Though many recognise him as the Founder and Chairman of Exonora International, he is fondly known among the public as an inspiring environmentalist, writer, orator, mind programmer and social activist. AMRITHA PREM chats up with him at his penthouse, filled with greener.

The moment he was born, an astrologist predicted he would be a guiding force to many. But nothing happened until he turned 26 years. Instead, he laughs recollecting how he was scolded by his teacher and manager at work for poor language skills and shabby handwriting, respectively. Dejected, he took an oath to work towards realising what the astrologer predicted. He not only succeeded in it, but went on to coin 9000 English words, serve the society and also recieved the Best Brain Award in 1990.

MB Nirmal was born into a rich family, but was pushed to slums due to financial circumstances. He tweaks the famous adage and says, “Necessity is the mother of my innovations”. Not liking his surrounding areas intoxicated with garbage waste, sewage water and open defecation, he decided to convert it into a healthier one. But the only way to achieve this was by taking help from slum dwellers themselves. It all started with him building five toilets, which he realised was too less for the number of people in the area. Hence, he introduced joylet’, where board games were kept to divert people’s mind from the irritation of waiting in long queues. This was followed by projects for children, which not only amused them, but also helped them learn the fun way. Thus, by doing this he found his true calling for social service.

Later, when he moved to Chengalpet for work, he was disturbed with the sight of a few children doing their homework under street light. This urged him to start with the ‘One Light One Hut’ concept along with the help of government. He quotes this incident to be the turning point in his life!

On asking him how he became an environmentalist from a civic activist, he says, “I came up with an idea of ‘fish cart’ where trash is collected after segregation in different trash bins. However, the realization that these were anyways being dumped in another area making it dirty gave rise to the thought of recycling. Thus, I introduced ‘Zero Waste Management,’ where every waste is considered to be a wealth unrecognised, which ought to be transformed and not transferred.

Nirmal never restricted his service to environment or issues vis-a-vis the same. He provided solutions to `n’ number of problems such as corruption, water problems for farmers, women and children safety to mention a few. “Solutions lie in front of us, but it’s up to us to notice it”, he says when asked about how he manages to get solutions to any problem within a maximum period of eight hours!

Out of the several existing problems, one that worries Nirmal a lot is women and child abuse. The main goal of ‘Agnistree’ (his upcoming project) is to empower women and push their boundaries by teaching 120 mind programming techniques for the goodwill of women. He has filed and won cases to find missing children and feels miserable when he talks about the humungous number of children who still remain missing! Reasons for child abduction remain the disturbing lot such as child sex, child pornography, begging, selling internal organs, etc. His other wings include ‘Paa’ and `Maa’, which work for the goodwill of both genders.

A believer of all religions, Nirmal says prayers wake the “giant” (God) in you! He quotes lack of self-volunteering and role models to guide youngsters to be the reasons for current generation facing problems compared to the earlier ones. He is very confident that India would soon become the youngest nation (with the youngest population) in the world, riding on the confidence he has on his ideas that he says would soon create a revolution! He concludes by sharing his secret of success – “write” your goals down!