"I want to help people live a fuller life even when I am gone" - Onkar Kishan Khullar

1. Why do you call yourself India's most dangerous speaker?

Unlike other speakers, I use unconventional techniques like dance, music, jokes and pranks to teach which usually gets me banned from the campus or has the audience asking for more.Therefore most dangerous speaker.

2. What kind of a student were you in school and college?

In school I use to be a really good teachers pet but one day I realised I had an alter ego or should I say another crazy side which helped me in my creativity suddenly. And then from the most serious students I became a backbencher. This trend continued to my college which ended up with 3 dropouts.

3. When and how did you decide to be a speaker and an influencer? 

I have been giving powerpoint presentations since the age of 10. So after 15 years one breakup led me to a TED Talk on breakups from which I realised I can help 1000's from my seminars. Since then I took it as a full time act. 

I don't want to be an influencer instead I just want to help as many as possible and show the world you can make a living out of that.

4. Everyone talks about their successes, can you talk about your challenges and failures?

I dropped out from 3 colleges, got bankrupt twice, lost my entire team twice, was close to getting sued twice, failed with 7 companies, 12.5 breakups, I thought of breaking a world record after my breakup ended up breaking my back.

Only challenge which constantly bugs me every day is how can I help more people?

Do we make money to make an impact or do we make an impact to make money 

5. Through your videos, you're helping a lot of people in a tangible way. Tell us more about how your videos are making a difference.

What if a 15 second video can be the reason of not only changing a life but saving one. Universe has a way of reaching out to people who really need it and I believe everytime I create a video I send it to the universe praying that it reaches the soul who needs it the most and that automatically happens. Just when you are scrolling your instagram, youtube, Facebook , WhatsApp or Tik Tok feed a video comes on your screen related to the answer you were searching for.

6. What difference do you want to make in this world?

Create systems or stuff which can help people live a more fuller and beautiful life even when I am gone.

7. What kind of a person is Onkar? And on a lighter note, what's the story behind 12.5 breakups?

I will not talk about myself instead one of my ex gfs wrote this to describe me 4 years ago.

Fuck-it List. No matter what I need to do what is on my bucket list- is ladies and gentlemen, your Fuck- It List.  This and millions of other unique Onkar-isms come to mind when I even think about this 24 year old explosion of talent. Onkar isn’t your average college dropout with a purpose. He is your un-average three time college dropout with a PASSION. 

If there was ever an example of working with your heart, then he is the living embodiment of it.  ‘Try karkey dekho yaar. Maine bhi kiya. Tum bhi kar saktey ho.’ Q: Dil ki sunoo ya Dimaag ki? A: Kisi ladki ko jab tum dekhtey ho, tum dil ki suntey ho ya dimaag ki? Yaar pyaar karkey toh dekho! Dil chahiye bus.” Roaring applause from excited and enthusiastic college goers across the North of India would be Onkar’s fuel for thinking of his next new presentation or workshop format. An eager audio note on my Whatsapp: “T****, Im trying something new. Have been up for hours. Could you come and hear my speech today. No, its not ‘Gandhi with a Laptop’ or ‘Social Media for Social Change’ –its my ‘5 year old philosophy!’ 

Heck, even if it was ‘Gandhi with a Laptop’-I would be eager to attend. Think of it- the urgent need of going back to the basics as Gandhi would espouse- but with technology- which is an absolute must to embrace. Or if it was ‘social media for social change’-it would be equally relevant. After all, didn’t Tahrir Square happen owing to a Facebook group going viral- or Chennai flood relief operations scale up due to Twitter? But, I was blessed enough to witness the talk on his third book ‘5 year old philosophy’ which urges us to embrace the child within. For that innocence is really what is needed for the world to be a better place to live in. A short talk of 12 commandments that range from questioning everything to making work playful to learning something new everyday to just following the heart- Onkar makes the stage his own.

Authenticity is what lies at the core of Onkar’s very being. Everytime a beggar child or a beggar lady would approach our car- Onkar instead of ignoring or rudely brushing them aside would roll down his window and hand over some packet of biscuits he carries with him for this reason. He would talk to the child about not looking so forlorn and thinking of better ways to live his life. A peon, a driver, a waiter, a doorman or even a homeless truant—I have never seen Onkar make them feel ‘small’ or lesser priviledged. That takes a huge sense of knowing who you are and that you really are blessed thanks to Divine Grace and not your own greatness.

Do many things at a time—be a Jack of all trades, but Master of one—his constant advice and example. Onkar carries this little black diary and a pen in the pocket of his pants- always. Whatever comes to mind or whatever he thinks is worth observing and remembering is quickly jotted down in that notepad. His multiple hats he wears, I believe, are in large part due to his ability to get inspired by so many things that are often ignored around us. The swift efficiency with which his mother or my mother handle household chores has him inspired to write his fourth book on Moms of Management skills. His ears picked up the term ‘lena dena’ in Indian parlance and he penned down a new philosophy on how it should be inverted to become ‘dena, lena’ (give and then take). This he will advise Dainik Jagran, India’s largest paper in circulation to incorporate in their company policy. Incidentally, he does nationwide workshops for them (a concept he often credits me for starting. But, I tell him, if it wasn’t for who he is it wouldn’t  have happened). He runs two consultancies to make the lives of NGO’s brighter—charges money with a heart. Do something that will outlast you is his life’s Mantra. An author of three books, Onkar also dabbles in creative interior d├ęcor, making interesting art installations and generally being abreast with all cool movies and tv shows possible.

Limitless- one of his favorite TV serials defines his very persona. Afflicted with an ailing tummy, a home which is in the Northernmost corner of Delhi (well, for me atleast!)-and a super small team for the kind of work he has on his plate—Onkar still manages to be there for you with his ideas, expertise and presence whenever you need him to be. There is NOT ONE time I have seen Onkar complain about life or about circumstances. Sure, there are off-days with certain clients or team members- but Onkar will often chant his worries away or invoke his beloved ‘Babaji’ and say ‘Waheguru hoja shuru’( God come take over)

His smile is something I will treasure always—a kind warmth and twinkling eyes—often with a hint of naughtiness- Onkar is always up to something. A new idea, a new direction, a solution for everything- I would term him my troubleshooter. It would be so comforting to know that Onkar would be around or that he would reason it out or find the light at the end of the tunnel. ‘hojayega T****. Raasta nikal aayega- main kuch na kuch karta hoon.’ –That’s all I would need.  

A super fair person, Onkar would not even ask for what was due to him. He just believed in giving. T**** let me make you happy—let me massage your feet- let me pick you up from the Southernmost part of Delhi (my home!) and take you wherever you want to go…let me do. That spirit of giving is truly what makes Onkar so very special. Generous with his praises- he made me feel like the most beautiful and special woman in the world. He would make the sevak ‘Chachiji’ in his Gurudwara feel the same way, just non-romantically. He has the capacity to love like no other. The uber calm he maintains in his often chaotic Punjabi household is his capacity to be there as a stable rock for his family. 

When hurt or in emotional duress, Onkar actually falls sick within minutes of being low. That’s how connected to his heart he is. If someone’s got a ‘dry’ or a ‘bad’ vibration- that’s it. Onkar is out of the room before you can count till three! 

Onkar and I are North-South, only superficially—through our diction, our food habits or families or our geographical home locations- else we are the same when it comes to what we want out of our careers and what kind of impact we wish to make. Onkar had one wish, that either I bow to him from when Im on stage or he bows to me to express his gratitude when he is on stage.

Onkar, I don’t know if you will read this—but whether or not from stage and if our paths shall cross again- one thing is for sure: I bow to you right now. Tomorrow. And forever. For, they don’t make people like you anymore. They really don’t. You have given me so much –in such short a time-  you have absolutely no idea.  Some people enter your lives for a specific purpose and change you forever. For the better.

A new addition to my Fuck-It List is ‘ Be like Onkar.’

Image result for onkar khullar

Want to get published on EMN and join the community? Here is an opportunity to join the Board of Young Leaders Program by Eat My News. Click here to know more: bit.ly/boardofyoungleaders

Post a comment