(Editor's note : We love people with a spine here at KiRa Education and InsideIIM. Kunj Sanghvi is one such person. It is easy to go on about how one should do what they love and leave their corporate job etc. How many actually end up doing it? It has to be DONE. It becomes even more difficult after one wins the best management trainee award after a year and gets a double promotion after just 2 years. At a time when most 26 year olds with such a fat pay check are trying to make the most of their corporate careers, Kunj Sanghvi has decided to give it all up and embark on an unique journey. InsideIIM.com is privileged to be the platform through which he interacts with the world while on this trip and is committed to help him in his ultimate goal - A Book of Short Stories from across the length and breadth of our country.)
We are a lazy generation. We don’t have time to think, because it is more important to tweet before you think. We as a generation have a tendency to typecast people from various communities into convenient definitions of what they do, who they are, how they speak, what they like and dislike, so that we don’t have to waste time in discovery when we should actually be online and outraged. So we have a Malayalam accent, Marwari stinginess, Punjabi loudmouths and Bengali intellectuals. Somewhere at our young ages, a lot of us also accept these stereotypes for our own selves.
I am a Gujarati. And for 26 years of my life I have tried to fit into the definitions handed over to me in heritage. In the organizing committee of the college fest in Narsee Monjee – Umang, I applied to be in the finance department because, well, I was Gujarati and I was stingy, so I was bound to be best at this. And while I had a fairly successful 3 years in my fest and made unbelievable memories and friends, I know I failed miserably at what was my core duty as a finance head. I tried to be a CA, and failed miserably at it – first literally and then, more importantly, ideologically. I then completed my business degree from MICA where very talented people turn up to soften their edges – of rebellion, creativity, risk - and got into a fairly high-paying corporate job. My only supposed redemption this time was that it wasn’t with a Finance company and not with a Finance profile. I was working for a media company and while I still did sales and marketing, I told myself atleast this time I am indirectly helping someone put his thoughts on paper and enlighten this country with knowledge. And this time it was trickier because on all the accepted criteria, I was succeeding. But I was still gloriously failing in getting out of this excuse of a stereotype which did not let me think what I really wanted to do.
Then after a string of unsatisfying successes, one night I couldn’t sleep. I asked myself some hard questions and a dear friend helped me clear the clutter in my mind. For all the English, History and Communication professors who made my student life a grand memory, I paid heed for the first time to what many of them had told me at different points – that maybe I am destined for a more creative pursuit than convincing a vagina tightening gel brand to buy ads in my newspaper. And I decided to do away with all the cobwebs and really question myself as to what I wanted to do at that very moment. Something that had nothing to do with terms like “career”, “marriageability” and that bastard of a term, “future”. And I realized that, apart from finding a hot girlfriend, there were 2 things I really wanted to do right then – I wanted to travel and I wanted to write. What followed was a plan which has been detailed below.
27th Sept 7:55 am – Depart by train for Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
7th Oct – Reach Amritsar from Srinagar
14th Oct – Reach Kangra from Amritsar
21st Oct – Reach Mussoorie from Kangra
28th Oct – Reach Delhi from Mussoorie
4th Nov – Reach Mughal Sarai from Delhi
12th Nov – Return home for Diwali
19th Nov – Depart by train for Bangalore, Karnataka
26th Nov – Reach Pondicherry from Bangalore
3rd Dec – Reach Vizag from Pondicherry
10th Dec – Reach Puri from Vizag
17th Dec – Reach Dantewada from Puri
25th Dec – Return home for Christmas/New Year
1st Jan – Reach Vasco, Goa – Ideally from Anjuna where I would like to bring in the New Year if friends permit
8th Jan – Reach Surat from Vasco
15th Jan – Reach Ujjain from Surat
22nd Jan – Reach Jaipur from Ujjain – Attend the Jaipur Litfest (24th to 28th Jan) among other things
30th Jan – Return home for Mom’s birthday
5th Feb – Depart by train/air for Bodh Gaya, Bihar
13th Feb – Reach Ranchi from Bodh Gaya
20th Feb – Reach Kolkata from Ranchi
27th Feb – Reach Gangtok from Kolkata
5th Mar – Reach Dispur from Gangtok
12th Mar – Reach Itanagar from Dispur
20th Mar – Return home for (Warning : stupid CA joke) the “Closing of books” on 31st March
And do what, you ask?
Well, write short stories set in each of these places. The best I can.
Whatever story comes out in those 6 days in that place. Whatever that place inspires in me.
At best, I would have found peace and tranquillity and joy and a fancy Carter road bachelor-pad
At worst, when I go back to staring at excel sheets, I’ll know I tried my damned best.
So I am going to bet on myself. I am proud that in spite of the delay, I have realized I don’t have to live up to a stereotype. That I will not find refuge in definitions, stereotypes, perceptions and history. And then if I fail, I wont have anybody to blame; for the first time in my life, I will have to take it like a man.
- Kunj Sanghvi
(Kunj Sanghvi begins his journey in less than a week. He'll be writing about his experiences in each new city every week on InsideIIM.com. At various junctures on this trip, he'll be found working over cups of coffee in coffee shops across the country. He'd love to meet, talk, discuss with anyone who'd care to meet him; just to know the city and its people better. Follow him on twitter here - @kunjsanghvi. He blogs here.)
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