Saturday, 17 December 2011

An Interview with the entrepreneur Ritesh Agarwal

Ritesh Agarwal - An entrepreneur, an author, and a part-time scientist, indeed a child prodigy; what shall I write to introduce him, he leaves me amazed with his dynamic profile.

Worth Growth Partners

Let's read what he has to share with us: 

1. On the basis of what I know about you, you are a child-prodigy! To begin with tell me about your
earliest childhood dream, what you wanted to be when you were a kid?

=> Deep sea diver, a traveler and Banking as a full-time profession, these were the things Ivisualized myself doing. I know I have to justify: Why Banking? It was because I felt that Bank is the only place which had the combination of sexy formals, less work, more money and more time for your better half
(Yes, even then I used to think of a family. Chuckles!)

2. You were just 13 years old when you started working with Bharti Airtel Ltd. Tell us about the project on which you worked?

=>“ROAR WITH SPEED”-The project that I was leading at my concerned areas. It was the boom-boom time of telecom. We were designated the tough project of 1 million consumers in10 months and YES, WE ACCOMPLISHED. First Success ;)

3. Being just 13 year old, how did you get into such a project? What made you initiate your career at such a stage of life?

=> Glamour of working there coupled with a non-sync of character and thought with peers made way. I wanted to do something different since childhood and the right people opened up right doors. Rest all is as they say - BURRED.

4. You also worked with GSK and Astha International before becoming an entrepreneur yourself. How was your experience with it?

=> Lovely Corporate culture & experiences - It was there that I learnt what it is like handling a team, what does being the boss feel like and what it means to get people to work ‘with’ you and not ‘for’ you.

5. You were 16 when you got invited to the Mini Lindau-Asian Science Camp to interact with Nobel Laureates and students across the globe and discuss scientific research. How was your experience with it?

=> “Renaissance”-That took me to the next level. Many around me might not acknowledge but that sort of an exposure changed me. That was the time my heart spoke-“I Have Arrived” Haha..

6. You started Worth Growth Partners, an International Business Services Company when you were just 16. That’s something incredible! How did the idea come? What brought out an entrepreneur in you?

=> This is interesting. A German Friend wanted to expand to India and understood nothing about how it works here-especially because of the bureaucratic red-tape. I said I would do and once that was executed-till date there has been no looking back.

7. You have also authored- “An Encyclopedia of Indian Engineering Colleges”? What made you think of writing it?

=> This was again Entrepreneurship. Here’s the blog about it: Entrepreneurial Author

8. You are an author, an entrepreneur and also a part-time scientist. What do you like being the most and why?

=> None. In case they are the options: Entrepreneurship is any day the best thing. The idea is to spend every minute creating and delivering fun and value. If there isn’t an option - being a person whom people perceive as lovable would be the answer.

9. Where do you see yourself after 10 years?
=> I play the Sachin way-“Take one ball at a time”. So overall I can just say that I may not be single then.

10. Tell us about your ‘Hospitality disruptor’ project. What is the whole idea behind it?

=> That is my dream curation. Can’t reveal a lot of details but for the initiation it brings back the Indian Culture of staying in other’s home rather than hotels in a big-big commercial ways. The results, as they say, only time will tell.

11. You have also registered at U of London’s India Center as a regular student. What are your aspirations with it?

=> Haven’t got time to be there since long; I try to teach at Amity generally as a visiting professor.

12. Just because you do a lot of things you seem to be a busy man. How do you define ‘fun’ in your life?

=> Spending quite evenings at my home or grooving away at clubs I love clubs like Agni or Aqua-although I don’t drink. They are contrasts which define me and hence are the reason that I can get along with any person and snatch across a talk.

13. Tell us in a nutshell about who is Ritesh Agarwal in reality. Someone who likes to play basket ball and raft at Rishikesh or someone who is building his own stair-case to endless success?

=> Hey, do you follow me Saumya? You know so much. On a serious note - Both. I just spend time the best way I can by appropriate means. In case it is work-I love doing it and enjoy then - similarly when I play basketball I love shooting those 3-pointers back to back..

14. From your profile you seem to be an amazing dream-chaser. There are plenty of dreamers on this earth; what would you advise to them?

=> Start working for your dream or somebody else will someday put you to work to chase his’-ahead you are intelligent enough.

Rapid fire round:

Q: Favorite cuisine?

=> Punjabi.

Q: Favorite place?

=> Mussorie.

Q:  Favorite book?

=> The Dork Series by Sidin and Harry Potter.

Q: Who inspires you?

=> Larry Page from Google Inc

Q: Favorite music?

=> Jazz is generally the genre

Friday, 16 December 2011

An Interview with the music-composer Salil Bhayani

Have you ever tried to come up with a tune on reading a lyric? A majority of you will have no as an answer. Well, some of you may have. And in case you had, you would agree with me when I say that it's one of the most difficult thing to do. But, not if you are gifted.

Presenting the most different interview till date of a super-talented and extremely humble music composer, Salil Bhayani, who is also a final year student of UICT, pursuing B.Tech, a vocalist, a pianist and a writer with passion towards philosophy, music and science.

Salil Bhayani performing jazz piano at NCPA
Let us read what he has to say about his life and his passions:

1. You are a final year Student of UICT -Mumbai, pursuing B.Tech. in Oils, Oleo chemicals and Surfactant technology. How do you find yourself fitting in with this, don’t you feel like being completely devoted to music?
=> I have a great liking for science and I think science and math would be a part of my life throughout. My friends who have never seen me study in my four years of college wouldn’t agree to that but I have never considered what I am made to do as part of fun. Fun is what I do voluntarily. It can be the same thing that I found boring earlier, but it has to be voluntary.

I  do feel like devoting myself completely to music. I shall be doing it in a matter of few months.

2. Give us a glimpse of your background. Do you have anyone in your family who has been related to music in any way?
=> My grandfather is a great musician but he was more of an academician and never pursued music as he could have. My father never got a chance to learn though he is a natural. My mother has learned a bit of music too. So it’s in the blood.

3. You started composing when you were just 13 years old. What made you think of giving music composition a try?
=> My mother is solely responsible for me being a composer. She saw a friend of mine who is an artiste create a painting interpreting one of the poetries written by APJ Abdul Kalam. She thought that if one can paint a poetry, why not compose music to it? That’s when she gave me my first song(A gujarati prayer), which I consider one of the best I have done till date. There is a lot of innocence and devotion in it.

4. You have composed about 30 songs of Gujarati and Hindi languages. Tell us about one experience in the journey of so many compositions that you can never forget.
=> The journey has been really picturesque. I have seen myself paint on an aural canvas. The art of composing has been very different than singing or playing piano. The process of evolution is very different. In performing arts, the skill is directly proportional to the no. of hours you put into it, but with composing, your first composition can be way better than what you composed today. It’s just like writing a poetry. But I have been able to connect myself to my compositions and there is a very high amount of honesty in each one of them.

5. Which is the first song you scored music for and which is your favorite song among all your compositions till date?
=> My first composition as I mentioned above was a prayer in Gujarati. I have no favourites as such. I have a select few which I like the most, but no particular song is a favourite.

6. You are learning vocals since the age of six. What is your first memory of being inspired by music?
=> Since I have been into music since a young age, I can’t recollect my first memory, but there have been infinite instances of inspiration.

7. How do you come up with a tune? Is it through the process of experimenting with an instrument or you are just knowing what to play?
=> 99% of the times, I just sit with a keyboard or simply a tanpura and try different tempos, time signatures, permutations with notes before I come with something definite. So it is a process of experimenting, but more so with my vocals rather than an instrument.

8. What's the best piece of advice you have received in the field of music composition?
=> Fantastic question. The best advice I have received is to be honest and rest all will take care of itself :)

9. Music is something where you have endless things to learn and practice. Tell us about your Guru Shree Sanjeev Chimmalgi, and what you are learning from him?
=> I learn Hindustani vocal classical music. There is nothing I can say about him that can describe the magnanimity of his persona. I say this with a perception of him both as an artiste and a guru. And he is a genius at both. Very rarely does one come across people who can be great artistes as well gurus at the same time. Learning under him is not just an honor, but a true blessing. I only pray to God to give me the capacity to imbibe his teachings to the fullest.

10. You are also learning Western classical and Jazz Piano under Mr Clifton Rodricks who is a jazz and blues pianist. What made you decide to learn this specific instrument?
=> Piano is an extremely dynamic instrument. Learning piano teaches a lot about orchestration, owing to it’s wide range of frequencies(Harmony aspect) and it’s percussive mechanism(Rhythm aspect). Moreover, I have seen my grandfather playing a harmonium. I had a small keyboard myself which I still have. So I can relate best to the instrument. It’s very necessary to be able to relate to the instrument to learn music, rather than just developing a skill set to play it.

11. You have lately performed jazz piano at NCPA. How did it go?
=> It was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had. One, because of the grandeur that place has, and second, the grand piano, which has a stupendous sound and touch. A real pleasure to play on.

12. You have won several awards and appreciation from great legends of the music industry. How do you feel about everything you have achieved so far? 
=> I don’t really know how much I have achieved. I know how much I want to. And these appreciations and accolades have made me sure that I will achieve what I want and to keep at it no matter how much time it takes and how much disappointments are lying in the path.

13. What advice would you give to other musicians who are trying to get off the ground?
=> I really am not in a position to give advices to anyone.

14. Do you compose music for lyrics or vice-versa? Or is it a mix n match of both?
=> I do not compose lyrics. So it’s always music for lyrics.

15. Apart from the fact that you inherit the legacy of music from your family, who else had been a source of inspiration for you to enter the music world?
=>Mr Narayan Parasuram has been the greatest source of inspiration for me. He is one of the finest music directors(Music Director for the film Jajantaram Mamantaram) and musicians, and he has never spoken inspiring words to me about doing music and achieving things. He has encouraged me by assuming that music is what I am going to do, which is a rare kind of inspiration to get.

16. You also like reading and creative writing. Tell us about what you like reading and what do you like writing about?
=> I am deeply interested in philosophy. Rather than describing what exactly I like reading, I shall just name a few authors which will make it self explanatory: Ayn Rand, Harper Lee, Richard Bach, Rabindranath Tagore, Alice Miller, Desmond Morris etc to name a few. I also like reading science. I write about music, philosophy, life and preliminary technical articles related to science.

17. What all do you see yourself doing in 2012?
=> I see myself working for a lot of music related projects and preparing for my Trinity Guildhall Piano Exam grade 5 and ABRSM Jazz Exam Grade 3.

Rapid-fire round:
Q: Who is the god of music direction in India according to you?
=> No Gods really. I would say Mozart/Vivaldi if they were Indian.

Q: Your style of music?
=> Classical, Indian and Western.

Q: Favourite singer?
=> There are lots.

Q: Favourite instrument?
=> Again, nothing in particular.

Q: Favourite place for music.
=> An anechoic room.

Q: What do you like being more: a music composer, a pianist or a singer?
=> Definitely music composer.

Q: Who is your role model in music industry?
=> Shankar Mahadevan.

One of the Hindi Compositions by Salil - Mera Mann

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

An interview with the pop-artist Nikita Choudhary

Nikita Choudhary - A 3rd year computer science student, good at programming and a gifted artist who inculcates pop art as her passion, which is a totally different genre, rarely pursued by Indian artists. She chooses to paint portraits of those celebrities' who have always enamoured us and have been an integral part of our life in terms of inspiration, admiration and in some cases, aspiration.

                                                         Einstein by Nikita Choudhary

Here goes a very interesting conversation that I had with her:

  1. Tell us where you’re from and how did you get started in the field of art?          
=> I was born in Bikaner then my family moved to Jodhpur for my education. Funnily, it all started with scribbling in notebook when I used to get bored during lectures. Then one day I saw an art work of Syd Barrett and I told myself “M gonna do it” infact, that was my very first painting as an artist.
Syd Barret - First painting.

  1. How did growing up in Jodhpur affect you as a person and an artist?
=> Honestly, I never liked this place. So, mostly I used to spend time with myself rather than hanging out with friends. It definitely helped me a lot. I got more and more time for myself and I kept practising on different art forms.

  1. What is your family background? Were there any artists or creative sparks in the family?
=> Not at all. No one in my family is anywhere close to art. They all are into entrepreneurship. I am the exceptional one.

  1. How has your work evolved over the time since you begun?
=> I’ll just say “NOW I CAN PAINT”. Yes, when I started, I didn't even know how to hold a paint brush and use colours. Now, I am pretty much confident and now I just play with colours.

Ronaldo on Canvas by Nikita Choudhary
  1. How would you describe your paintings in words?
=> My paintings describe me. I paint what I like, what I feel, my emotions and feelings. You can always make out from my paintings what was I feeling at that time. My paintings are what I am and what I love.

  1. What do you hope the viewer will take away from your paintings?
=> More than the beauty or how it looks, I want them to see the emotions on the face of the person I'm painting and the story behind it. I believe, every face tells a story about their hard work and struggle. I want people to read that.

  1. You have painted a lot of celebrity portraits. What exactly draws you to that specific style instead of say photo-manipulation, or abstract design?
=> It’s all about your own ideas, what you believe in and what makes you happy. I have seen and read about many art forms. For me pop art and abstract art was something very new. People generally don't work much on it because you can always use photo-shop and different picture editing software. But what if you add pop art with abstract art? It becomes all a new thing. Here, even a small idea of yours own make a lot of difference.

  1. What styles would you like to further inculcate in your art?
=> Once I learn more I want to go for allegory. It is what writing is for a writer. The only difference is writer uses words to express and in allegory, figures and portraits are used to express something.

  1. How do you feel about having 2000 subscribers on facebook? Isn’t it an amazing feeling to see so many people liking your work? We would love you to share your happiness here.
=> People generally ask me if am some local celebrity and I just laugh. Initially when I started I didn't know so many people will like my work. It was shocking for me to see so many people commenting on my work and asking for it. Yes, you love it when your work is appreciated. Some even criticize but you can’t stop working. People make fan pages and websites. I find it really very hectic. Artists are very lazy. For me, my own profile works as a fan page or website. People can connect with me directly. It makes me really happy when people personally text me writing about my work.
On Canvas by Nikita Choudhary

  1. How did you start getting offers from music merchandise stores in the country? You told me it all happened in 2 or 3 months.
=> Yes, I started with this in October. Initially, I used to paint on white sheets. Then I moved to canvas. I had friends from music and fashion industry. They started talking about my work and I guess that's how I got in contact with everyone. By the end of November, I started getting offers from different stores to sell my paintings to them. To be very honest, I am not a professional artist. I just paint because I like it. I am not that skilled. So for me, getting into such things at this stage was not a good option. They wanted me to paint according to them and I obviously didn’t want that.

  1. Tell us about your deal with music merchandise in Bangalore Hysteria?
=> I used to sell my paintings on my own. People used to contact me asking for the paintings. In the beginning it was all good but it got very difficult when too many people started asking for the paintings. So I decided to sell all my work to one person/place and people can buy it from there. I then called the owner of Hysteria and made a deal. They’ll be framing the paintings, selling my work at their stores from January. For me it was such a relief. All I have to do now is send all the paintings at one place.

  1. What upcoming projects do you have?
=> I am designing logos for few bands, doing their album artwork. I am also working on few new paintings which are again based on entirely a new concept.

  1. What new concept are you working on?
=> For the new concept, I will be using plaster of paris in my paintings and I will also paint pop art with more colors and of people who are not just into music or movies but other fields too.

  1. You are a Computer Science student doing engineering from Jodhpur Institute of Engineering and Technology. Why did you choose this subject for your graduation?
=> I was good at programming when I was in school. I hated mathematics and all other subjects but computer science was something I loved learning. To me, college didn't make any difference but the subject did because I knew, in the end, I’ll end up handling the family business.

Nikita Choudhary with her painting
15. You progressed so excellently in art. Are you still continuing with the passion you had for programming?

=> Sadly, no. Everything requires practice and dedication. After getting into art, I couldn't give much time to it. I still enjoy programming but I don't get much time to do that. More than programming, I enjoy painting and I spend all my time in doing that.

  1. What are your plans after your graduation? Would you go for a job or would you pursue your art and take it to another level?
=> Definitely I am not going for a job right now. I’ll join an art school after my graduation. Right now, I want to learn more and more about different and rare art forms and make a new art form out of them.

      17. Then what about handling family business? Would you participate in that?

It is up to me. I always had an option related to what I am studying right now but art is no where close to anyone in my family, so I'll be working on my own. It's going to be a whole new start for me.

By Nikita Choudhary

Rapid-fire Questions:

Q. Favourite Place?
=> Venice

Q. Favourite Art Museum?

=> The Louvre museum, Paris.

Q. Favourite Painter? 

=> Nature

Q. Favourite Portrait that you have painted?
=> My first painting, art work of Syd Barrett

Q. Any other hobby that you wish to inculcate?

To know more about her and her paintings, subscribe to her on facebook by following the link given below.
Nikita Choudhary

Sunday, 11 December 2011

An Interview with Bhavook Bhardwaj

Bhavook Bhardwaj – An economics honors student, an acclaimed footballer, an excellent photographer shares about his passion towards photography. As we say a photographer is a happy person, they see beauty in everything that crosses their vision and the lenses of their camera, let us read how this person made his life a story to inspire.


Here goes a very delightful conversation that I had with him:

1. Photography is an amazing hobby. How did you start with it?

=> Yes it is, indeed! I wanted to start it long back, but I didn't have a camera at that time. I started saving money for it and gradually accumulated cash over the time and bought a semi-pro digital camera. Thereafter,  I started with serious photography.
2. How would you define creativity through your photographs?

=> Creativity is hard to define. Everyone perceives it in their own way. I may seem creative to one person and at the same time dull to another. If someone finds my work creative, I will be greatly obliged to him/her!

3. How difficult is it for you to bring out something new in your pictures every time?

=> It is not difficult at all. At every point of time we come across various moments that can be captured. All that is needed is to have a vision, a perspective towards such things. After all, each photo tells us a story which is unique in its own way.

4. Tell us about your Facebook page ‘Epitome’, why this name?

=> Epitome is the page that has been started by me and 2 of my friends who are photography enthusiasts as well. This name was chosen by me because the word ‘epitome’ means perfect example of something and in this case, 'something' refers to photography. Our aim is to create a whole new level of photography.

5. Which is your favourite subject in photography? What inclines you to that particular type of photography?
=> Conceptual photography, I have an inclination towards it. Well, what inclines me towards it is nothing but fascination. I am really fascinated by conceptual photos for example I have a photograph clicked by me which shows India Gate through a transparent globe. It has been appreciated by various senior photographers for the concept. And its caption reads ‘In its hundred years as capital of India, Delhi with
its spirit has indeed captured the world!’. You can have a look at it. =>

6. What does photography mean to you in life? How would you define your passion towards it?

=> Photography means a lot in my life. I have great passion for it. It is one of those things which I can do and learn forever and never be tired of. It has not been long since I have started photography but I am sure I would never stop doing it in my entire life! There is so much to learn, so much to do in this field.

7. One tip you would like to give to the budding photographers?
=> I myself am a budding photographer, but to those who have started I would like to tell them that I feel a good photographer is the one who puts in his efforts and imagination in photography. Never imitate others, have a vision of your own.

8. How do you inculcate photography in your daily life? Do you carry your camera everywhere or you go to places with the sole purpose of photography?

=> As I told you, every moment comes up with something worth capturing. So daily life is full of interesting photographs, if you look from my point of view. Not always, but I do try to carry my camera wherever possible. You can see from my photographs, most of them will reflect day to day life instances only.

9. You say your first passion is football. Tell us about your interest in sports.

=> Yes it is! I have been playing football since class 6th. It is my first passion in life. Presently I play for a club ‘Collegians FC’. I have been into sports for a long time. I have represented my school team at the zonal level and state level in badminton, table tennis, and football. I was also the sports captain of my school.

10. You also mentioned it to me that you are planning to take up tour management as a part time job. Why tour management?

=> Yes. It is the perfect job for a travel, photography and food enthusiast like me. It’s the only job where you get paid for traveling. Getting to see new places and explore them, their cuisines, that's all that I want!

11. What are your future plans with photography? Would you pursue it as a hobby or would you get into it professionally?

=> Photography is more than a hobby to me. I would love to get into it professionally.

12. Is photography a talent inborn in you or you took any training?

=> Neither a talent inborn nor lessons from somewhere. It is something that I have developed over time with observation and curiosity.

13. Being good in studies and studying Eco. Hons. You must have come across a lot of nerds. What would you say about the importance of passion for something other than studies to all the nerds alive?

=> A life without a passion is like a camera without battery! Or like a football match without a football. Earning money, studying etc won’t give you the ultimate happiness of life but pursuing your passion would certainly give – that’s all I would like to say to them.

14. 5 years ahead what all do you see yourself doing?

=> Seriously speaking, I really don’t know! Let’s see what life holds for me.

Rapid fire round:

Q. Fav. Photographer?

=> Bhavook Bhardwaj! :P

Q. Fav. Sportsperson?

=> Lionel Andres Messi.

Q. One thing about photography that you love the most?

=>The happiness when someone appreciates my photography!

Q: What would you rather be? An economist, a photographer or a footballer?

=> Footballer!

Q: Fav. Cuisine?

=> Italian.

Q: Fav. Place for photography purpose?

=> Old Delhi.

To go through his page - click on  Epitome

Sunday, 30 October 2011

An Interview with Hemant Kumar

We all love comics and miss our childhood because those kiddish stories don't interest us anymore. We cry over this but some people like Hemant Kumar find a way to bring comics back in our life by writing on topics of our interest and presenting them to us through his website called Lithosphere. Stoned. This comic artist is mastering his 'jackness' in all the trades like Philately, Law, Art and Entrepreneurship.

Here goes my conversation with him :-

1. Your story is somewhat uncommon. A student of Law and a Comic Artist. How did the journey go? 

=> I always found comic artists cool. Having my own comic was a childhood dream; law and comics might sound leagues apart, but I guess everyone has different personalities within them.

2. You have been an avid quizzer, you have interest in reading, philately and a lot more. What do you enjoy doing the most?

=> Haha. It’s like choosing between one’s children. The greatest love I have is for knowledge, it doesn't restrict to any two or three things. I’d do anything that I can lay my hands on. Just because I get to grow as I do it.

3. Where do you see yourself after the completion of your graduation in law?

=> Placed well as a lawyer. That’s of primary importance. I’d continue with the site and other things that I keep doing, things that I can find myself passionate about.

4. Taking law as a graduation subject needs some aim behind it. What is your dream with your subject?

=> Law was planned way back in school. It provides me with satisfaction on many fronts. I get to play a role in society-building. There’s enough money. What fascinates me is the power to build lives, decisions, society solely by my words, my ideas and logic. It’s a superpower greater than what superheroes have.

5. What would you rather be - a comic artist or a lawyer? 

=> Both. Also a writer, a restaurateur, a musician, a painter and much more.

6. A wide variety of interests you have! Well coming to your passion, Comic-making. How did you start it? What inspired you?

=> I used to follow cartoons as a child. Illustrated books, and comics published in newspapers used to fascinate me. I guess that was the seed for this plant, Lithosphere. 

7. How do you come up with ideas for comic stories as well as drawings? How difficult is it for you? Are the stories fictional or they are also based on what you experience in your daily life?

=> It works both ways. Things I see, observe, combined with my imagination and thought process helps me make a comic. See, every comic has a meaning, I don’t make comics to make people laugh, but also to convey a strong yet subtle message. Fits well with the crude drawings and poor humour. So there’s a lot of thought that goes in.

When I decided to start with the comic, drawings was a difficult phase. My Friend Shruti Katyal helped me with it. Abhishek Monga, a dear friend helped me make the site. The art work is inspired from the popular ‘Warli’ art of Maharashtra.

8. Tell us one interesting instance that occurred while making comics?

=> It happens very often. I work on my stand and my mom takes a lot of interest in my work. But it gets very difficult when I have to draw an adult comic. Have to do all the work hiding away from her. Sometimes it's fun! :-D

9. You told me you write a bit. Tell me what kind of a writer you are. And being a writer; what do you like reading the most?

=> I write for fun. Experiences, observations, at times evaluations of the physical world and beyond. I read almost everything, I do avoid the romantic genre, because there are so many more things that can make you sick in the gut, why to use a book for that?

10. How did you come up with your website What made you name it ‘Lithosphere. Stoned’?

=> ‘Litho’ means stone. And ‘Sphere’ connotes the material world around us. So through the comic I try to portray the material world, as I see, in stone tablets. That’s the comic’s layout!

11. As I read about you, it was mentioned that you are fond of studying various religions. Tell us what interests you in this genre.

=> Not that I particularly love to study religion, but well, yes there’s something about it that attracts me. So I thought that it’d be intelligent if I actually went ahead and understood this one thing that attracts people from all places since forever.

12. You have been to ‘BQC’ once. Tell us about your experience.

=> It can be summed up in two words : ‘We lost.’ But it was life changing, met a few pretty girls, understood how important it is to capitalize on opportunities and met more pretty girls. :D

13. How many comic-stories have you written in totality? Have you ever published them or thought of publishing them in print media?

=> The site has about twenty five comics as yet. It’s a new venture, just the beginning. And I’d be glad to have my matter published. Its every artist’s dream I think to have access to the greatest audience. Print media, for comics, is probably the best source to get them. But I’d like to retain the website as well, its helps retain the independence.

14. You have mentioned on your website that your comics are about Law, Religion, Women, Love and Science. Tell us about one subject on which you like working the most.

=> I encounter all these issues every moment as I conduct my life and feel amazed how dumb-ingly difficult can all of these things be. I make comics based on experiences and thoughts and these things take up most of my brain-space. That left is used in trying to figure out why does the Facebook layout change so frequently?

15. Where do you see your website by two years?

=> *Fingers crossed* I see attracting a huge audience, with better content and sharper comics. Some hate-mail to make me feel I am doing good and a ‘LithosphereComics parade’ or something similar taking place in Delhi. Just that, I am not very ambitious. ;)

16. You are also involved in Freelancing. Tell us about what you have done lately.

Lately I worked with an adverisement firm, as a content writer. I used to draft the content and tag lines for ads which gets published in several medias: posters, pamphlets, internet, content for websites, tag lines for brands etc. Also used to help design the layout of the ads, the art work and stuff.

17. Before we end up, I know about your interest in philately. Tell my readers about how you
developed interest in philately? How should one get initiated into this interesting hobby?

=> Stamps provide a huge creative content in such a small space. That amazes me. Been collecting them since I was in primary school, got a few gifted by my uncle. Now I have a rather huge collection.

Rapid fire round:

Q: Favorite Place?

=> Has to be Delhi.

Q: Favorite Comic Characters?

=> There’s a constant fight between Batman, Uglythieve, the
devil from my comic and Calvin.

Q: Most inspiring person for you?

=> Circumstances, not people.

Q: Any new hobby that you wish to inculcate?

=> Music.

Q: One thing you would like to tell us about your site :

=> It's usually wittier than my answers in this interview.

Visit his Facebook page Lithosphere Comics to know more about him.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

An Interview with Abhay Shukla

Abhay Shukla - A pass out of IIT-Delhi, an acclaimed blogger, a story-teller and an entrepreneur has been involved in a multitude of projects ranging from engineering to writing. His venture iitstories brings brilliant stories of IITians and their start-ups.People complain about the lack of inspiration and motivation in life; whereas he creates it and inspires!

Here goes an amazing conversation I had with this extremely down to earth man :-

1. Before we begin, please tell me about you in a nutshell.
=> I am a writer by heart and an engineer by profession who is trying to figure out how to work out both. In the process i am developing instincts of creativity.

2. Yours is a different kind of story. An engineer, an acclaimed blogger and now a story-teller with a difference. How has the journey been like?
=> The journey has just started. Probably I will be in much better position to answer your questions after 4-5 years. But the journey sure seems to be exciting.

3. What do you enjoy the most amongst the three?
=> I enjoy writing stories the most. With them I am in my own world of creation. Often I imagine myself in place of the characters and feel for them before writing, and it is then that sometimes I get the most incredible feeling, the true experience of joy.

4. You went for a job after finishing your graduation. Why did you leave it? Were you able to write during that time?
=> I was working for an I-Bank but I was much more interested in engineering so I decided to quit. Also writing in those days was tough but it's the same even now.

5. Coming to your second passion, blogging. How did you start it? Who inspired you?
=> Blogging was something I came to know about in IIT. I used to write stories in diaries and I wanted to share them with friends and readers and blogs seemed to be just the convenient way. Soon I started writing on the blog The Pagefiction.

6. You write short-stories. This is something rare in the blogging domain. What made you write your first story?
=> Most of the short-stories I write are inspired from real incidents. I remember writing my first story Kiddie Times which is about how my brother and his friends planned to escape from home. I wanted to keep the story from disappearing in the sands of time and that’s just how it was all kicked off.

7. Were you an engineer turned writer or did you write since childhood?
=> I started writing poems when I was 13-14 years old. This continued for about 6 years until my interest in short stories arose and I decided to give it a try.

8. I’ve heard that during your IIT days you wrote this highly praised story, “How I met Haseen”. Tell me more about it. Was it a real story?
=> How I met Haseen is a short love story with a really tragic ending. At the end of the story you just know what a true love feels like. Everytime I read it I feel my heart pounding for the characters in it. I think if you read it, you will figure out yourself whether it is true or not.

9. I would definitely go through it! I have heard that your friends have asked you to make it into a novel? Are you giving it a thought?
=> Well I have got many requests and suggestions about writing sequels to my stories and if possible to turn them into novels. But to me writing is a very emotional matter because every piece of it has got a piece of me. I am working on a story but I am giving it enough time and space to build on itself rather than me trying to put deadlines.

10. Tell us one interesting instance that occurred while writing stories?
=> Meeting Nitin Donde and Ms. Manorama Jafa who helped me understand a child's mind remains the most interesting instance that has occurred since i started writing. They practically taught me how to write stories for children.

11. How many stories have you written in totality? Any thoughts about publishing?
=> I have about 40 stories in my collection but no right now I have no plans to go for publishing.

12. How do you weave stories? Do ideas flash and imagination takes care of the rest or it’s totally derived from what you’ve experienced?
=> Usually I am stuck with a lot of abstract ideas and when I find that one of them needs a necessity to be expressed, I weave it around a real life experience. This is how it works for me most of the times.

13. Tell me about your recent venture, iitstories? I must say it’s a wonderful website, in terms of content and aesthetics.
=> Thank you! I sincerely feel that IIT system lacks inspiration and students there lose sight of what they want to do with their lives. iitstories is an effort to share stories of people who can become inspiring characters for such students. It's focused on highlighting the diversity of fields like engineering, research, business, entertainment, journalism, music etc which IITians have chosen over the years and doing really well. 

14. Do you see any business prospects with it?
=> iitstories is still in its development phase. We are considering few ideas, lets see how it unfolds in the coming months.

15. Now that you’ve left your job, how do you plan to go forth with your venture as well as writing?
=> I am not a regular time writer, so taking the venture ahead would be the prime objective in the coming days. Meanwhile i will keep working on my stories. I hope you will see some great work in the coming time.

16. Before we end up, I know about your passion for animation. Tell my readers about the entire experience of animation. In IIT, how did you get interested in animation? Are you still pursuing it?
=> Animation was something that caught me in my final year. I wanted a more expressive medium to convey the thoughts I wrote in my stories so I decided to explore it. What really gave me the kick was when Prof. Nitin Donde liked my story so much that he decided to make a 3-min animation movie Aitbaar on it. For me it was one of the happiest days as it opened the world of children stories and animation to me. We have some plans in that area but they require dedicated effort so time is a problem right now.

17. What does inspiration mean to you? How important is its role in one’s life.
=> In very simple words, inspiration to me is like taste in food or color in a picture. It is something that make your work and life much more beautiful and meaningful.

18. What next? 2 years down the line, where do you see iitstories, your stories and yourself?
=> Coming 2 years will be really challenging and will demand a great deal of learning from my part. I wish to see iitstories ignite a few brilliant minds into pursuing ideas they are passionate about. I wish to see my stories grow in numbers and certainly attract more regular readers. And for me, I just wish I be here to tell you about another of my ventures.

Rapid fire round:

Q: Favorite Place:
=> Home

Q: Favorite Cuisine: 
=> Not much of a foodie but kheer is my favourite

Q: Favorite Gadget:
=> Camera

Q: Favorite Book: 
=> Fountainhead

Q: Most inspiring person for you: 
=> Presently I am very much inspired by Harish Hande

Q: What do you like being more? An engineer or a writer? 
=> Writer

Q: Any new hobby that you wish to inculcate.
=> Learn music

Q: If you were to write a book someday, what would it be about.
=> Let it be a surprise

To end it all; I am sure those who haven't gone through his writings yet must be very willing to read what he writes so here goes the link to his blogger profile - Abhay Shukla

Followed by the animation movie made by Abhay and his team!