Stories Of 8 Indians Who Quit Stable Jobs To Pursue Their Passions - Homegrown

Stories Of 8 Indians Who Quit Stable Jobs To Pursue Their Passions

People who end up changing the world, for better or for worse, rarely follow the rules. We believe you’re familiar with our fascination for those who lead double lives professionally, which we explored through the lives of different individuals across India. These are the guys burning the candle at both ends and doing a fine job at it. Then, there are those who choose to go off the deep end and vouch completely and irrevocably for their dreams (and no, they don’t get much sleep either). For these dreamers, we have another kind of respect, albeit an equally special one.

It takes immense courage—and a healthy dose of madness—to put an end to what is potentially a financially stable life to pursue your real calling. So we scoured the space for individuals who have, at different points in their lives, taken a step back and re-evaluated what their dreams meant to them before deciding to throw their entire weight behind them. We understand that it isn’t a viable prospect for several people when you consider the financial risks at play here, besides other factors weighing in that range from providing for one’s family to dealing with student loans. While following one’s passion comes at a high price for a lot of people, it is good to know that people are learning to give their kids the opportunity to do more than the cookie-cutter Doctor-Lawyer-Engineer bracket of jobs.

Without further ado, here are eight individuals who have truly followed their hearts, and won us over while at it.

[Read about more people who chose their dreams over stability here.]


[Note to readers—this list has been crowdsourced and was open to people who were willing to talk to us. It is presented in no order of preference.]

I. Sagnik Ganguly | Hard working. Fun. Competitive.

Working as a Cinematographer in the Kerala film industry, as well as doing freelance photography and cinematography in between projects, 27-year-old Sagnik’s career path wasn’t always this creative. Based in Kolkata he was working as a Project Officer in Medica Superspeciality Hospital, he was living like a king but wasn’t fully satisfied. He then kickstarted his filmmaking career from Hyderabad and hasn’t looked back since.

The Shift

“I am a Master of Science with a specialisation in Biotechnology from the University of Mumbai. I was working as a Project Officer in Medica Superspecialty Hospital in Kolkata which paid me decent enough to live my life like a king in Kolkata. It was a job where I had to travel places around the Eastern zone, identify locations, and arrange for pop up clinics for the doctors from Kolkata to go and visit so that people from the lower economic strata of society, who otherwise couldn’t afford to visit Kolkata or see a doctor, could get a checkup from the top doctors in the eastern zone. Even though I enjoyed the job, I got fed up with it.

There are certain things give you a sense of freedom and make you feel that this was the reason you are meant to exist and for me, Photography and Videography were the reason. All these years I was visualising my life through a different kind of lens (when my specialisation was science) and now that I am in the creative field, I love it even more. Yes, it is backbreaking work. Yes, I have sleepless nights thinking about how to make a scene better. Yes, I make mistakes on the field and I learn from them. But, all in all, this is what I was born to do.”

The Inspiration

“My inspirations are many, but one that left a long lasting impression was the Marvel comic character HULK. The reason being I connected to him on many levels. He had his struggles which he made into his strength. I somewhat live by that.”

Sagnik Ganguly
Sagnik Ganguly

On Sacrifices And Support

“The biggest sacrifice was that even though I was an extrovert, I had this fiercely guarded comfort zone, which I had to break through. Had I not done that, I don’t know whether I’d be a good cinematographer. The most challenging shift was in terms of monetary stability. I had a well-paying job and suddenly I was thrown into the loop of uncertainty with regard to earning. It took time to get used to that.

My parents, family, my friends and more importantly, my fiancé Devi were my backbone throughout. I have absolutely no clue what I would do without their constant support (and bickering).”

On Highs And Lows

“Once, during a shoot while assisting the DOP, I started clicking photographs of the crew. After developing, I shared it with the producer and the director, and they used it for their film promotions. And from one such photograph, an actress got an offer from Hyderabad to work as the lead actress with a megastar. The ego boost and the satisfaction I got was massive.

Initially, when I was looking for freelance work and wasn’t getting any, the thought of this being the worst decision popped up quite often. But I kind of snapped out of it.”

Tips Or Advice For Those Planning On Taking The Leap

“Forget the fear or financial responsibilities. You never know what you are made of until you actually go through the cleansing fire. It is an amazing feeling when you can do whatever you love and earn from it. And please do not forget people who helped or rejected you. Everyone matters. And oh! Please do read comics.”

II. Vanshika Agarwala | Curious. Independent. Perceptive.

Currently based in Kolkata, 26-year-old Vanshika studied Economics at the University of Warwick, and then completed a masters at The London School of Economics, graduating in 2014. If her educational qualifications weren’t impressive enough, she started working in investment banking at one of the big four consulting firms in Bangalore after a gap year. She gave it all up to pursue what really drew her in full-time, paper cutting.

The Shift

“Initially, my job in investment banking was interesting and dynamic; I had made a great set of friends and was doing well at work. However, the best part of my day was a couple of hours in the evening when I would come home and sketch or cut the piece that I was working on. Over time, work started to get monotonous and stifling, and I felt like there was little room for creativity and independence.

Paper-cutting or kirigami is the art of creating paper designs. My works are drawn on large continuous sheets of paper and then cut free-hand with a scalpel. I have been pursuing it as a hobby since 2014, and have recently started taking commissions last year. For me, my art is a form of therapy. I draw inspiration from travel, architecture, fairytales and everyday objects, and try and add a touch of unexpected whimsy to my drawings.”

The Inspiration

“I am inspired by travel, architecture, fashion and fairytales. I love things that are unexpected and whimsical, and I always try and add a touch of whimsy to my work.”

Vanshika Agarwala
Vanshika Agarwala

On Sacrifices And Support

“One of my biggest fears was the social pressure that comes with changing careers, after several years of education including a masters degree! Especially because I was switching to a passion that holds no promises of success.

I have been fortunate to be able to come back home to parents who are very supportive of my decision and encouraging of my future as an artist.”

On Highs And Lows

“The moment that made me most confident about pursuing my passion was when two of my pieces were commissioned for the Serendipity Arts Festival last year, just three months into doing this full time. However, self-doubt is a part of being an artist, especially after you leave the safety net of a monthly paycheck!”

Tips Or Advice For Those Planning On Taking The Leap

“The best thing about pursuing your passion is that you never feel like you have to work. I believe that if you have been fortunate enough to stumble upon your passion, you should never let it go, even if it’s just part-time.”

III. Jasmeet Singh | Coffee. Moustache. A smile – “The things that are always with me”

Jasmeet is 23 years old and a “terrible engineer, but a decent photographer.” Currently, he works as a freelance photographer and a filmmaker based in Gurgaon and most of the people know him by his Instagram handle @twosweetapples . He graduated as an Electronics Engineer in July 2015 and worked in an MNC while freelancing, which adds up to his 3 years of experience in contemporary and fashion portraits.

The Shift

“I worked in an MNC when I graduated followed by cursing the traffic at late evenings. I use to drive far away to my office in Manesar, Haryana. I felt lucky every day since I was the only one to be placed from my college in such a nice company, and I was working my dream job. Being a service engineer there, I did the interfacing and testing of the various CNC machines. My job involved various international visits however I left the job soon before my first ever trip to Argentina, the day I denied handing over my passport to my office department for getting the visa process done. I felt it wasn’t meant for me. Later my career was followed by another MNC as a Service Analyst, which I left since I was confident with my passion for being a contemporary photographer and a filmmaker.

The last job I worked was in a good MNC, which might be a dream company to work for most of the graduates and experienced daylight zombies, however, my urge to not to see myself doing the same tick-tock over the keyboard for the next 10 years made me resign the job, without even filling up the notice period. I promised myself to not go back into regretting anything or feel devastated with his decisions. I have worked very hard for the past several months, and I today have reached the mark wherein my work is being appreciated by various international artists and it makes my very proud.
Now, every day I wake up, I feel much happier than I was being a corporate slave.”

The Inspiration

“The way different artists around the globe are doing wonders in their art field along with the day to day jobs going in parallel always motivated me to strive for the same lifestyle. Various artists like @blahjinder, @crownandmane, @singhmahoon, @narvision etc. are my biggest inspirations. These people are leaving their marks on our culture and how art and vision set everyone above each other. Its a path of continuous growth with no sky ends.”

Jasmeet Singh photographed by Harleen Kaur
Jasmeet Singh photographed by Harleen Kaur

On Sacrifices And Support

“My continuous support system has been my sister. She loves watching my content and makes it easier for me to bear my parent’s knockoffs over me for pursuing photography over Engineering. I can never repay her for whenever she helped me with buying my gears since the efforts she did for me in my bad times is way larger and grateful than the amount she paid for my equipment.

I never had to sacrifice anything, rather felt free being out of my past zone. The challenges are faced every day, but, these are the challenges over which I, myself have full control over rather than any stupid leader hovering over my head for matching the team scores. The shift in the amount of hard work I did for a company to the hard work I do for my photography and filmmaking career, has made me fully realize the human potential. Not like everyone gets to understand it, rather, the acceptance that I can do the best and stand out from the herd makes us do the inevitable.”

On Highs And Lows

“The best moments are created through my clients and my Instagram audience. I get a tremendous amount of love from them, and I remember the recent apparel portfolio film I made for theloom.in when the co-founders dropped me huge WhatsApp message, thanking me for what great work I did for them, how much they love, and how fantastic they felt working with me. They mentioned I was the most humble artist they every met and would reach heights if I keep the same spirit.
Talking about bad memories, there aren’t any.”

Tips Or Advice For Those Planning On Taking The Leap

“Finances and bills are everyone’s need to pay off. But, to achieve something from your passion is to be consistent. You might be the worst piano player, but a good observer at one stage. If today you are watching someone play it, tomorrow you will play it yourself and day after you will definitely be teaching someone how to play it. This all comes with consistency. Money. it’s just like the rains of Bangalore. They come and go, but it’s always there.”

IV. Hira Mulchandani | Ambitious. Passionate. Impulsive.

You may not recognise his name, but if you’re based in Mumbai you’re definitely familiar with Death by BBQ, Vegan Burger Kitchen and Fernandes Aunty, all founded by 30-year-old Hira. Completely a postgrad from the UK in 2011, he began working at a marketing agency, followed by a tech company in the marketing department before venturing into the culinary world.

The Shift

“I was working in a tech company for 3.5 years. I never really hated my work, the job and the people I worked with were great but there was always this inclination I had towards food and to start something of my own.

It feels incredible to have built something on my own from scratch. Every day there are new learnings that change the way you think or perceive things. It’s only been 1.5 years since I entered the food industry, there are still a lot of learnings and challenges in the pipeline.”

The Inspiration

“There’s something about food, the way it connects with people, it is something that has always inspired me. No matter what one’s food preference (vegetarian, non-vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, etc), one thing common amongst them is the feeling they have after having a good meal. That feeling is what inspires me to innovate and grow.”

Hira Mulchandani
Hira Mulchandani

On Sacrifices And Support

“Letting go of a big salary hitting your account on the 1st of every month is a big sacrifice in itself. There are fewer uncertainties when you have a job. The biggest shift was to realise that you are the sole decision maker and every action you take will affect the business, and yourself. You can’t afford to ‘call in sick’ because the show must go on.

My family and friends are my support system. They were the ones who encouraged and supported my decision. Being a postgrad and having headed a brand gave me the confidence to take the leap. I knew that if I failed, I could always go back in the corporate world.”

On Highs And Lows

“In the beginning, things were not going as per plan. My launch got delayed by almost 2 months and in that period there were days where I felt that maybe I’ve made the wrong decision but ever since the ball got rolling there have been no regrets. Every time a customers spends his hard-earned money on my food and is satisfied, I realise I’ve made the right decision.”

Tips Or Advice For Those Planning On Taking The Leap

“Be sure that you want to make your passion your career. It is absolutely okay to have a job that you’re not really passionate about (as long as you’re good at what you do). Once you’re sure you want to follow your passion, the best time to do it is NOW.”

V. Jacob Cherian | “I would say ‘try anything twice’ but my girlfriend insists that I say ‘dynamic, quirky and passionate’.”

There are two things that Jacob explains he does – running his own marketing agency that promotes NGOs and food businesses. This lets him work from anywhere, which in turn, allows him to pursue his passion project that is regenerating indigenous forest that has been lost to deforestation and monoculture. While his inner circle of friends call him J, Facebook users are more likely to identify him by his gamer handle ‘Skrybe’. Seeing him now you wouldn’t imagine he was once the Editor of a national publication.

The Shift

“At the age of 16 the idealistic youth in me ‘knew’ I wanted to be a journalist and contribute to the world. However, by the time I reached the position of Editor I was jaded by the Indian media industry, once I realised that too much depended on advertising. I was turning into a cog in someone else’s machine. Maybe I just didn’t have what it takes, because Indian journalism still has its share of legit stars. I, however, even lost the spirit to do something journalistic on my own. And so I re-invented my content creation skills to promote NGOs.

With promoting NGOs, at a personal level, it feels very real when I see that the funds I’ve helped raise pay someone’s school fees, or starts a building project, or buys stationery. I see the impact right there, and that’s deeply satisfying. This work leverages my content-generation, and audience-targeting skills directly.

At a societal level, I enjoy running social media and fundraising campaigns for non-profits because it supports good causes. I also like working with some smart and able people, that have chosen to not take corporate jobs, and give back to society. This work brings many new people into the fold by encouraging them to give back to society as donors, even if they cannot take a leap into a life of full-time non-profit work. In fact, I haven’t done so myself - I try to run this like a business. The world needs a mix of people that do salaried jobs and take risks like this, and this is my contribution. In the big picture, it feels so much more gratifying than helping a giant company make profits.

Secondly, with regenerating forests, I feel as though I am able to give back to nature because we humans as a single species have wiped out so many others. For instance, in Kodaikanal, the Australian eucalyptus has replaced many acres of local forests. It was brought here by the British for fast-growing timber, another story of corporate greed.

Funnily enough, as I write this, I realise that both of these passions work against greed that’s created by large operations – where people pulling the strings are so far removed from the on-ground realities that damage is caused. With this work, I favour smaller initiatives which prioritise the good health of the whole ecosystem - of society and of the forest.”

The Inspiration

“My Kodaikanal forest neighbour, Nevil Moncher, the founder of Karuna Farms, because he settled on deforested land and has regenerated the forest over the past 30 years.

My father for being a great father without ever knowing his own father, and hence, is a great model of doing the right thing without a direct model.

In general, people that hold power over others, and consistently resist the urge to abuse it– like the fictitious Clark Kent, for being unboundedly strong, yet inspiringly humble all at once.”

On Sacrifices And Support

“At a material level, the most challenging shift, and sacrifice was the stability of a monthly income and companionship of working with other people on a daily basis. Running your own venture is quite a lonely journey, especially when it comes something as niche as promoting NGOs. At a mental level, (and while I know he said it to protect me), it was my father telling me that ‘business is not in our blood’. That made things difficult for sure.

I was lucky to have my brother, Bawa, and uncles Baven and Bobby, support me during this transition.”

On Highs And Lows

“The morning I woke up and saw that a campaign that we were running for an NGO had a reach of over 55.5 million Twitter accounts. I blinked hard and re-read it many times because I thought it was 5.55 million. Just 8 hours prior to that moment, the campaign reach was at 3.8~ million. It took a while to wrap my mind around it.”

Tips Or Advice For Those Planning On Taking The Leap

“Speaking in business terms – Just make sure your passion has a ‘market fit’ with a solid USP, or it’s going to be a long and difficult fight. Once you internalize that, it gets easier when you’re ready to take the leap.

Too many articles promote ‘following your passion’, but quite frankly, there just isn’t enough space for just another fashion Instagram star or yet another writer/photographer backpacking through Paris and Barcelona.”

VI. Reenu Serene | Self-Motivating. Optimistic. Moody.

An artwork need not be just displayed on the wall but it can be a part of your everyday life. This is where Reenu comes in, converting an everyday boring product into something that is customised to who you are. That’s where PiPo MoMa comes in. Mumbai-born and Dubai-based, Reenu is a shoe customiser who started off two years ago in her Bangalore home.

The Shift

“I had been working as an Architect for the last 5 years in a 9 to 5 setup. Architecture in itself is a beautiful field which is a different form of art. So I decided to leave my corporate job with a very good pay package and focus on my customisation business.

I eventually missed Architecture, since I needed various mediums to channel my creativity and now work as a consultant. But the only difference is that I am a free bird and not in the shackles of a corporate job.

The shoe customising started out of boredom of working in a corporate field and having a 9 to 5 job. I used to paint on canvas but I got bored of the medium and decided to paint on a pair of shoes. I posted my customised shoes on FB and the very same night I received 12 orders which shocked me. And thus started my journey which quickly turned into a startup business and it’s called PiPo MoMa.

I love my customisation job. I have my days of doubt, where I question myself and ask why am I doing this to myself. But I have a goal, to be the best customisation artist in the world, and that goal keeps me on my track every single day. I want to be the ‘BEYONCE’ in my field.”

The Inspiration

“There are 3 ladies who inspire me namely Priyanka Chopra, Lilly Singh and Beyonce. These ladies worked consistently all their life with a focus which could not be altered by any obstacle or setbacks. They are self-confessed work-a-holics who worked round the clock towards their passion. These ladies were never handed success on a silver platter but their passion and commitment towards their goals make them leaders in their field. To carve a niche in this world, consistent hard work and focus are how I achieve my goal, is what these beautiful ladies taught me through their journey.”

Reenu Serene
Reenu Serene

On Sacrifices And Support

“I feel it is very important to have a strong financial backing while pursuing your dreams and that backing, for me, comes in the form of my husband. We are now a licensed company and I and husband are equal partners in the company.

The biggest challenge was to train my mind to be focused on my journey. My biggest sacrifice is the comfort zone that I left. Every single day is a learning curve in our journey. Somedays all I want to do is be a couch potato and watch a movie, but then I have my deadlines to achieve. I watch my friends go out every weekend, but most of the weekends I will be in my studio working my arse off.”

On Highs And Lows

“I am a free bird now and not shackled by any situation. I wake up with a smile on my face to tackle the day. And this joy that I have is the biggest proof that I have made the best decision in my life.

This journey is like a ying-yang cycle. Some days I wake up thinking its the best decision and some days I wake up thinking its the worst decision, which is part of entrepreneur living and I take it in my stride”

Tips Or Advice For Those Planning On Taking The Leap

“When you don’t look at the clock while working, that is when you know you have found your passion. And when you have made up your mind to follow your dreams, the entire universe works in tandem to make that happen to you.”

PiPo MoMa is an online customisation business for customers looking to have hand-painted shoes, bags or jackets. You can provide a theme or image and they personalize the product for you! They ship globally and orders can be placed through Instagram (@pipo_moma) or Facebook (pingpong momayaa).

VII. Neeti Mehra | Curious. Compassionate. Creative.

Neeti studied finance but had no interest in becoming a bean counter, so she changed her line of work, pushing her passion for writing. With over 15 years of experience in publicity, styling and communications, she has been associated with leading names and publications such as Perfect Relations and the Indian Express. Her bylines and pictures have appeared in over 60 global publications, such as Vogue, Condé Nast Traveller, The Hindu and Business Traveller UK, and was the Editor of India’s leading luxury business publication, BlackBook, a stint that lasted over four years.

The Shift

“Last year I moved on from my comfortable job as an Editor with a luxury magazine. I enjoyed it, my life was very glamorous, with a lot of social events, parties, travel and the usual assorted perks an editor enjoys, but I felt I had reached the end of the road and wanted to expand my horizons. I looked around me and I see a lot of my friends burning out in the rat race. Some quit and disappeared into the mountains, studying permaculture, yoga, and such, and then reappeared as changed people. Some were, however, disillusioned with city life, trying to discover themselves while they figured what they wanted to do.

I started BeejLiving as a studied response to our fast-paced lives in July 2017. I understand that the choices we make today have far-reaching consequences that go well beyond ourselves. With Beej, I hope to imbibe and promote a responsible lifestyle working with like-minded brands and people.

The idea behind Beej (a seed) is to focus on ‘slow’, namely, looking back to our traditions, but in a modern context, while creating new traditions for the future.

BeejLiving nudges you to live mindfully within contemporary chaos, highlighting brands, people and a lifestyle, with a nod towards conscious, self-aware and responsible living. I felt a need to dig deeper into what life had to offer. As I became more conscious about it, I began to change the way I looked at my life and started to eliminate the non-essentials. I set out to study more about our folk culture, social and community responsibility and the simple life. Today brands across the spectrum are waking up and are consciously embracing a sustainable imperative. It is no longer just being conscious only of the food we eat, but also what clothes we wear, what we put on our skin, the air we breathe and most importantly, how we live, what meaning do we attach to objects and people, how we cultivate ourselves as people, all which are deeply entwined with our and our children’s well being and happiness.

www.BeejLiving.com operates as a platform that curates events, provides information and hand holds people into how they can make their lives more meaningful, whether by ancient traditions such as yoga or Ayurveda, in the modern context, as well as new traditions we are cultivating. My second venture, The BeejLiving Studio is a bespoke consultancy which creates compelling written and visual content for conscientious, sustainable, organic, etc brands. We’re a bunch of pretty happy people in India who work on serious projects. Our studio provides guidance to brands, helping them tell their unique story to the world.
We create content for websites, work on research projects, formulate web strategies, plan newsletter, press material, advertorials, decide visual content, and tailor making an outreach programme. Industrious as ants, the team at the BeejLiving Studio has worked with niche start-ups as well as model corporates.

​The past nine months have been exciting. We’re planning workshops, private consultations and e-books and a whole host of other material that I hope will make an impact, however small, by helping people lead fuller lives. Life is short. We owe it to ourselves to make it rich and meaningful.”

The Inspiration

“Both my grandmothers. My late paternal grandmother was a perfectionist, a perfect homemaker, brilliant chef and a loving person. My maternal grandmother is going to celebrate her 100th birthday later this year. Resilient, hardworking and accepting, she’s still very well informed and social. They both survived the partition, rebuilt their homes and family and were extremely supportive of their husbands, rai​sing​ wonderful children and liv​ing​ exemplary lives according to their own terms and the high standards. They had their priorities correct, their hearts in the right place and did not waste time on frivolities. Every day I learn so much from their lives!”

Neeti Mehra
Neeti Mehra

On Sacrifices And Support

“I’m a big city girl and choosing the quiet life was quite daunting at first. I’ve taken on a task which very few have forged before, and there was no blueprint to follow. The first question people ask me is what is ‘slow living’ and each time I’m happy to answer that question. I had to build Beej from scratch, and when you start out again with something new, you need to sublimate your ego. But I’ve met incredibly passionate people on this journey who believe in me and what I do. That drives me to work even harder. In terms of sacrifice, I can’t list any, to tell the truth, I believe people evolve and outgrow the past. When one part of your life’s journey has reached its end, you happily move onto the next path. Where is the sacrifice in a caterpillar shedding its skin? I’ve been extremely lucky to have the opportunities that I’ve had in life, and am thankful that I can work on Beej full-time.”

On Highs And Lows

“I always turn to Shakespeare’s Hamlet for this, ‘There is nothing good or bad, only thinking makes it so’. Ups and downs are a part of life, what helps as an entrepreneur is not to second guess others intentions. Focus on your own work. Those who recognise your value will want to work with you, and they are the people who will champion your brand. If you can sleep like a baby at the end of each day, knowing you’ve built something beautiful with a solid foundation and great values, then you needn’t let the small battles bother you. One day you will win the war.”

Tips Or Advice For Those Planning On Taking The Leap

“If we look back at the history of humanity, the worst decisions have been motivated by fear, while the best have been motivated by love, trust, expansion and the greater good of all. There’s a lot that goes into becoming an entrepreneur. You’re the peon, CEO, receptionist and accountant all rolled into one. You need to be a good negotiator and the most passionate advocate for your brand. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. You need to decide if you want to paddle by the shore or deep dive. You might sink, swim or drown, but it’s a risk you need to be willing to take. There is no shame in failure, but whatever you do, do it well, however small or meaningless it might seem. You need to evaluate your temperament, your ability to withstand volatility and the strength of your support system before you take the plunge. You will know when the time is right to change direction. Trust the universe.”

You can follow BeejLiving on Facebook, Instagram and visit the website for more information.

VIII. Amruta Ubale | Patient. Resilient. Strategic.

At age 34, Amruta is the Chairperson of Animal Equality, an animal protection organisation working with society, governments and companies to end cruelty to farmed animals. She has been working for Animal Rights for the last 10 years – right from persuading the government and courts to introduce or amend laws, assisting lawyers, police officials, security officials and veterinary doctors, investigating, training teachers, giving presentations, speeches and interviews in media, producing and directing videos, writing scripts for plays and documentaries, Amruta has done it all. But this wasn’t always the trajectory of her life.

The Shift

“When it came to the time of taking up a profession, like every other Indian family, everyone expected me to be in management, engineering or be a doctor. I completed my management course and started working in human resources. However, with time, I reached a point of stagnation and had a yearning to do something more meaningful with my life. It was around this time that I was also exploring spirituality which got me thinking about the purpose of my life. I was fortunate enough to soon discover that my life’s purpose was to help the helpless. That is when I decided to quit my HR job to take up animal rights full time.

I feel fortunate to understand and get an opportunity to take up my calling at a young age. I’ve grown as a person – I used to be impatient and naive but over time working in an environment where animals are not given the basic rights and then successfully getting incremental changes for them despite all the odds, has turned me into a very patient, resilient and strategic person. I’ve also come to understand that the people who inflict torture on any beings or support their torture are victims themselves of the conditioning they’ve received. And therefore the realisation, that root of many wrongdoings of people in society today boils down to ‘conditioning’.”

The Inspiration

“I strongly believe that compassion is a quality inherent to humans. Observe toddlers, they are always attracted to nature- animals, flowers, trees. But due to conditioning, we lose this quality with time. I was fortunate to be in a family who nurtured my compassionate side. I remember as a child I would rescue puppies and kittens, bring them home and provide food and water to them. In today’s time when the world is falling apart, I feel compassion is the glue which will keep this world together.

My biggest inspiration is farmed animals, who like us have the ability to feel emotions and have a strong will to live. But are tortured and killed in millions. I do believe in the future human race will not abuse animals at all and will look back in shock to learn that animals were abused and used in such horrific manner in the past.

And I feel inspired to see that many like me are working to make this happen. Not just in India, people across the world are horrified by the brutal realities animals live in and are pouring in to support the cause, thereby rekindling this inherent quality.”

Amruta Ubale
Amruta Ubale

On Sacrifices And Support

“My husband was the one who encouraged me to take up my passion. I was extremely nervous at first. During my initial phase, people around me asked, ‘How can you quit a lucrative job and work for an NGO? Your education will go to waste.’ Today all those people appreciate the work I do and support me. And even though my family did not agree with my decision at first, very soon they began supporting me, to an extent where they actively join me in my work of helping animals.

Many people ask me how I work year after year in an environment where all I get to see and hear is violence and killing. Does it numb you after some time? No, it hasn’t numbed me. The violence and the killing are as disturbing as it was 10 years ago, but I channel that frustration into determination to arrive at a solution. And even if one has the solution, it is never easy. We are working in an environment where animals are not given the most basic rights. We are working against high odds but we continue fighting, as I believe the harder you have to work for something, the closer we get to success with each step.

In the course of the past 10 years, my team and I have literally put our blood, sweat and tears in our work. We’ve worked in extremely life-threatening situations – mobs trying to lynch us, getting threats, getting stuck in stampedes, working in locations surrounded with people with weapons, diseased animals, animal and human excrement, with no proper food or water, etc. We’ve fought tooth and nail with abusers which in turn has jeopardized our security. Reasoned with the courts and the government to introduce reforms despite the strong resistance. But we’ve never given up. We owe it to the animals who suffer in millions every day behind closed doors”

On Highs And Lows

“This field is highly challenging and despite all your best efforts, there will be instances where you will not achieve success. And working with limited resources makes it worse. But I’ve never given up...I can’t, I owe it to the animals who suffer in millions. Amidst these trying times, whenever I achieve a victory for the animals, it reinforces my belief that I’ve taken the best decision.

Nothing can beat the satisfaction of saving a life. Whenever I see an animal rescued from slaughter or when someone says that, “I will not support animal torture anymore.” thereby saving thousands of animals in their lifetime or when I thank a government official to introduce a policy or a lawyer to help us with a case, and when they say that it was your determination to thank, I feel humbled and inspired.

But the most disheartening experiences are when I’ve worked very hard on a particular case and achieved victory, only to have it overturned by the government or courts. For example, we successfully persuaded the government to not lift the prohibition on performances of bulls through the Supreme Court. Bulls are force-fed alcohol, whipped incessantly, prodded and electrocuted during these events. But this was overturned.”

Tips Or Advice For Those Planning On Taking The Leap

“I would suggest that you begin by devoting some time in a week for your passion. While you are doing this you will get hands-on experience and exposure in that area. This way you will get yourself and others around you accustomed to the idea. And eventually, after you’ve worked out all the details, you can decide to take the plunge. In the end, you have to decide what is more important to you.

There is no feeling which can beat the contentment you feel when you take up your passion. You’ll see that you look forward to each day with enthusiasm. You’ll be productive, you’ll see problems as challenges and shortcoming as opportunities.

I would also request family members to be supportive of them. Even though my family did not agree with my decision at first, very soon they began supporting me to an extent where they actively join me in my work of helping the helpless.”

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