At the age of 19 when most Indian children are buried in books and notes and preparing for engineering exams, Ayush Samele is a well-known innovator and inventor.
What is remarkable is that he does not have any formal education or training, and has been labeled as a poor student by his teachers in school. He was always the curious student in class who had many questions to ask. He soon realised though that our education system doesn’t necessarily encourage this trait. What was encouraged was compliance and committing details to memory. Not learning from doing or learning to apply the learnings in real life situations.
“My interest in science developed when I was in school. I would watch a lot of Discovery channel and had many questions for which I was seeking answers. My teachers would always be telling me that they needed to complete the syllabus before they could answer all my ‘out of syllabus’ questions.”
It was the urge to find the answers and learn new things that pushed Ayush to seeking answers elsewhere and become an innovator.
“The first thing I made was a rocket when I was in class 6,” he says.
In the year 2015, Ayush set up a YouTube channel and started uploading DIY videos. Recalling the first video he ever posted, he says, “The very first video I put up was a DIY mini cross-bow.” In a short span of two years, the channel has seen more than 1.4 lakh subscribers added to it.
From making a hair dryer at home to a bladeless fan, Ayush is ensuring that he pushes the envelop with each of his creations.
“I use things that are readily available around the house to make things. As all my products run on solar light, poor people aren’t burdened by soaring electricity costs,” says Ayush.
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Ayush always wanted to become an engineer but in his own words, “the system doesn’t encourage anyone who thinks out of the box and I wasn’t ready to be in a mould.”
“My life has not always been this nice. There was a time I ran away and even contemplated ending my life. There were constant taunts because I was never a good student,” Ayush recalls. This is food for thought and one needs to really think how many of our engineers can apply their learnings the way Ayush has – to innovate and create products.
Ayush’s parents, to begin with, never supported his ideas and his father would always scold him for ‘wasting his time’ doing experiments. “Today they are proud of me but my mother will rest only after I get myself an engineering degree. At least for her sake I intend to get one,” he says. In terms of the value he attaches to it, he says,
“For me it will just be a certificate. No degree can judge the capability of a person. I have learnt that the hard way.”
Ayush’s older brother Sourabh, an Engineering degree holder, was of great help to Ayush in the initial days. “Sourabh motivated me a lot and even helped me out with my early innovations. He was always there for me to run my ideas past and that proved to be of great help.” As the number of clicks and visitors increased, YouTube started paying Ayush.
“The first ever cheque I got was for Rs.9,000 and while that amount seems insignificant, to me it was the biggest boost ever. It made me realise that I could do something and that I was a worthy being.” In October 2016, he got a cheque of Rs.72,000/-.
Many other youngsters look upto Ayush as their role model. “While many people start off a project with great enthusiasm, it fizzles out quickly. It is my passion for science that has helped me sustain interest.”
India needs more Ayushes – real innovators and inventors – unconventional people who dare to dream.