Decoded.

There are moments in your life when you know exactly what you want. Those, you would say ,must be the epiphanic moments, when you surprisingly happen to run into your inner-self. “Hey there, me !” “Hey you too, me!” 😛  Rarely are there such times when you get blessed with such kind of a one-on-one !

But things always tend to go haywire and this divine situation too couldn’t escape trouble when recently, I got enlightened with my true calling.

Yes. I know exactly what I want. And by saying “I want it”, I mean “I love, desire and covet it” as I have never felt something pulling at my heartstrings with such ferocity ever before . ❤

But knowing the exact address of the place, doesn’t always mean you will reach there without any hassles, does it? The pathway is always a confusing maze. You have to fight the obstacles on the way to get where you want to. Likewise, knowing what I exactly want from life does not simply mean that from this moment on, it is mine. The thing has not been laid out for me, just waiting to get grabbed ! I will have to fight for it if I want it to become my greatest achievement. Greatest and dearest.

There have been so many things on my mind, these past few days; ideas running wild, imagination running amok, stiff deadlines to meet, plenty of goals to achieve, striving to follow up with a proper schedule , friendships getting hit, emotional hysteria, creativity lockdown, stress levels booming, thoughts getting skewed, and in short, not finding enough time for pretty much every thing on earth.  So many situations to tackle. So much to do. So less time. So how I can single out my “true destination” amidst all this chaos and  figure out a way to reach there?! Impossible,huh?

Hell, no. You could call it difficult, but “IMPOSSIBLE” would be a totally wrong term. ‘Impossible’ is so underrated, if you are calling it that. The task is difficult but, how would you call it an “achievement” if it were not so, in the first place ? Even if you manage to win, but had to surmount no hindrance on your way up there, you will never cherish it so much, once you are done with it ! 

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So,what I have learnt from all I have been facing is ,you need to view your troubles as gateways to new knowledge , not as speedbreakers impeding your progress. This “difference” in vision is the only thing that can get you across the mess. When you stop getting worn down by the hurdles strewn across your way, you stop getting thrown off the track.

You dance to your own music. You create doorways, where there are none; and knock them down where they try to shut you out.

And when that happens, you know you are pushing all the right buttons in order to mould your destiny, the way you exactly want it to be.

🙂

“Writing is my personal shell.”

“What if every forest fire was anger?
What if every clap of thunder was a dance of revenge?

Maybe every landslide is someone losing hope,
every cloudburst a broken heart;
every lake an emotion and every love story an ocean…”

writes Chhavi Nagpal of Miranda House, in her recently published blog as she tries to personify nature and connect humans with its astounding marvels ,all by donning a poet’s hat !

Chhavi Nagpal

Writing comes naturally to her as she beams,” I used to write short stories on random words my mum used to dictate to me ,back when I was 9.”

I remember how I would simply pen down rhymes that would apparently make no sense at all. 😛  But I loved the feeling the pen in my hand gave me . It was not a usual thing. My love affair with writing transcends all boundaries of time and place. And ever since then, I have been loving it all the way to this date!” ❤

 “I wouldn’t even use the words “passion” or “fascination” to describe what I have got going with ‘writing‘. For me, ‘writing‘ is all I have ever known. It soothes me. It is my personal shell.

This is what she tells me when I ask her about her colourful expeditions !

Q. What would be a perfect one-liner to paint you in the perfect words ?
C : Let’s just say, I am freakishly emotional in selected situations but I can work as hard as hell to get what I want.

Chhavi Nagpal

Q . What are you doing these days?

C : I am juggling with a lot of things these days but off the top of my head, I would say, I am doing my final year in Political Science at Miranda House. I am a content writer at Readers’ Club of Delhi and Foodstruck. I am also the President of the Women’s Development Cell of my college .And after college ,I am planning on pursuing a Masters in Mass Communication- Print Media !

Q. Whoa. Looks like you have got everything figured out and planned as clear as a crystal ! 😛
C : Ever since the 7th grade ! 😀

Q. What role do you exactly play as the President of the Women’s Development Cell of your college ?

C : Women’s Development Cell is the platform for freedom. We let people be.
I practically work on everything from moderating between committees to organizing events to collaborations .I am there to coordinate with the college staff and to counsel and help the juniors with their problems. I head the editorial wing of the society too( given my love for writing! )

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Besides that, we, as members of the WDC, organize seminars, workshops and rallies , in collaboration with several organizations or independently, on almost all the topics falling into the ambit of women’s care and concern, such as sexuality, violence, rape, body and beauty myths and the likewise.

You can check out our One Billion Rising on Youtube , which organizes plays every February on every thing related to women. Apart from that we handle the complaints committee of our college and are starting our own newsletter too this year ! 😀

Chhavi Nagpal

Q. Whom would you idolize as your role model who helps sculpt your thoughts into actions ?

C : If I were to name one famous personality whose words have hugely impacted my thoughts, it would be Anne Frank. Otherwise, I take inspiration from everyone around me, my friends and family. Their commendable deeds ,and a deep-rooted faith in me, are here to push me ahead,on all the right tracks, every single moment. 🙂

Q .What is the prominent motto of your life that instigates you forward in all walks of life ?
C : I have no such motto in particular, that I live by. I strongly believe in my intuition and do what it feels right, in the moment.

Chhavi Nagpal

Q. You are into writing , so you must be a bibliophile as well ! Your favourite picks…?
C : I absolutely adore The memoirs of a geisha, The Zoya Factor , Brida, and Fifth Mountain.

Q. What is the one wise advice you would like to dole out for the rest to follow?

C : I would only advice people this much- You are far more important than you think you are. You play a very integral part in the scheme of life, so never underestimate yourself.
By underestimating your true powers, you only undermine them.

Q. What is your long-loved dream, you would desperately like to live one day?

C : My dream revolves around my career and my desire to help people out. If my work can touch even a single person and make him turn over a positive leaf in his life, I will consider myself to have done a great job !  🙂

“Something inside me screamed, asking me to fix the situation.”

thedailygag

“She came from the US to India, with excitement and inquisitiveness, gleaming in her  eyes. Hardly did she know that she would be badly ripped-off by a taxi-driver when she lands on the Indian soil.”

aveesh singroha

“When she told me, she had ended up paying 3000 bucks just to get from the airport to the hotel, I literally squirmed in pure disgust.

What the hell do these corrupt people think they are?! Just because someone is foreign to a place, does that give the natives, a right, to blind such innocent foreigners into burning a deep hole in their pockets!? They are ready to paint their nation in colours, bleeding greed and shame, just for the “hunger” of a few extra bucks.

Something inside me screamed and told me, I have got to fix the situation somehow. All of a sudden, I knew it was my inner voice, shouting at its peak…

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Slightly Burnt.

slightly-burnt

Slightly Burnt.What does the metaphor actually stand for ? Well,once you are abreast of the situation the book encapsulates, you will delve into the deeper realms of that phrase than what you can make out superficially from its cover. Yes,the title is indicative of ‘imperfections’. The imperfect is perfect because that is the way life is. And that’s the setting tone of the entire story.

This book is not just another telltale story of a gawking teenager ranting about the typical complications and frivolities of her personal life. Rather, this book is an uprising epiphany. It will bring along a ‘moment’ with itself. A ‘moment’ that you will be forced to dwell upon and ponder over for a long, long time.

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Personally, when I picked this book up and started reading the first page, I initially perceived it as another categorical teenage love story spun around two childhood best friends, Sahil and Komal, fighting infatuation and hormones. Young love! Sigh. But slowly, not steadily,the surprise hits you and shelves all your misconceptions. And you are left as much astound as  Komal herself in the story. Rocked to your core, you stand there still as the towering mound of your prejudice comes shattering down in front of your eyes and you discover the truth hiding underneath all those hazy layers of adolescent romance. But what is that truth? Continue turning the pages and you’ll find out.

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Slightly Burnt – Synopsis

Komal, on the outside, is a normal teenager who rambles like pretty much any other girl in her teens, is acceptably snooty to her brother Vikram, and is strikingly vigorous in her endeavors. Her love for cooking and flair for writing embark her on a blogging feat and she is hugely serious and excited with all that there is to follow. Apart from all this cool stuff she does, she boasts of a best friend, Sahil, and a second best friend, Rashmi (of whom she would rather not boast much) !

Sahil is her bestest-of-the-best, the closest and easily the oldest and the primary friend with whom she shares all her secrets and expects the same in return. (They share a long history together from the times when they were crawling as tiny-tots).

But as she finds out that he is holding something from her, she gets more and more intrigued by his strange behavior which renders her restless, eager and impatient to unveil the truth.

Soon as her confusion turns into frustration and the truth unfolds itself, it seems hugely dark, hideous and scary upfront, unabashedly in-your-face and utterly indigestible for her tiny brain and delicate heart. She finds herself unable to stomach the words her best friend had just bared in front of her and seeks serious help to rectify the seemingly ugly situation. Ultimately what she discovers is mind-numbingly astonishing and dizzyingly enlightening.

Review of Slightly Burnt :

The writing is feisty and impetuous and quirky. The words are profound, yet liberating. Not cacophonous, but  barefaced and clear. Honestly, you will fall in love with it.

The one thing that I can totally vouch for is that you do not get bored on even a single page of this book. The story the author spins, takes you on a magical tour with your introverted-self and makes you impudently question the grim realities of today’s societal norms.

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It’s like, on the outside, you are silently reading a book but on the inside, you are screaming at the top of your voice! And what are you demanding with such brazen attempts? Some serious answers. Answers to the fates of your own brethren, may be, your own blood. You turn inside and out and reflect on how narrow and murky the mindset of most people is even today as they fail to grasp certain simple concepts that could have easily befitted the narrow lanes of their stringent minds, had they bothered opening up their vision, a slight bit, to see beyond the usual, to see the clearer truth and accept the ways of nature. But for some (and may be even you), it ain’t that easy, is it?

Payal Dhar’s writing is shoutingly-bold and an audacious take on common man’s stand making it a blatant attack on their shockingly-tiny acknowledgement of the wide variety of people that society of today is normally sectioned into.

The message she strives to deliver is right out there, glaringly loud, gaudy and transparent. The big question mark that stands against the future of the characters she has daintily sketched, prods you to think, and strive to jostle a way out of the mammoth trouble the entire situation looks headed towards, in the future.

Apart from that, the book is a breezy read. The message it doles out is some force to reckon with. And apparently, Slightly Burnt manages to linger with you unexpectedly longer than you would have anticipated while picking it up in the first place.

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Memorable quotes from Slightly Burnt:

 

 We are standing literally centimeters apart. He’s still holding me. His eyes are alive in a most peculiar way, shining, like they’re full to the brim with tears.

 

 I stared at the blank sheet of paper before me, racking my brains desperately. What sort of messed-up sixteen-year-old was I that I didn’t have a single dirty little secret?

 

 The school has a big thing about holistic learning.Oddly, that has nothing to do with godly stuff; it has to do with the importance of the ‘whole’ and how everything is connected to each other. I suspect they intended to spell it with a w, but there was a typo along the way and no one  noticed.

 

 She’d keep making pointed remarks about how she and I should hang out more and do girl things, What does that even mean? Talk about our periods?

 

He’s not the sort to say an entire sentence when a single word will do, which can be most annoying when you’re feeling chatty.

 

I’m a bit disconcerted by this new me that wants to treat my brother like a human.

 

Then the universe fixed itself, the stars aligned correctly or whatever. I don’t remember what broke the ice, but by the time Falak was born we were thick as thieves and even ganging up on Vikram. Poor Vikram, we’ve tormented him for years.

 

But in the darkness and a world of corners and shadows,even the things you know so well seem unfamiliar and alien. Like you’re in this obscure, murky reality that doesn’t quite feel like the one you live in even though you know it is.

 

I’m the worst best friend ever in the whole history of the entire cosmos.

 

‘Eew!’ said Rashmi, slapping a hand on her eye. ‘I can’t think of my cousins that way or…ugh, never mind.’ ‘Or your parents?’ I pressed relentlessly. My lunch threatened to make a reappearance.

 

The world is never going to be perfect. There will always be something to fight for.

 

I’m going to miss this. Skype might be great,  but you can’t hold hands on Skype.

Excerpt from Slightly Burnt:

 

He dusted himself off and melted into the teeming crowd. There must’ve been about five hundred shined and coiffed guests here. Yet I was the only one who had fallen off her sandals? Why? On the other hand-just as well-less chances of someone scoping me out as a future daughter-in-law.

 

Sahil soon weaved himself back into view bearing a plate laden with deep-fried goodies.Vikram followed close behind.He was all dressed up too-kurta, pyjama, jacket, with pointy-ended shoes-but he didn’t seem to be having any wardrobe fails.It struck me that he was looking rather nice.

‘What are you staring at?” he demanded.

‘Your camera isn’t going with your outfit.’

‘I don’t know why I brought it –I don’t want to photograph boring strangers.’He sat down on Sahil’s other side, stretching his legs out.

‘This fashion gender divide is so unfair,’I said.’Why is it that women’s clothes are so inconvenient and look at you two-so…so…unencumbered!’

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Slightly Burnt by Payal Dhar disrupts all  former stereotypes that picking up a burning issue in today’s society and having a heated confrontation over it can be anything but fun, engaging and change-orienting. Payal Dhar has penned down a story with such keen narrative that seems to break the ice and strike a chord with all the readers. This story will leave an impact on you, somewhere so strong and deep inside, that you’ll want to keep coming back to it time and again. It will drastically change your mentality about some preconceived notions as it strives to push the boundaries and smash the ceiling. I would say it is a must-read for you and totally worth your indispensable time! 

Read the complete book review of Slightly Burnt by Payal Dhar here. 💖

“The world will never be perfect. There will always be something to fight for.”  🙂

“Something inside me screamed, asking me to fix the situation.”

“She came from the US to India, with excitement and inquisitiveness, gleaming in her  eyes. Hardly did she know that she would be badly ripped-off by a taxi-driver when she lands on the Indian soil.”

aveesh singroha

“When she told me, she had ended up paying 3000 bucks just to get from the airport to the hotel, I literally squirmed in pure disgust.

What the hell do these corrupt people think they are?! Just because someone is foreign to a place, does that give the natives, a right, to blind such innocent foreigners into burning a deep hole in their pockets!? They are ready to paint their nation in colours, bleeding greed and shame, just for the “hunger” of a few extra bucks.

Something inside me screamed and told me, I have got to fix the situation somehow. All of a sudden, I knew it was my inner voice, shouting at its peak, overwhelming me with a force I just needed, to rectify the whole scenario. And thus, a dream was born.”

aveesh singroha
This is what Aveesh Singroha narrates to me as he begins to open up about his recent escapades.

Q.  If I simply ask you , who are you really, what would you say ?
A :  An engineer by education. An entrepreneur by passion. A traveller by heart.
I am a 23-year old guy, who passed out from JMIT, Kurukshetra University, last year.
I have not had an easy childhood, so you could call me pretty tough.

Q. What special endeavors do you have  going on in your life, lately?

A : I am working on a platform right now through which I provide fellow travellers from around the world ,a memorable travelling experience on their trips to India. I want to cut down on the difficulties they usually suffer in this unfamiliar land, so that they can enjoy their trips to their fullest.

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Travelling has been my favourite distraction since I was a kid !  😛 And I want to let it continue to be the same for me! It is, what has always driven me forward and what can be more fun than making your long-loved passion your job one day!  🙂
It is pretty much as happy as marrying your girlfriend ! 😛

Q. What led you to put this intiviative in the driving gear and speed ahead?
A : This idea striked me when I met this one girl, from the US, working in NASA. As I love travelling , I keep reading a lot of travel blogs and one day, I posted my pic in one of the blogs. That’s when she connected to me and we started chatting on facebook.Then, one day, she expressed her desire to travel to India and we planned, I would show her around when she visits Delhi. And so she delightedly packed up and flew right “here”! Where she was greeted with a fraudful namaste and deceptive smiles!  😦

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I told her that the original fare would have hardly been 500 bucks. She was so shocked and insecure at the same time, that she asked me to accompany her on her ‘India’ trip . That was “the” moment, that kickstarted this venture !

Q. So far, how successful has your venture been, since the day this idea enlightened your mind?
A : So far, I have serviced around 10 clients, hailing from USA, UK, Germany, Korea and France.The first trip I made with my first client was in January, 2013.

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I basically plan their entire trip, including what they eat, which cab they take, which hotel they choose, which places they visit, and almost every single thing that could play an important role in determining, they have the maximum fun !

I want to make them feel and experience the “real” India, which is largely different from other travel-planners.

Q. I did not catch the name of your venture …?

A : I haven’t really decided upon its name yet as it is just at the beginning stage right now. I am researching currently, to  make it a mega-level platform that can essentially help travellers across the globe, visiting India. So far, I have just been working through referrals and I don’t even have any team as of now.

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I am pondering over ideas to add retreat programmes in the trips. I wish to expand by  providing facilities for yoga and meditation for the travellers, esp. in Kerala.

Q.  Is this the only thing you are currently working on or there are some other cards to unravel as well?
A :   This is the work I do for not letting go of my passion and dreams. I do as well have a regular job on the side which I need to do because I need to survive.

I am working currently as a conference executive in Entrepreneur India. We organize events all over India, to promote entrepreneurs. Our upcoming event is in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi on 18th and 19th October. My role is to bring mainly sponsors to the show,and sometimes delegates too.

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Q. How did you land up  in Entrepreneur India?

A : I took up my first official job in Allan Lloyds, Noida. It is an international company which organizes events and I began working there as a conference executive . Gradually I took a leap to Entrepreneur India and here I am, today.

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But undisputedly, travelling remains my first love. And so will always be.

Q.  Do you enjoy working in Entrepreneur India or is it a mere compromise to keep things in place?
A :   I like this job as I enjoy constantly getting to meet new people in new places. Everyday, there’s something new in store for me. This surprise factor keeps the work exciting. Plus, it helps sharpen my selling skills among corporates .

Q. What qualities do you love to see in people you happen to meet everyday?
A : Undoubtedly, genuineness and honesty. I like people having a warm and pleasing energy about them .

Q. Are you an avid reader or a movie-buff?
A : Yes, I read a lot, esp. the motivational and spiritual stuff. The Secret Letters by Robin Sharma and The Life of a Yogi are my favourite picks.
I love comedy and Two and a Half Men and Two Broke Girls totally have me in splits! 😛

aveesh singroha

Q. Do you have a special role model whom you follow?
A : Not specifically. I try to learn from every person I see.

Q. What is your escape-plan out of any distressing or demotivating situation that you encounter?
A : Most of the times, when I’m sad, I go on a solo trip to Rishikesh without letting anyone know about my troubles. There are a few places which are mostly deserted .I like to spend time there, alone. Call me a loner,if you would, but I just “have” to have my personal time. All by myself.

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Q. What is the golden mantra of your life that lies at the focal point of everything you do?
A : Every damn thing in your life works on the principle of sine-wave. No matter how hard you try to control life, it keeps having its ups and downs consistently! So you gotta live in the moment. Embrace it and make it count. Because the moment you have right now, is the only one you own.  🙂

How to bite into a big slice of “success”?!

thedailygag

Have you been slogging your way through work rampantly and still not been able to look success in the eye and call it yours ? There are truckloads of things you are doing wrong that are leading you nowhere but getting you bulldozed over time  and again. You may not be able to fix the whole galaxy around you but there are still a couple of things you could be doing right to ride high and smooth on those tumultuous waves. Here’s how! teamwork

  1. Cut your way “through” the herd rather than cutting yourself “off” it. It has been scientifically proven that months of hard-work amalgamated with rock-solid team-work has the tendency to pay off the maximum in most occasions. Your team can compensate for your shortcomings in such magical ways you cannot surmise. Plus the “trust” factor reaps off a plump harvest as at the end of the day,when…

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“I never give a shit what others think about me.”

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by

And that has made all the difference.”

In India, you will find 90% of parents persuading their children into becoming engineers or doctors. There is a patternized mindset that is expected of you, to follow. And if you fail to deliver on those expectations, you are considered an “underdog” in whatever you do. I am not saying,this is the only truth; I’m saying this is largely the case in most households!

In such an atmosphere, there are few who will smash that glass ceiling and will not only dream of a less-trodden path but also strive to realize that dream by walking down it with confidence and elan.

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Kartik Rohilla of NSIT is one such visionary who has the heart to follow his passion and give wings to his dreams. There is nothing that entices this 20-year old, more than “Photography“.

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Photography for him is an art which has greater depths in it that anyone can perceive, which has more shades to it than any outpouring burst of colours , which is more beautiful than the delicate moments it encapsulates. And he wants to soak it all in, one click at a time! 

Here’s what happens when he lets me in on what’s been hiding behind those dreaming eyes and wild imagination !

Q. What are you doing currently, to step ahead in this dynamic field?

K : I have recently started a project named, “One Advice” on Instagram, where I ask people, what would be the one advice they would consider to give ,at the moment, which could prove significantally useful to others. Everyone has got something unique to offer and it’s best that we learn from others’ experiences.

Another project that I’m enthused about, these days, is the photography of Indian women in ethnic wear. India has a myriad number of communities and I want to tap into its pool of cultural diversification and display how different women dress up and accessorize, each portraying a different set of values in their Kashmiri, Punjabi, or Garhwaali attires.

I have my official facebook page, which I had created, right after school, by the name, Kar-o-graphy, where I publish my work. I was delighted when people began appreciating my work there, and I was ecstatic when I got my first official assignment through that page.

My work has also been featured in a Mumbai-based magazine, Youth Incorporate. I won a photography competition hosted by them on the topic, “women empowerment.” It was a scene captured in Delhi Haat, an impoverished lady sitting amidst a crowded market-place , gently caressing her baby and at the same time, trying hard ,to earn a little money.

It was a critique-award, completely different from the “maximum likes” based online contests, mostly run on social media, these days. So it was more credible and consolidated my faith in my work, to a great degree.

I had also been a member of “Junoon”, the Photography Club of Nsit , but I had to do more of managerial work there (which I never did 😛 ) and less of hardcore photography. Needless to say, I lost interest in that club and I was out of it, sooner than I had imagined !

I also won a photography competition in DLF Promenade, last year on Independence Day. The picture had two poor girls sitting down at a roadcross in Chandni Chowk, giggling together ; it was a candid shot which went viral and won me accolades!

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Another idea that clicked me was when one of my friends got rejected from a girl saying, he was not what she was looking for. Then it striked me, why not try to find out what young girls, today,are actually looking for, in a boyfriend. So I went around taking snapshots of around 16-17 girls in the city, at the same time, asking them the aforementioned profound question. And the answers that I got were truly mind-boggling !

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So those pictures actually painted different fantasies and desires of different women, in different situations.

Post that, my friend actually told me, I could start thinking about providing a really good matrimonal service!  😛

I have also been working as a “candid wedding-photographer” since this March.I had received an offer to cover one wedding before that too but I was really scared to go headlong with it. I mean, it is someone’s wedding!! You can’t risk it with their lives’ “big-moment” and live on with the guilt that would follow!!! But now, I am better prepared and self-assured to grab such opportunity and nail it !  🙂

Q. Do you have your own studio, as of now?

K : Owning an official studio is very costly for someone who is working part-time , so, as of now, I don’t own any, but I have the required equipment and lights at my home,that are pretty good at doing their job!  😉

Q. Did you always know you had to follow photography or you stumbled upon it along the way?

K : In school, I was more into “Car- designing” and that is why I opted for Automation engineering in NSIT. But after coming here, I realized, everything was more  theory-based and there’s not much practicality to offer. I soon lost interest in the course and my old passion for photography was rekindled.  

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Q. What are some precious pearls of wisdom you would like to shell out for others ?

K : Never be fake and follow your passion with an open heart. Never give a shit about what others think about you ( as they just might be busy thinking what you think about them!  😜)

Q. Whom do you idealize as your role-model?

K : Undoubtedly, my dad ! He has done so much for me and I want to give back, one day, in the same measures !

Q. What do you want for yourself in the future?

K : I plan on pursuing photography full-time and am eager to learn as much as I can !

Besides that, I “dream” of owning a Mercedes Class A and a Jaguar base model. My philosophy is, it is okay to spend some bucks if they can buy you some awesome moments of your life. Ofcourse, happiness can’t be bought but spending money in order to earn some happy memories in return can surely bring a huge smile on your face !  

🙂