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A Masterclass of Theatre from the Alleyways of NSD: Kuldeep Singh

Actor and teacher at National School of Drama, Kuldeep Singh continues his theatre journey and learning more

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Kuldeep Singh

Augusto Boal had rightly said, “We must all do theatre, to find out who we are, and to discover who we could become.” It is not just the craft that theatre teaches, but also some important life lessons. This was one of the key takeaways in our candid conversation with Kuldeep Singh, an actor and teacher at the National School of Drama.

Early Years

Born and raised on the road, Kuldeep Singh shares his life stories very candidly. Though he was born in Kanpur, with his father in the Indian Air Force, they were constantly moving all around the country. This gave him invaluable experience of living and meeting different people from all over India. Travelling has its upsides, but he felt that he lost friends along the road. Talking about his schooling, he recalls being in Kendriya Vidyalaya and having the best time of his life. He felt supported and comfortable in that environment. 

At a very early age, he was interested in music. He keenly recalls Pankaj Udas and his songs. When he started his academic career, Kuldeep Singh realized that he needed some creative relief. He realized that performing is his calling while playing the role of a soldier in a school play, “Murshidabad ka Nawab”. He got promoted to the front role due to his punctuality and his memorisation skills. Starting acting in the fifth grade, he understood his love for acting after winning a bhangra dance competition. After successfully putting up a play “Nasha” within 10 days, he continuously did plays in school and kept winning awards for them.

Passion for Theatre

When asked about his inspiration for pursuing acting as a career, Singh credits himself for pursuing his passion. He enjoyed and understood his passion in his school years and stuck to it. Having a grad degree in arts, he took a strong decision to do a master’s in theatre from Punjab University.

His key motivation is the reactions to his performances, from their smiles to the bliss in their eyes. It has also given him a different perspective in life and the ability to tackle all situations. Sharing an anecdote of this problem-solving behaviour, he remembers making an angry shopkeeper laugh after bargaining by promising to buy his stock no matter what.

He believes that every project begins with a struggle since he tries new experiences every time. He stresses that one should only make decisions that one can carry through life. What drives him forward is the experiencing of new thoughts. He realized that his passion lies in helping others move forward. Through his work at the National School of Drama, he could help others in finding their path.

He strongly believes in standing for what is correct no matter what. The purpose of his workshops is for the person to understand his potential in life. He quotes Albert Einstein, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales”.

Words of wisdom for the Aspiring Actors!

Singh’s message to aspiring actors is to not look for shortcuts in life. He pushes them to understand the basic foundations of acting, instead of just relying on their looks and spending their parents’ hard-earned money. The audience has changed their mindset and taste through the years. He believes this has increased all sorts of opportunities for aspiring artists.

When asked about his projects he feels that he has fallen in love with every project that he has done and enjoyed his time with his team. The plays that he has done like “Aazar Ka Khwab” and “Kitabon Me Hulchul” have been invited abroad and appreciated amongst the audiences alike. He is working on biographies these days on personalities like Alexander Graham Bell, Munshi Prem Chand, Shakespeare and others.

He believes that one can achieve anything one wants to. The only thing needed is that one stays a student for life. Based on this principle, he feels that he is still learning along the road. The words of his teacher that, you should not believe you know everything about everything, has helped him in keeping his spirit for learning. He stresses the fact that every person should have an artistic release. Hence, he strongly believes that theatre should be a must in schools for artistic release.

Along with helping him pursue his passion, the theatre has helped Singh in developing a different outlook on life and people. He believes that the world will be more beautiful if everyone becomes artistic. Let’s hope that his dream becomes a reality.

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Interviews

Anant Ladha: A Man With A Mission

With a mission to spread financial literacy, finance creator Anant Ladha sits down with us for a quick chat on what drives him forward.

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Anant Ladha, Interview, Content Creator, Invest Aaj For kal, Finfluencer, Financial Literacy, Finance

In this fast-paced world of technology, it’s hard to remain consistent. With changing algorithms and trends how can you remain consistent and relevant? And with everyday living prices going up daily, it’s hard to stick to your ethics. This is exactly when content creators like Anant Ladha with their YouTube channel Invest Aaj For Kal bring a refreshing change in this ever-changing system.

Anant Ladha: Early Days

Born and raised in Kota, Rajasthan, Anant Ladha’s introduction to finance and the stock market happened early in life. Being the third generation in his family to enter the financial world, he was exposed to trading and the stock market just like a kid would be exposed to cartoons. This gave a good foundation upon which he built up his entire life.

Starting as just a tactic to win over his teachers and peers, Anant Ladha originally began by keeping up with the ups and downs of the stock market to impress his teachers and friends. But whatever his intentions may be, this practice helped him a lot in his career as keeping up with the stock market became a regular part of his daily routine and helped him understand the nuances of the financial market better. 

After initially starting his job at Mumbai in trading he left it to join his family business. While working there, an incident took place that changed his life forever. In his town, a company was closing down and all the employees were given around 50 lakhs corpus amount. Among them, one employee who had received this amount had invested it in an insurance scheme that wouldn’t allow him to withdraw the money until the five years were up. Desperately in need of money to support his sick wife in the hospital, the poor man showed up in tattered clothes begging Anant Ladha for money. His situation shocked Ladha and he realized that our country still is not as financially literate as he thought it was and hence he started on his mission to help convert India “from a country of savers to a country of investors.”

Invest Aaj For Kal

Starting as physical sessions, Ladha held free classes for people in certain parts of North India to help them become more financially literate. Two of his sessions were also recognised by the Rajasthan government. And everything was going fine but still, the huge financial literacy gap of the entire country was gaping widely at him. Hence, he decided to increase his target audience by going digital, leading to the inception of Invest Aaj For Kal.

Initially, for a good 1-1.5 years, his YouTube channel, Invest Aaj For Kal, didn’t do as well as he had expected. But consistent efforts, support from family and strong determination brought him to where he is today. With a little nudge from YouTube that put the spotlight on him by giving his channel the “Creator on the Rise” award in 2020, he was ready to make the most of his spotlight. From asking people to subscribe to his channel by talking about how great and informative it is without revealing that he owns the channel, to getting millions of views on every video, he has come a long way. The best part, Anant Ladha prioritises consistency over anything else and posts content regularly.

Message for Young Content Creators

Being the practical person that he is, he never blames fate or algorithms for fewer views but rather tries to find out how he can do better and revamp his content as and when required. He forever values the digital community that pushes him forward as he believes that the day he stops valuing them and takes them for granted will be the end of his career. For a man who went from working a 9-5 job to full-time content creator his definition of success changes every time he achieves something and this constant negotiation with success is the most practical way to view life.

Striking a balance between personal and professional life, Anant Ladha takes in bad comments like a pro. According to him, all his bad reviewers are truly his ardent followers as they wait to watch each of his videos just to leave bad reviews. And with this positive attitude, he leaves a message for young content creators:

“If earning money is the only objective you have through your digital journey then don’t enter this field. But if you’re objective is more than just earning money then it’s a beautiful field.”

His reasoning behind this lies in the fact that you won’t earn much in the initial years of creating content hence you must have a bigger purpose to sustain in this space for longer for yourself and your audience. 

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Ganeshprasad Sridharan: Indian Education Redefined

Set to put a dent in the Indian education system, meet Ganeshprasad Sridharan; a man who left no stone unturned to right the wrongs that hindered his growth in the education system.

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Ganeshprasad Sridharan, thinkschool, quality education, indian education

How often does our education system frustrate us? And more importantly how often do we set out to rectify it rather than fitting into the one-size-fits-all mould it prescribes to us? Our education system needs some serious re-designing and there’s no point hiding it any longer. We had a conversation with Ganeshprasad Sridharan; a man who left no stone unturned to right the wrongs that hindered his growth in the education system; to understand his side of efforts to bridge the gap that exists between the present and the future, i.e., learning and getting hired via Think School.

Ganeshprasad Sridharan: The Start of It All

Born and brought up in Pune, Ganeshprasad Sridharan’s schooling was pretty similar to others with just one difference; in his school, his teachers ensured to foster the students’ critical thinking ability. He was made to think about morality on an individual level rather than blindly following it as a societal norm. As the teachers asked him to re-examine Brutus’s character in the play Julius Caesar, he got a sense that there is no one right or one wrong in the world. He understood the value of subjectivity and cherished the individuality it brought with it. 

Going from such an enriching environment to an engineering college which heavily relied on rote learning was a huge shocker for Sridharan. At college, neither was anybody willing to stop, think and understand the principles nor did the teachers wish to make them understand it. Plus the 75% mandatory attendance only adds to the pressure of fitting into the mould as students get less time to explore their interests and abilities. The constant assignments and exams with mediocre teaching that one was bound to attend set one up on a sure path of failure. The herd mentality which makes people follow along to crack the coveted UPSC which has a 0.2% pass percentage ensures that individuals are trapped in that conventional path of failure forever. To put a dent in the Indian education system and break this cycle of failure, Ganeshprasad Sridharan along with his partner Prakash Kothari came up with Think School.

Think School

With a motto, “To put a dent in the Indian education system by providing world-class education at a price that is less than a pair of denim jeans” Ganeshprasad Sridharan started Think School with his partner Prakash Kothari. With a rocky beginning that led to them shutting their physical classroom due to the pandemic, it was social media that not only saved but ensured that Think School thrived like never before. 

Trying to bridge these three gaps; business education, communication and fundamental principles of entrepreneurship; by providing a masterclass on each, Think School has made the internet the one-stop destination to hone your business acumen. Realising that their audience can’t afford pricey offline classes, the move to social media such as YouTube was a great decision on the founders’ part. 

Ensuring that the quality of Think School is never compromised they have a very detailed value system through which they select the core members of their team. Some of them as described by Sridharan include; the ability to critically analyse oneself, the ability to give brutal feedback, the ability to take in brutal feedback and lastly the attitude to constantly learn and improve. 

According to Ganeshprasad Sridharan, it’s not “the breadth of influence” but rather the “depth of influence” that matters more. For him, Think School’s success lies in being considered a reliable source of information not just for students in IIM and other universities and schools but even for professors and established businessmen who rely on its practical and interesting approach to enhance their abilities. 

What Makes A Great Entrepreneur?

According to Ganeshprasad Sridharan, it’s the extraordinary sharpness in finding better opportunities by doing market research, being able to read and address the gap presented by market research to understand your opportunity better, ability to execute one’s plan fast and daring to fail so that one learns the value of resilience over time, and lastly remaining relevant by evolving with technology and understanding the target audience and their needs; all of this makes the perfect recipe for a great entrepreneur. When Sridharan started his venture, many had their doubts regarding it but he trusted himself as according to him, he was following his heart as it had logic to it. Others could only project their doubts and hesitation but not provide a logic strong enough to persuade him to abandon his venture. And in today’s cut-throat world of business, this is truly a great virtue to harbour. 

The masterclass at Think School ensures that one develops this business acumen through practical assignments in which the students are given full liberty to complete them how they feel like it. Following his grandfather’s advice to; “Use language not to confuse people but to convince them”, in each video of Think School, Ganeshprasad Sridharan and Prakash Kothari are building the pillars of modern education that values and foster individuality with one video and masterclass at a time.

Lastly, Ganeshprasad Sridharan’s message to all the budding entrepreneurs is:

“Keep learning and keep reading because market research will help you find opportunities and reading will help you tap into those opportunities. Passion alone will not take you anywhere unless you have a direction. Direction will come with two things: the ability to do market research to find problems and the ability to read and learn to address those problems better.”  

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Arvind Arora: A True Inspiration

Never losing faith in himself and trudging forward in life, Arvind Arora managed to make a name for himself in this rapidly changing world.

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Arvind arora, A2 Motivation, Arvind arora Interview, Interview, Motivation, A2, The Talented Indian

Making a life for yourself when the whole world is against you seems like something that happens only in the movies. But we often forget that these movies are almost always inspired by reality. Among many such inspirations, one is Arvind Arora, the founder of the YouTube channel A2 Motivation a visionary who never stopped dreaming and working on them. He believed that rather than having a fancy degree knowing what your strength is and honing that skill to perfection and being able to find ways to answer a question rather than knowing the answer all the time will take you a long way forward. Recently, The Talented Indian caught up with him to keep the chain of inspiration going.

Arvind Arora: Life Before Youtube

Coming from a small family in a small city in Rajasthan, life for Arvind Arora wasn’t always easy. In small cities, it so happens that one’s future is more often than not pre-determined, but Arvind Arora decided that he would not let anyone decide the course of his life and set out to make his path on his own. Life wasn’t easy as he faced rejection and was asked to leave many teaching centres because of work politics, but he never stopped believing in himself.

According to him, his parents weren’t supportive of his dreams initially. And when his father told him to go and do what he liked as he would render the fruits of his hard work, he took that advice very seriously. Unlike many parents who shower a lot of love and spoon-feed their children to ensure their success, his father never spoon-fed him. By doing so he ensured that his son learnt how to be accountable for his actions and through that, he supported him by ensuring that he grows up as a self-reliant individual.

As Arvind Arora was a topper in his school his father believed that given his brilliance he should be allowed to study for free. Hence, he refused to pay the school fees and whenever the school authorities would haggle him about the same he just suggested transferring him to another school as he knew the true worth of his son. But obviously, no school agreed on this as that’s how invaluable he was to the institution. According to Arora, he shared a rather weird relationship with his father. Instead of spoiling him like many parents do he gave him the independence to do what he likes and through that, he ended up supporting his son in the long run.

Arvind Arora: Inspiration & Baby Steps Towards YouTube

The one person who inspired Arora the most and continues to be a source of inspiration even today is his wife. Having an age gap wherein she was older than him by five years, they had to go through several ordeals before they could be united but they never gave up on each other and themselves and continuously worked on each other and improved themselves. It was his wife who helped him start his journey on YouTube as she had already started her own and was able to guide him through the entire process. 

(If you’re as curious as me and want to check out Arvind Arora’s wife’s YouTube channel, who by the way has some really creative and easy-to-make cooking ideas to share you can click here. Though she has stopped posting on her channel for a few years now I am sure her easy-to-understand videos will remain forever helpful for anyone who is starting out in cooking as well as for those who want to try out something new.)

After graduating from Swami Keshvanand Institute of Technology, Management & Gramothan, Jaipur, Rajasthan, Arora was all set to be an engineer working in the corporate sector. But before he ventured into that he decided to try out teaching and turns out he truly has a knack for the art of teaching.

Some people have degrees from highly reputed universities but are not great teachers. And some like Arvind Arora don’t hold fancy degrees but yet are amazing teachers. What sets them apart is their way of communicating with others and their delivery. Hence, even today Arvind Arora’s education videos still garner a lot of views on YouTube. (If you’re looking for some motivation or some random facts, make sure to check out Arvind Arora’s channel by clicking here.)

Arvind Arora: The Journey Towards Becoming a Top YouTuber

Initially, Arora started his journey on YouTube with educational videos and later turned to creating motivational and “facts” videos. Just like any other YouTuber, he struggled with the algorithm and the immense competition but what pushed him forward was his attitude to never give up and being open to learning.

He mentioned how he ensured to go through the comments that he received on each of his videos as they guided him as to how to go forward in terms of content creation. When he struggled with the algorithm he didn’t hesitate to ask for help and reached out to YouTube asking for feedback and worked on them. But most importantly, he never stopped putting out content as according to him you should not fear the public’s opinion so much that you stop expressing yourself.

According to him being disciplined helped him a lot in life as it ensured that he remained consistent in his work. Although he agrees that one need not be so rigid in life that they don’t try out new things as you only have one shot at life, he also thinks that there are certain areas in life where one needs to be rigid to achieve something. And that’s where discipline comes into the picture.

According to him, true success is being satisfied with yourself. He agrees that one does need to work towards earning more money at a certain age, but he also agrees that one need not make it their only goal in life. Focusing on yourself and improving yourself physically and mentally is equally important and he has started doing so too. In fact, according to Arora, he would have probably ended up working as a fitness trainer had he not ended up where he is today.

Afterword

Arora’s parting words and message to young dreamers everywhere is to keep experimenting in life. According to him, you have just got around 70 years on Earth, do you really want to spend it holed up in an office? He hopes that dreamers keep their dreams alive and experiment with different careers in their lives as well as learn different skills to live a very enriching life. Coming from nothing to building his own company and channel by never giving up on himself Arvind Arora continues to be a source of inspiration. And with these parting words, he starts the chain of inspiration by inspiring this one interviewer.

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Rakesh Tiwari: A Poet Weaving the Fabric of Life

Celebrating Rakesh Tiwari and his work which is crafting life’s symphony through poetry and breaking barriers of elitism.

sherrylsanjaypal@gmail.com'

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Rakesh Tiwari, Poet, Poetry, Rhyming Tiwari, Standup, Rakesh Tiwari Interview, Interview, The Talented Indian

Poetry has always been a powerful medium, capable of touching the deepest chords of our hearts. It holds the magical power to not only articulate emotions but also entertain and deeply move us. Rakesh Tiwari, a multifaceted poet, author and storyteller, embarks on a mission to unwrap the intricate tapestry of life through his captivating poetic performances. His journey began with the simple act of rhyming, but he soon recognized the profound potential of his craft to create impactful poetry that could be performed and shared with the world.

His poetry mirrors life’s diverse and intricate flavours, each composition offering a distinct essence that resonates with a spectrum of audiences. 

One of his well-known works is “Veg Biriyani” which playfully delves into the bond between vegetarians and beloved biriyani. His words advocate celebrating India’s diverse traditions, cultures and tastes while emphasizing the importance of respecting each other’s choices to foster unity.

Another well-known one is “Zindagi” which gives us a humorous take on the modern-day obsession with brands, exposure, internet culture, and social media. Tiwari highlights the superficiality of the current generation’s pursuits, where every moment is curated for online display, adorned with hashtags, and evaluated by the number of likes and comments.

Rakesh Twiari draws inspiration from a variety of sources, but it was the qawwali shows that his mother lovingly watched that plated the seeds of rhythm in him. His poetic journey began with exploring rhymes, which eventually became an artistry of words and emotions. It was the passing of his father that prompted him to pen down his first mature poem “ Mann Ka Mail”, a change from the usual love poems he penned in college.

Some of his more melancholic poetry is “Bachpan”, which serves as a heartfelt tribute to the innocence and carefreeness of childhood. Tiwari remembers his school days, scolding from his parents, and pure friendships that defined this phase of life.

“Amma Ki Atachi” tenderly reflects the emotional farewell to a mother. He pays homage to the cherished memories and ordinary things that held immense sentimental value. Tiwari’s poetry flows naturally from the depths of his feelings, being a potent medium for self-expression.

Rakesh Tiwari aspires to be a poet of the people, aiming to break down the barriers of elitism within the realm of art. His poetry has been a source of solace and companionship to many, with people expressing their gratitude for the solace and support they have found through his poetry. He encourages young artists to not shy away from the monotony that often accompanies life’s journey. Emphasizing the importance of perseverance and faith.

Though he has dedicated 11 years of his life working in a call centre, Rakesh’s unwavering belief was that his poetry would eventually pave the way for the realization of his dream-a life as a freelancer. His journey radiates the enduring power of faith and the unwavering pursuit of one’s passion. In the darkest tunnels of life, the light of hope always shines through, and Rakesh Tiwari’s story stands as a testament to this profound truth.

Credits: YouTube (Shemaroo Comedywalas)
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Keerthika Govindhasamy: A Love for The Past in The Present

Hustling through life while keeping her love for history alive, recently we got the opportunity to have a chat with Keerthika Govindhasamy.

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Keerthika Govindhasamy, Keerthi History, Influencer

It is hard enough to make it out on the internet while coming from a privileged background. Just imagine how much harder it would be for someone coming from a not-so-privileged background. In the 5G era of ever-changing content, to be at the top of your game especially when you’re content deals with history is supremely hard. Yet there are a few historians and lovers of history who have made it pretty big on the internet for their credible content informing audiences worldwide about the side of history that’s not much talked about. Among them, one such well-known Indian history influencer on YouTube and Instagram is Keerthika Govindhasamy, popularly known as Keerthi History or keerthihistory. I recently had the opportunity to get to know her better and I am sure by the end of this interaction you’ll be as inspired as I was.

Keerthika Govindhasamy: Early Life & Upbringing

Coming from a humble background, in rural Tamil Nadu, life wasn’t always easy for Keerthika Govindhasamy. Although she is a well-known Indian history YouTuber and influencer on Instagram, it may come as a surprise that she wasn’t always the most studious student in her class. According to her, she may not be very studious but she was still the topper of her class. The reason behind this could be because her learning method was very different and more permanent than the traditional popular learning method adopted by many Indian students which is rote learning. 

Rather than memorizing anything and everything presented in front of her, she prefers to understand the basic concept first as it helps her retain the new information for a longer time. Apart from this, she also prefers learning by remembering a text as a story and it was this learning method and love for stories that made her develop a strong affinity towards history. 

Being raised in a conservative family like hers, she was denied many freedoms that the male members of her family enjoyed, such as pursuing a higher education degree like post-graduation. But unlike the rest of her family, her parents were a little more progressive and allowed her to go to college for her undergraduate degree. Yet life wasn’t always simple for Keerthika Govindhasamy as her parents wanted her to do a medical degree so that she could have an easy life over one in archaeology. 

At that time in her local region, a lot of misconceptions prevailed around archaeology as a subject such as it is related to sex education. Plus the added fact that not many colleges offered it as a subject in Tamil Nadu also played a role in Keerthika Govindhasamy’s family strongly opposing it. But her love for the subject made her pursue a degree in history as it was as close to archaeology as she could get.   

Keerthika Govindhasamy: The Influencer

Starting her journey on social media was not something that Keerthika Govindhasamy had initially planned. But after trying out many different career options and trying to see what fits right, somehow social media just clicked with her. She always had a knack for social media and mixed with her interest in history everything just fell in place. And as luck would have it when she started her journey on social media many people were showing interest in Indian history. But at the same time, many false information was also being spread. To ensure that other people also start appreciating her love for the subject more with accurate data, she started her YouTube channel Keerthi History her Instagram page keerthihistory and other social media pages on Facebook and Twitter.

Success didn’t come easy to her but when it did it came in tenfolds. After 7-8 months of consistent posting, one of her videos got viral and soon enough all of her videos started getting a lot of views. And overnight she gained thousands of followers. But regardless of how much success came her way she never let it get to her head as she is a strict believer in staying humble (and I can certainly vouch for it based on our interaction).

Naming Abhi and Niyu and Ranveer Allahbadia (BeerBiceps) as her inspiration she went on to explain how they reignited her spark for her first love, i.e., history. She adds that it was a particular podcast that Ranveer Allahbadia hosted with historian Anica Mann as his guest that truly charmed and motivated her. 

As someone with as huge a following as hers, it’s only a matter of time before the dark side of the internet makes an appearance, i.e., hate and negative criticism. Govindhasamy shared how many of these haters have categorised her as a BJP supporter as she spreads knowledge on Indian history and part of it deals with Hinduism. When in reality all she wishes to do with creating her videos is to preserve a part of our culture. Her way to deal with all of them is to: Ignore and keep strutting forward.

A Message to Young Dreamers

As she tries to make her parents proud and provide for them by hustling every day, she imparts a small piece of advice for all the young dreamers out there; according to her, it’s going to be hard and not at all easy at the start, especially if you don’t come from a privileged background. You have got to work hard in the initial stages at the very least. Once you’ve built your brand you can hire more people and can take a small break. Do whatever you feel is right but be consistent and keep working hard and you will get there.

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