German-Indian walks India for path to progress

For poor kids: Max Chandra walks the talk. DH Photo

Max’s interest in India stems from Leela, his mother, who is from Bangalore. Leela is settled in the UK and married to a European.

Fascinated by India during his visit here in 2005, Max resigned as CEO of a high-octane company and settled in Goa. He set up a health fitness centre, ‘Gym Master’, in Palolem.

In October 2010, he set up ‘One step at a time charitable foundation’ with the objective of making a difference to the country and his life.

He planned to travel across India on foot and raise funds to launch a vaccination programme, a mobile medical unit for 22,000 children and to assist in development of a school. He started the walk on November 1 and plans to complete the journey in three years.

“I have divided the journey into five phases. I have started from Panjim in Goa, and I plan to take a coastal route through Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and then to Odisha in the first phase,” Max told Deccan Herald.

During the second and third phase, he plans to cover Delhi, Ladakh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Mumbai and return to Goa. In the fourth phase, he plans to start from Delhi and go to Kolkata and Odisha. In the final phase, he will cover the seven-sister states in the northeast.

“I plan to cover each phase in a span of six months. So far, I have completed 400 km, walking 35 to 40 km each day. The longest I have walked is 46 km in a day,” says Max who is leaving Mangalore for Kerala.

“The journey is self-funded and I carry just a 20-kg backpack. At night, I stay either in a hotel or erect a tent,” he says. He wants to connect with the communities along his route. “I plan to stay in villages and remote places during my travel. If I feel that I can help a community in any way, I will inform my friends of the location, and the needs of the community,” he says. He plans to produce a documentary on his walk.

“My mother is proud of what I am doing. She keeps worrying about me, but is supportive about my endeavour,” says Max, who is unmarried.

What motivated him to take up the journey? Max says: “It is about making a difference. To show the world that we can all make a difference, make things better for those in need, no matter what the need might be. The challenge has to be real, has to hold the attention of its viewers, has to be lasting - hence, my walking rather than travelling by train or any other vehicle. This is also about me finding my place in my Indian ancestry.”

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