Few weeks ago, Melton-based Ajay Pasupulate lost his job. He had a career as an IT professional and one that was built on incremental progress over the past 15 years. But with his contract having come to an end and with all future projects stalled, his is yet another familiar story under the current pandemic. One would assume this is enough to cause stress. On the contrary, Pasupulate is sanguine.
“It’s nothing new. I have changed 15 jobs in the past. Earlier, I used to panic when I didn’t have a job but I am used to it now,” he says.
It’s an attitude Pasupulate has long gained by, what he calls, a preparation for the inevitable in life. Throughout his career, whenever he had a ‘break’, he explored new avenues. So, he always looked at a job loss as a time to acquire news skills and certification.
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When he lost his job during the recession, he learnt a new business – that of importing artificial grass from China. He travelled to China, studied the market and plowed his money in the business. It yielded good results.
Few years later, Pasupulate establised a company and took up landscaping business, something he is continuing till date. He also started a non-profit- organisation Australian Multicultural Association (AMA) and does events. He also learnt digital marketing. The list goes on.
During this break, Pasupulate is getting into the building and construction industry. For this, he has partnered with A1A homes to look after their business in Melton City Council area as Business Development Manager. He is developing a whole building construction team after having studied it “in a structural way”. The plan is to construct residential and commercial projects, he declares.
“I have passion for building homes and I have advised friends on building homes as well. So, I am building a property portfolio for myself. With my background in landscaping, I am going to explore the business with digital marketing,” he says.
Rightly, as founder of AMA, Pasupulate has entered these businesses with an end goal: to get closer to the community and also to develop a system to connect the community with the local government. It is part of his long-term agendas.
Community work, he says, is an interest he derived from his father in India, who was the national level president of a labour union (Mazdoor Union Jai Jawan Jai Kisan). Growing up, social work was the fabric of their lives. So, his foray into community works started from his early years in Australia. Although he struggled with time initially, he managed to do some local volunteering works.
When he arrived in 2002, Melbourne had a fledgling Indian community. As numbers started growing, people stated celebrating festivities such as Diwali and Holi on a grand scale. Being a dancer too, Pasupulate got involved as a dancer and events coordinator for almost nine years and he is credited for coordinating well the Wyndham Diwali festival for two successive years.
In 2012, he did a Graduate Diploma in Project Management from Victoria University to learn how to run an organisation.
Putting into use what he studied, Pasupulate became a founding member of the Australian Telangana Association in 2014. “We celebrated Telangana Formation Day here when we founded the organisation in June 2014. I got recognition as a leader from then onwards.” The Telangana Association has more than 1,000 members with a core team of 10-12, says Pasupulate.
With a big appetite for community work, Pasupulate didn’t want to limit himself to the Telangana community, so he founded the Australian Multicultural Association in 2015 with the aim to build a network in the community by collaborating with local governments, community groups and organisations through multicultural programs and activities such as arts, festivals, food, cultural exchange, etc..
AMA has been recognised as the best volunteer organisation, one among 129 organisations at Federal level for the year 2020. In a message to AMA, Liberal Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson says, “Your association does such a wonderful job in providing cultural activities.”
The lockdown has provided him ample opportunities to build a multimedia oeuvre of videos, live chats and ongoing series of events.
AMA provides services to Indian students, conduct monthly events to empower women under the program Desi Empowered Women of Australia in collaboration with community leaders. It also airs Meekosam 97.9 FM Radio program in Telugu language every Monday from 8pm-10pm, and runs Divas, a short-term women empowerment program.
Pasupulate says Divas is his dream project. It is based on the idea that ‘if you empower a woman, you can empower a nation’. Started early this year with the tagline “Transform life in 30 days Physcially, Mentally and Emotionally,” he says they have received tremendous response from women from diverse religions and cultures. With AMA’s Facebook followers of 1000 plus and through its partnered channels, it hopes to reach approximately 1.5 million people and businesses, says Pasupulate.
The AMA Indian Arts Academy is another multi-disciplinary, multicultural arts program aimed to enhance the appreciation of the various art forms, strengthen performance, increase self-awareness, improve cognitive ability, and provide a platform for like-minded people with common interests to connect, interact and celebrate the rich diversity in the community.
At the moment, people are zoom fatigued, says Pasupulate. Which is why he started going live on Facebook twice a week. One is called ‘Community Hour’ every Sunday “where we discuss committee issues, create awareness, help businesses”.
Another 10-minute live event is called ‘Straight From The Heart’ where Pasupulate talks about his life and career trajectory. “I fall in the category of people who have lost their jobs but, the difference is, I have created opportunities for myself. And that is something I like to share.”
Disarmingly earnest, Pasupulate says after coming to Australia and finding migrants vulnerable led to his involvement in community programs and taking their issues to the local government. He has his eyee on the council elections in Melton and is hoping for an opportunity. During this pandemic, he is harder at work reaching out to diverse communities.
In many respects, he fits the mold.
This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas
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Few weeks ago, Ajay Pasupulate lost his job. He had a career as an IT professional. But with his contract having come to an end & with all future projects stalled, his is yet another familiar story under the current pandemic. #TheIndianSun @indira_laisramhttps://t.co/INgQMgLO2A
— The Indian Sun (@The_Indian_Sun) September 10, 2020