“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

                                            I, a diminutive
                                             nine year-old
                                            child of nothing
                                          but skin and bones
                                  wearing my stained shorts and
                                 torn shirt, was standing in line at
                                Siddhi Vinayak Temple in Bombay
                               with men, women, and dozens of other
                              children who looked very much like me. 
                          I had not eaten in the past two days and hoped
                      this would be a day where I finally reached the front of the line. 
                   As with most days, I made the 38-minute trek from our slum alone (as
          dad disappeared months ago and mom was on day six of being bedridden)—dodging
   cars, rickshaws, and cows through the crowded streets. I looked ahead to the woman handing out the
     food and saw a foreign boy of my age wearing white basketball shoes and a red baseball cap with
a "C" on it standing next to her. I couldn't help but stare in envy. I wish I had the money to wear clothes and
 shoes like that. I wish I could go far away from this place and never have to look back. I wish I could be that boy.

Ok….I have to admit….I was not the boy standing in line in this story. I was actually the one at the front—a simple
          kid from Ohio sporting my slightly dusty Cincinnati Reds hat and Nike Air Jordans. The gaze of this boy
            caught me and, unknown to him, has had a profound impact on my life ever since. Standing there, in 
             that moment, made me really think. Could I not have been born to a mother in the slums? What
              fundamentally makes me any different from him and even begin to deserve the life that I have?

                 At the most basic level, I think this is why I seek to give back so much. I want to help in
                  the effort to see a day where that line in Bombay no longer needs to exist. I want to
                   see a day where award-winning films on India can no longer show children
                    suffering and dying due to extreme poverty. I want to see a day where
                     revered Indian celebrities and athletes (and more importantly... their
                      admirers) care more about humanity and helping social
                       causes than their latest films or product endorsements. 
                          I want to be a catalyst for this change and help
                          others feel what I felt that July day. I want to
                            help drive a cultural shift that puts attention,
                              money, and effort where it ultimately
                                belongs—to stopping the injustice
                                 and giving these kids that path to
                                  a better life. They deserve the
                                    opportunity to fulfill their
                                      dreams and walk in
                                        our shoes just as
                                               much as
                                                 we do.

— Mohit Bathija