AAIP Newsletter~ Sep-Oct 2020 | Vol. 29

Unconventional IITians

Family, Peers and Society all expect IIT graduates to take up well-paying jobs, become entrepreneurs or pursue an academic career. But there are those amongst us who had the courage to follow their passions and go off the beaten path. 

Some of the brightest minds of the country go through a gruelling preparation to enter the hallowed portals of IIT Delhi. But besides a world-class science and technology education, IITD also provides these young minds with the opportunity to explore their passions and to let their dreams take wings. No wonder IITD, has over the years, produced some wonderful writers, musicians, comedians, politicians, bureaucrats, policymakers, Civil servants, artists, and actors. Be it music, sports, dramatics, or writing, through a large number of college festivals as well as inter-hostel competitions, IITD provides a huge platform for overall personality development. 

 

IITD does not just focus on enhancing your skills and knowledge but believes in bringing out the true potential of its students. Why not bring out the artist in you and conquer the world? Who knows, in which delightful phase of your life at IITD, you find your true calling. Here are some IIT Delhi graduates who took The Road not Taken.

Lalit Pande

What is more important – earning millions of dollars or trying to change society? This is a question every IITian asks himself. Most choose the former, Dr Lalit Pande chose the latter. Dr Pande graduated from IIT Delhi with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1970. He then continued his further studies at MIT and completed his PhD from Purdue University. However, he always felt his calling to come back home to India. After returning to his hometown in Uttarakhand, he took it as a challenge to transform the area and change lives. Initially starting with environmental education, he took up various other initiatives from sanitation, education, water conservation to environmental problems. While he faced many struggles, both internal and external, he continued his exceptional work. His NGO, in addition to their great work, now also supports 300 pre-primary schools. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2007 by the Government of India for his contribution to environmental education. Now the Director at the Uttarakhand Seva Nidhi Environmental Education Centre, the IITD alumnus believes in simplicity. He firmly believes that changing our society and improving people’s lives is something everyone should strive to do.

In our final year at IIT, a large number of students were applying to colleges abroad, mostly to America. I applied too and got selected to MIT. My initial idea was to do my masters there, come back home, and join a company. But things changed. During my stay at MIT, I came across well-established and successful writers of famous books who had a great sense of humility. You could find them standing with everyone else in the line for lunch at the cafeteria. You could never tell that the same guy is a Nobel prize winner and has written a popular book.

I later started reflecting on a personal level about India and the things back home. So, according to my plans, I returned home after my masters and joined three-four companies. But again, I couldn’t settle down and went back to do a PhD at Purdue University. During that, I finally decided to come back to India and live in the mountains. I did not think of what I would do here because I had worked earlier in companies and couldn’t imagine myself doing that again. I just came back to my ancestral town in Almora. While living here, I got involved in social work. The work kept on increasing and expanding, I went along with that, and that’s where I am currently.

When I came here, I wasn’t really doing anything. When I used to walk on the street, people used to say that this one has gone a bit nuts – ‘pata nahi, yeh padha likha hai ki nahi’ and all that. However, fortunately, some people were thinking about some environmental issues in the hills. They said that we have some ideas but we need young people, so why don’t you do it? So, I got involved part-time and we thought of two things- one of them was developing an environmental education course for schools, taking local issues and livelihood considerations. Not the environment in the sense of conservation and wildlife because that is a very eloquent concept, but how people in villages are struggling for firewood or fodder. So this is essentially how it all started.

We started with environmental education in the hills. We also worked for 15-20 years, developing a school program that finally got into mainstream school education as a regular course. One of the other things we worked on was that we would identify small groups in different villages which had the desire to do something for their society. We identified many people in the Kumaon, Garhwal hill region. The whole idea was- can you identify the problems of your village and try to solve it, like water problems or sanitation. Also, in the 1990s, we had started a sanitation program. People used to say, ‘what is a toilet’ nobody had seen it in the village. My friends would say ‘arrey Lalit, kya bhai MIT jaa kar ab toilet bana rahe ho, you have wasted your life.’ That was something you have to deal with. Regarding education, we started some small preschools in the village. We trained the village girls how to run it, and then things kept turning up and changing and changing.

One of the issues is that people feel that biodiversity and conservation are the most significant issues in the area. But the local people, the young girls and boys are no longer interested in all this. They also want to live a better life. Why should they just live fetching fodder and fuelwood? They are also educated to some extent and want to improve their lives economically. They don’t want to be left behind. Somehow in the sociology textbooks and courses in Delhi and JNU, it is viewed otherwise. I often get from students that ‘I want to see pahadi women hugging trees’, you know like Chipko. Then I ask them which girl is going to be hugging trees now. It is a significant change that I have seen in the last 10-15 years, that the village is no longer a village of the past. It is something people must understand.

You have to have the human being as your focus. If you look, even in engineering, the smartphone is successful because the designers had humans in mind. That is why anybody can use a smartphone, even an uneducated person. However, very few use more complicated computers. In any essential and impactful technology, the designer always understands the user, that way you are not isolated from society. If you have a human being at the centre of your mind, you can improve their lives in a variety of ways, whether it be a smartphone or issues related to poverty or social stratification. Once these questions come into your mind, your questions will be different, and you won’t be asking “Oh, what is my salary?” Many people are stuck on this in the corporate world. But what are you doing? Are you helping anyone? The rest of the world may make fun of you, but it doesn’t matter, what matters is you must be content with what you are doing, and that is not easy. So do not compare, do what you enjoy, and work with the people with whom you want to work. The question should be what makes you happy, not what is the best paying job.

Sakshi Bhatia

Ever dreamt of dropping your toneless corporate job, packing a bag, and hiking through the Amazon rainforests, living a life of spontaneity that is close to nature? Sakshi Bhatia, a 2010 Computer Science graduate from IIT Delhi, is a data scientist who quit her cushy job after having worked for companies like American Express and Tower Research Capital to make a switch to organic farming. She took a sabbatical to travel the world, which got her deeply connected to the environment. She grew deeply concerned about the damage that the consumeristic actions were causing to nature and decided to volunteer in an eco-farm village called “Auroville” near Puducherry. Sakshi switched to a minimalistic lifestyle then, despite resistance from her family and friends. Such was her ardour, she went ahead and bought 1.7 acres of land to grow her agroforest. It has been sustaining her and her husband for over 2.5 years. They practice permaculture, an agricultural science that explains how design changes can minimize the physically intensive labour that would otherwise be required to work in fields. While operating with reduced expenditures due to her lifestyle, she also takes up projects from time to time, which help with the finances. Her farm lets her see the difference she is creating and also keeps her mind stimulated, with new problems to solve every day, towards making this world a better place. What else could one possibly hope for?

What usually happens is that you get out of IIT and into a well-paying job. Three to four years down the line, there comes a point when you start thinking whether there is anything more to the world than minting money. Me and my husband, we love travelling. We have taken several short trips throughout the country, as well as abroad. We figured that someday when we have enough money, we would leave everything and just travel without a return ticket. After working for 4-5 years, we decided to go on a sabbatical for a year and just travel. We went to Chile in South America, where we taught kids. We backpacked to Amazon, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia and gradually grew sensitive towards the environment. We realized that the repercussions of our economic strife, capitalism, consumerism are very hard on the planet.
All this travelling brought spontaneity into our lives, and we did not feel like going back to the chaos of the city. And that’s when we came across Auroville, an ecovillage near Puducherry.

My husband and I started our farm in March 2018. It has been growing ever since. The farm is more of a food forest. Sustainability-wise, when we come to the natural world, and even where our food habits are concerned, there is this concept of perennials and annuals. Perennials are the trees and vines which grow year after year, and annuals are the crops that you have to plant every season. Our farm sustains us in this respect. We have travelled a lot and are very connected to nature. We began to think about things like our carbon footprint and climate change with deep concern and wanted to pursue a more hands-on approach, where we could realize the difference we were creating. The community of people in Auroville is very environmentally conscious. They try to live holistic, sustainable lives, do organic farming, and are quite cautious about their plastic consumption, waste management, etc. After living there for eight months, we decided to buy 1.7 acres of land and settle in Barnagar, near Ujjain.

It is a sad truth that whenever you are following your heart, there will always be people who will not agree with you. But you will also find like-minded people, and that is what Auroville was for us. When we required strength, we focused on these people. But at the same time, our friends and family called our plans economically unsustainable and even crazy. People will always find it odd when you choose not to follow the crowd. But when we try to open our eyes, we see that the more nature suffers, the more problems come onto us as well. Slowly, people will realize this, and the apparent peculiarity of doing something different will disappear.

When we were making the switch to this lifestyle, the main objective was to avoid machines. We did not want to be dependent on a lot of fuel and increase our carbon footprint. The nature of farming in Auroville is very hands-on. Having been in a sedentary lifestyle, we doubted whether we would be able to do much physical labour without any machines. But this problem was solved when we read about permaculture and the philosophy that farming does not have to be physically intensive. It is not all brute force. A design perspective is associated with the creation of productive natural systems. Also, our bodies have gradually gotten used to doing more physical work.

Secondly, farming meant shifting to a small place. We were concerned about compromising our social lives since we had friends, family, and colleagues in the city, who had been born and brought up the same way as us. We would have to adapt to a new culture and geography. But honestly, to be doing something that one wants to do, one is quite content. And the rewards that one gets out of it make up for the small things that one is missing out. The fact that our friends have started taking an interest in what we were doing also helped.

It was never our intention to reduce our expenditure, but as a consequence of living minimalistic lives, we ended up spending less as well. Also, given our IITian packing, we used to pick up projects that supplied us with a side income.

We do not practice commercial farming because we have learned that whenever you go to a commercial space, you start worrying about things like your production and whether you will be able to sell it in the market. You end up making compromises like spraying pesticides on crops to increase yield. We did not want to do that. Our farm is a place where one, we want to grow our food, and two, we want to replenish an ecosystem, which is now thriving because of the fauna flourishing on it. Thirdly, the objective of that place is to educate people, to invite people, and to promote this lifestyle. We keep our earnings separate by doing projects and jobs once in a while.

Having been under Prof. Naveen Garg, I am very enthusiastic about algorithms. Since these days more and more companies are becoming open-minded to work remotely, right now, I am working remotely at Kristal.ai as a Data Scientist.

The most important contribution that IIT has made in my life is giving me this confidence. The methodology of teaching of some professors was such that it taught you how to learn anything and learn it fast. After graduating, there were a lot of things that I came across in life. What IIT taught me is that when you are learning, there is a process, apart from gaining knowledge, such that you can learn anything quickly.
IIT also gave me a network of some very nice people. Friends who have always been there, who click with me in an altogether different wavelength, and that is something very precious.

I feel that you should just go and do it out there. If the world is supposed to change, then logically and statistically, who would you expect the pioneers of that change to be? Somebody confident and on the top of the pyramid, who can afford to take a different path, or someone at the bottom of the pyramid, who is not as confident or secure?
If anybody is supposed to do it, it’s us. It’s you. So, if you feel strongly about some cause, then there cannot be anybody better than you. And it is not just your choice. It is your responsibility. You have to go and figure it all out.

Kaustubh Khade

They say that people into sports can’t be technically strong, or vice versa. However, there is one man who teaches us that one should never stop exploring. An IITD alumnus, Kaustubh Khade is one of the top kayakers in our country. After graduating with a degree in Computer Science and Engineering in 2009, Mr Khade took kayaking as a challenge and put his mark in a span of five years. In 2015, he got his name in the Limca Book of Records when he kayaked solo from Mumbai to Goa in 18 days, covering a distance of 400 kilometres. From his performance in the Dragon Boat Racing held in Mumbai to the Asian Games, Kaustubh has always been in the news. He holds the record for being the first Indian to kayak 3000 km across the western coastline of India, covering five states and one Union Territory from Kutch to Kanyakumari. 

My kayaking journey may seem well-thought-out at first sight, but most of it fell into place accidentally. In 2009, my batch was hit hard by the recession, which took me back to Bombay, where I worked with a startup in Mobile TV. I travelled to Goa that year, where I did kayaking for fun at Palolem beach. Incidentally, there was a boat show happening in Panjim then. I asked one of the chaps there if he could ship me a kayak to Bombay. He told me that he owns a kayaking centre in Bombay and asked me to come and buy from there. So I began kayaking (recreational back then) in Bombay in 2010.

Luckily, I met a lot of well-established kayakers who had come to Bombay at that time. I got a chance to train under 12 times world champion Oscar Chalupsky from South Africa. I also trained under a Hungarian silver medalist. Our kayaking school in Bombay gave us access to the best equipment. Somehow, we put together a team for nationals in canoeing and finished 4th amongst the teams from 14 states. The two strongest paddlers from each team got selected for the national team. We had people from Maharashtra, Kerala, Haryana, and many other states in our team. We then competed in 2012 for the Asian Dragon Boat Championship in Thailand and won six silver medals and three bronze medals. In 2013, I was again chosen for the Sea Kayaking Championship, where I finished 4th out of 17.

Long-distance kayaking is not very famous in India. Oscar Chalupski, whom I mentioned before, had mentored a lady who kayaked around the whole of Australia. She had written about her expeditions in her book, and she reached out to me through Facebook, asking me to read her book. After reading her book, I realized I should replicate this on our home turf. India has the 20th largest coastline in the world, and a beautiful one indeed. So in 2014, I took a sabbatical from my workplace. I went from pillar to post with all of my achievements in search of sponsors. I knew that if I couldn’t get money to get to Goa, it was going to take me an insane amount of bargaining to traverse the coastline. The training took around three months. I stayed at one of the beaches in Alibag and trained there in the rough waters. My first expedition from Bombay to Goa took about 17 days. I kayaked for 14 days, and I had a full-grown fever and a cold and cough on 3 rest days. There was one place where I almost ran into a pack of leopards at a beach. I have crash-landed on tons of beaches in this fashion till now.

All this was just a pilot for me. I knew if I wanted to make a mark of my first expedition, I would have to break some record. So, in November 2016, I loaded up my kayak on a car and went to Dwarka along with my parents and my girlfriend. I started my kayaking journey alone in mid-November in the Dwarka main water. In the next 83 days, I traversed down from Gujarat to Tamil Nadu, crossing Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, and finally reaching Kanyakumari. With my second expedition, I broke my own Limca record, and I still hold it for the longest-solo kayaking by any Indian.

I just saw that kayaking was really risky. I have found it to be challenging in many different ways. You could be in the same water twice and have totally different experiences. In the beginning, kayaking was fun for recreation. In the first couple of years, I went to explore and try the brand new kayaks. These kayaks cut through the water, and you ride the waves with a little bit of gust in the back. So, it is quite an adrenaline rush to be very honest. I got into the competitive circuit, but it was never my plan to enter into the national team. I think I tapped into that competitive spirit for the first time since my IIT days. Then, I later got to represent my country which was an altogether indescribable experience.

I went back to product management. I can’t kayak full time because there is no money in Indian sports. It is not sustainable to enjoy the current life that we all do as a professional kayaker. My next expedition will surely be a sabbatical, and I don’t necessarily need to quit my job. That is all possible because I have worked fairly hard to build a good image in product management. I am currently the Director of product at Byju’s, and things are going pretty exciting here.

The second Asian Games went smoothly because I had moved to a better company. But the one in 2012 was a daunting affair. I had just transitioned into the role of a product manager, and after 2 months my boss got fired. I had the Asian Games coming up at the same time when the new HR came and remarked, “Should I throw out the whole team with the boss?” It was crazy. In the week leading up to the Asian Games, my schedule went like waking up at 5 in the morning and driving 30-35 km to Marine Drive for a 2-hour training. Then cold and wet, I drove for work and worked there between 10 to 1. I then returned to the training site in the afternoon, went back to my office for work, and later returned with some work for home. The schedule was mental. The answer to how I managed it all for this long time? I made a lot of sacrifices down the road.

I think everything leading up to IIT has a large role in affirming that you are going to be hard working. IITs give you a definite cushion. I explored kayaking for recreation and incidentally developed an interest in it and became successful. However, many people have no option but to succeed because their livelihood depends on the sport. Most people do not have the liberty to venture into different avenues. As IITians, we have the padding and are gifted with the ability to work hard, especially in crucial situations. So, if any of us comes across something that excites us, we should not hesitate to put that extra effort to make things happen.

Lekh Bajaj

Defying conventions since his very first year in college, Mr Lekh Bajaj, a renowned clinical psychologist, chose a career path least expected by an IITian to follow. He graduated from IIT Delhi in the year 2014 with a major in Civil Engineering and a minor in Computer Science. Founder of Coach for Mind, Mr Bajaj has touched the lives of thousands of people through his services as a Mind Coach. He spent four years of his college life exploring his interests and prospective career choices. So immense was his passion for preaching emotional well-being that he left his engineering job just after six months and started his training in the field of psychotherapy. To ensure financial stability, Mr Bajaj took home tuitions and emotional well-being workshops at IITD under NEN course offered by NRCVEE IIT Delhi.  It fills him with happiness when his father now proudly acclaims his son to be a “Mann ka Doctor.” Today, he holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. He has conducted various training programs in esteemed organizations like McKinsey & Company, the Indian Road Safety Campaign, among others in the past.

I started indulging in various activities after the second semester, but my prime focus was hockey. In my third year, I was a part of the hockey team, which went for Inter IIT. Apart from being awarded the “Best Hockey Player”, I was also elected as my hostel’s Sports Secretary. Besides hockey, I also did stage plays and organized events for Rendezvous and Sportech.

I knew from the beginning that engineering is not something that fills me up with passion. I was also not interested in consulting and finance jobs. For me, college life was a period of exploration. I registered for different workshops, worked with NGOs, and stumbled upon a variety of career choices, eventually rejecting them all. But I realised that all these options converged at doing something for society. Burdened by peer pressure, I did sit for the placements and got selected in a company, but I was still sure that this job did not align with my interests. During my 8th semester, I collaborated with various NGOs to conduct sessions on emotional well being. It turned out to be great, and I got various positive feedbacks. Simultaneously, I did the SMILE internship and eventually gained clarity about my passion. Nevertheless, I joined the company but left it after a few months and started taking home tuitions to ensure financial stability and simultaneously find time to explore a bit more about my newfound passion.

One path at that time was to apply for masters and get a degree in psychology, but I aimed to get hands-on experience first. So I prepared a few workshops and sessions and came back to IIT to conduct these for the students. I used to conduct 5 workshops each semester, and because of the great response, some professors offered me to conduct these sessions in collaboration with NEN. I started getting paid, even before I did my masters. Parallelly, I attended psychotherapy training and counselling skills workshop under a well-known psychologist. He trained me in psychology, and I helped him with the marketing of his business. The experience I gained there opened me to another dimension of psychology where you sit with a client to help that individual deal with his/her mental or emotional issues. Eventually, I pursued my Masters in Psychology. That was a turning point since I then started looking at the clinical side of psychology rather than the experimental.

Psychology has different schools of thought, and one of them is Cognitive Behavioral therapy. I usually combine psychodynamic and cognitive approaches. Cognition refers to the mental processes which occur due to our thoughts. All our thoughts, positive or negative, have a pattern linked to it. Psychotherapy is a model based on Thought, Emotion, and Action. Cognitive behavioral therapy does not give much importance to the emotional aspect and is based mainly on thoughts and corresponding actions. There are various activities that we perform to change the thought process and hence help in changing the behaviour of an individual. On the other hand, the psychodynamic theory is based more on the emotional aspect. It involves making an individual aware of their feelings and emotional conflicts that our conscious brain usually ignores.

When I look back, the 7th semester was pretty tough for me. I was quite clueless about my future and questioned every small thing happening around me. Now that I know the symptoms of depression, I am sure that I was in mild depression back then. Shifting to this career made me aware of my state of mind in various situations and has helped me in reacting to these situations calmly. Whenever I am stressed, I have multiple tools to choose from to calm myself down. It helps me face the problems more positively because the truth is problems are a part and parcel of life.

It all lies in perspective. Being an IITian gave me the security that even if my explorations fail, in the end, I can always find a job. Conversely, many students at IIT believe that since they belong to the most prestigious college in the country, they must achieve the highest success bar. For me, IIT was never a closed quarter, but an open territory to explore. But at the same time, I won’t say life was easy for me. Once I left my job, it was challenging to handle the peer pressure. My family was against my decision. Whenever I used to meet my friends from college, they would all be stunned by the path I chose. But there was a voice somewhere inside assuring me that eventually, everything will fall in place and that I have chosen the best path for me. The confidence that I had in myself helped me to overcome all these pressures and pursue my passion. It fills me with happiness when my father now proudly acclaims, “Mera beta mann ka doctor hai.”

Ashish Lal

How often do we read about IITians pursuing a career in films? We enjoy the spectacular performances of actors and directors from the Dramatics Society every year, but very few, if any, among them would dare to choose this unconventional career path to follow their passion. Ashish Lal is one of those very few IITians who left a secure job to fulfil his dream of becoming an actor, writer, and director. He graduated from IIT Delhi in 2005 with a degree in Civil Engineering. After that, he worked in a business analytics firm for four years. However, the monotonous 9-5 job could not satisfy his zeal and creative spirit as he left his lucrative job to pursue his inner calling in cinema. There were many obstacles in his journey- financial instability, no support from parents, lack of connections in the industry, and many more. But as the saying goes, “Where there is a will, there is a way.” Today, he is a seasoned figure in his field with over 100 corporate and documentary films for prestigious clients and film festivals under his belt. He also starred as a male lead in Doordarshan’s TV show Chalo Saaf Karein, acted in the movie With Love Delhi, and has done various online films like No more #MeToo, among others. He has started his own production house, Redash Films.

I was born into a middle-class family. Like in any typical family, my parents expected me to get a good education and follow it up with a secure job. I never imagined that I would become an actor, writer, or film-maker. So, I landed a job in the corporate sector after graduating from IIT Delhi. It was in data and business analytics. During that job, I started facing an existential crisis that severely impacted my mental stability. I realized that I had been working hard my entire life to get a job, but when I got one, it wasn’t satisfying. I concluded that I could never do this job for the next 30 years of my life. This realization was the trigger point of shifting from engineering to my passion. I loved acting, writing, and film-making and hence pursued them as a profession.

During my time at IITD, I spent a lot of time participating in extracurricular activities. It provided me with a platform to learn and explore various things. I was an actor, writer, and director at the Dramatics Club. I also served as the Cultural Secretary, and subsequently, the House Secretary of my hostel. These experiences and exposure were definitely helpful while choosing films as a career.

I didn’t move out suddenly. I planned to earn some money as security before diving into films. I worked for four years, and during this time, I also informed my parents about my decision. As expected, they placed job security over my dreams and were displeased by my decision to leave a stable job for a career full of struggles. But they then thought that is a newfound craze, and I would shed off this lunacy in a year or so. So, there were a lot of challenges initially. I spent all my savings within one year. Also, since I am a first-generation actor, it was even tougher to find my footing without proper support and backing.

Never. I had been there and done that. I used to earn pretty good money from my job. But as I said, it was not at all satisfying for me. I never wanted to experience that again. So, there was no peer pressure or second thoughts on rejoining the job because I used to hate my job more than anything else.

The first and foremost difficulty with this industry is that it is very unorganized. While giving engineering entrance exams, you know the number of hours you need to put, and the cut off which you need to clear to qualify. Everything from the syllabus to selection criteria happens in an organised fashion. In contrast, there are a lot of uncertainties in everything related to films. You may be an excellent actor, but there is someone better looking than you who can get the role. You may be very good looking, but there is someone with better acting skills who can get the role. So, things don’t go according to your efforts. It sounds surprising, but for the first two years, I was not able to find out where these auditions happen. I then gradually connected with some people and joined a few groups to get notified about auditions. Therefore, this field is very subjective, and that makes it more complex and challenging. You have to create your own path here. But with these many struggles, I am proud to say that my friend Ashutosh Matela and I were the first IITians to enter into this field. After that, I started my own production house “Redash” to pursue my dream of making fiction films. Although we now mostly get non-fiction or corporate films, my main focus has always been on creating fiction films. I started my own production house to create my own work as I understand the struggles of being an outsider in this industry.

It has changed a lot compared to when I started years ago. Now, there are many successful people in the industry from IITs compared to when I started back then. There are not many big names in Bollywood, apart from Nitish Tiwari, who directed Dangal movie, and Jeetendra Kumar, who featured in Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhaan with Ayushman Khurana. But in web-series, there are many successful IITians, and I believe many more will come. With the TVF boom, many IITians have started to consider their passion, and people in the industry now believe that IITians can excel in film-making, acting, and direction. I believe IITians are very helpful, and with more successful IITians in the entertainment industry, there will be someone to guide you on this unconventional path.

Everyone is different. So, a single piece of advice cannot be for all, but I would advise everyone to “Do what you want to do and just go into it.” Don’t do something because everyone else is also doing. At the same time, don’t just quit your job because it’s cool. Find what gives you happiness- money or mental stability, and then act accordingly. Apart from that, if it’s related to films, there are many successful IITians in the industry today. So, be open to ask for help and make your way through.

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