After a silent and nondescript school life, I admitted myself in one of the top colleges of the city. life was really good; especially in the initial years because it was a completely new world for me. I was good in studies and community activities. I had always been keen in media and entertainment sector; especially animation genre.
At a tender age of 5, I loved Disney’s cartoon that came on the television. I had a flair and inspiration to become a computer graphic artist since then. There was no training program to become a computer graphic artist in India back in the 1990s but I nursed by passion. While in college, I stared learning classical animation and tried to learn little computer graphic software.
Life was good.
In 2000, after a lot of struggle, I got my first no-salary job in a Bollywood based film studio in Mumbai. I worked on many popular films, television serials, television commercials and music videos—doing computer animation and visual effects for them. Later, I had a craving to work for international market. I kept dreaming day and night, and one day the universe did a magic.
One Hollywood based animation studio was supposed to set up in India and I was selected for the core team. The test was difficult and lasted for 5 nights. I was working in another studio in the morning and used to go there to give a test in the night, but I was selected. And, there started a completely new journey in a different world all together. Foreign bosses, strict timings, difficult work and good money—INR 100,000 per month.
The problem started when I was unable to handle all this money at a young age of just 24—in 2005 it was a huge amount. Although, much later at 35, I realized that the problem wasn’t money, it was my false ego and bad sense of handing money.
Life was quite difficult because of the timings. We worked for long hours for 2 years and made a neat demo reel that won the hearts of people at my dream studio—Disney. There was no looking back from here; they gave us several projects to work on. We presented them the finest quality of computer graphics they ever saw from India and within next 5 years, we planted the map of India on the global animation market. Thereafter, we worked for many other animation giants from 5 continents and more than 80 countries. Once, I had a team of 100 members to take care of. That was the peak of my joyful career.
In 2008, a severe recession hit India and many people lost their job. I was leading a team of 100 members and as per the management’s decision, I had to let 22 go from my team. I had a fat income, so I requested the HR head to remove me and save at least 10 but she didn’t agree. I made other plans to at least 10 who were really good but the management and other team members didn’t agree. That night I cried a lot as I was hopeless and had to go all 21 but somewhere deep in my heart I realized that there is some problem with the world and has to be a way to change that problem.
After the company downsized to 50%, I offered the management to grant me 6-month unpaid-sabbatical; and directed never to increase my salary; instead grant me unpaid- sabbaticals every year.
My offer was accepted. I used the first sabbatical to visit South Africa to attend few environmental related course and volunteer. I met many students from various countries and I noticed that they were fundamentally happy, whereas I was earning a lot of money, collecting lot of wealth but was unhappy. I discovered the reason for their happiness—the art of giving. I started practicing volunteerism in my city through my unique ideas of micro-philanthropy. I started to give time, money, skill, love, networking and myself to various NGOs and needy people. I observed that this was keeping me happy and I was able to lead a life of fulfillment.
In 2010, after a lot of experiments in different romantic relationships, I married my friend Bindiya who turned out be a soul-mate. She’s the force that keeps me running. And she’s not my better half but she’s my equal half.
In 2013, I realized that I have 2 hands—one to collect and other to give. All my life I waited for the a person to change the sorry situation and one fine day, I realized that that person is no other than myself.
I decided to complete the circle of my full-time career in multimedia and use all that learning to create social change. I resigned from the high-profile animation studio I was working in and retired gracefully after a service of 10 wonderful years.
The plan was to take a 4-year long sabbatical and explore my self. I believe that the meaning of life is to find your gifts, and the purpose is to give it all away. I wanted to find what more gifts I had, other than computer graphics, and see what could I do with it. It was beautiful journey where not only I got rid of my false ego but I found various gifts that the universe has granted me.
The idea was also to re-connect with long lost friends and the inner self.
Thereafter, I created an informal social benefit community to bring social change using multimedia, social media and technology. The whole idea was to bring social transformation with negligible amount of money and other resources. I also attended many retreats, read many ancient scriptures, traveled locally within India—all of it to understand problems and bring radical solutions for the betterment of society and myself. I traveled all around the country, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, using local transport, doing home-stays, talking to people about their problems and I found out that sometimes, the solution is quite simple— design, technology and community participation.
Since 2013, I have served thousands of needy and unstable people of my country including NGOs, private organizations and government departments like police, army and tribal affairs. I am getting good with what I call HEART-TO-HEART NETWORKING and with grace of all my friends, lovers, mentors and the whole universe, I have pledged my life to spread goodness and make us move from money towards prosperity.
Today, I am a truly happy man, creative professional, blogger, imagine-er, motivator, teacher, happiness coach and an emotional wellness volunteer.