“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 Vol. I, Vol. II, Vol. III, Vol. IV and Vol. V].
I. Aashna Banaik | Bollywood. Is. Life.
Born and brought up in Delhi, 23-year-old Aashna Banaik moved to Mumbai eight months ago after completing a two-year-long photography course in Pune. It all seemed fun and games until she began living and working in the ‘city of dreams’; “It all felt like a dream come true until I realised that the world of freelancing isn’t a cakewalk, and every second person is a photography in this country,” she said. On the side, she also started her own company called Agent A which handles talent management and production in the realm of photography, but being a newcomer she faced all the typical problems.
On a quest to network, build contacts and understand the inner workings of the industry, Aashna came across The Artist Project (TAP). “I guess I’m super charming because I was offered a position with TAP in the first meeting itself (mind you, that wasn’t my intention at all when I went to meet them)!” she muses.
Aashna accepted the offer from TAP a few days ago. Currently, she helps manage some of the biggest names in the photography industry—right from photographers to production designers, though the irony isn’t lost on her, “I came to this city to make my own name as a photographer but now I’m helping the stars of the industry strive for bigger and better things.” But for her, the biggest perk of the job is that she hasn’t been asked to stop shooting. “I still do my shoots, my boss is amazing and super understanding,” she shares.
"Duality is nothing less than a superhero! If I may say so myself #thankyouverymuch"
"Balancing both worlds has been fairly easy, as off now, but timing has to be perfect. My family and friends have been of huge help in keeping me sane."
One line that inspires her:
"It's alright Senorita, bade bade deshon mein, aisi choti choti baatein hoti rahti hain." - Shahrukh Khan in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.
You can check out Aashna Banaik's work on her Instagram page.
II. Abhinav Deodhar | Intense. Open. Progressive.
Account Director at an advertising agency/Musician
29-year-old Abhinav Deodhar has been in the advertising industry for the last seven years. Currently working at the Wieden+Kennedy agency in New Delhi, people know him as an Accounts Director, he says, a person who deals with different clients and helping them develop their brand communication. “It’s been quite a run working on so many different brands from a variety of categories,” he tells us.
“I follow sounds more than music, sounds are my kick in life,” he shares. Through his musical project ‘Anandamide', he creates acoustic, ambient and meditative trance using a hang/handpan, didgeridoos and mouth harp. With no formal musical training, Abhinav plays from the heart, and is even one among a handful of artists in the country who professionally crafts didgeridoos for other musicians. Having had opportunities to play with artists from different cultures, for him, the biggest driving force behind his music are the various life experiences he has had, devoid of fear, prejudice and entanglements.
“Sounds have an amazing ability, they enable us to transcend one’s self to different states of experience and being. Referred to as the ‘bliss molecule’, Anandamide was an apt name for the blissful and boundless sounds and vibrations that these instruments can make,” he said.
“Duality is the only balance one can have in life.”
“I believe that once you love something you don’t really have to balance, it just flows by itself. You just have to be open to it. Living each moment with the same intensity—that’s how I maintain a balance.”
One line that inspires him:
“The purpose of life is life itself.”
III. Aditya Mehta | Passion. Perseverance. Purpose.
Senior Art Director at Ogilvy & Mather/Founder of Art&Found
30-year-old Aditya Mehta’s journey in advertising began seven years ago at L&K Saatchi. It was when he attended ‘Portfolio Night’ that he got a call from the highly-reputed marketing and communications company, Ogilvy & Mather, where he holds the position of Senior Art Director in the Mumbai office today.
"Duality is the 'escape' key."
"I keep both these sides separate from each other, and spread my energy evenly between the two. It gives me a chance to realise my potential and find what I can be great at. Simply put, balancing between the two is a mix of hard work and hustle."
One line that inspires him:
"Go slow to go fast. We live as though there aren't enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully, we will get it done quicker and with much less stress." – Viggo Mortensen
IV. Gokul Rao Kadam | Resilient. Sincere. Straightforward.
On paper, Gokul Rao Kadam is a resident DJ at The Tao Terrace in Bangalore, and he even started a TGIF in 1999. But since he was a child, he has been fascinated by the technicality of mechanics and electronics. His passions always had both a technical and creative side to them. “I liked the balance of both,” he shares, “I always knew I had a creative side to me. Being a DJ is part technical and part creative.”
But, the greatest expression of his inner creativity and interest in technicality has been through photography. “I have always been curious about the mechanics of photography since I managed to get hold of a camera when I was young. There is a part of photography where you shoot with the perspective of the client, and another where you shoot with your own perspective, what you find more interesting or beautiful.”
"Duality for me is that point of balance which brings equilibrium."
"The beauty of being a photographer is the ability to capture something that may seem mundane and make it striking, as if breathing life into it. Capturing a moment and documenting it for a lifetime is the real majesty of photography, if done properly."
One line that inspires him:
"Take the stones that people throw at you and use them to build a monument."
V. Richa Jaggi | Foodie. Wanderer. Innovator.
Communication Strategist/Food & Lifestyle blogger
26-year-old Richa Jaggi says she always loved the field of communication. After completing her post graduation from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai, she began working at Ogilvy and Mather, Mumbai. Handling clients such as Vodafone and Lakme, she’s been working for over four years now. “I have a deep passion to continue learning and growing my skills, it’s the philosophy behind why I continue to work," she says.
Living away from home for over eight years, Richa would, almost regularly, step out to figure out where to eat new exciting cuisines and what dishes to indulge on. “I always loved recommending and curating unique experiences for my friends and family for any occasion. I finally took the leap of faith and created a blog called Cream and Crackle—a synergy of two of my greatest passions, food and travel."
"Duality is the second dimension to every individual. It's yin and yang, one quality which completes the other."
"Post-work evenings and weekends I've dedicated to research and visits for the blog, and that's something my company also respects and encourages. Working in the PR industry writing is a major part of my day, hence, it only helps in developing and sharpening my skills and this transcends into my blog."
One line that inspires her:
"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." - John Lennon.
You can follow Richa's escapades on Cream and Crackle's Instagram page.
VI. Robby Banner | Creative. Imaginative. Restless.
Graphic designer/Disk jockey
Graphic designer Robby Banner has over fifteen years of professional design experience, and counting. Currently working at one of India’s leading boutique design studios tsk Design in Bangalore, Robby says design has been a part of his life since school. “At a very early stage it was clear that the creative design field would be my calling. I did +2 ISC in Arts and went on to study at the renowned Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, New York, where I received a B.F.A in Communication Design and minored in Photography,” he shared with us. “I love the creative field—it challenges me on so many levels on a daily basis, and designing such diverse work and projects is deeply satisfying on all levels.”
Robby is a designer at an award-winning firm by day and a professional DJ by night. He started DJing small-time while he was still in college, “I just started fooling around on friends decks and equipment, and then I was hooked.” Playing shows at small cafes and bars to bide his time, gain experience, and even make a little money went a long way towards surviving in an expensive city like Manhattan. “I was addicted to the idea and thrill of being able to control a crowd and having the ability to sway and move people to music. I love working on the cutting edge of the ever-growing and evolving Indian music scene, and am delighted to be a part of it.”
"Duality is the ability to be two people at once, constantly challenging yourself and living in the moment."
"DJing takes over where designing leaves off. One job is a day job, and one is a night job, they don’t clash or overlap. Therefore, I am able to manage my time and give equal importance to both. Both have similarities such as discipline, creativity, innovation and spontaneity—all common traits to being both a DJ and designer. Both are challenging, and both keep me excited and on my toes!"
"I love the nights I can’t remember, with friends I can’t forget."
VII. Sachin Kumar | Only. Three. Words?
Mechanical Engineer/Photographer & Graphic designer
Mechanical engineer Sachin Kumar started working straight out of college at the age of 22. After working in India for a while, he moved to the Middle East where he currently works. Specializing in design and loading analysis of his company’s products, Sachin is working in the construction industry in Oman as a field engineer.
But this 26-year-old has another side to him as well, moonlighting as a graphic designer and photographer, with occasional dabbling in videography. Sachin has been published in various international and local avenues for his design work on Instagram. “As soon as I grasped the very basics of what made a picture look good, I knew I wanted to get more out of it, which in turn introduced me to the concept of post-processing/editing. I loved the way I could mix the real with surreal and it opened my eyes to a whole new perspective of imagining things. This conceptual theme is what my work mainly comprises of,” he tells us.
"Duality is the ability to live two lives without them eating into each other. They are like waves which meet the shores but never aspire to reach the mainland. They are content in just overlapping each other from time to time."
Check out Sachin's amazing work on his Instagram page.
VIII. Vinitha Prabhu | Relentless. Genuine. Energetic.
Advertising & Marketing/Fitness blogger
“I love the creativity, buzz and high energy that exists in this world. Building brands, managing campaigns and understanding consumers is what flows through my veins,” says Vinitha Prabhu, a marketing and advertising expert who has been a part of the industry for eight years now. Currently working on the marketing team for a leading MNC, Vinitha’s hope is to “add value to customers lives through spreading valuable product information in an inspirational and relatable manner.”
Apart from a marketing whizz, she is a fitness enthusiast, long distance runner and a IFAA certified trainer (C Level) who has her own health and fitness blog called Lunchbox License. “I want my readers and followers to know that it is NEVER too late to change your life to a healthier one,” she shares, adding that she herself discovered adopted a healthy lifestyle only recently. “I don’t want them to think they are alone in their struggles. When you go to the gym or train for a run it is very hard to stay focused and motivated. Through Lunchbox, I share my own fitness struggles and stories. I like to give them valuable insights and tips on fitness trends, food, meditation, and also recommend products, training centres and formats of exercise—the whole idea is to inspire, share and build a joint community."
"Every explicit duality is an implicit unity."
"We actually have a lot more time then we realise. It is just about time management, effort and focus to be equally good at both jobs. I am very lucky to admit that all of this has come very naturally to me. I love to blog, I love sharing content on my social media handles, I love training and working out and I love going to work everyday.
I think when you are passionate about what you do it all feels very effortless."
One line that inspires her:
IX. Zaaria Patni | Loving. Cheerful. Jovial.
Family Business/Photographer & Artist
29-year-old Zaaria Patni works in her family business, a logistics company called Batco Roadlines Corporation. Almost a 100-year-old business, she works with her father whose grandfather started the company way back when. “From transporting goods on bullock carts to owning a fleet of trucks—it’s pretty interesting to see how we have come so far over time. I am still learning the tricks of the trade as it’s not a copy-paste kind of work environment. It’s interesting and something completely new for me. So in office everyday is a new experience and new challenges literally occur every few hours,” she shares with us.
The other side of Zaaria is what people around Mumbai city know her as, the House of Misu photographer and an artist. She has been shooting for Misu for the past two years, and has been painting for years, since childhood, she tells us, as far as she can remember. “I initially painted for myself then started painting and gifting, and then finally decided to sell a few.” It’s when she started teaching art to small children that selling paintings took a back seat.
"Duality for me would be reliving my childhood in my motherhood."
“The duality in me is one which I live with everyday. I am both a matured woman and single mother with a young 10-year-old son to take care of, besides the fact I fought tooth and nail in court for six years and got full custody of my son, as well as a young girl who yearns to live in a care free environment, play sports with all the small kids in the building, eat all the junk food at odd hours, laugh hysterically till tears roll down and my stomach aches, a girl who has wants to make up for the years lost during court cases and court hearings which I spent from the age 20 to 28.
Balancing both sides is being a mother when I am around my son and being the young girl when he is not around."
One line that inspires her:
"Happiness comes from within." - Brian Weiss
Compiled by Sara Hussain & Raj Rege