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How it all started

It was one of those days in office when I was sitting at my desk, looking out of the window and wondering what I was doing with my life? It was my first job after college, I had just entered the ‘Real World’ and was getting paid Rs. 34,000 a month.

To any one else this is a big deal. But at that time, I just didn’t feel I was at the right place. Something deep inside me told me I wasn’t meant to be there. I am sure a lot of you feel the same way after college – Lost and not knowing what to do. That’s where I was.

So I called Kobe that day and said something along these lines :

“Macha I am getting fried with this stupid lifestyle. I need to do something crazy man. Something that’s gonna give me kicks. I can’t take it any more”.

And he tells me :

“Yeah Johnny. Money is not important. Just quit bro and let’s go somewhere.” – of course that’s not true but that’s what he said 🙂

So we decide to go for a Kayaking course in Rishikesh. I was going to exhaust my leaves for the whole year but I didn’t really care at that moment.

Throughout your life people tell you what to do.

They say finish your 10th board exams and then you will be free. You can do what you want after that. Then they say finish 12th, it’s the most important year, after that you’ll get into a good college and then you are free. You enter college, they say do well, just concentrate on studies, leave the rest aside and then you’ll get a good job and then you can do what you want.  So you leave everything and just study. Then you get a good job.Then they say do masters you’ll get a better job and earn more money. So you take loan of 40 lacs, get into an ammmmaaazing university, study shit you don’t really care about and then graduate to get an awesome job. Then spend the next 3 years earning money to repay your loan. By that time, congratulations !! You are 27. It’s the perfect age to get married. Soon you’ll have kids and what are you are going to tell your kids ? The same damn thing – Get a degree, get a job, do masters and settle. Why ? Because you don’t know any better !

( Agree it’s not the same for people who are obliged to earn for their families. Respect for you guys. I’m talking about you urban retards who grow up in well off families and are stuck in jobs you hate – I was one of them ! ).

So what happened to that childhood dream of being a rally racer, a footballer, a mountain climber, a runner, a musician ?? Gone !!

So we (Kobe, Vibha and I) decided enough was enough and decided to go to Rishikesh to learn to be kayakers. This was one of the best decisions I have ever taken. And nothing at that moment could have stopped me. I had my own money, a strong will and this deep inner voice that kept saying :

“Get the hell out of here and live your life”.

So we went !!

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The course taught us a lot of things. Apart from learning to kayak we learned life skills that we’d never learned in college – Like lighting a fire, cooking our own food and pitching a tent. It taught me to be a better survivor – land and water !

Some people ask me why I need adventure and why can’t I just live a normal life ? They ask me why I would intentionally put myself in danger ?

To them I’d like to say – I’m not directly jumping into a river and trying to kill myself. But I am training to deal with water and learning important skills that will help me survive. These skills also teach me to keep my mind calm and take crucial decisions in unexpected situations.

And once I learn to survive in such situations, all “first world” problems ( like having less money, no job security, relationship issues, etc ) seem small and I can deal with them more easily.

While travelling through those rapids, breathing fresh air, camping by the river with friends, getting stoned, laughing my ass out and just living in the moment, I had a realisation.

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I realised this is what I love to do most – Adventure, Travel and Sports. I was going to quit my job and some how balance earning money and doing this at the same time.

I sat in office for the next few months after the trip, planning everyday for an exit strategy. This time I was sure I was quitting. But leaving Rs. 34,000 / month with no backup plan and Rs. 70,000 savings in total is not really an easy thing. But again, I just went for it – Quit my job and I left for Nepal by train on 18th October 2012 (one day after my birthday. Spent my birthday night getting drunk in the railway station waiting in the tatkal queue). And this time there was no return ticket :).

I was going to live the dream of travelling without a return ticket for the first time ever and I was really happy I had nothing to come back to except my family. That way I could be gone for long!

We ended up kayaking for about 17 days in the most beautiful rivers in world, backpacked, got lost, met lots of new people, did the highest swing in the world (video), got my leg operated (video), partied every night and did lots of other crazy shit ! . Cheers to you guys – Vibha, Nisha, Katu and Kobe. I had the best 1.5 months of my life with you guys.

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After coming back I had no job and no money in my account. I had to borrow some money from home for the next 2 months until I started my own company called Smashing Pixels. I decided I am going to give everything to this company so that one day it will feed me and my goals.

And today 1 year later, we’ve served over 25 clients and earning enough money to feed us and take care of our travels and gimmicks  🙂

Being broke after Nepal also made me realise the importance of money. I was blinded by my passion. But then I realised I also need money to feed this passion. So here I am today running a business and at the same time ensuring that I get my kicks doing things I love to do – Paddle, Cycle, Travel, Play football, Play the guitar and chill with friends.

Earning a living is very important and kids should learn to stand on their own feet(survive). But it’s definitely not important to get a masters degree in electronics when you actually love to cook.

Starting this web based business has given me the freedom to allocate my time and focus on things I like to do. ( I could just carry my laptop and work from anywhere ). My college never taught me that this was possible. They made me think that GPA, Placements and a tier-1 job was the end of the world. I had to discover it my self that it’s not. And that’s why this blog to share my thoughts with people who have similar feelings. 

Following my heart 2 years ago has given me a life time of memories and an opportunity to do all sorts of craaazy things ! So if you’ve got that Gut Feeling now, just go for it !

21 thoughts on “How it all started”

  1. So well written! So glad you went with your gut! it takes a lot..and it will take you far! So proud of all that you do..Good luck my dearest brother..lots of love!

  2. Jog, I’m in awe of your zest for life n a little bit envious too;) loved reading your thoughts n thanx for sharing. Hope you keep doing all the things you love!! Anyway when are u getting married?!!!

  3. Amazingly well written, and it happened exactly how you explained it to me in h7 when you quit your job 🙂 Kudos !

  4. jog…..SIMPLY AWESOME…i feel i know you fully now….how i wish you were my OLDER brother…truly and from the bottom of my heart i really really admire your guts to break from theorotical routine life …and do what u wanted to do..All of us want to do this but dont have the guts to take those chances…really PROUD OF YOU…Last but not the least…please thank amma pappa(esp pappa) to have let u do whatever u wanted to do…keep going…we r always there for you…3 CHEERS…and yes…BEAUTIFULLY written….m going to take printouts and make a book…and gift it to Aditi and all those who r yet to make their careers and also to those who want to quit their careers….

  5. Joogeeee Its really amazing !!! heart touching what you wrote is NAGHNA SATYA…… God bless you my dear….

  6. Like the Picture at the start of the blog man. Heard a lot about your blog from a lot of people, the past 2-3 weeks . Read it just now. It’s great, especially the part where you found the best way to balance money and what you want to do. That’s something that everyone needs to realize.

    But, aren’t you missing a few things? The thought that made you start thinking on those lines when you wanted to do what you really wanted probably were tuned in your mind from hanging out with a lot of people over the years at the good college or school that you got into. If it weren’t for that maybe you’d probably have thought on different lines. So, in a way, getting into that good school or college did teach you some things, I guess.

    What do you think?

    1. Macha in college entrepreneurship class I remember we were made to mug definition of entrepreneur ! And I remember in lab we had to copy the program while the teacher scrolled the word doc. And in mobile application class the freaking text book was projected on the screen and read out.

      The people I met in school and college helped frame my mindset to a large extent. But college definitely failed to inspire me. They made me hate comp science at one point. Now after exploring with my own interest last 2 years I actually respect and love technology. I cannot completely blame them. I should’ve taken things into my own hands but don’t you think the education standards are really low especially when they claim to be the top institution in the state ?

      1. That’s true. The way things are taught is just stupid and it’s true that the education standards are really low in most institutions in India. And yeah I too have learnt so much out of my own interest in college and outside of it at work.

        Maybe I should rephrase what I said.

        What I was trying to say was that wanting to get into good colleges is probably not such a bad thing after all because you got to meet people who probably helped frame your mindset. So all those people who told you to study hard to get into a good school or college weren’t entirely wrong.

  7. Hey Jogi…

    That’s a beautiful write-up …. It truly needs a gut to go against the normal and do what your heart says!!! I especially like how it ends that it’s not all about leaving all you have and just having fun!You are making a career of your passion and living it up!! You prove it to me..Doing what you enjoy is important to enjoy what you are doing!

    Best wishes to you!
    Sahana

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