Coffee with the ‘Fab’ behind Fabindia

Like every other time, I was walking in Fabindia’s outlet in Connaught Place when I got stuck at what was written on the cover of a green colored book which said, “Making India Work”. This is 2 months ago. There was something about the statement that wasn’t allowing me to move ahead; the possibility sounded huge. I purchased the book that evening.

I have been this crazy Fabindia lover who would go to their outlet once in a while to smell the freshness that their stores withhold, the vibrant colors, the stories of a million artisans it communicates and for the celebration of what India is about. People who know me would call me a brand ambassador only! And so I wanted to meet the man himself – to experience who he is, to travel through his stories about India, to witness how he has created a blend of profitable business and a societal impact, and a lot more.

While reading “Making India work”, I could not stop myself any longer. It took me some time and a few extra actions to find his connect and I wrote to him. I told him what I love about them, why I want to meet them and why he should meet me. I poured my heart out in that mail. And just like we wake up after a sloshed night, I was sure that was all in excitement and I will never get a response. And the life continued the way it did.

A few days later, I get a reply from his assistant asking about who I am and why I want to meet him. Why would he meet me, I thought? Gathering my excitement, I distinguished and wrote back. And I told him everything I wanted to say. 14 days later, I was in class when I received an email that said, “Sir would love to meet you. Can you come to our office over lunch on 9th Sept.?” My happiness knew no bounds.

And here I was, right in front of their office at 12:30pm, exactly half an hour before the scheduled time. As I move in, I see a huge charkha on left, a very simple and elegant looking office, colorful pictures and quotations on hand made papers and some bright shining people. I was called inside his cabin after 10min. As I was moving in, an old lady with a broad smile greeted me and guided me to sir’s cabin. And what followed will remain with me forever.

As I moved in, a tall, young looking man welcomed me with a broadest possible smile. Yes, that was him! The table was laid in front of us with cutlery when he opens a very Indian tiffin packed from his home. The simplicity of food and the very thought of getting food from home for us set a lot of things in place. As we started talking, we talked about my family, my passion, Fabindia, Fabindia’s visions, Indian politics and it took him just a few seconds to make me be at home. Such tasty food, amazing coffee and wonderful chocolates I had! He would suddenly get up in excitement; put forward his radical thoughts on how we can actually make India work and sit down again. The charisma, the sparkle in his eyes and the purity in his smile said a lot of things. He was listening to me as if I am the only person he is interested in listening to and he said what he said with equal authority. This wasn’t a usual meeting. He has given project to work on till we meet next.

From being humble enough to respond to my mail and calling me over lunch, to getting lunch packed from home, from the wonderful conversations we had  to him knowing my past on fingertips from what I had shared in mail, from the excitement he carried to share to the simplicity with which he would put his radical thoughts, from the vibrancy of colors at the minutest of places to the smiling faces all around starting from the bhaiya at reception to every employee, I was mesmerized. No wonder Fabindia is what it is!

This one experience has broken multiple barriers for me today. So put off all the reasons and create what you want, take that extra action that produces results, say what your heart says, and do what you believe in; for life does exist in language and life is too short to live with “What if I did?!”!

Responsibility I am taking on:

Taking away the struggle of individual survival from people and giving them an opportunity to create their self expression in work. Inclusive growth is the possibility.”

The thought is, when there are so many people in the world and there are enough resources for each, why do people have to struggle for individual survival?

11944820_10200931549169177_765425667_n (1)Collage

Lights will guide you home

It was 2 years ago. I left home on a sunny day with a bag full of confidence, a bundle of beliefs and eye set on a vision. Carrying these armaments, I jumped on my ship and left. What a pleasant day it was! Bright sun shining, birds chirping in the sky, the helmsman was enjoying steering the ship,  we were a group of people riding together to reach a common island. Working, partying, celebrating, socializing I didn’t realize and a year passed. But then, I started to get bored. I wanted to do something adventurous, something more fun. I wanted to steer the ship now.

I had an idea of what it takes to be a helmsman. It looked so fancy. I wanted to experience that freedom, that power. So I jumped. Jumped into the sea, boarded a dinghy and rode. It took a while to get the balance but I kept trying. I had moved far. I didn’t know where I was going but I had an anchor which kept me going. I was riding slowly but I was moving.  I was still learning to sail. I realized very soon that the competition was tough. There were many other dinghies around, ready to ride over each other, fighting to push the other one down but I kept riding. I think I sailed through because I wasn’t focusing on the ones around. And in almost 6 months, I reached a small island. It was the first destination. We celebrated. Had to, right? What a journey it had been.

Excited to conquer the next island, I sailed ahead. Been just a while that I lost control. I couldn’t move ahead. I didn’t know what was stopping. I tried, and tried again but couldn’t move. I started to get restless. The clouds started to get dark. It was about to rain. What a loud thunder it was! The food that I had got from the ship and what I had gathered from the island started to finish. There was water everywhere but not a drop to drink. I got so scared, so scared! My heartbeat started to rush and I was sweating in the sea.  In that moment, the only way I could see to survive was jumping into the sea. So I jumped again. I swam to find a base. I didn’t know if there was a base around, if was then how far was it. I kept swimming. I think I was escaping. What if I stayed there and fought to take the boat out? But I escaped. I kept swimming for 2 months before I came back to my dinghy. Following are the learning from the 2 most difficult months of my life so far:

  1. Entrepreneurship is a function of being, not doing

To be an entrepreneur, it is not necessary to do entrepreneurship. What I mean by that is that it’s not necessary to quit a job, force to get a team, rush to build an idea and hurry to work things out. One can be an entrepreneur wherever he/she is. It is a function of being. What is important is to cause things like an entrepreneur, to make things happen at a face of no agreement. Be an entrepreneur, don’t do it.

  1. It is important to acknowledge yourself

It is critical to acknowledge oneself. In the world of cut throat competition and struggle to survive, it is important that one acknowledges who he/she is and who he/she isn’t and stand at a space of appreciation of oneself. To be aware of one’s own strengths and weaknesses and to be in appreciation of however way we are, it will work is probably the most wonderful experience. This is what makes you win because this is what makes one keep learning.

  1. Work and purpose of life can be in 2 different plates

I was struggling. It had been 2 years that I was working. Either I was struggling to find the expression of who I am at work or I was struggling to make enough money. And I kept trying to identify how to put both of them on the same plate. It took me a while to discover that these two can be on two different plates. They can certainly be one but there is no point in forcing them to be on one. If they have to, it will happen.

  1. It’s people who matter at the end of the day. Really.

Believe in your people.  Not everyone will stand by you at these times but those who do, will always do. Cherish them, appreciate them, hold on to them. These are the ones it’s worth fighting for. As I always say, a single person can make a relationship work; what’s is important is to distinguish if the relationship is worth fighting for!

  1. Money is a need to survive:

All this while, I was resigned about money. I have always said that I don’t need money and I kept making myself right. It was difficult to accept but I needed money. And when I realized this, I wanted a lot of it. The 2 months made me realize that a lot of money isn’t required but it is definitely needed.

The weather is still not completely clear. I can see a light at a distance and I am all set with my armaments to fight to reach to that beautiful island. Infact, I got some new armaments on the way. I may struggle again, may lose the way as well, but I am sure I will find a way.


The dilemma of this or that

I am lost in the contrasting thoughts.

One part asks me to stay with family, support them, be with them and cause work around; the other part asks me to move out of my small town and work hard so that I can take their responsibility.  Is work the centre of life?

One part makes me wonder about simple life in a small town, everything available easily, no time waste in travel and focus on people; the other part makes me wonder of the difficult life at a city, lessons it would teach, recreation in holds, friends it has accommodated.  I know I will have to make a choice.

One part asks me to focus on what I want to do, make myself happy and only then will I be able to make others happy; the other part asks me to focus on supporting people around, take them along, and win together. Am I stuck in the vicious circle of right and wrong?

One part asks me to take up any job and manage my survival, and keep doing what I want alongside; the other part says to identify what I want to do and make it living. Am I being too significant and idealistic?

Actions are missing. Or sensitivity is overloaded. I am sure lights will guide me home.the-road-less-traveled

I am lost

It has been over a month that I have been on this rollercoaster of emotions. Life doesn’t seem to be working out. 2 years since I graduated and the exploration continues. A job that paid money every month but couldn’t pay wholeness, a startup experience that paid a new paradigm of awareness but could not pay money and here I am today, sitting in a train, escaping from these arrays of fears, anxieties and expectations to the land of adventure in a hope to find my answers.  What am I looking for?

This age of 20 something is so weird. The heart says, “Go explore the most you can. Travel. Meet people.  Take risks. Go beyond the fears. Discover yourself.” The head says, “What are you doing? This is the foundation of your career. Focus on work. Spend sleepless nights developing your skills. Get that masters degree. How will you take care of the responsibilities?” And I find myself lost in the contrasts, the extremes, the fears and anxieties. What do I do?

The adventurous, the rebel, the entrepreneurial  me wants me to develop independent skills, start building a blog, develop myself as a coach, get skilled at designing and learn basic technology so that the survival is taken care and I move out travelling the world, experiencing people and places, supporting people in developing their potential for atleast coming 3 years. I am sure that’s gonna make me more skilled than what an MBA would give. While discovering myself in these years, create a company and be at the source of designing the life the way I want. The insecure, full of fears and anxieties me says, be practical Archit. Take up a job, polish your skills, save money. Don’t escape from the responsibilities. Keep figuring out what you want while being at job, get safe first.

Is that what life is about? Is it about working so that I can take care of myself and my family? Or is it about achieving/doing what I want in life? Or is it about something more? Something more holistic, more inclusive? What am I here for? Am I complicating my life by focusing on self and work? Is there any other way to survive? Infact why to survive? In this search of answers and expressions, I am lost.

Nothing wrong about it but I am lost.


On the road less traveled

How easily did I thank all that being a Montfortian gave me in my 13 years with the institution during my farewell speech in 2010; little did I realize then what it actually means to be one. I think it’s a process of continuous encounter; I still fill with gratitude everytime I witness this moment of truth.

With high hopes and many dreams that moving to a metro city brings along, I moved to Delhi, the capital city of our country to do my graduation in Mathematics from Hansraj college, University of Delhi. Hansraj had some of the most amazing people, interesting conversations and oodles of energy for me in store. I had the best days of my life there. With some relationships for the lifetime, experiences to build upon and skills developed in the 3 years of graduation, I started working for ‘The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Delhi-NCR, a global organization that fosters entrepreneurship globally. 1 year at TiE was like a mini MBA program for me.

Life was good in Delhi; interesting work, many friends, weekend parties. In between all these jazzy things, something was missing. What was wrong? There was no time to think about this question either. I kept struggling with the question.

Then I got introduced to ‘The Landmark Education’ and ‘The Boundaryless Initiative’, the sources of some of the most profound conversations of my life. I could identify the ambiguity in my thoughts, words and actions. With support of my people, drawing inspiration of being an entrepreneur and in search of the answers, I finally decided to go back and check with the roots itself.

I have moved back to Roorkee now, my small town near the foothills of the Himalayas. It was a decision taken by the heart. I wanted all the time in the world to do things I would like to do -watching sunsets, learning music, reading, going to the mountains, sitting beside flowing rivers, playing chess or a game of billiards, cooking for myself, writing, painting, listening to music and being child-like, once again. I wanted these beautiful things to be part of my day-to-day life, not something stacked for holidays only.

In search of answers, taking actions to expand my awareness and passionate to build Uttarakhand, I have started working in education sector. Under Oxyzen Learnings, we conduct Management and Behavioural Training programs committed to igniting individual and collective intelligences. Through National Management Development Foundation, we focus on creating quality environment through various educational initiatives. Transcending boundaries, both geographical and psychological, NMDF’s platform coalesces leaders in education domain to interact, introspect, explore and disseminate the best practices.

Our first project is an International Conference of Schools from all across India, “Education for Tomorrow” at Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar. The dates of the conference are December 21, 22, 23 2014. It will be a unique mix of Power of Technology and Energy of Vedic, Yogic and Meditative Sciences. Through this movement, we are committed to redefining education system by taking best practices from Ancient Education System, Incorporate technology and evolve the purpose and process of education for Tomorrow.

It has been almost 6 months that I have shifted and it is nothing less than a journey. I have more time to create an organization of my dreams, expenditures have gone drastically down, I spend less time in traffic and more time with family, I work for longer hours without worrying about reaching home late and arranging dinner, I am more open to receiving beautiful pleasures that Roorkee offers – as simple as an early morning walk beside ganga. I am not sure of what being an entrepreneur will bring along and what shifting back to Roorkee has in store for me but I am sure it’s going to be a journey of inclusive growth and constantly simplifying life. I am excited to explore new horizons!


From the known to the unknown -1 : The mysteries of my people

Sitting in my small new office, sipping over a cup of coffee and attempting to focus on the new project I was working on, something happened. I sensed a drop of sweat on my hand in that AC room. My head was paining. I did not know what it was all about! May be about the charm of what it used to be, or may be about the excitement of the journey I have set myself on or may be about the mystery of how it will unfold. And there I was, exasperated at the instant, right before the feeling of strange belief and thrill hit me. I wasn’t sure what was happening. I wanted to cry. I was smiling instead. It was the 3rd day since I shifted to my small town.

Strange things were happening around. I came back to my home, just like I have thousands of times before. But this time it was different. I think everyone wanted some answers from me. There were awkward stares and smiles; may be because I had left my job and came back home to start my own company.  I woke up the next day right at the time I was getting up for the past 1 year; for my job. Getting back to senses on finding parents around instead of friends, I slept again. Was I trying to avoid something? I got up late and went to meet the people I was going to work with. And unexpectedly, we started working the same day. I was amazed at their orientation towards taking actions ‘now’ than ‘soon’. There was a pinch of inspiration at that moment. I went back home late that night. We were working.  At home, I could again sense those awkward smiles waiting for me to answer something. I think they were not prepared for me to get back home that late.  Leaving office by 6pm and reaching home by 8pm was what they remembered from the big city, I should have been home by 6:05pm in my small town by that reference. It took them almost a month to understand I wasn’t in a job now, I was creating my own company and it took me even more to understand that this was not easy for them. Nobody was leaving their jobs, some were shifting; nobody was shifting to lesser financial earnings, mostly were going up in that context; nobody was going to a smaller town, all were craving for the bigger ones. It really took us time before things got settled, but I am happy they did.  🙂

Sometimes, all you have to do is ask for it!

Hardly a month when the college was to get over and I had no idea what I was going to do. For that moment, nothing looked right. All these 3 years of work experience I had gained along with academics and the people I networked with in Delhi seemed a waste. People around me were reaching IIM’s, IIT’s and other best institutes and I was stuck contemplating about whether I have taken a right decision of not going for a master’s degree right after the college. The rest were taking up jobs and I was stuck with the image of my dream company. Nothing seemed to fit even close to it.

I was calling random people in my contact list everyday acknowledging that I need help, asking to get me in contact to the right people. I actually did that. I had sleepless nights figuring out what I want to do. In that moment of time, I even thought of taking the ‘so-not-me-jobs’ because it was the period of so-called recession. With that, the feeling of college getting over started haunting me. It was the last week when exams were to end. Yes, I was freaking out.

Believe me when I say, just the fact of acknowledging that I need help helped. One day, one connection opened all the doors for me. He made me realize that sometimes, all we have to do is ask for it. We started figuring out the companies I wanted to work with. I started walking in the offices of those companies asking for letting me meet a key person so that we can discuss what I can create for them. Most of them didn’t even let me in the office.

And then, a little push and I was in the office of one of my dream companies. He managed to fix an interview for me but I was told that there is no vacancy. In that very moment, I had a choice to lose all hope but I was sure that I was not letting it go, a single chance to work with my dream company. I asked them to let me in the team because I want to work with them. I asked them to let me in the team and created the areas where I can contribute. I asked them to let me in because it is my dream company. I was sure this can turn around my life. Having said that, I was reassured that there was no vacancy and all they can do is try. All that I had in my hand then was to continue believing, and I did the same.

It was the last day of college. We were happy because we graduated, at the same time, we were sad for not being able to be around each other all day. Midst the rejoicing of the three best years of our lives, I got a call. Seeing the name of the person, my heart started pounding. It was from the office. All kinds of thoughts and emotions started rushing. I almost had an adrenaline rush. Gathering all the courage, I picked up the phone. I clearly remember his words, “Good news Archit. We have created a space for you in the organization. Join us from next Monday.”

It was liberating. It was magical. It seemed like all the wait was worth it because I am going to work in my dream company. I am going to do what I love doing. I am doing to be around people I always wanted to be. I was happy. Yes, sometimes all you have to do is keep believing in your dreams and take necessary actions. The moment you start to lose all hope, a little hope then can turn the life around. After all, all we have to do is ask for it, and the rest follows! 😀

Thank you, 2012


Thank you, Year 2012, that you came in my life at the right time. You were a year which really showed me that efforts are worth everything and even when everything looks hazy, things that are meant to be shall find a way.

Final year of college and the year unfolded for me the college days I have dreamed about. Had late night studies just before the exam day, left the syllabus incomplete and still stayed cool (and still managed to score good enough!), hanged around the campus with friends almost every day, watched movies before the exams, paid the fines,  the night walks and the discussions, long hour concalls, car drives, nightouts, late night parties, the first love. The holi celebration in the campus and the department trip to Shivpuri were some of the best days of the year. 2013, please be ‘awesome-er’!

Putting myself to learn new things made me happier. I learnt to drive a car, cooked more often, love for painting came back to my life, read more books (even tried a new genre of them and loved it), sang more often, started blogging, enjoyed photography,  travelled more than ever and worked on my CV. After many years of efforts, I even joined yoga classes and for change, liked exercising.

2012 excited me with the pleasure of independence. Worked with various organizations, learnt to create a team, realized the fun in working for what I really like doing, earned the first salary, created the alumni of my own school and realized the fun in creating something that I always wanted, the hardships of a start-up, but trust me, the efforts were worth it! Prepared for interviews, gave interviews, group discussions, looked for job, identified the weak areas, started working on them already. And after all that, even if nothing looks clear and strong, what I am sure about is, everything will be clear soon. For dots can never be connected looking in future, we can always connect the dots looking at what we have grown from and I’ll have a bigger picture, soon! Fun is always in the unexpected.

I didn’t come to Hansraj College, I came to Delhi. The city had a lot to give. Although I still have a lot to take from it, 2012 was a year of exploring Delhi. Organizations like Landmark Education, Toastmasters club gave me people I like to be around. I explored new places, loved hauz khas village, appreciated the rich Indian culture in Delhi like never before, tasted the authentic Delhi food and met varied people.

2012 was a year of strengthened relationships, crazy-random college life, new interests, independence, exploration, learning to let go, trust in self, and love for life. 2012 also gave me a parting thought, which says ‘Sometimes, it’s good to let go things so that better things can come to life and what is meant to be shall find a way.’  I am excited to create 2013.

Thank You 2012 on Vimeo - Google Chrome

The Beauty of it…

After spending an year in Delhi, I thought to reflect on how big my life is turning out to be, and so it was…

The Journey is indeed beautiful.  It’s not about years that have gone. It’s not even about years to come. Yes, it’s about the people who have made a difference in my life, it’s about the smiles that have made my days, it’s about the mountains that asks me to stand for what is right, it’s about the birds that asks me fly, it’s about the sky that tells me to paint whatever I want on the canvas of my life, it’s about the rainbows that inspires me to fill my life with all the possible colors. Yeah, it’s about those small- little and yet so powerful tools I would say that make my life ‘Big’.

I wouldn’t say that I have learned to overcome failures, but yes, I have surely learned to fight them back. I wouldn’t say that I love everybody around, but yes, but I have learned to give love, without letting that ‘I don’t like’ thing come in between. I wouldn’t say I no longer fall and fail, but yes, I know how to stand and give it a try again. I wouldn’t even say that whatever I get in my life empowers me, but yes, I have learned what to choose and let go the other things, without affecting the beauty of it.

At the point of time, I may not seem to have achieved whatever I wanted, but I know it will be mine, sooner or later. I may not be the one I wanted to be, but I am sure, the new me I invent and reinvent everyday will make sure I become the one. I don’t say that life has given me everything, nor do I say that it hasn’t given me anything, but yes, whatever and whoever it has given me is so perfect that the canvas of my life would remain incomplete even if one were to be taken away.

Cheers to the world of possibilities that is created. Cheers to whoever and whatever has contributed in making my life the way it is. Cheers. 🙂