I was born in a village four miles away from Manipal. When I was three, my younger brother passed away. It was a huge shock for our family. My mother decided to move with me and my youngest brother to Bombay, where my father used to work as a waiter in an Udupi restaurant. We ended up staying in a slum named Cheeta Camp. However, my mother ensured that her sons went to a decent school by picking up menial jobs.
That decision made a huge difference, as it usually does in India.
We don’t realize it, but most of us got our first break because of the education we got as children. The luckier ones are those who haven’t given up on learning.
During school, it became clear to me that I wanted to be a writer. But that went against my parents’ expectation of me becoming an engineer so that I could pull us towards acche din. I got admission into an engineering college but I dropped out three semesters away from graduation in 2007. My mother was very disappointed, but all she asked me was to get a job. So, I worked as a business transcriber for four years while earning my BA in Literature and later an MA in Journalism through a distance learning course. I also taught English to school kids from slum areas for four summers. It was deeply rewarding.
Later, on the merit of my blog, I got into entertainment journalism in 2011. I started as a trainee sub-editor at Mid-day and moved my way up to interviewing actors such as SRK, Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif, directors such as Mrinal Sen, RK Hirani, Anurag Kashyap, Mira Nair and Karan Johar. I also met Hollywood icons such as Ang Lee and Daniel Craig, and writers like Amish Tripathi, Shashi Tharoor and Ashwin Sanghi. It was a fascinating part of my life.
This phase lasted 4 years before I decided to join Zomato. The next 6 years were eye-opening. It finally made sense to me why they are called startups—you can’t stop and there is no going down. I was working with exceptionally brilliant folks like DG, Naina and Akshar.
A year into the pandemic hit, I left Gurgaon as well as Z for Mangalore. Half a year later, I joined Grofers (now Blinkit). This past year has been a massive learning curve for me. I’ve been fortunate enough to end up with good-hearted folks who are driven and know what they are doing. They teach me the difference between being effective and being efficient.
My journey so far tells me that, maybe, we are all products of our surroundings. When we know where we come from and where we are going, life gets a bit easier and a lot more exciting.
I was born in Delhi to a disadvantaged family. Later, my father left us when I was 15. He was a stonemason and with his departure, I couldn’t concentrate on my studies. I ended up flunking my 12th exams.
I was born and brought up in Chandigarh. Blessed with a flawless childhood, I enjoyed a lovely family, the finest of education and a sound social life. In school, I excelled in studies as well as extracurricular activities.
Before I share my story, I want us to remember that India largely resides in its villages and towns. There are a lot of people in our country who have a lot of potential, but they seldom get the opportunity to prove their worth.