friend, who was just 25 years old then, suffered a brain haemorrhage. In her paralytic state, she told me to follow my heart. Jo karna hai abhi karo, kal ka pata nahi [Do what you want to, but today, because tomorrow is uncertain] … Her words echoed in my mind, and I decided to explore life in a very filmy way,” says Jain, who dissolved his fashion designing business, donated the money to four lesser known villages in North India, and took a train to Kanyakumari.

“With just a backpack, I reached South India and travelled to Kerala. I decided I will only live in the homes of locals, and therefore started offering myself for any help that they required. In turn, I would ask them some space to live and food to eat. This process made me learn so many new things, and I started travelling to different parts of India and the world with the same ideology – offer to work and learn but without money,” says Jain, who has till now worked as a bamboo house maker in North East India, baker in France, an inspirational orator in Kashmir, and a scuba-diving instructor in Australia, among many others.

When people asked him to write about his life experiences, it took Jain a while to push himself back to social media – a task he had given up along with his business – but once he revived, he started getting mails from all parts of the world. “People started inviting me to learn something new that they could teach. My life even became a case study for a group of experts from Europe, who were researching on people who live life differently. But, with all this, one day when I was about 28, my parents called me home. It was the first time my mother hugged me, and both my parents were so overwhelmed to share how people specially the elderly from different parts of the world had called to tell them how I spend time with them in their villages, when even their own children weren’t living with them.”

“You don’t have to be [Nelson] Mandela or [Mahatma] Gandhi to help people and the community at large.”

The website and Facebook page ‘BackpackWithPrat’ soon became a way of living, and at present Jain takes people to remote villages and unheard places, to live life like he does. Jain says, “You don’t have to be [Nelson] Mandela or [Mahatma] Gandhi to help people and the community at large. If you have something new to teach, I’ll come and work for you for free! In fact, soon I’ll be introducing a festival in India, where youngsters from urban cities and some unsung heroes will travel to a small village near Manali, and get to know each other and the locals. Because, till the time you are learning, life is beautiful!”

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First Published: Mar 13, 2018 18:40 IST