Stories Of 10 Young Indians Who Are Leading Double Lives [Duality Vol. VII]

Stories Of 10 Young Indians Who Are Leading Double Lives [Duality Vol. VII]

“To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life.”

There are those who find solace between brackets and there are those who prefer to empty their framework of any specifics, choosing instead to exist between parallels, worlds and interests. And somehow, it is their refusal to lay claim to a singular possibility that makes them doubly (no pun intended) good at everything they do. Considering it’s a similar duality that keeps the flame beneath our feet, Homegrown set out on a mission to uncover other young Indian professionals who, in a certain sense of the term, have mastered the art of living ‘double lives.’

The sheer volume of nominations we received tell us that this dual lot may not be as rare a breed as we once imagined, but they’re certainly still just as intriguing. From photographers who also double up as artist managers to marketing professionals who are also fitness bloggers, there’s no reason you can’t do everything you love if you set your mind to it. [For those who missed the previous edition of this series, do read here].

Here’s the seventh volume in the series of stories of an incredible group of individuals who have nothing in common besides deciding that they are more than just one person thriving in a state of dual existence.

I. Anisha Kohli | Impatient. Witty. Confident.

Lawyer/Fashion Blogger

Saying Anisha knows the law would be a massive understatement. Currently working in an investment bank in London, she’s previously spent time at a law firm in India for 3.5 years, an Indian investment bank for another 1.5 years, followed up with the one in London for the same duration. After seven years, she’s definitely got this under the belt.

She may hold a law degree in India as well as a Masters in the UK, but there’s more to her than just Tortes. For over two years now, she, along with her sister and best friends, have run a fashion blog called Fashion and Frappes that has been featured in a number of newspapers. They’ve even had the chance to work with some pretty great brands and companies, as well as attend Lakme Fashion Week.

“Duality is the idea that you don’t, and shouldn’t be restricted from doing anything you want to do - it’s okay to be greedy and want to do more. There is no other way you will know and realise all the things you are capable of.”

On balancing both worlds

“I see it differently - I definitely think my work as a lawyer helps me when blogging and my work as a blogger helps my day job. My work as a lawyer keeps me organised and helps me write.”

One line that inspires her

“‘I bear a charmed life’ - it’s a quote from Macbeth I have tattooed on my upper arm. It sounds obnoxious to brag about your life but it also gives me some perspective, specially when I am complaining about something trivial.”

You can follow Anisha’s work on Fashion and Frappes on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

II. Anna Vyas | Believe. Create. Be.

Designer & Stylist/Dancer

Keeping up with the fashion world is no easy task. So we can only imagine how much harder it is for those who dedicate their lives, and work in that whole world. Anna, currently works as a freelancing designer and stylist, while working on her fashion blog ‘Perfectly Rejecting Perfection.’ Having won several awards, and worked with renowned brands while making her way up, you would think she had little time to master yet another form of art—dance.

“I come from a family of performing artists, which passed on to me genetically. I’ve always had a natural flare for performing arts and dance, but my fashion course kept me on a tight schedule. I still shuffled my hours in college, and dedicated my evenings to training in dance, or rather Hip Hop.” From what started as a hobby, led to Anna gaining opportunities to work on a few short films, and advertisements for brands such as Airtel, Gionni, and more, in collaboration with Pearl Academy.

“Duality is being one with yourself.”

On balancing both worlds

“There have been times where I’ve felt like doing a regular nine-to-five job, like everyone else. But it’s when I sleep, the times where there is nothing running in my mind, those are the most unsettling hours. In the end, it comes down to that moment when you see growth in yourself, while you’re still doing what you love the most, which makes it all worth it.”

One line that inspires her

“Trust your intuition, and believe in yourself. It has never failed me.”

You can follow Anna on her personal blog here.

III. Anoop K Bhat | Calm. Grounded. Simple.


25-year-old Anoop may be currently working at the Total Environment, in Bangalore, but being an architect in particular was never really his set plan. Good at mathematics and science in school, his parents pushed him to become an engineer, and he was well on his way to becoming one, that was until he got that time away from home to truly reflect on what he really wanted to do. His conclusion was design, and he chose architecture to pursue it. “I thought architecture was all-inclusive in a very mother-of-all-arts sort of way. Architecture allowed me to dabble in a bit of everything,” he muses.

Born in Mangalore and having studied at Sir JJ College of Architecture, Mumbai, Anoop spends his weekends working as a freelance illustrator as well. Illustration as a career began for him in college when he started making gig posters for local heavy metal shows, and things just took off from there. Today, he does a little bit of everything - posters, logos, album covers, and more recently, illustrations for editorials and books.

“Duality is natural.”

On balancing both worlds

“The two sides often get into each other’s way. It is really difficult but my love for both the things keeps me going, I guess. Sooner or later, one side will take over.”

One line that inspires him

“Keep at it, no matter what” - Sujir Nirmala Nayak (Anoop’s grandmother).

You can follow Anoop’s work on his website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

IV. Manojna Acharya Katte | Day dreamer. Perfectionist. Purist.

Architect/Theatre personality

“Architecture is and always will be my first love. It is the one thing that can keep me up all night for several days while working on something,” says Manojna. Passionate about creating spaces that are personal and engaging, she aims to design dreamy spaces derived from a diminished memory that evoke a sense of familiarity.

She takes this sense whimsy with her on to the stage as an actor and designer. “The other side of me is an extremely dramatic one that demands me to be simply mad, let go of any set-notions I might have had about doing anything. Theatre! Theatre means different things to different people. According to me being on stage gives me a kind of boundless creative space like no other. The methods of expression, tools for learning, modes of exploration in theatre is truly limitless and this is an extremely liberating experience for me when I want to switch from being highly methodical and calculative to just being me. There is sense of raw and individualistic approach to things. Though I have much more to learn and explore here, I think that theatre has made me a warmer, kind-hearted person,” she adds.

“Duality is an idea that stems from the fact that a restlessly expressive individual is just isn’t satisfied enough with one means of communication. The left and the right side of her brain are constantly screaming out for attention. It isn’t an easy choice though. One must empty the vessel in order to fill it in with something new.”

On balancing both worlds

“ The simplest way to deal with it is by just switching the left side off while painting or acting. If one gets caught up in trying to apply theories from one profession to the other, ideas would just get lost. I completely forget that I’m an architect while I do anything stage-related. At the same time, in order to not lose my ways of working as an architect, I must constantly keep practicing and never stop.”

One line that inspires her

“The creative adult is the child who survived after the world tried killing them, making them “grown up”. The creative adult is the child who survived the blandness of schooling, the unhelpful words of bad teachers, and the nay-saying ways of the world. The creative adult is in essence simply that, a child.”- Ursula K.Le Guin

You can follow Manojna on Facebook and Instagram.

V. Milanjeet Bhullar | Creative. Awkward. Daydreamer.

Architect/Fashion Designer

Architect and Founder at MiBu.Design, Milanjeet has been a jack of all trades for most of her life, finally focusing in of two primary mediums of expression. Working out of home, nearby cafe’s with the occasional site visits, it was when she graduated that she decided to take a break from architecture - “after 5 years of it, I realised it was all I really knew.”

In a mission to try new things she landed a job at Trump It, an events and creative agency based in Bangalore. For a year she programmed events for the restaurant the agency managed, Opus, until she realised it was time to get back to her real craft. Her professional journey with architecture started off with small ‘favours’ for friends and family, until she bagged her first big project, without really realising it she says - the re-design of one of the longest running restaurants and nightlife venues in Bangalore, Opus, in its new avatar ‘Opus Out of the Box (Whitefield).

There came a time during her student years when she, like a lot of other college students, struggled with expenses. She couldn’t really afford branded clothes but also found it hard to spend money on an outfit that she couldn’t identify with, fast fashion that would be worn by thousands of others. “ I wanted to be unique and define my own style so I decided to just make my own clothes and took a few stitching lessons from my mother. Next thing I’m stitching clothes for myself and friends, and working on a clothing line for a fashion show hosted by a local bar and nightlife venue in Pune, High Spirits. Two years since, and I’m collaborating with artists/friends exploring the extents of design in everyday clothing,” she says.

“Duality being here and there.”

On balancing both worlds

“It’s tough especially when you want to do everything under the sun and are also too lazy to get up and do that ‘everything’ everyday. But I push myself everyday to do that one thing I really want to, and then when I’m bored of it I just move on to the other thing I really wanted to. By the end of it you find yourself juggling the two, caught in duality, the architect riding off the energy of the tailor and vice-versa.”

One line that inspires her

“Just Do It” - Shia LaBeouf.

Follow Milanjeet as she juggles her creative talents on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

VI. Raj Bhavsar | Daydreamer. Nocturnal. Curious.

Professional Musician/Speciality Coffee Roaster

A typical day for 27-year-old Raj would comprise of sessions for various television and media projects, heading to the studios for recording and/or producing music, while spending his evenings teaching guitar. This had been his life for the last 3 years, but things took a turn when he decided to go to Spain to learn the Spanish Flamenco Guitar. Here, his love for coffee took him into the throws of the Speciality coffee scene in Barcelona and Granada, following up with Aix en Provence (France) and in Berlin, Germany.

He got a chance to meet some interesting people who then became friends who were coffee roasters, baristas and coffee entrepreneurs, and with them he learnt the art of brewing a good cup of coffee.

Today, his concentration is on a space he’s rented out in Kandivali, remodelling and developing it into a place for music production, guitar lessons and for roasting coffee - all of this in the span of one day.

“Duality is actually singular to me, because, although coffee and music might be two different things per se. But in their true essence, they go together, because both need practice to develop and both arts forms - Playing the guitar and Roasting or Brewing the coffee possess a certain sense of therapy, without which, getting through a day seems difficult for me.”

On balancing both worlds

“I working towards balancing both of them by bringing them under one roof and working towards each at different times of the day and constantly practicing and developing into these art forms.”

One line that inspires him

“Duality is always secretly a Unity” - Alan Watts.

You can follow Raj’s endeavours on Facebook.

VII. Srijan Mahajan | Organized. Hungry. Perseverant.

Musician/Photographer & Videographer

Srijan has been a professional musician since he was 18, starting off with the drums. Now, at the age of 29, music is still his profession—he even has his own music production studio which he started with a friend, called Studio Fizz. While music keeps him busy, a hobby that took up a majority of his time as a child, called to him once again.

“My mother gifted me a camera, and told me to start taking it a little more seriously, a couple of years ago. Since then, I’ve been actively shooting and trying to improve. Somehow, over the years, people really liked what I was doing, and I began to shoot for bands, my friend’s companies and startups.” This even led to him recently covering Delhi-based metal band, Undying Inc.

Photographed by Amborish Nath

“Duality is something that helps me feed off energy from music into photography, and vice versa.”

On balancing both worlds

“I have way too much time on my hands, so I can handle doing both things, and more!”

One line that inspires him

“I’ve been talking to God for so long, if you look at my life, I guess he talking back” - Kanye West.

You can find Srijan on Facebook and Instagram, for updates on his projects.

VIII. Vibhu Raj | Confident. Ambitious. Patient.

Operations Manager/Product Designer

Working as an Operations Manager in an Interior Design company, you would think 32-year-old Vibhu would have little time for much else. An architect initially, he claims architecture simply didn’t do it for him. “I moved on to an Interior Firm, since one of my previous clients had offered me a job there,” he explains, about his change in occupation. From thereon, Vibhu has only looked at the bigger picture—literally.

“I was a photographer over the weekends, and after work hours, which led to me developing an interest in graphics. I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and with the help of my childhood friend, we managed to start a product design company.” Three years down the line, the duo are still successful. Vinod does say this isn’t the end of his career moves though. In fact, his future goals include becoming a successful author, a successful cook, a successful architect, and of course, to also be part of a great movie.

“Duality is a secret experiment. It consumes a lot of time, and requires several sacrifices, but you cannot complain, for the immediate response will be, “You’re overdoing things.” Hence, it is an experiment for you to set, and achieve your dreams, if you want to make it big.”

On balancing both worlds

“I will not deny that there has been an immense amount of pressure, a lack of sleep, and health issues. Eventually, you learn how to work around time management. I use the holidays to cut off from my day job, while giving quality time to my other interests.”

One line that inspires him

“Once you decide on your occupation, you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. Dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success and is the key to being regarded honourable.” - Japanese Sushi Chef, Jiro.

Keep up with Vibhu’s dreams and achievements on his Website, Facebook, or Instagram.

IX. Vinayak Talwar | Foodie. Lefty. Wanderer

Human Resources/Heritage Walk Guide

Working in the Learning and Development team (HR) for Sony Pictures Networks, being a Delhiite in Mumbai made him feel like a stranger. He started spending his time over the weekends attending heritage walks all over the city to discover as much as he could about his new home. He got hooked on the walks conducted by Khaki Tours, theirs are ones not only focused on the city’s heritage but also stories of the smaller areas that may not otherwise hold much significance in comparison.

It was a matter of months before Vinayak himself got involved in hosting the walks, and now he does them in two select areas pretty regularly, some of them are even ‘food walks.’

“Duality is being a local over the weekdays and a tourist by the weekend, without leaving the city.”

On balancing both worlds

“I balance this life by switching off from work completely as soon as Friday night arrives and leave the house early on Saturday morning to explore the city and come back home only to sleep. I don’t carry work beyond the office space and spend my idle time discussing with history buffs, reading and researching through the internet.”

One line that inspires him

“Keep calm and carry on.”

For more information about Vinayak’s tours you can check out Khaki Tours’ Facebook, follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and even check out the website.

X. Vinod Ravindranath | Inquisitive. Passionate. Adaptable.

Design & Marketing Executive /Musician

28-year-old Vinod is involved in every aspect of marketing—strategy with a focus on design, taking responsibility for producing various types of marketing collateral, communications, and ensuring brand consistency across the company. On the sidelines though, or rather centre stage, is the percussionist in him.

“The Chenda (a South Indian drum) was the first instrument I fell in love with. While working at my first job, up north, is when I explored the world percussions like the Cajon, Darbuka, Bongos, and more,” says Vinod. His first gig was playing percussions for Suraj Mani and the Tattva Trip. Following this, he has also performed along with Louis Banks and Ustad Fazal Qureshi. Last year, Vinod even toured with Fazal Qureshi, as part of Qureshi’s tribute concert to his father, the tabla maestro Ustad Alla Rakha Khan.

“Duality is a way of life, as long as you know how to balance it. When you completely ignore or fail to do what you love, your life stays incomplete.”

On balancing both worlds

“Simple. After my working hours, I spend time jamming with my friends, and have discussions based on music. If not that, then I listen to my favourites while designing in the office, or on the way to a meeting, playing along to the tune on my desk, or lap.”

One line that inspires him

“Action expresses priorities.”

You can follow Vinod on Facebook or Instagram, if you want to keep up with his musical journey. Or check his company’s website out, here.

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