Interview with Apoorva Karandikar, Jewellery Designer!

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In our pursuit to assist the youth make academic/career choices, we have interviewed several successful individuals. In this edition, we have interviewed Apoorva Karandikar who is a Jewellery Designer, who makes exclusive handmade jewellery.

Apoorva holds a Bachelors in Computer Science and has decided to make her love for Jewellery into a professional career.

Read on to find what she has to share about her profession as a Jewellery Designer.

CB5: Please share some detail about your current professional activities. What do you do?

AK: I am Apoorva Karandikar from Avni- Handmade Designer Jewellery, at ‘AVNI’, I believe in creating unique handmade jewellery which is also easy on the pocket. I make handcrafted wire jewellery, commissioned glass mosaics and conduct jewellery making workshops. You can check all my work on www.avnijewellery.com.

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CB5: How did you decide on pursuing Jewellery Designing? What made you eventually study Jewelry Design?

AK: I have always been a jewellery person. I have loved wearing and making jewellery quite early on in life. I used to conduct jewellery exhibitions between semesters while doing BSc, Computer Science as a source of some extra pocket money. In the third year of college, I was confused, whether to do my Masters or change the field. By the time I graduated, I found my calling in the field of jewellery and I decided to follow my passion. I did a diploma in Gemology and Diamond Grading, a Jewellery Design course from JRVGTI and later an advanced Jewellery Design course from GIA (Gemological Institute of America), Mumbai.

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CB5: When and how did you get into your current area of work? What were/are your motivators?

AK: After doing Gemology and Diamond Grading and the designing course I knew what I wanted to do. I was clear on one thing, that I didn’t want to get into the real precious jewellery making/ designing. That is when I decided to start on my own in April 2013. Back then there weren’t any workshops or classes where one could go and learn jewellery making. So I had to refer to a lot of books and learn it on my own through trial and error. I started out with basic assembled jewellery and then moved on to terracotta and then wire.

I love trying out different mediums to make jewellery. So far I have been using – Terracotta Clay, Thai Clay, Micro Mosaics, Stained Glass, Wire, and Crochet.

Wire jewellery is a fascinating world. There is so much that one can do with it from basic wire jewellery to the complicated work like wire weaving, wire wrapping, wire crochet. It is one of the most versatile mediums that I’ve worked with. I love learning and creating new things. My willingness to learn motivates me to experiment. I had recently started learning how to crochet using wool. That inspired me to crochet using Brass and Copper.

In 2015, I started taking jewellery making workshops. I teach at various studios across the city. I also do commissioned Glass Mosaic projects. Glass Mosaic is the art of hand cutting the glass and creating designs.

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CB5: What do you enjoy most about your current profession?

AK: The freedom to be creative. I absolutely love what I do. Working with wire and glass is super fun. I enjoy my flexible hours, I can work on my own time and I can choose my own projects.

CB5: In your opinion what are your success factors? What elements of your personality help in this success?

AK: When you’re starting out on your own it is very important to not give up. I do not give up when things get tough. My willingness to figure out a way around problems and the hard-working nature really helped me a lot with my work.

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CB5: What are the significant achievements in your present career that you would like our readers to know?

AK: My work has been published in Femina magazine, Sakal times. My work has been talked about in blogs. I have taught more than 250 people till now.

Other than that, I guess something that matters to me is to see how much I’ve grown with each passing day and how much I can still grow. I single-handedly manage everything. I design, make and manufacture my jewellery. I pack, dispatch and showcase at exhibitions. I manage my website and all my social media handles. Most of the times I also do the photography for my products along with the necessary editing. I teach at various institutes and take mosaic orders. A lot of stuff that I do can be delegated but the thing is that when you’re starting out and trying to make a mark you have to cut down on the extra expenses. However, in this process, you get to learn and do so many new things.

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CB5: What were some of the sacrifices you had to make to reach the level of success that you have achieved?

AK: Well I wouldn’t call them sacrifices as such but since I changed my field completely there was a certain expectation from me to perform and make things happen. My parents have always been very supportive of everything. But at times one gets the creative blocks and might end up questioning everything. I would suggest you put your head down and power through. You may not end up earning as much as other people your age but it’s extremely important to love what you’re doing.

CB5: Would you have any advice for the younger generation, especially someone who is at crossroads trying to select an education path, say someone between ages 14-21 years?

AK: I would like to tell you that it is completely okay to feel lost or confused. Very few people know exactly what they want to do in life. Try and get information about different professions, talk to people, get advice and see what you like. You don’t have to follow the herd and do the thing everyone is doing. But at the same time if you’re venturing on your own then you have to be ready to work hard and stick to your decision.

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CB5: Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers?

AK: Follow your passion and work towards it. Give your 100% and it will all work out.

CB5: Thank you for sharing with us your Career journey. We are sure that our readers will benefit from your experiences and personal insights.

Your story is not only insightful but is also inspirational for one to follow his/her passion.  

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Until our next Blog on another interesting profession…

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In Conversation with Maddy Kulkarni, Graphic Designer and Illustrator

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In our pursuit to assist the youth make academic/career choices, we have interviewed several successful individuals. In this edition, we have interviewed Madhura Kulkarni, who is a Freelance Graphic Designer and Illustrator. She prefers to be called Maddy!

Read on to find her career journey from being an Auditor to a Graphic designer, and how her passion for Art and Design has contributed to her success today.

CB5: Please share some detail about your current professional activities. What do you do?

Maddy: I am a Freelance Graphic Designer and Illustrator. I basically draw for a living. I create Illustrative designs for various brands and products. Some of my work includes designing for Restaurants (menu cards / Coasters / Wall art, etc), Weddings / Birthdays and other event designs, and also designing marketing and publicity material for digital and print platforms.

CB5: Great! As far as we know you, your formal education and your professional career have different tracks…How did you decide on the line for the formal education? What made you select this line of study?

Maddy: Growing up I have always been like an artist, there was an effort by my parents to take me out for drawing classes and competitions and keep in touch with art. And initially that was my goal, I wanted to go to college and study design or art. But unfortunately as time progressed things went differently and I ended up studying International Business with Finance and accounting. I ended up finishing my Undergraduate degree in Accounts, but I was still interested in Art. So did a double degree – one in Business and another one in Ceramics. Ceramics was my way of keeping in touch with the art side of it.

Then I moved to San Francisco and started working there as an Auditor. That was like a corporate job in the most Artistic City! And living there made me realize that I really shouldn’t be doing an 8 to 5 job. So I decided to quit my job as an Auditor with no plan of what I was going to do in future. I just sat there thinking, alright I quit my job, I lost my visa now what am I gonna do!

Then I came back to India just trying to figure out what I needed to do next and while exploring options, I found out about this Program on Graphic Design in Florence, Italy. And that’s where I got some formal education in Art that I do today, I don’t do anything in Ceramics anymore. But the education I got in Florence kind of helped me to get into the graphic design part of Art.

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CB5: So you knew you always sort of wanted to do Arts since your school days?

Maddy: I didn’t know I wanted to do Art, but I always used to draw and illustrate. So as growing up in a very education-oriented family, though my parents encouraged Art, it was all about ‘oh she is a good Artist, she draws well’. But when it was the time for me to select a career option, they wanted me to do Architecture, something which is stable and makes money. They didn’t know how an Artist or Illustrator could make money, for them it’s always going back to a professional degree, where I can have a corporate 8 to 5 job, probably an Architect or maybe into broadcast designing which is more into television.  

Not that they didn’t understand art but their knowledge was limited that there are so many options available. There is that belief if you are good at drawing you become an Architect – that sort of an attitude.

CB5: So when and how did you get into your current area of work?

Maddy: After my graduation in 2010, I worked in San Francisco for a year and that too because I was holding that last bit of my Visa. I would have quit much earlier if I didn’t have a visa issue, but at some point, I just gave up. My company was willing to sponsor my visa which would mean I would be committed to them for another 3-4 years. So that’s when I had to make this decision and I decided to follow my passion.

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CB5: What were your motivators at this particular point of time? Because who doesn’t want to stay and work in the US right?

Maddy: That was a big challenge because leaving San Francisco was a very heartbreaking decision for me to make. But that job was just draining, you are just punching numbers because there were all these auditing softwares available, there was no creativity. Fortunately, I was good at my job so I used to get my day’s work done in the first half and the next half I would sit and draw, I would be sitting on my desk and doodling and pretending that I am working. So that was one thing, I don’t want to sit here for the rest of my life and regret. And living in San Francisco, you step out of the office and you are in the most artistic city in the world –  So much of freedom and Liberal arts, that kind of was the motivator, I wanted to be one of them. I didn’t want to leave the city, if possible I wanted to do art in San Francisco, but unfortunately, that was not working out for me. I weighed out the pros and cons and doing Art was more important to me than living in that city.

CB5: What do you enjoy most about your current profession?

Maddy: I enjoy my flexible hours, I can work on my own time, I am my own boss, I can decide which projects I want to take, with whom I want to work. I am not stuck with somebody and I am not frustrated with the work environment, I love my working environment.

CB5: In your opinion what are your success factors?

Maddy: My will to do something that I really like. I have always been doing art since childhood. And the support from my parents, though they did not understand what I was doing but they never said No. When I said I want to quit my job, they never said no, they never doubted my decision. Although I did fail a few times, leaving the job, the city, having no money, coming back and staying with my parents and then figuring out from there what I need to do. They never said you are making a wrong choice or a wrong decision, this is not right for you, they let me take my own decision. That really helped me to learn from my own things. I did not have a mentor in the design field but parents were like mentors to me, someone who believed in me and my decisions. So that made it success for me.

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CB5: What elements about your personality have helped you in your career? Of course, the creativity is given but what else do you think helped.

Maddy: I think the way I talk to people, because wherever I have gone, honestly I have not spent a single rupee on marketing myself. I have just been myself and portrayed my art everywhere. The communication and the relationships that I have built with people, has given me the work that I have today. Every single person or client that I work for today is through contact. I have been fortunate in that way, I never had to go seek for work, work comes to me.

CB5: What are the significant achievements in your present career that you would like our readers to know?

Maddy: There are a lot of big different projects that I work with, in the first year of my operation individually, I worked on a small project with Talera Fords, so that was one of the biggest projects for me. They are the biggest dealership in India for Ford cars. Another project I worked with was sponsored by BMW. They do a Kite Festival every year only for expats, it’s for people all over the world who are in Pune, the Expat Club. So got to talk to all the high-level executives. Getting work from these prestigious companies in the first year of running my own business was a proud moment for myself.

CB5: What were some of the sacrifices you had to make to reach the level of success that you have achieved?

Maddy: Leaving the US was a big sacrifice, cutting down on a major payscale, because working as an Auditor you made a certain amount and then suddenly you had to come back to freelance, you were unsure of the kind of work you will get in future and you don’t want to spend all the money you have. So cut down on going out every weekend, not living on your own, cutting down on a lot of expenses, sold my car – so some major lifestyle changes had to be made because of the money that I was making. Of course, I had parents to support me throughout, but after a point, you cannot keep asking them for money, you have to balance yourself out.

CB5: Would you have any advice for the younger generation, especially someone who is at crossroads trying to select an education path? And anything for their parents?

Maddy: We feel 10th to 12th Std is like the most important decision-making time, we need to do all these tests and figure out what you need to do. And that’s great – you take a test and select a career path, but don’t be hung up on it, that’s not the end and the finish line. If you ever feel, down the road that things are not working out, be open to change. You can change your career at 30, you can change your career whenever you want to. If you are not sure what career is the best fit for you, these tests are really helpful to guide you through it.

If a certain career does not work out for you, don’t get hung up on it. You are capable of much more than just being stuck in a particular career even if you feel you are failing. Be open to exploring those options for yourself and it’s never too late to change careers.

I think Parents should guide their kids in a certain direction because kids are naive and they are not 100% aware of things around. So guide your kids but don’t force them, don’t restrict them saying Engineer or Doctor is the way to go. Unfortunately, most of the parents even today have that attitude, they are okay with their child pursuing Sports, but only as a hobby and not as a career, thinking ‘is it worth it, it is not for us, it’s only for the rich people who can spend that much money’. It’s not like that – be supportive of their career choices and always have a plan B, regardless of what you do.

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CB5: Anything else that you would like to share?

Maddy: Take the CB5 test, it’s really helpful! Growing up I did not take a CB5 test per say but my parents did take me to a Personality Development Workshop and I did do a similar kind of test and it sort of helped me to figure out that I was more Artistic and creative and they laid out a few career options for me. It is kind of helpful to get a little career advice from somebody because at that point I was just blank, I did drawing and painting in my free time, but I was never sure I wanted to do that as a career. But going back and thinking, the counselor did tell me that this was my personality or my inclination or this is how my behavioral preferences are so that did help when I had that doubt about what should I do when I had left my job. Thinking about what she had told me, what others had told me about my personality helped me build the confidence and make that decision, that yes I can do Art!

CB5: According to us the ideal trait combination for a Graphic designer would be:

Spontaneous, Flexible, Somewhat Agreeable, Reactive, Emotional, Open to new ideas and experiences, willing to experiment, creative, and introverted.

Thank you for sharing with us your Career journey. We are sure that our readers will benefit from your experiences and personal insights.

Your story is not only insightful but is also inspirational for one to follow his passion.  

Please comment, send any questions and like, share and follow us on FB, Google+, LinkedIn.

Until our next Blog on another interesting profession…

VISIT : www.CB5.in

In conversation with Advocate Sanjay Kher, Intellectual Property (IP) Lawyer

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In our pursuit to assist the youth make academic/career choices, we have interviewed several successful individuals. In this edition, we have interviewed Advocate Sanjay Kher, who is a Lawyer specializing in Intellectual Property practicing in India and Internationally.

Advocate Kher has a penchant to go into details and dig for the core in any issue, coming as it does from an innate desire for precise communication, and to flesh out the logic that dominates perspective. In addition, his ability to ask sharp incisive questions, and the need to explore, have all been contributory factors to success.  Although Law was not his first choice, nor was it his second choice, it appears fate eventually docked him with his true calling ….. A journey which he firmly believed was triggered by a confluence of factors, chiefly amongst which he credits the contribution of his undergraduate college professors who helped him embark on a journey of self-discovery, which is nothing but an euphemism for belief and confidence.

Please read on to participate in his journey, excerpts of which he freely shares with our readers….

CB5: We have with us Advocate Sanjay Kher, a renowned Intellectual Property lawyer.  Sir, thank you for giving us the opportunity to interview you and to understand more about your profession and how you chose this career.

Given the context that our interview series is about successful people in various professions and to create awareness of the variety of professions to enable students to make informed decisions, please share some details about your current professional activities. What do you do? And what eventually brought you into this profession?

Adv. Kher: I am a Lawyer by profession. Within this profession, I specialize in Intellectual Property (IP) Laws, which is the area of Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Designs, etc. Specifically, I am what is known in the profession as, a Counsel, i.e. I argue matters in Court. However, aside this, I also assist inventors and creative people in drafting patent specifications, undertaking advisory work, helping people solve their IP related queries, participate in joint ventures matters, etc. I have also been involved in international overseas IP litigations, all of which has helped me in my journey to be a better professional.

I also consider it part of my legal responsibility to ‘talk’ about the law, and towards that I visit numerous colleges and universities within and outside India;  where I endeavour  to teach the law not as ‘a subject’, but rather interact with it as a living force’ guiding the fortunes of our Society.

CB5: What is the state of legal education in India and how do you see the life of a legal professional?

Adv. Kher: Sadly, I must be critical on the state of legal education in India. I do not have very kind words;  except possibly for a handful of colleges. I can unhesitatingly say that the quality of legal education needs to drastically improve. While there undoubtedly are a few good institutions in India, but, as you would know, ‘one swallow does not make a summer’.  Our education is still woefully lacking and does not compare with the best in the world. And make no mistake, just as an ill-trained driver can be a hazard on the roads, ill-trained lawyers are also part of the reason for judicial delays. This generally sub-standard professional training has consequently created only islands of excellence.

Such a state of affairs is simply not conducive for personal growth. Anyway, what I am saying about the legal education, is, you would agree, broadly true of the entire education system. I would also like to add that this wonderful profession, which has so much to offer to Society and to the practitioner, is only now awakening to its potential.

But these realities aside, I love what I do. I have immense respect for my colleagues at the Bar who work tirelessly and dedicatedly. I am particularly proud to be a member of the Bombay Bar, which has made an unparalleled contribution to India’s legal firmament.   

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CB5: Your early formal education and your professional career have different tracks…How did you decide on the choice and direction for formal education? What has been your journey of education?

Adv. Kher: As with almost everyone in India, after completing SSC i.e. the 10th … I unthinkingly veered towards Science; because back in those days, there was nothing to think beyond Engineering and Medicine. But I revolted, no sooner than when I realized that I was being ‘herded’ like sheep, the very thought was repugnant. Instead, I opted for a life in the Armed Forces and appeared for the NDA entrance.

But an interesting episode happened soon after I cleared the entrance and was slated to join in a few days. On the afternoon I received my admission  intimation from the NDA, a first cousin, who was on the flying side, Vikrant, happened to drop by and he firmly said ‘you are not going into the NDA!!’

I was taken aback, as you would imagine; but he bluntly continued: ‘You are not meant for the Armed Forces’. He backed up his statement by a very incisive analysis, saying ‘ You are too rebellious for the Armed Forces, and either you will kill somebody or get killed, and a life in the Armed Forces is not for you and you will not be able to sustain it for long.

I completely understood what he had so ruthlessly told me, and I respect him for that. I fully appreciated that each profession comes with its traits, logic, and discipline; and for a soldier,  unquestioned obedience is paramount, since a battlefield can’t be a place to build consensus.

Thanking my cousin, I tore up my selection papers and stepped out. What the episode taught me was that it is an asset to have people who ‘have your back’. I was so fortunate to have had somebody who had the insight and the ability to convey it in an analytical, cogent and pleasant manner. So my behavior traits intuitively played a role in my veering away from Engineering and NDA!

I didn’t go to NDA, I didn’t want to go to Engineering either, and I was so unhappy with Science generally. My disappointment probably stemmed from my incessant questioning, and the inability or unwillingness of my teachers to resolve them. Some basic questions in mathematics, physics, and chemistry were never answered in class and kept away for another day. I needed to know simple things like, where did certain equations come from, who devised them and how, because that’s the way my mind works, and I needed clarity at every step and hated mindless mugging of textbooks.  On the other hand, I enjoyed biology though, probably because  I could actually see things unfolding before me, like finding and studying the ‘nerve ring’ in earthworm dissections.  It was tragic that the ‘system’ failed to understand my needs, and I was unwilling to bend to its methods.

Nobody helped sort these issues which coursed through my mind. I eventually went to my father and I told him this is not working out…Science was a complete disaster for me… He asked ‘what do you have in mind?’… I hesitatingly said, maybe Commerce, because it is more logical, something which I can read and grasp.  

He supported me and said, “do whatever you want, you have our support’ Those words were huge for me!! So that’s’ how I  changed over from 12th Science to Commerce during my undergraduate years.

Securing permission from my father proved to be an easier proposition than getting admission into a reputed college. I couldn’t get admission to the various good colleges because the first term was nearing its end.  Somehow after talking to a lot of people I homed in on the Podar College and went and met Mr. P. J. Joshi, the then principal of Podar College. In my mind, this was the college for me, and I didn’t want to to go anywhere else. When Principal Joshi expressed his difficulty in admitting me, I bluntly told him that I had decided that Podar was the college for me and I will not leave until I am admitted. Thereafter, every day I used to go and sit outside his room, and every time Joshi Sir would walk in and out of his cabin, there I was large enough for him to see me. On many occasions he told me, ‘I cannot admit you’; and I simply said ‘ I am not going to any other college’. Finally, the great man gave in and after about 15 days, took me in. I think it was this interaction that spurred me to make a promise to myself, that I will one day make this college, and Joshi Sir, proud of having admitted me into its portal.

At Podar I encountered an unexpected problem. I soon realized the perils of not having done 11th Commerce and getting into 12th directly; this meant that subjects like accounts were alien to me and I was already in the second term of my 12th year. It was then the fortune fairy stepped in and brought me in touch with Prof. Maqsud Naik, who held my hand and swiftly guided me through the maze to plant me on firm ground. This was a second turning point, after my admission into Podar. Prof. Naik inspired, encouraged and challenged me like I had never experienced before.

Along with Prof. Naik, at Podar I met another young and inspiring professor, Prof. Ravi Shankar. These two ‘gods’ turned my life inside-out, and I cleared my 12 standard topping the Mumbai region. The reason I am so indebted to Podar College is the inspiring set of teachers under whom it was my privilege to study and interact.

Right from school days, I used to take part in elocution and similar competitions; at Podar I got an amazing platform. Soon I was in the thick of activities: be it elocution, debating, public speaking, various college activities like fundraising during natural calamities, National Cadet Corps, trekking and mountaineering, dramatics, and most importantly Student Union activities. The three years of graduation passed in a blur.

In my final year, on graduation day, the College awarded me with nearly 12 medals for various activities, and the ‘Best Student’ of the year award. What is equally important is that Podar also ensured that I did not slip in academics, and in fact did pretty well in each of the graduation years.

Recently, when I visited my alma mater with my son, who too did his 12th. there,  it was a proud moment to meet my ‘old’ professors and hear them telling my son that ‘seldom has anybody enjoyed their college life as much as your father did’.

In the early 80s, there was this talk within the Maharashtrian community, that Marathi youngsters are not taking ‘business’, and this got me thinking of taking a plunge in the world of business. I thought I should start something, but just at that time, ITC was looking for young graduates with the objective of grooming them for the future. I applied and got selected.I went to Kolkata for few months and returned to Mumbai. While ‘management’ looked fun to me that, I soon realized that I would find myself at a disadvantage without a formal management ‘qualification’. I immediately appeared for and got selected for a management programme at the prestigious Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS) and told my boss of my intention to quit ITC. He was appalled at the suggestion and offered that the company would send me abroad in a few years time to an Ivy League management school; however, I couldn’t let go of my seat at the JBIMS, and I quit ITC.

To add to my formal management education, fate also sent along a business opportunity – and I took the plunge start a commercial enterprise, little knowing what it would entail, particularly in the Indian context.

A few years into the business and things were going pretty well, and soon I realized there was nothing in this that I could not do, particularly if I was willing to be ‘flexible’.  And that was becoming my Achilles heel. Having reached a certain size, I realized that to take my business to the next level, at least within the socio-cultural setting of our country, I was being called upon to make ethical compromises, and this I was not willing to do. And  I had begun to get ‘bored’ of doing business. Also, I somehow began hating the idea that I would pass an entire life with nothing meaningful to show for it. I do not in the slightest mean to denigrate all the great business people who contribute so much to Society, in so many different ways, but it’s just that I did not see me doing ‘business’ all my life.

By this time I was around 32-33 and my life experiences were now suffocating me. The growing injustices around me, the growing inequalities in Society, the all-round decline in moral and ethical standards and I started looking at the Law with renewed interest, particularly Constitutional Law. A few cases which I had commenced to fight against social menaces convinced me that I had a hitherto undiscovered fascination for the Law. I started studying the Law, alongside my business activity. As I approached completion, I began to entertain serious visions of being a lawyer; but I could not be unmindful of my reality – which was that I was responsible for the jobs I had created, and also to my family which now consisted of a wife and 2 kids.

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, the ‘lawyer visions’ refused to let me be in peace. I began discussing with my wife and other family members about this vision and found support and encouragement for my desires. At the same time, I also found a buyer for my business.  Having secured the basic needs of my family and also secured the jobs of my employees, I decided to the take the plunge for a life at the Bar.

I started my new journey right from where every lawyer does; i.e. working as a junior at a training stipend of Rs. 1000/- p.m. This princely amount barely covered my pass and travel expense, but that was the last thing on my mind. It might sound immodest, but I took to the legal profession like a duck to water.

I found that it gave me every freedom and latitude that I always hoped for, and without having to sacrifice my morality and ethics. I am aware that the Society at large views all professionals suspiciously these days, but I can say without a shred of hesitation that I have never had to compromise in the practice of my craft, and I have not suffered for that.

What is also of importance is that I was able to settle down much faster in the profession, because all my past experiences had actually prepared me for the profession.

 CB5: Wow! This is an amazing narrative… and are you suggesting that a more mature person learning law has its benefits?

Adv. Kher: Any profession! Be it engineering, law, science anything, there are three things that don’t get revealed to us at an early age: one is the mechanics underlying the subject; second,  the philosophical underpinnings of that subject, and lastly (and hugely important to me) the ‘romance’, the ‘music’, the ‘harmony’ that wafts through the subject.  To get a full measure of all these, a traveler must be immersed in the lake, with all pores open. But this realization, this knowledge of existence of these crucial facets, the ability to see them all as one syncretic whole, comes with ‘age’.

Recently an Australian friend commented on her unceasing amazement that; ‘in India, and in the sub-continent generally, parents and children approach education as if it is a train that once boarded, the kids are not allowed to alight until destination. She felt that was disastrous to the career choices kids eventually make. She was of the opinion that kids must do different activities before closing in on the future course of their lives. This will make professional growth fun and filled with practical insights.  

That is what happened to me, I came to law having ‘lived’ my life and from the first day started looking at things differently.

CB5: Experience is transformative in a way. And education with practical application builds a different level of maturity and focus …And probably that is why many Management schools recommend if not insist that incumbent students have gone through an organizational tenure and then pursue an MBA course. How did you eventually settle down in the legal profession? Was it difficult to  ‘find your feet’ in the profession?

Adv. Kher: ‘Settling down’ is a function of many factors; like,  one’s  grasp over the subject, the opportunities one gets, the opportunities one is able to spot and grab, passion for work,  discipline,  people skills, hours of hard work, and lastly a very small but vital component, called luck.  

Immediately on entering the profession, I decided not to spread myself thin, and do a specialization. I spotted IP law as the coming wave and hitched my bandwagon to it. I was lucky to be accepted as a junior by one of the leading IP lawyers in India and was truly blessed to have trained under him.

Once, my senior, for personal reasons, was unable to deliver a lecture for which he had committed. He requested me to deliver the lecture. Without a hesitation, I grabbed the opportunity, and I must say that one evening was a turning point in my legal career.

That lecture was attended by many bigwigs from the corporate and legal world; and where before the lecture I was unknown in the profession, by the end of my talk, I kind of felt that I had been accepted by the legal and business community. What is more telling about that lecture was the industry feedback that it was pleasant to hear a lawyer speak a businessman’s language. [I smiled, but did not tell them that I was, until recently a member of their fraternity].

Soon thereafter, people from the American Consulate selected me and sent me to the US for on a programme designed for what they call as ‘future leaders.’

CB5: Would you have any cautions/critique about the legal profession?

Adv. Kher:  The state of the legal profession is no different from the state of its education I have mentioned earlier. There are many challenges that every organ of our Society is having to combat. This, unfortunately, saps the energy of our youngsters and is particularly detrimental to the profession’s ability to deliver on its mandate.

The creeping frustrations amongst all stakeholders have eventually a cataclysmic domino effect, bringing the system to a complete halt. What is even more dangerous is that the system has not stopped its movements, it is still moving;  but tragically, in my view, it has stopped delivering.  This can be utterly demoralizing and gives rise to many oddities, chiefly amongst that is what I call ‘a creeping cannibalism’, where members of the community are themselves devouring at the systems entrails.

But this pessimistic reality, by the very law of nature, cannot sustain and must and has already begun a reversal. Thus, these are exciting times to be in the legal profession. I am encouraged by the numerous youngsters who are vociferously engaged with change, and these are our change-makers, and change will come, and I have no doubt that the legal profession will be at the forefront of that struggle; because as the famous trial lawyer Louis Nizer once said : It (Law) is man’s highest achievement, because it is the only weapon he has fashioned whose force rests solely on the sanctity of reason.

CB5: In your opinion what are your success factors? What elements about your personality help in this success?

Adv. Kher: As I have said earlier, there is really not any ‘one’ factor that is responsible for success; and I am also not sure whether ‘success’ should have one common meaning for everybody. In fact, it ought not to be. Success to me is when one can answer a truthful ‘Yes’ to the two eternal questions: (1) Did you give it your best? and (2) Are you content when you look back?

If there is one factor that I would like to underline, it would be the role of  ‘a Guru’,   ‘a Teacher’,  ‘a Guide’ or let us call that person an ‘‘ a Master’  Somebody who epitomises all the professional and personal values you want to be inculcated in yourself.  Let their deeds be your guide, and you will find many secrets of life softly unfolding within you.   

CB5: Knowing you, we must add – Your need to explore, and challenge the logic of everything and dig into that is one big piece of your success. As I know you, you will not accept anything without really satisfying your logic… AND then your skills of understanding the law, and intelligence in interpreting the same and effectively communicating your arguments with fact and appropriate language are an added BONUS!

Adv. Kher:  I could be wrong, but I divide ‘intelligence’ into two types: first is the  innate ‘god’ given intelligence, and the second type of intelligence is what one develops observing one’s surroundings, by absorbing therefrom what is needed to be processed, by processing what is required to aid decision  making and finally making sense of the entire exercise. I believe I must be having more of the second type. But more importantly, I think I have a god given tenacity, an immense storehouse of energy and the confidence to take risks – the matrix of which I am able to process very quickly.

But like the mythical Achilles heel, I spoke about earlier, I also think one must do a SWOT analysis, lest one is swept away in one’s own grandiose sense of self. I have no doubt that there are many ‘manufacturing defects’ that, even as we speak, are in the process of repair. New ones are being regularly identified, if not by self, surely by the mirror the world holds up to us. I believe that intelligence lies in listening to these hushed tones and to quietly carry out the repair and refurbishing job.

But beyond intelligence lies ‘Wisdom’. And true Wisdom lies in knowing that ‘wealthy is the man who is happy, and happy is the man who knows what wealth is’.  

CB5: What were some of the sacrifices you had to make to reach the level of success that you have achieved?

Adv. Kher: Tons of it! While success is never guaranteed, the thought certainly stays on top of one’s mind, particularly when has come late to the party. Plus every profession has its own gestation period, and the legal profession is said to have a particularly circuitous route to the top.

I could be wrong, but I believe I have a very rustic Indian no-regret attitude towards what we call ‘Sacrifices’. Sacrifices to me are really nothing but the paths one leaves untravelled when one chooses other roads. Therefore there is nothing to regret. I am reminded here of Robert Frost and his ‘The Road Less Travelled’.

Consequently, I have no regrets about any ‘sacrifices’; that would cut into the joy of the ‘choices’ I have made.   

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CB5: Losing family time is one lament that we commonly hear from successful persons!

Adv. Kher: People lose family time even by spending their evenings in the pub, or with the ‘boys’ in the club. To me, if you have not been able to manage time amongst your various responsibilities, you probably are not ‘successful’; and your unidimensional achievement ought not to be labeled ‘success’, lest we will be guilty of perpetuating an incorrect version of ‘success’.   Fortunately, me and my wife have spent tons of quality time with our kids, doing hundreds of varied things, from trekking to craft making to outdoor sports, and have absolutely no regrets at that we can’t afford a Rolls Royce.

CB5: Can you share with us some of your hobbies?

Adv. Kher: Trekking, Travel, Reading, and Music are some abiding passions. I have asked myself in many a pensive mood whether ‘work’ itself a hobby;  but I am glad to leave that discussion for some other day.

CB5: Would you have any advice for the younger generation, especially someone who is at crossroads trying to select an education path, say someone between ages 14-21 years?

Adv. Kher: I have no doubts that the route I have taken is completely crazy, particularly in the Indian milieu. Just too many things have to fall in place, and hence would be very circumspect to repeat this adventure.  

But yet even in our social and economic realities, one can redefine ‘success’, and if it includes seeing new dreams, then the chase is on…

I would like to say this one thing, all my friends, particularly those who are struggling to be Indians in this ‘Flat World’: teach your children only one ‘mantra’:  that there is nothing right or wrong in life, there are only consequence.

John Denver wrote a beautiful poem ‘Let This Be The Voice’, one stanza therein runs like this:

“There is a tree that stands in the forest

That one tree is all forests

All trees are that one”

To me:

There is a mantra that stands like a beacon

That one mantra is all Religion

All mantras are that one

As regards advice, I am incapable of advising anyone, and I have learned that is risky to launch on that path. But if there is one thing I can say, which is: pause and observe the world around you, and every little thing that exists on it… we are getting messages from them all the time. What our world has to say is infinitely wiser, listen to it.

CB5: Mr. Kher, we cannot thank you enough for sharing with us your personal journey about your career. We are sure that our readers will benefit from your experiences and personal insights.

Your personal stories are not only insightful but are also eye-openers and inspirational.  Sincerely Thank-You once again for sharing and giving us your valuable time.

Please comment, send any questions and like, share and follow us on FB, Google+, LinkedIn.

Until our next Blog on another interesting profession…

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VISIT : www.CB5.in

Interview with Vikas Shinde, Professional Photographer!

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In our pursuit to assist the youth to make the Right Academic/Career Choices, we have interviewed several successful individuals.

In this edition we have the opportunity to interview a very creative person, Mr Vikas Shinde, who is in a glamorous but competitive area – Professional Photography.

Mr. Shinde, holds a Diploma in Electrical Engineering from Cusrow Wadia Institute of Technology. Having worked as an Engineer in various companies, Mr Shinde decided to make his innate passion into a professional pursuit…

Read on to find what he has to share about his passion and profession….

CB5: Thank you for giving us the opportunity to interview you and understand more about your profession and career choice.

Given the context that our interview series is about successful people in various professions and to create awareness of the variety of professions to enable students to make informed decisions, would you have any initial comments?

Mr. Shinde: It is a good idea because I have been facing a lots of students everyday who want to enter in this profession of Photography even without understanding its strengths and weaknesses or the efforts required to be put in.  These days the cameras have got so smart that people feel just buying a camera would make them “Professional Photographers”. That’s not the truth, there is a lot of hard work, patience and passion and hell lot of imagination that is really required to build up this business rather than just a photograph or camera.

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CB5: Right, in fact that’s the common trait,  we are seeing with people deeply rooted and committed to professions for decades…. Clearly there is the passion but there is also the hardwork and dedication. It doesn’t necessarily get seen by public at large.

You have always been in photography, what’s your world been like? Right from your formal education to your profession –  what’s your journey like?

Mr. Shinde: I was in the 3rd Std when my father brought a camera of his friend and I took some pictures. All the pictures that I took, they came out very well, whatever pictures my father took they were not that great. So, this developed an interest in me and I started following the photographers who came in weddings and kept on observing them. In std 8th my father gave me a camera which was worth Rs. 320, way back in 1982. It was Agfa Isolette II  and I started working with it. The moment I understood all the functions I started making money out of it. I used to go in functions or wherever possible because I had to compensate the cost of the film and my hobby. I used that camera from 8th Std to 10th Std, then I realised the limitations of my camera. It used to take only 16 frames and my requirement was way beyond it and it was pretty costly in those days. I told my father I want a better camera, my mother then promised to give me a camera if I get good marks in 10th. Unfortunately, my parents were unable to buy me the camera of my choice because of the cost. And so, I went on Satyagraha for 1 and a half month. Can you imagine that I ate nothing.  Finally I got a camera worth Rs.2850, on 3rd Jan 1986 12.30pm or so, I still remember the day!!

That camera it gave me a lot, it gave me awards, it gave me money, taught me lot of things. After completing my Engineering, while doing my studies I continued to take pictures and make money!

CB5: Amazing! So you got into this profession almost by fate / by accident! It was a coincidence that your father happened to get you a camera but you continued to pursue your education; and at the same time you have an ignited Passion!  Right?

Mr. Shinde: Simultaneously, I was completing my education and doing projects. So after 10th I went to do a diploma in Electrical Engineering. I made money there as well and I was doing well in studies. Financially we were not very strong at home, so I started working early. The moment I got few awards, in Sakal newspaper etc. it further fuelled my interest and after that I kept on investing and changing my camera because I was getting good money and I had a fascination of technology right from the beginning. Almost all the brands, of 35mm camera, film camera’s in those days, I used them, some canon, some pentax, some other cameras I liked very much because of its lenses.

Further after completion of my engineering, my father insisted  on me taking up a job as an engineer rather than doing photography. I applied and got a Central Government job,  obviously a more stable job. I worked for 6 years as a government employee., I worked at various locations like Lonavla, Kamshet, Chinchwad, Rajgurunagar, Chakan, Alandi, Mumbai.

And then one fine day I resigned from my job, I didn’t know what to do. I was ready to do anything and everything to survive, failure was not my option, photography was parallely going, my initial job paid me some Rs. 3600, so Rs. 2000 I used to give to my mom and Rs1000 was for myself, and all the other expenses were borne by the camera. And I used to get 3000 if at all I used to go shoot a wedding or maybe a function, that was my profit in those days. I used to think I can make this money in a day, why should I work for an entire month, travel and take so much pain. That gave me strength. Everybody was against me, my wife, my parents, everyone said don’t leave the job, its a govt job, nobody else is getting that job and why do you want to leave. And yet I quit!! I was not happy there, I was not doing what I wanted to do. The moment I left the job I was on the road, I had only Rs.1.50 left in my pocket, for more than a span of 6 months, I stopped riding my scooter and started using a cycle, telling everyone that I was a fitness freak. So almost 6 months, August- December I had nothing. During that time, I have also trained myself to make vada pav, start off ironing people’s clothes, I was willing to do anything to be a professional photographer.

Photography, that is all what I wanted to do. The end result was photography!

The government job had nothing to do with photography, it was purely engineering. But even while travelling to and fro, I clicked a lot of images, I used to ride a bicycle to Alandi, I used to ride motorcycle to Rajgurunagar or Chakan or Manchal.  While travelling I used to take out my camera, click some beautiful landscapes, sun sets, maybe click the bridges, water everything on film cameras, though it was delayed outcomes, almost 2-3 months, after that I used to see the results and then think what else can be improved.

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CB5: Wow everything you share, your passion just comes out. But here’s the interesting question, you did not take any formal education in photography, how did/does that work?

Mr. Shinde: No not all! I had access to a lot of books. In those days whenever I used to have money I used to gather all the old books from the scrap collector, and observe those images, try to analyse, try to find out where the lights are, the composition, intention, colours. Those books are still with me, they gave me a lot of energy. When I had money in my pocket, I went to the British Council Library.  There I saw good films, good books, and some of those books I loved so much that I xeroxed them and kept it for myself. You get a lot of knowledge, you get a lot of energy, vision how to think. The moment the books direct you then you have your own vision rather than copying things. That gave the real experience, you try something, you prove something and then you realise okay these are the mistakes I am not going to make next time!

CB5: For you the learning was books, there was little guidance, there was this whole thing that I have to do this and keep learning from every single experience. This is almost like Eklavya… Passion driven learning!

Mr. Shinde: Yes, I did not get guidance from one person. Even if I used to see a good photograph lying in the dustbin I used to take it out, wash it and redevelop it. I never thought it was dirty. I still have a Kishor Kumar photograph with Madhubala, I have laminated it and kept because I found that photograph in the dustbin. So you might call it as passion, but I was hungry. I had no other option, this is what I wanted to do and after leaving a stable job, I had cut out all the ropes. I had to go ahead somehow.

CB5: So the question that  immediately comes to mind is what makes you want to do this as a 24×7 thing all the time. What about you is oriented  towards this profession?

Mr. Shinde: It was pretty simple, whenever I used to click, people used to appreciate that saying they have never seen such kind of images in their life. They previously had some photographers, but the images that I used to click for them using my techniques, my ideas, my compositions, they used to appreciate it very well. The moment I started that as a business the clients got benefited out of it and it gave me a lot of confidence. This is I what I do and the clients get richer and I can try that for myself. From that time onwards, I started with Emcure Pharmaceutical, working for them as a photographer, I used to supply everything to them, those days were the grooming days for the industry and my client was coming up with new products, this was around 1997 onwards. I was doing round the clock job for them, those were the days when I used to make 35mm slides for them. So I used to make 1000-2000 slides a day, pretty busy and good money. The first cheque I got from them was Rs.70,000 out of which almost 50,000 was profit and that boost up my confidence even more. The next month I had a cell phone and a landline. The cell phone bill in those days was Rs.20,000 because the calling was so expensive.

I am a very technology loving person – you give me any positive and beautiful thing related to technology and I try to implement those in my art. So I was the only guy after the directors to have cell phones, I used to get calls from them and I used to work for them round the clock. I supplied everything right from plastic boxes, candles, threads, scissors because whatever supplies they wanted I used to provide.

CB5: What do you enjoy most about your profession?

Mr. Shinde: I think of lots of weird things about how you live life, contradictions and imaginations about things we fail to understand. I used to show that through my art. For example one of my friend got a frog, the green colored tree gliding frog, the moment it jumps it’s almost 10 feet in a single jump, so I shot that frog. There is a saying in Marathi which translates to “the frog’s world lies in the pond” so I made that image, the frog is in a beautiful bowl and there is a beautiful world around it. I created that image and very few people find it very easy to understand. The moment I started showing it to the international market, they appreciated it very well.

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CB5: So what you enjoy is looking at anything around you and then imagining it in a different perspective and then capturing it in a frame and creating a story around. After all, a good picture is worth a thousand words!

Mr. Shinde: It’s very difficult to portray whatever the objects are around, I don’t look at them as objects, I look at them as images. So any object that is lying around, is also a part of my world, which inspires me, so even you are talking to me now, even though you have lots of expression, angles, and lots of lighting that is happening on your face, that attracts me. I keep on observing them. So at the back of my mind, even though I am saying something to you, it’s all going on. The kind of ambience, it’s all going on – I can’t stop it. It’s sort of a curse for me, I can’t see ordinary like other people and that is the problem. I try to see each and everything so perfect, that you are never happy, the family is always upset.

CB5: What is it about your profession that you don’t like?

Mr. Shinde: Impatience, mediocrity and Insensitivity! An artist is supposed to understand something beyond expression, if he understands it well only then he can go ahead with expressing it well so that the entire world understands the real story about it.

I heard a story of a war photographer. While he was shooting, he was shot dead. He was was bleeding so he took a cab and told the driver to take the films he had shot to the American Embassy and ask them to give it to his mother. While giving them he told the cab driver, “my mother gave me a beautiful vision to become a photographer”. Then the photographer died and the cab driver took the films and delivered them to his mom. He finds out that the mom is blind! So a blind person can give you vision, for that you need a sense and mind which is most important. When the images when processed it was a completely different world!

CB5: We talked about your success factors, the ability to visualize differently. Is there anything about your personality which is significantly valuable in what you are doing and contributing to your success?

Mr. Shinde: I don’t call myself successful at all! I am just a part of the entire stream where I am working, I am trying to fix the things or do the things in right way or in a way that I feel is right. Financially I am surviving, I am getting enough money. When I see the best people in the world, I compare myself, I always feel that I am nowhere near. When I see Ansel Adams, I have done nothing like him.

CB5: So you are craving for more and better everyday!

Mr. Shinde: Yes every single day! Everyday I curse myself, and tell myself that this is not what I have done. And you know one of the best photographers has stated that “A Successful photographer is not one who is making money or shooting best, but the one who has got a huge Recycle Bin”. He should be able to recycle or scrap his work everyday and move to next. And that is what I am trying to do everyday.

CB5: This is also one of the Management Mantras, lot of the CEOs will say this, that I attribute my success to all the failures that I faced. You are saying it in a completely different way, that my recycle bin needs to be bigger than my real creative work. So I need to dump and keep making mistakes and learn from them.

Mr. Shinde: Everyday you learn! Till today I fail to understand lots of things, which I understand everyday oh this is like this, I didn’t know this, I am supposed to learn this and I keep on trying. Every moment it’s a challenge, because you can take a picture, but everytime when you are given a single product to shoot in a different way, probably on the 5th or 6th day you will be out of ideas. But that doesn’t happen with me, I keep on thinking in so many different directions and facets that it comes to me.

So your need to ideate, look at things continuously in different light, is a very powerful internal thing that you have.

I couldn’t see a girl, a beautiful place or any beautiful thing around me ordinarily, because I just see images. And that keeps on refreshing my mind, that keeps me happy, that makes me enjoy life more and more.

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CB5: What kind of photography do you like?

Mr. Shinde: I prefer portraits and weird still life.

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CB5: Do you do exhibitions?

Mr. Shinde: I don’t do exhibitions. I don’t believe in exhibitions. Because the person who understands image he will never come to an exhibition, that guy is sitting at home doing some other work. The ordinary people just comment “wow, wonderful, nice” they don’t understand the composition. I have lots of weird work, I have taken a very poisonous snake, sandpit viper snake and I shot it live as a dish (cuisine), people kill and eat that snake, decorate it and stuff. It was alive, every moment I go near it, I had a risk, any moment it can just react.

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CB5: There must also be images which you clicked just for yourself. They are not for commercials or anything right?

Mr. Shinde: Yes lots of them almost 3 terabyte of images. I don’t show all my work to everyone , because very few people understand them. When I start getting stupid reactions I stop showing them the images, because they make fun of it rather than understanding it, you lose interest. Once there was an image in which I kept lots of coloured pencils together and there was one broken pencil and showed blood coming out. So the message was simple “Unity is strength” if you fall alone you are going to break no matter how many colors and beautiful you are. And whenever I show it to people they ask very funny questions, I get so upset. Seeing those images is a different thing and understanding is different. I can tell you the thought behind it but your imagination will be different, your interpretation will be different.

I had a film camera Sinar which was outdated those days when the digital technology came in & everyone started selling it off. I was so much in love with that camera because I kept my home for mortgage to buy that camera. It was some 4.5 lakh in 1995. So that was huge in those days. And again that was the reason that I want to win and prove it to everyone, I want to repay the loan, work hard. I am still using that camera. So when the digital technology came everybody said this is outdated & nobody is gonna use it. My engineering mind used to tell me, this technology cannot be outdated no matter what. This is the best, so I thought that I’ll keep it in a corner showing it to probably my sons & next few generations.

After a couple of years there was a digital bang, and a 6 Megapixel camera came to me. During those days people were shooting with 3 & 4 MP cameras. I was shooting at 6 MP. And that I engineered a plate to combine the two cameras by mounting it on one another. So even though nobody had the digital sinar in those days I had a digital sinar & i was shooting at 18 MP because of the earlier camera & the plate that I engineered. Going to the milling machine, defined it & took the readings to measure the depths & corners. It went very well.

Technology helped me a lot. People used to say it is not gonna happen but I knew it is possible. How, I didn’t know at that moment, but the technology, the education made it possible. An engineer is always told or taught to find out a solution. I found lots and lots of solutions for photography; I have plenty of technological solutions which I applied in my office itself. Then later I came up with a 50 megapixel digital camera, now I can make upto 300 Mega Pixel images. Which no body else is doing, not even in the country.

I have done an Indian navy job in which i took a picture of Indian Navy completely from the Taj hotel terrace. Those were 55 shots and I stitched them with the help of computer, so that print was made almost 22 feets and that is laminated and framed and kept in Mumbai Dockyard. So a guy has to walk to see that entire image. And it starts from gateway of india on the right hand side and entirely pans towards Brabourne stadium, church gate, queen’s necklace and each and everything in between.

CB5: Can you share what you believe are your significant achievements?

Mr. Shinde: I got three times recognition on Hasselblad.com site.  A camera which is made for shooting the moon. I have three Hasselblads and two Sinars. The first time I felt it was an accident, the next time also I felt okay one more accident and the third time I was really shocked, I was a bit happy, that okay there is someone in the world who understands how I think, how I interpret. And after the third recognition, I got a call from London Hasselblad, they took my interview and published on their website. That was the icing and that was my achievement you can say. That gave me a lot of confidence and that also kept me in an upset kind of mind state because I still have to perform better – so not stopping here was the only milestone.

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I always get upset, I cannot sleep well after 3 o’clock, I used to get lots of ideas every morning after 3 o’clock, I keep writing them, keep thinking about them and then the next day I bring it on the set and shoot it the way I like.

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CB5: How much of the work that you do is individualistic or working in a team?

Mr. Shinde: It’s more individual because all are my ideas. You must have seen so many ‘Gulab jamun’ packets, but every time you see my ‘Gulab jamun’ packet it’s going to be different. So how to present the same ‘Gulab jamun’ differently. So it keeps me challenged how I am going to do next time.

The parent company of my client KSB Pumps is German. So whenever I am making an image, they always say that you are always challenging yourself and we don’t know what you are going to create next. I get a lot of emails and appreciation from the German company saying they like my image.

I do have international clients, a lot of international friends. I present there. And these companies call you if anything new is coming up.

CB5: What were some of the sacrifices you had to make to reach to this level?

Mr. Shinde: Lost good family life, health, lost contact and relations around including parents, personal time. One has to sacrifice because you cannot achieve both the things, you never know when I have to pack my bags and go for shoot. Once my father was in the hospital going through a lot of pain while I had to do work during the day and go to the hospital at night. I can’t just lock my door and go there. Even though you understand there are commitments you have to follow. That really hurts me sometimes.

CB5: So for the young readers and the viewers who are probably thinking about photography as a career choice would you have some advice, both, from the perspective of what’s the enriching part of it and what would be the potential pitfalls?

Mr. Shinde: Difficulties are going to be there, the world has become so smart. The world has become one nation. You can deliver your work at any part of the world with the help of internet and you can learn technology. If you have sensitivity, logic and imagination, then only you should/ can go ahead.

There is no option to Dedication, passion and hard work. And the best and worst thing, you could get more  money and you will never say a photographer died getting paid less. But it is fluctuating. If you have a comfort zone, then you will never struggle, so it has to be fluctuating. Unless you have the hunger you won’t do anything. Because if you give me 5 crore rupees in my bank I will stop working. But when I know next month if I don’t do anything I won’t have money. Then you will start craving for it, not just to create money but there is some motivation for you to work.

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CB5: But if financial liberation happens, would you stop looking at things the way you are?

Mr. Shinde: No. I don’t want that. I might have the best cameras in the world. Technically I may be the best, but then do I have a rich brain to work on it. You can’t have all the things. If I have money, I will stop thinking. I will stop walking down the lane 10 kilometers taking pictures because then I will have a car then I won’t stop it, then I will have people to do the job. So the fun is gone. The pleasure of taking the camera out, standing in the dirt and taking beautiful pictures is gone, the satisfaction is gone and I don’t want that. I don’t want to be rich. I don’t want to be such a money making guy, that next day I feel I don’t want to work and let me have a nice sleep. But the next day when I get up at 3 O’clock in the morning with lots of ideas and I am so hungry to execute, I don’t want to lose that urge and I feel money will do that.

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CB5: Any advice for the students?

Mr. Shinde: It is very simple. Never give up your passion, no matter what. And second thing is that never stop coming out of your comfort zone.

If you keep relaxing, if you keep enjoying your comfort zone you will never be the best. So every time you have to tell yourself this is where I am not gonna stop. Otherwise the young generation is intelligent enough to understand its pros and cons, technology is with them, unlike us, we had very limited resources. But unfortunately people are looking at it with a different perspective as a money making machine. A photographer is highly paid for his ideas. He never dies penny less. He is rich enough to enjoy life.

CB5: Anything else you want to share with us?

Mr. Shinde: Anyone if at all, wants to learn anything about photography they can come to me, I can guide them, but I cannot teach photography. You cannot teach photography, you cannot teach imagination, you can learn how to use a camera, you can learn to drive but you cannot teach anyone how to drive in a race or a highway, or use that space to take over the vehicle.

Every day you enrich yourself by reading, by experimenting, by going out, by talking to people, by understanding the world that’s happening around you. Youngsters today immediately google an idea/concept and try to produce the same thing. I really stop them from doing this because this is not what you are, instead this is a copy of someone else. So use your own imagination, let it be at any stage. Your imagination is gonna take you ahead.

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CB5: We are sure that our readers will benefit from your open sharing and enjoy reading your experiences. We are also sure that some of them will be motivated to choose Photography as a career!

We sincerely Thank you for the sharing and giving us your time.

Until our next Blog on another interesting profession…

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VISIT : www.CB5.in

Interview with Meena Chandavarkar!

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In our pursuit to assist the youth to make the Right Academic/Career Choices, we have interviewed several successful individuals.

This is our interview with Meena Chandavarkar- Ex-Principal, Abhinav Vidyalaya English Medium Pre-Primary School and later Superintendent of Abhinav Vidyalaya Pre- Primary, Primary and High School until 2003.

Having finished her primary education in a One Teacher Village school in Konkan and later on graduation in Kolhapur and Pune (Meena Teacher as she is fondly addressed) she is happy to call herself “GHATI Konkani!!” a mix of adventure and affection.

After having a long seven year stint at Hindustan Lever Ltd, Times of India and IBM World Trade Corporation, she found her true vocation with Young Children at the behest of Mrs Rajini Date who invited her to Abhinava Vidyalaya English Medium Pre Primary School.

Meenatai joined the preschool in 1973 and held on to it steadfastly and with all her mind and soul mainly because of her innate love for children.

Tatyasaheb (K B Virkar) the president of Adarsh Shikshan Mandali inspired her with his love for language and work culture. He is the first Maharashtrian to open an English Medium School in Western Pune. He was the first person to write both English into Marathi and Marathi into English Dictionary.

Meenatai, a pioneer of many new ideas and concepts in child education says “Learning through love has now become her philosophy in Education and her life as well!”

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CB5: Meenatai … Thank you for giving us this time for an interview…

We are sure that our readers will enjoy reading about your experiences as a Teacher and Pioneer in the field of Education..

Can you tell us how you came into this profession of teaching and education after working for corporates in Mumbai?                                                                                    

Meenatai: Well…All those lovely jobs were really in search of decent earnings due to financial constraints and responsibilities. In fact I have been at it in small ways (tuitions, small jobs etc.) since my age of 18.

And like most, lower middle class people in those years (1955 onwards), I took pride in helping the family. I got my first proper job at Hindustan Lever (HUL), in Market Research that I did for about 2.5 years. After that I joined Times of India (TOI) and IBM followed. These years I enjoyed working and grew in maturity with responsibility while being happy at the same time.

CB5: But in TOI were you involved with Journalism?

Meenatai: I did some bit of journalism. People were trained on the job. In those days there were no journalism colleges (1960-61). But I was not the reporter, I worked in the information bureau, interestingly Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Arun Gandhi was our boss! He told us a lot about Gandhiji. I also wrote the ladies and children’s page with Navbharat times. And occasionally contributed to Dharmayog- a Hindi weekly.  I had the good fortune to interview Smt Vijayalakshmi Pandit and Maharani Gayatri Devi. 

It was a lot of fun and hard work which later made it easy for me to work in Abhinav Vidyalaya for over 13hrs a day.

CB5: You are known as a Pioneer in the field of Child Education….Can you tell us about some of the initiatives introduced by you in Abhinav Vidyalaya and New India School (2003-12)?

Meenatai: I guess things happened to me. The basic reasons are because some things came to my mind to start with, due to the unconditional love I had for my students. Another and extremely important reason is ALL teachers I worked with, Tai’s, Dada’s and my seniors accepted me absolutely wholeheartedly. Their contribution to all these programs, initiatives happened due to the loving (and often due to the logic and reason) and understanding, bonding and trust we had amongst us. One other reason I dare say is that I am instinctive and highly perceptive person. The other BIG reason is “MY” school where I studied 5th -11th in Kolhapur, which gave me many lessons for life. Abhinav and New India School where I worked are “OUR” schools. I never indulge in mentioning My school, My teachers and My children. They are always OUR school, Our teachers and Our children… because the onus of ownership in any school lies upon the TEAM – “All for One and One for All” is also something that we believed in. Further, my corporate experience contributed in acceptance from all.

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I must also mention that almost each initiative and program that we engaged in had a solid basic driving principle behind it. Maybe I chanced upon it after it’s rolling in well and proper! Therefore I mentioned that I play a little more by instinct than intellect.

Let me enumerate the programs and the principles behind which were also at times for sheer joy and fun. And all of us at Abhinav Vidyalaya and New India School think that creating joy, fun, laughter and wholesome entertainment is one of the most important facets to engage in education.

Also let me clarify one thing, people often say that I undertake a lot of experiments….

No please! Please NO!

Because of the kind of love I have for kids, I kept on getting different ideas, but I have never experimented on kids. I never treated them as guinea pigs.

We have always discussed and brainstormed in our TEAM at length, any new concept /idea that we decided to implement.

We enter into any new initiative, with thorough planning and forethought and of course with butterflies in our bellies!

The following are the various initiatives that we pioneered!

  • No donations
  • No Interviews for students until STD 2
  • Earlier the parents were interviewed but now the Parents interview the Teachers and the Principal in an effort to find out whether the teachers in the school know about the 3-5 year olds, their psychology and their problems. PTA members are present to watch the process of admission.
  • No competition, exams, ranks or numbers in Preschool and Kindergarten.
  • First Day of child in school is a great experience with a lot of fun, flowers, cultural programs and mother/grandmother sitting inside the classroom until the child is used to surroundings and people. No trauma of an unknown place and/or person.
  • To enhance the experiences and creativity the children are patiently and lovingly introduced without force to a broad spectrum of activities including – Art, Drawing, Colouring, Sports, Puzzles, Blocks, Dramatics etc.  In fact we believe that children are born with all these talents, Teachers have to be the facilitators to make children feel free to experiment with these.
  • Freely conducted unbiased PTA meetings, workshops and games with the parent community- encouraging cross learning.
  • Grandparent visits to pre-school. All 4 Sambandhis meet on this occasion at the school to watch their grandchild’s gimmicks and engagement in the school activities. This also impacts family integration apart from learning, respecting and helping the seniors at home, on the streets etc…
  • Tai-Dada Day.
  • Every child to participate in Annual Day on Stage. Also no speeches/guest lecturers or prize distribution on Annual Day.
  • Lectures from eminent persons for students class wise.
  • Mind and Body development training including Sex education from 5th STD onward.
  • Senior KG sendoff for STD 10th students to bond between senior and young students
  • Dolls wedding
  • Celebrating various diverse Festivals and National occasions. Greeting Cards for Mothers & Teachers on Guru Pournima day
  • Performance from famous and well known artists, musicians and dancers to inspire and encourage such pursuits.
  • Similarly informative talks from Medical and other professions to expose our children to variety of possibilities in their later life.
  • Tabla (percussion) training by masters
  • Mensa workshops for Gifted Students from Std 5th, 6th & 7th.
  • We used to teach shapes to children in their K.G. It is because very young children have a great capability to remember shapes. We also know how 8-10 year olds are able to solve the Rubik’s cube faster than adults
  • I am a person who worries about OUR Nation, Patriotism and such related ideas and I have always wanted our children to be aware of this. We always have a MAP of India in all our classes.
  • We also made children from Sr. K.G recite 1-10 numbers in various languages. In that class they have a good concept of number up to 10. Apart from such programs, our school made conscious effort, that we had mother’s name in our registers. We would also write girl’s name first on the catalog followed by boys names. Most schools despite having many women teachers , write boy’s name first.
  • You will find that all our teachers and students say “PLEASE”, “THANK YOU”, “MAY I”, “SORRY” whenever occasion rose. Language is the vehicle of your thoughts. If you use the words often, the meaning follows and you think the thoughts genuinely.

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CB5: Wow! Meenatai, your experiences coupled with your energy and lots of new, well thought out initiatives! Must have been a task to roll them out? Where did you find the support?

Meenatai: I had colleagues who were very supportive throughout and enthusiastic about everything we were planning to do. No one ever resisted me. I give them full credit of whatever success I have achieved; one person can run a factory but not a school. I am very grateful to them. Even Tatya Saheb never questioned anything I suggested.

Here is one anecdote of our Team work…

Once, a Principal of another school came to meet me. All our teachers were covering books, some 400 books were to be covered. She was surprised to see and commented about it. So I told her that I am here because you have come to meet me. Otherwise I was also with the teachers covering books!

CB5: You were completely dedicated to the school. What were the sacrifices you had to make?

Meenatai: I did miss out looking after my family, specially my son, and I do feel bad about it now. I now feel that I could have given him more time!

CB5: What would you say are your Success factors?

Meenatai: People around me have to be happy, anyone – my colleagues boss or anyone who meets me shouldn’t feel – “Oh why did I see this women today!” They should always feel – “Oh I am so happy I met Meena today”.

Happiness is success.

Respect for others… first for children.

Equality – believe and practice in equality.

All of us make mistakes…learn from them.

Must not hurt others and try to understand others perspective.

CB5: And Meenatai can you share with us some of the achievements that you cherish?

Meenatai: Happy students of Abhinav and New India schools.

The biggest encouragement and support came from the unconditional love children and parents offer me even today.

The “Meena Teacher! Meena Teacher!” chants of all the little children as I arrived in school moves me to tears even now as it did with onlookers and parents.

This is my greatest reward, award, achievement, success, happiness and fulfillment!

CB5: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Meenatai: “All for one and one for all” is my favorite line.

Try and have Affection for everyone around you

“Learning through love” is our motto in New India School and my life philosophy.

But more than students I would give advice to teachers don’t yell, don’t hit the students and don’t talk rudely to them. If you want to touch a child, do it with love.

Remember how much your own children and your students have FORGIVEN you. Learn it from them.

CB5: Meenatai…As always listening and talking with you is not only enriching it is inspiring!

We are sure that our readers will enjoy reading about your experiences and choices and some of them will be motivated to choose a career as a Teacher and Educator!

We Thank you deeply for the interview and sharing so openly with us and our readers!

Until our next Blog on another interesting profession…

Thank You

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VISIT : www.CB5.in

 

Interview with Sonali Damle!

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In our pursuit to assist the youth to make the Right Academic/Career Choices, we have interviewed several successful individuals.

This interview is with Sonali Damle – Management Consultant, Director Bain Capability Center.

Sonali has an MBA in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School; Master of Science from Washington University, Bachelor of Architecture from Pune.

She is highly qualified with a rich and varied experience in the industry in the US and India.

Straddling between Strategic thinking and Detail orientation, Thinking out of the box, Strong Goal Orientation and Vision have been key to her success.

Sonali studied Architecture up to the Master’s degree and practiced the profession before choosing to move to Business and then to Business Administration.

We believe that this interview will be insightful, motivating and will give direction to people who are trying to make Career Choices or switch to a different career!

Read on to find what she has to share about her earlier and current profession….

CB5: Please share some detail about your current professional activities. What do you do?

Sonali: I have over 15 years’ experience in the offshoring industry as a consultant focused on banking process offshoring; an entrepreneur through a start-up in New York in the data and information mapping space and most recently as a business leader with Bain.

Currently, as Director, Bain Capability Center, I am responsible for spearheading “Centers of Expertise” that could augment the standard consulting lifecycle. As part of this role, I have the overall responsibility for the Bain Capability Center (BCC) which is based in India.

CB5: Your formal education and your professional career have different tracks…How did you decide on the line for the formal education? What made you select this line of study?

Sonali: When I was in my XI standard we were visiting our family friend who was a “Brick and Mortar” Architect. I was impressed and inspired by the potential to build “castles” as a young girl and so decided to become a student of Architecture in Pune where I graduated summa cum laude and went on to pursue a Masters Degree in the US.

Thereafter, I got an opportunity to work at the National University of Singapore and soon realized that it was really the virtual world that interested me more. I moved back to the US and set up my own business in Computer Graphics in the US. In the late 90s developing intelligence systems for construction was unique. It was new and fascinating. It was also intellectually rewarding due to the unique combination of Design and Math in ways that engaged both the right and left brain.

My husband and I ran the business for 3 years and realized that a Formal Business Education and Network was necessary to scale a business. I decided to go back to school for an MBA at the Wharton Business School.

CB5: When and How did you get into your current area of work? What were/are your motivators? What made you change your career path as defined by your formal education?

Sonali: The move from Architecture was part circumstance and part a realization of a keen interest in understanding business. In 1999, I co-founded Intercorp Inc. in New York. This was a great opportunity to combine my education and interest. The company was primarily focused on geospatial mapping of the survey and aerial photography data to inform construction at major infrastructure hubs such as ports.

I exited the company with a sale to an engineering firm to get an MBA and broaden my business skills.

Consulting came as a natural next step, as it is a field that exposes you to work in the most nebulous questions for a business and has fast track learning and exposure across many different industries. This exposure also comes with great responsibility and impact. A consultant’s advice can influence the direction that companies take and can have a long-lasting impact on the overall business and industry. That is both, highly energizing as well as challenging. The variety of experience across industries, geographies, and capabilities develops acute business acumen. It attracts the smartest minds who have the ability to synthesize multi-dimensional issues through intellectual curiosity, analytical rigor, creativity, and practicality. Working with such people is rewarding on many levels.

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CB5: What do you enjoy most about your current profession?

Sonali: People: Motivated, hardworking and smart colleagues with a  passion for solving problems and an amazing ‘can do attitude’ .. what more could one ask for. You are challenged everyday to be a better version of yourself!

Opportunity to innovate, be entrepreneurial and create broad and lasting influence in the consulting industry based on understanding a deep customer need and solving for it

Intellectual fulfillment: cracking diverse set of questions, exposure to different industries, analytical outlook backed by facts and data

From thinking about which country a cement manufacturer should expand in,  to what the customer preference for a particular brand of say a gaming console – Xbox, Nintendo could be or is it “back to the desktop” – a trend we have going on now —  there’s never a dull moment!

CB5: In your opinion what are your success factors? What elements about your personality help in this success?

Sonali: Straddling between Strategic thinking and detail orientation;  Ability to envision out of the box solutions to problems while ensuring implementation; Strong goal orientation; Vision; Hard work.

CB5: What are the significant achievements in your present career that you would like our readers to know?

Sonali: I was the Gold Medalist for BArch, Pune University;

I completed a 2 year Masters program in 1 year;

Starting a Business at a young age;

Successfully balancing work and home;

Currently, I have the big role and responsibility of nurturing the next generation and at the same time upholding world standards.

CB5: What were some of the sacrifices you had to make to reach the level of success that you have achieved?

Sonali: Undivided attention and stress-free time with family.

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CB5: Would you have any advice for the younger generation, especially someone who is at crossroads trying to select an education path, say someone between ages 14-21 years?

Sonali: Be honest about why you want in a particular career. Find what you will enjoy doing even when things are not going well. Research your options by talking to people from those professions, asking them what a day in their life looks like; what is the hardest part of their job. What companies you will work with etc. if you chose a particular profession. Try your best to put yourself in their shoes and know what you are getting into to see if it fits with your idea of an ideal career choice.

Be willing to roll up your sleeves to get into new things; go deep and work hard

Beyond baseline capability, if you are a self-starter; can work with ambiguity; like “figuring things out” and are a motivated person, that is what will make you successful in this changing world.

CB5: Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers?

Sonali: Work hard, Stay motivated, Ask questions, along with IQ and EQ, CQ- Curiosity Quotient is very important. Don’t forget to Have fun!

CB5: Thank you so much for giving us your valuable time. We really appreciate it. We are sure our readers will be inspired and successful in their careers after reading about successful people like yourself!

Until our next Blog on another interesting profession…

Thank You

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VISIT : www.CB5.in

In conversation with Dr. Sandeep Patwardhan, Pediatric Orthopedic surgeon!

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In our pursuit to assist the youth to make the Right Academic/Career Choices, we have interviewed several successful individuals from various professions.

We have Dr. Sandeep Patwardhan, Pediatric Orthopedic surgeon, well known across India and all over the world for his work especially with children.

For Dr. Patwardhan, helping children get better, the constant drive to innovate, learn different things and hard work has contributed to his success.

How did Dr. Patwardhan decide to pursue medicine? What were his motivators and passion? What determined his journey into medicine and what role did destiny/coincidence and mentors play?

Below are snippets of his interview… An insightful guidance for students who are at crossroads trying to select the right career, and also for parents, especially in India…

AND we recommend that you also hear the full recording click on the link below…

Dr. Patwardhan has been passionately working in the field of Pediatric Orthopedics for the past 18 years. Pediatric Orthopedics is quite a young profession and a specialty in itself.   Dr. Patwardhan is one of the first Pediatric Orthopedic surgeons from Pune!

CB5: So what is Orthopedics all about? What does a normal day for a Pediatric orthopedic look like?

Dr. Patwardhan: The word Orthopedics is derived from “Ortho” meaning crooked and “Pedia’ meaning child. So we deal with children less than 16 years of age – Pediatric Orthopedics deal with children’s fractures, paralytic conditions, spastic kids, cerebral palsy becomes a big part of our treatment repertoire, tumors, deformities and growth related issues. So if you have crooked limbs, I can straighten them for you, short limbs, I can make them longer, we can make a limb shorter, birth defect reconstruction like a dislocated hip, an absent thumb, missing bone, so we can reconstruct it and give better functioning, better life.”

‘Pediatric’ Orthopedics is fascinating because in the first 16 years of life you are evolving and changing with time. Once you are an adult, your structure and form are fixed: If it’s broken you fix it if it’s damaged you replace it. That is what it is. It is mechanical.

My interest was more biological, Pediatric Orthopedics offers us the thrill of using our brains in addition to our hands, coming to a diagnosis, making a decision, what dose to give, following them up and watching them evolve is a satisfaction. So kids whom I fixed when they were 2 years old and now they are 22 and completely functioning alright is a different level of satisfaction.

Another interesting point to note is that in India we have a population of 1.25 Billion and almost 400 million are kids. And there are only about 70-80 dedicated pediatric orthopedic surgeons in the country. So all this is 85% of workload and then we have been training the next generation by conferences, seminars.

However Orthopedics is not a glamorous career, it is lowest paid of all orthopedics, it is not high flown but there are volumes. We can do more good for more people, it is just a matter of perspective, in making a career decision.

CB5: Why and how did you select Orthopedics? What made you select Orthopedics?

Dr. Patwardhan: I grew up in a studious environment, my father was a scientist and mother was a teacher. What you wanted to do had nothing to do if you didn’t have the marks. And at that time, it was always hierarchical, the top guys went to medicine, the second top engineering, and so forth. And secondly the era we grew up in there was nothing like Chatur Knowledge Networking, we did not have many informed options available.

I just got the marks, engineering admission happened before medical, I took admission for engineering, I attended college for a month, but then the medical list was out, I got into medicine as it was clearly top in the hierarchy.

I did not have any kind of passion or early inclination for medicine. No informed decision, it just happened, where I am today is a fluke. It naturally occurred to you and you evolved in that direction subconsciously.

I believe birds of a feather flock together, so I guess you migrate towards a specialty that suits your personality.

“Personality plays an important role, I cannot imagine myself as a Gynecologist, there are certain personality traits required even in medical professions and people gravitate towards their personality is what I have observed.”

Personality decides if you will opt for surgical branches or the medical branches. If you want to think and be an intellectual kind, go for Physician side, people who want to be hands on go towards a surgical side.

So I wanted to go for general surgery, but then I got an opportunity to work in the Orthopedics department, and I found a completely new world. This was more result oriented, less morbid, lesser emergencies more physically oriented as compared to general surgery. It suited the personality again. Ortho was an upcoming branch and it was a specialty in itself.

My philosophy of life has been that, if you keep on consistently working in a particular way, generally good things happen, there is no reason for bad things to happen.

What appeals to your talent – you gravitate towards it, youngsters should identify what excites them and what skills they have and accordingly choose a career! If you have the quirk to innovate, modify things, come up with new things, newer ideas and continuously want to keep evolving you will enter a subject which is more biological and skillful, then you will publish more you will write more, teach more!

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CB5: What makes a person successful?

Dr. Patwardhan: Is this the constant drive to innovate. I always want to make any surgery affordable, quick and early recovery. So every time one needs to think how can I make it faster, cheaper and more efficient!

You need to challenge the science, what if I do it the other way, then a new technique evolves, then you have enough work on it, then you write a paper and that becomes the new science.

So now I have publications that are changing the way people are looking at things and that is one parameter of success for me and it’s no more monetary.

As you grow older you are not really working for money, your results and the ability to become the game changer for that field in your immediate vicinity is what drives one every day. At the end, if I could teach 5 more students, if I could help 5 more crippled kids become alright that is the success for me.

“Unless you have the willingness or passion for helping others you shouldn’t get into medicine.  Service to humanity is the big chunk.”

You need to deal with all kinds of people, you have to play with some, joke with some, pinch some, scold some, be arrogant with some. And always remember that they have come to you because they have a problem and there is nobody else who can solve it for them. It can give you confidence it can give you arrogance too but then it’s a fine line. So if you think that this translates into this much money then you are in a wrong profession.

This profession is for service, the money will come and it will always be greater than what you need.

CB5: Any notable/significant achievements?

  1. Mukul Madhav Foundation, we are doing free surgery for spastic kids in Satara, Ratnagiri district and we have identified over 700 children with spasticity.
  2. Under Saraswati Foundation we conduct programs, train students and teach how to treat fractures,
  3. Teaching PG students how to examine, treat and make decisions
  4. Travel to places where expertise is not available and provide services.

I guess that is success enough for me.

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CB5: To reach here you must have made many Sacrifices. Would you like to share some?

Dr. Patwardhan: Time is the biggest sacrifice! Personal, Family time and time to socialize is lacking.

Health suffers at times.

“If you want to do so many things you need to be physically and mentally fit.”

CB5: Any advice you would like to give all our readers?

Dr. Patwardhan: One should not take life too seriously, we plan too much, take too much advice, analyze too much. Things happen and they happen in the right direction, depending on your personality, your interest, your environment and how you guide yourself through it.

The journey is the fun, not the end point. If you look at medicine and say I want to become MS Ortho and that’s the end of it, you are going to be unhappy. Once a doctor always a doctor, you cannot do anything much with your life later. There are only a handful of people who have changed tracks after Medicine.

Know yourself first, and CB5 would help people to know themselves better and you then need to believe in it.

You should have supreme self-confidence! I always had it. Everyone during my 10th said he is going to fail but I got 99%. I never knew I had it until it was pointed out, so be confident in whatever you do. Insight is the key, you need to realize that you can do it, once you get that nothing can stop you from succeeding.

We thank Dr. Patwardhan for sharing his experiences and wisdom.

Do hear the FULL AUDIO RECORDING of the INTERVIEW

click on the link below……

Thank You

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VISIT : www.CB5.in

Interview with Dr. Pradnya Dhokrikar- Small Animal Veterinarian

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In our pursuit to assist the youth to make the Right Academic/Career Choices, we have interviewed several successful individuals.

This interview is with renowned Veterinarian, Dr. Pradnya.

She is a highly qualified subject matter expert who is on a continuous learning journey, consulted by many in her profession in India and abroad.

For Dr. Pradnya, love and passion for animal well-being, empathy for pets and their owners, communication skills and dedication have been the contributory success factors.

Reading her interview will be insightful, motivating and will give direction to people who have love and passion for working with animals.

Read on to find what she has to share about her profession and Veterinary practice.

CB5: Dr. Pradnya Please share some detail about your current professional activities. What do you do?

Dr. Pradnya: I am a small animal veterinarian  – I treat cats, dogs, birds, and turtles. I have been practicing in Pune since 1995. My clinic – “PETS CLINIC” offers a complete range of veterinary services including physical examination, vaccination, diagnosis and treatment, spay/neutering, dental care, surgical care, blood work and preventive medicine.

CB5: What is the degree that one needs to practice as a veterinarian? How did you decide on this line for your formal education? What made you select this line of study?

Dr. Pradnya: My basic degree is Bachelors of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry (B.V.Sc); thereafter I did Masters in Veterinary Medicine (M.V.Sc) in Mumbai and then another Masters in the US – MS Small Animal Surgery.

As a school going girl (1970-80) I had many options to decide like Theater, TV (was a new opening in 1970’s in India), studying law. But I took our pet Pomeranian dog – Bosky to a veterinarian in Mumbai – Dr. Doshi and then I decided I would be a Veterinarian. The Vet’s way of handling my dog and other patients, his client interaction – all impressed me as a 10th-12th std girl and helped me to choose my career.

CB5: How did you begin your profession?

Dr. Pradnya: Soon after I completed my M.V.Sc, I started working. First I did house visits, but I soon realized the need of having a clinic, where the patients can be treated in-house and “ PETS CLINIC” was set up in 1990.

CB5: What do you enjoy most about your job as a Veterinarian?

Dr. Pradnya: The most rewarding/enjoyable part of my profession is to treat and help animals on a daily basis,The chance to promote health of the pets, the joy of resolving a dystocia (difficult labor) and holding the newly born puppy/kitten in your hands, a very sick animal who walks with a wagging tail. The happiness is endless!

Also to relieve the pet of its suffering that has experienced terminal or chronic illnesses is not enjoyable but satisfying that as a vet, I could help them cross the rainbow bridge in the least painful way.

CB5: In your opinion what are your success factors? What elements about your personality help in this success?

Dr. Pradnya: Success factors:

a) Communication skills- very important. Through talking, listening to owners, observing the body language of owners

b) Scientific knowledge- The training and skills achieved during rigorous learning years. Knowledge of anatomy, diseases and behavior patterns.

c) Empathy/ Compassion- Towards both – animals and their owners. To be able to put animals and their owners at ease during their visit.

d) Dedication and passion for animals

e) Being available and

f) Quick decision making

 

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CB5: What are the significant achievements in your present career that you would like our readers to know?

Dr. Pradnya: 27 years ago I started a very basic clinic, where I would treat and vaccinate animals. Now we have a full-fledged clinic with facilities for advanced care and referrals. New graduates are interested in learning/practicing at my clinic. Few students have also started their own practice after working with me or have gone abroad to work or practice.

Academically, I was awarded the Rotary International Scholarship to pursue Masters Degree in Small Animal Surgery in the US and last year an Externship in Ophthalmology at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Israel.

CB5: What were some of the sacrifices you had to make to reach the level of success that you have achieved?

Dr. Pradnya: Long years of Study –  almost 7-8 years.

It hurts/ pains when I have to euthanize an animal/pet

One has to be on call – No private life

Physically and mentally demanding. Sometimes emotionally too.

CB5: Would you have any advice for the younger generation, especially someone who is at crossroads trying to select an education path, say someone between ages 14-21 years?

Dr. Pradnya: Those who want to be Veterinarians- think, think and think….

You have to love and have a passion for animals. This is not a getaway if you don’t get into medical school.

If you are here to make money, you are greatly mistaken. You are in the wrong profession! Expect to earn 15%-25% less of what human doctors make. Expect to work long hours, not get lunch, stay late after work. You have to witness a lot of sad (very sad) and depressing cases. Have to deal with owner’s who are unhappy/stressed out.

Being a Veterinarian is not glamorous. It is often very depressing, heart-wrenching job.

CB5: Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers?

Dr. Pradnya: I love my job. I have passion for animal well-being and I honestly cannot see myself doing anything else as a career

CB5: Thank You for the wonderful interview. We are sure that your words of experience will help our young readers and parents gain better insight about Veterinary Doctor as a Profession.

CB5: That was Dr. Pradnya Dhokrikar- Small Animal Veterinarian, giving us deep insights on her experiences in choosing and rising in the profession.

Hope this gives our readers a new perspective about Veterinary Doctor as a Profession

Until our next Blog on another interesting profession…

Thank You

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Interview with Pratap Jadhav- Interior Designer, National President, Institute of Indian Interior Designers (IIID).

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In our pursuit to assist the youth to make the Right Academic/Career Choices, we have interviewed several successful individuals from various professions.

The second in the series is Mr. Pratap Jadhav, Interior Designer, National President, Institute of Indian Interior Designers.

For Pratap, the fun and thrill he gets out of design and creativity, his communication skills, fair practices, compassion and dedication have been the contributory success factors.

Read on to find what he has to share about his Illustrious Career…

CB5: Mr. Jadhav… As an Interior Designer, you are in a very interesting and creative profession which actually impacts everyone… Can you please share with us some detail about your profession? What do Interior Design specialists like you do?

Pratap Jadhav: I am an interior designer by profession and we have been now working for last 27 years in Interior design consultancy. We have largely been doing residential, high-end residential, corporate offices and commercial projects. It has been a wide spectrum, but we have a very selective clientele. Because of our approach of not overdoing and keeping it simple. We try and limit the number of projects we do at a time, because we aim for the best for our client and every project that we do.

Parallel to this, I am also heading the professional body as the National President of Institute of Indian Interior Designers (IIID) in India. So a lot of effort and contribution has been done from our end for the profession of Interior design in India.

CB5: How did you decide on the field of Interior Design for your formal education? What made you study Interior Design??

Pratap Jadhav: We have it in the family, my father was an architect, so we obviously had some creativity in our blood. But the reason I did not opt for architecture was that I wanted to run away from five years of education , I was always fascinated by the interior spaces. One  actually deals with client psychology on day to day basis, understand each and every person in their family, or people working in the offices and understand human behavior, human psychology, culture. Interiors felt so intriguing at that time, rather than doing architecture because it would go on for years and interior projects would get faster outcomes. I was being a little rebellious then. I was actually planning to go for advertising but then destiny was to make me an interior designer.

CB5: Very Interesting! And Where did you study ID? What were/are your motivators? Who are your icons?

Pratap Jadhav: I studied in Marathwada Mitra Mandal, it was the first batch of the School of Interior Design, blessed with a wonderful faculty like Hemant Khire and R.M Kulkarni. They are still my gurus, and they groomed us so well that we don’t call ourselves as accomplished designers even now, as every day we learn something, we understand something new. This field is still very new and young so to say, it’s still growing and you have to keep your eyes, ears, all senses open to be able to absorb and understand this.

My father, was a big ideal for me, highly creative person, the projects that he has done I feel are still contemporary. His work, his principles on which he laid his foundation, his practice throughout his life, the respect that he garnered from the family, from the clients, from the entire fraternity, from the public at large was something which has made my being into this field little easier, as the ideal was at home itself. I could see his success and I could see the satisfaction on his face, he was never bogged by anything else and he was always a focussed individual throughout his life. He was also a leader, he headed Nasik’s IIA center, so even some of the leadership qualities in me are inherent. He was “THE” reason I got into all this. I try and follow his principles, an absolutely non-corrupt man, fair and very sincere to his work – I think I learned that from him. So my father was my biggest motivator. Apart from him, in practice, I adore the work of Charles Correa, Ramesh Edwankar along with Chandrashekhar Kanetkar. I tried to learn a lot from them. These have been an inspiration and because of whom the whole design process or the design ability or the design understanding grew.

 

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CB5: Wow…when you have such a set of mentors how can you escape success? And what do you enjoy most about your work as an Interior Designer?

Pratap Jadhav: Nobody can copy you, nobody can replicate what you have done. It’s not possible, even if I open the book and I try to replicate something, it’s not going to work, so that’s the thrill. The first day of my college we were told to draw a line and one single line also cannot be repeated even by ourselves. So that uniqueness and fun that one gets out of that creativity was something which excites me.

CB5: In your opinion what has made you successful? What are your success factors? AND What elements about your personality help in this success?

Pratap Jadhav: I can come across people, I can speak well, I have been very sincere, fair like my father, my principles have been laid and I can’t compromise them. Being able to communicate effectively is one of my biggest assets and again thanks to my father who made me participate in debates and competitions, elocution competitions from my childhood. So that gave me a stage here and got opportunities. My ability to be able to do public speaking has given me a lot of openings and opportunities in life and plus the principles I have, the philosophy that I follow and something which supports all this to make me a better leader.

CB5: What are the significant achievements in your present career that you would like our readers to know?

Pratap Jadhav: A happy family, secondly we have done really good work which I enjoy myself, I don’t know how much of it is appreciated but otherwise we have niche clients, we don’t do lot of projects at a time, our work has been published, as a leader I have been appreciated for my work throughout India and across Asia Pacific. Additionally,  on 7th July I will be awarded as a Prime Leader by CNBC TV and Chamber of Commerce of Dubai. So these are highs in life, but  I believe the highs or satisfaction that I get through every project that I complete, that’s where I feel we have achieved, because we put in a lot of effort and energy in getting a project done. Though I feel because of my IIID, some part of it has been left out, research could have happened more, we could have done better sites than what we are doing, but still, at the end of the day, we get the results. So we are enjoying the process, that’s where the gain is that’s where the appreciation that has come from across India, across Asia Pacific board of designers. It gives us a good feeling that we work, we are approached, we are appreciated. The work is happening, the sites are coming up well, we are evolving every day we are doing better work every day.

CB5: What were some of the sacrifices you had to make to reach the level of success that you have achieved?

Pratap Jadhav: Huge – the only sacrifice I feel is my time to my family which is largely reduced because of my commitment to IIID. I have traveled extensively in the last 2.5 years, hardly get time to be with my family, and my daughters, but nevertheless, I feel that there is some gain. They will look at me as an ideal and follow it in their lives. But still, I feel at times I could have given more time to them.

Even in office a lot of my absence is been felt. I haven’t been giving a lot of time, but because of the wonderful staff that I have and the quality of delegating things to people which helped me in IIID leadership is also helping me here. I just do the work of my core competence that is design. I don’t do anything else, my staff is the one working day in and day out. My man Friday Ankush Ghare is my life line at work along with my design staff.

CB5: So focussed hard work appears to be an important mantra! Would you have any advice for the younger generation, especially someone who is at crossroads trying to select an education path, say someone between ages 14-21 years?

Pratap Jadhav: Work hard, gain as much knowledge as you can and then be proactive. Keep doing work, don’t look at the time. It pays ultimately. Be fair in your practices. I see a lot of younger generation getting into wrong practices or trying to establish their practices in wrong ways. I strongly believe if you work hard, if you are fair throughout your practice, it might take a decade or a half but at the end of the day what comes to you is the satisfaction and also recognition, money follows.

Read more. Reading is something which the younger generation is not doing right now. Huge amount of reading is required to have a holistic approach towards design. We have to understand humanities, culture, religion, to be able to be a good designer!

Become Self Aware. I have been blessed, there were some extremes in my personality which were pointedly identified in the CB5 and it has helped me gain confidence and leadership that was accepted at IIID and now I have been asked to repeat the tenure and it’s all because of that one thing that was pointed out and it has helped me a lot. It has given me a wonderful insight. I have recommended so many of my friends to do CB5 and benefit from the counseling, because I myself strongly believe that CB5 has given me the mirror that I could stand in front of and understand myself so well.  I feel CB5 is a very scientific way of knowing yourself. So I must thank Ms.Chatura Damle and CB5 for the same.

CB5: Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers?

Pratap Jadhav: I would rather talk of two things – Design and Leadership.  We were always driven by trying to achieve timeless design solutions, so even though our office space is almost 10 years old, it looks like it has been done yesterday and 10 years down the line it will still look like it has been done yesterday. So this is what we try to achieve, trying to be minimalistic. I know this is a little difficult and heavy term for me to use at this age. Even though I am 52 right now, trying to be minimal, trying to eliminate things that are not essential in space and trying to make it better, user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. I strongly believe that SPACES INFLUENCE YOU, YOUR LIFE so that is the reason we have come out with the mission of “Taking design to the masses” at IIID, for last few years. There is a notion that design is only for the elite, which is not so. Every individual in this country or in this world deserves a lifestyle and we have not let design reach those classes which are on edge. That is what we are driven towards now. We had a design yatra which was 26000 km’s, taking design to the masses, we had 12 episodes on NDTV Good times repeated thrice, we tried to reach to the masses to make them understand what design is. We conducted 450 programs across India and 45 projects have been undertaken by IIID. Because we do something as a design, it stands as an ideal, people do understand how design can influence their life and how it changes. The chaos that we see around in the society right now can largely be reduced if we have a nicely designed society. So that’s our mission, that’s where we head towards, that’s where I would like to work.

Education is another field that we have worked in. 31 colleges are affiliated with IIID. We are trying to enhance the quality of education in Interior design in India. We have formed the Council of Interior Design Education. We are trying to get licensing to practice Interior Design in India.

CB5: Thank You for the wonderful and detailed interview. We are sure that your experiences will help our young readers and parents gain from your experiences.

CB5: That was Mr. Pratap Jadhav, President of IIID giving us deep insights on his experiences in choosing and rising in the profession. Hope this gives our readers a new perspective about Interior Design…

Until our next Blog on another interesting profession…

Thank You

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VISIT : www.CB5.in

From Veterinary Medicine to Acting, Television to Movie Direction & ScreenPlay: The Nitish Bharadwaj Story

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In our pursuit to assist the youth to make the Right Academic/Career Choices, we have interviewed several successful individuals.

The first in this series is our interview with the famous Dr. Nitish Bharadwaj, Actor, Director and Screenwriter.

For Dr. Bharadwaj, passion for cinema, hunger for knowledge, persistent hard work and constant search for originality while being different, are the contributory success factors.

Read on to find what he has to share on his CAREER movement…

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CB5: Please share some detail about your current professional activities. What do you do?

NB: After having tasted flavors of various walks of life in India & abroad, I am now completely focused on my film career, mainly as a director & screenwriter.

CB5: Your formal education and your professional career have different tracks…How did you decide on the line for the formal education? What made you select this line of study?

NB: My love for horses & tigers made me choose Veterinary Medicine for formal education. Moreover, I was hell bent on not becoming a ‘human doctor’, which was considered the 1st choice in any middle-class household. So, in a way, I rebelled to choose Vet Medicine.

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CB5: When and How did you get into your current area of work? What were/are your motivators? What made you change your career path as defined by your formal education?

NB: I was trained in children’s theater and was taught all the aspects of theater, esp. writing, art direction, make-up, lights, music and lastly acting. It remained my hobby all through my formal education. I kept on acting or directing on stage. My only motivation for the stage was the challenge it offered in every new play. However, I was also tremendously attracted to Cinema for its magic of storytelling, the art, costumes, music but mostly its unlimited scope to go beyond one stage. This aspect of theater always restricted my creativity. Cinema allowed me to break rules, form newer boundaries… there was no limit on my creativity.

As a person, I need newer horizons to conquer in life & theater shows as well as cinema gave me that fodder. There was no end to my dreaming, no restrictions at all. So, when I felt stagnated as an asstt. Vet at Mumbai Racecourse, the natural shift for me was theater & films. I made that as my career.

CB5: What do you enjoy most about your current profession?

NB: Ability to create, which I believe is God’s own ability. To weave a story from a seed of an idea & to dream for months to write a screenplay. Then the toil of making it for celluloid where I am involved in every department of cinema. It offers me an opportunity to research in diverse fields other than films, such as history, art, literature, architecture, music, costumes, fashion, metallurgy, trade, human behavior & psychology. I learn something new every day and with every new subject. This keeps the fire in my belly alive; the fire to reach new destinations, fire to excel & outperform my past work. I can not ever stagnate in life. That would finish my zeal of life.

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CB5: In your opinion what are your success factors? What elements about your personality help in this success?

NB: My success factors ?- Passion for cinema, hunger for knowledge, focus on hard work, ability to immerse in something that I believe in, constant search for originality & to be different than the crowd.

Success? It is a relative term. I just enjoy the journey. In my heart, I am a child who wants to explore new horizons, set my own goals & achieve them.

CB5: What are the significant achievements in your present career that you would like our readers to know?

NB: My portrayal of Lord Krishnā in Mahābharat, Parshuram in Vishnu Puran, a Gandharva in a Malayalam film ‘Njan Gandharvan’ & my directorial debut film in Marathi titled ‘Pitruroon’. I must move on to bigger & seemingly more difficult subjects for my next films as a director.

CB5: What were some of the sacrifices you had to make to reach the level of success that you have achieved?

NB: Sacrifices? Not really. God has been extremely kind to me; so were my supportive parents. But the ups & downs of professional as well as personal life taught me a great deal & have made me a person mature enough to take on the mantle of a film director. LIFE IS THE BEST SCHOOL!

CB5: Would you have any advice for the younger generation, especially someone who is at crossroads trying to select an education path, say someone between ages 14-21 years?

NB: I think I have something to tell the parents, and it applies to me too. Keep the children away from the false virtual world for as long as possible and expose them to various things like books, art, sports, music, drama, dance, literature, food … from the age of 4 till 14, so that they realize where their passion lies. They must be soaked in these options to begin with. It is now almost proved that modern tools of communication are making anti-social robots & slaves out of our children. Practice restraint & teach restraint to your children. Gadgets should be made available to kids when they absolutely need them. Bring your kids closer to nature & not iPad screens. Nature humbles you, teaches mutual respect. Don’t buy your children’s love with gifts. The best gift a parent can give his/her child is ‘quality time’. If a parent achieves this, the child will automatically choose its education &/or career path wisely.

One can sustain a lifetime only in a field which is closest to one’s heart. And mind you, money has never brought happiness, peace & a sense of fulfillment to anyone in life. Demonstrate this to your child & your job is done.

I know it sounds easy but is difficult…. Peer pressure etc. etc. … but then, it isn’t impossible anyway!

CB5: Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers?

NB: ‘The Manual of the Warrior of light’ by Paulo Coelho

‘The art of man-making’ by Swami Chinmayanand Ji and of course…

The ‘Bhagvad Geeta’ by Lord Krishnā.

If possible, the Yoga & meditation, to be learnt from a qualified Guru.

HARI AUM TAT SAT!

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