I was born in Baroda, Gujarat on 29th July,1961 in a Mahrashtrain family and was a student of the Baroda High School, till Std.VI. Am the No.2 amongst 4 siblings. My childhood was full of fun with more indulgence in games & less of studies, no wonder the parents were always tensed up during results. Nobody can take away my memory of how demonstrative I was everyday in my hatred of going to school.
It was a joint family with my father and his two brothers staying with us. Being of the playful types made many a friends freaked out on good food loved the festivals and celebrations be it Holi, Diwali, Ganpati or Makarsankrant. In short I loved everything except studies in sharp contrast with my elder brother who always stood first in his class. There were very few games that I did not play.
My father was a businessman and traded & manufactured in Teflon & Ball valves. As his business started flourishing, we had to shift to the financial capital of India, Mumbai.
It was in April 1972, we landed in Dadar, Mumbai and since than Dadar has been our base be it the school I.E.S. English Medium, R. A. Podar College, New Law College Ruparel. The only exception being K.C.College from where I did my diploma in Advertising & PR. in 1996.
I was not mentally prepared for this transition from Baroda to Mumbai. In fact my most precious possession was my friends whom we left in Baroda. Very frankly we all hated our school and Mumbai in the first year but as we settled down the realization dwelled upon us that this is the place for us. I did not quite give up my playful ways and remained an average student till Std. VIII.
It was my class teacher Vijaya Iyengar, Std. IX, 1975 who once told me in the class room that “Why don’t you realize your true potential and once you do that there will be no stopping you”. She also announced my name as a Group leader. I was a transformed boy because of those highly motivating words. I use to lock myself in a room not see the television and study. My parents who had to tell me to study hard once upon a time now often told me to take breaks for an hour or half during studies for they thought I was overdoing it.
My efforts were reflected in my results and I became a first class student. My Parents and friends expected me to do well at all the exams and I did not disappoint. I very vividly remember a Std. X student coming to me after approaching many of his friends to get a problem in maths solved which was done in no time much to his satisfaction.
While I was a student, my interest in Cricket, Mimicry, Films and Music helped me to unwind. But the interest was not superficious it was quite deep rooted. I could imitate many a characters in the building and a whole lot of film stars with aplomb. I started getting invited to private partys to entertain by singing and doing some mimicry acts. I was an instant hit at picnics and partys of relatives. Such was my in-depth knowledge on songs and films that I would recognize the singer, music director, film, the hero and heroine on which it was picturized in no time.
My love for cricket is to be heard from those who have discussed the game with me. Records of batsman, bowlers were quoted left right and center in my conversation but it was not statistics oriented often I saw a batsman playing an over and I could predict his future correctly. Till date I consider very few who are in my street when it come to talking sense on the game of cricket. I use to bat pretty well and was an opening batsman hard to dislodge but it was tennis ball cricket.
I fell in love with Nandini my wife then a girl from Flat No. 7 of the same building when I was a college going student. There were the customary initial hiccups & refusal especially from my household as they thought that my attention from studies will get diverted but nothing of that sort happened and I continued to do well
It was on 28th December, 1981, age 20 years, that I commenced my professional career in the Accounts Department of Baroda Rayon Corporation Ltd. The company was owned by a Maharaja and he treated the staff no differently. Life in BRC was fun and only fun. Rosewood tables, Bus service, Canteen food, Saturday and Sunday offs. The Gujarati’s injected share market in my system so strongly that my love for it remains in tact even today in fact it has grown manifold over the years. This chilled out life was not for me and after putting in six years I decided to move on.
I joined Castrol India Ltd in 1987 In the EDP department. Castrol India Ltd. is a famous multinational. However the department and the work was not to my liking. On top of it I was made a sectional head in 8 to 9 months of joining. Putting in odd working hours was a way of life. There were no Saturdays and Sundays forget any bank Holiday. I remember having spent Diwali holidays in the office. I was not quite enjoying it and seriously started thinking in terms of pushing my other talent of Compering & Mimicry in the forefront despite being promoted from a Jr. Executive to a Sr. Executive.
Believe it I did not have to slog as offers started coming in. My job would not allow me to do that easily but some how I use to manage. My talent was appreciated and brought me in close proximity with most of the seniors in my organization which did ruffle some feathers in some sections. My company told me to organize two of its annual get together. I distinctly recollect how our Managing Director once told me that he attended a Dinner party only because he was given to understand that I was performing over there. I was also called upon by my Finance Director to organize some of his major functions.
There was a unanimous opinion about me that I had the potential to become an excellent PR or Sales professional as they thought that I was born with the qualities that these jobs require.
While I must say I was very much aware of my talent and abilities it is good to have people who constantly keep you ignited about those precious possessions hence I joined a course at the K.C.College to accomplish a diploma in PR and Advertising which I acquired with flying colours but still could not get a transfer to the PR & Advertising Dept. in Castrol. My friends told me the reason about it and I was convinced of the same. The best part is almost all of them were unanimous about the reason.
After putting in 10 years at Castrol I decided to branch out in 1998 and the place where I first applied “The Advertising Club Bombay” are my employers till date. The Job profile includes Event organizing, PR, Media Relations and an opportunity to interact with the best known professionals from the Advertising, Media & Marketing world. These are things that came naturally to me hence I quite enjoy what I am doing. My elevation from an Executive Secretary to a Manager to a General Manager explains that. Since the past 10 years have organized more than 200 events some of which are the biggest in India & Asia. I could also earn International Recognition.
I was invited to be on the Advisory Board of the National institute of Event Management and the International Institute of Event Management. I have also trained more than 300 students on Event management and have lectured for more than 2 years on Event management, Advertising and Public relations.
In 1985 I got married to Nandini. She gave me the best gift of her life on 24th June, 1988 in the form of my son Neeraj who is currently working for John Distilleries.
I did extremely well on the stage front and did many a shows. Many a articles were written in Newspapers and interviews were conducted on television. My school honoured me for my success in the field of compering and mimicry. I got a chance to compere a show of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and at a function when I imitated the voice of Nana Patekar, his wife who was present in the audience came to take my autograph.
If I count the numbers it will be in excess of a thousand when it comes to the number of shows accomplished. Starting this year I am going to work on my show life with renewed vigour.
A quality inherited from my father it helped me a lot on my stage career and be a hit in social circles. I attribute my popularity at most of the partys primarily for the fondness for Urdu Sher Shayari, love for music, Films, Cricket and interest in shares.
I lost my father (a great inspiring & guiding force) in 1993 but am fortunate to have the company of my mother for long. I also have an elder brother and two sisters.
Whatever I am today I attribute it to the blessings of Lord Ganesh and Goddess Mahalakshmi. They have given me this unique strength to be positive even under the worst of circumstances, stay humourous and crack jokes when the going is tough. There have been countless instances in my life when their presence has been felt. I will forever remain so grateful to them.