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Sunday, 4 May 2014

Cultivators of student entrepreneurship!

Student debt is dampening risk-taking among the youngsters, leading to the creation of fewer student-led startups. Here is a team of ten young, high-minded entrepreneurs founded by Kartik Arora (20), a resident of Palam Vihar, which works to uproot this problem. 

There was a time when most people used to enroll in college in order to receive the third level education or have better job opportunities in near future. But today, more and more people take up higher education to create their own dream careers largely through entrepreneurship. 

It has been noticed that more undergraduate business students than ever before are now dedicated to launching startups right after graduation or sometimes while still at school. During the process, one of the most disturbing aberrations that they have to face initially is that of funds which apparently and consequently blurs their focus. Due to this, numerous students unfortunately fail to experience the taste of success. This is where the noble ten’s web designing company, ‘biZZare Creations’ decided to take a stand and set encouragement and nourishment of students’ as well as small and medium enterprises as its prime focus.

Kartik is a stirring and passionate student entrepreneur. “All of it began in the summer of 2011 when I was barely an eighteen year old. It was the time when I had just taken my class 12 CBSE board examinations from Delhi Public School, Sushant Lok and could see unoccupied 4 months ahead. This is when I thought is the perfect stage to give a kick to my dream as there were no liabilities”, says Kartik. biZZare, which was once run single-handedly, is now a team of ten magnanimous people all of whom are students at Shiv Nadar University but one.

Throughout their journey, all ten of them got inspired by many, and the story of Suhas Gopinath (founder Globals Inc.) who started his company at a tender age of 14 has been one of the greatest inspirations for them. While telling about the initial motive behind starting up with such a venture Kartik says, “The reason ‘biZZare’ was founded is because I couldn’t digest the amount that was being charged by other web designing companies and the lack of quality designs. Hence, I came up with the idea of starting up with something like this so as to serve the SMEs in India. Since most of India’s SMEs do not even have a website, the idea was to bring these companies online at a very minimal cost.”

The team generates the revenue by providing web solutions, consulting, mobile app development, graphic designing to companies and startups. The majority revenue comes from their international clientage. It is the same profits that help them provide free web services to the less fortunate. “Generating revenue from our Indian clients has never been our priority. It is to serve them finest quality of designs at the minimal price and get them online,” says Shantam D. Mogali, the lead designer at biZZare.

Telling about the experience and lessons that brought the idea of such an exceptional social service to their minds, Kartik says, “As we grew into this business, we met students who wanted to start their own venture but couldn’t give wings to their dream due to funding issues. Since even we had faced the same problem during their incipient stage, we decided to reach out to those who had effulgent ideas and help them grow. Initially we provide free hosting and a domain to kick start the venture. Our motives are altruistic; and we don’t want others to face the problems which we had to face.” 

biZZare is a perfect example of a pure passion-driven students’ venture. It has been featured on Yourstory; Gold Nib Award - Fabulous 14, won Best Student Startup - 1st prize at Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies. Above all, it has partnered with various corporate sporting events.

This company is serving the students as well as SMEs that are enthusiastic about starting-up their business venture but less fortunate in terms of capital, so that they could grow their business/revenue. It carried out the Studentpreneurship Scheme under which it provides free web service to student startups. Under another scheme, it provides web service at minimal cost to SMEs, the actual cost of which is extremely huge in the market. The team firmly believes that by getting their own business website, these startups could increase their trade by around 50%. “The reason biZZare is able to provide them with such services is perhaps because of the fact that the team itself comprises of a bunch of ten college students who are primarily dedicated to foster student entrepreneurship”, says Kartik.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Rising Percussionist

Tarit Pal, a 23-year old upcoming percussionist and primarily a tabla player is amongst the few stellar names in Kalkaji. He is different from the rest who are engaged in this field for he loves to fuse Indian classical music with Electronica.

Tarit was born in Kolkata and belongs to a highly cultured as well as an erudite Bengali family. They moved to Delhi when he was just two-year old. “My father, Asit Kumar Pal, is a well known percussionist of Delhi/Kolkata. Being raised in a musical environment and having being whole-heartedly committed to become like my father, I decided to start learning tabla at a tender age of eight, under my uncle, Pt. Ashish Sengupta who is also a teacher at Banaras Gharana,” says Tarit while mentioning about what or who actually ignited in him the passion to become a percussionist.

He is currently learning under world renowned "Chaumukha” Tabla Vadak, the leading Tabla Maestro of Delhi Gharana, Pt. Subhash Nirwan. “I devote at least 4-5 hours a day practicing tabla and spend my leisure hours working on other percussive instruments,” tells the very dedicated artist when asked about his practice schedule.

Having brought up in the neighbourhoods of Kalkaji, Tarit attended Raisina Bengali School, later did his degree from Motilal Nehru College, Delhi University and has recently completed his 6th year i.e. Sangeet Prabhakar from Prayag University.

During the star days of his college life, he bagged many prizes and top positions in various competitions. “I won many accolades in tabla and music competitions at various renowned universities and colleges in my college days. IIT Delhi, BITS Pilani, Sri Venkateshwara College, IIT Kanpur, Lady Erwin college just to name a few,” says Tarit while citing his hitherto achievements and experiences that he has obtained so far. Besides, he regularly performs with DJs and does tabla-turntable jugal-bandi with them. He has also accompanied a lot of renowned Indian classical artists to various music concerts and baithaks. Above all, he is also associated with the one and only multi genre choir of Delhi called the House of Symphony.

 “Apart from freelancing and despite delivering solo performances, I founded a Delhi based folk-fusion band called Rishi Inc. The band comprises of six members including myself. We sing and play various instruments altogether. We have performed at Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Udaipur, Manali, Gulmarg, Kochi, Singapore, Malaysia etc. We have also played at festivals like Delhi International Arts festival, Gulmarg winter festival, Times Raasrang festival, International Sufi festival, Escape festival,” says the very multi-talented Tarit.

Tarit has gained inspiration from everyone and everything that has come before him in life. Also, he left no stone unturned seeing that he has always tried to acquire as much knowledge and experience as he could. While telling about his inspirations, he says, “Since, I am primarily into tabla, all my gurus have always been great inspirers for me. I follow Ust. Zakir Hussain, Ranjit Barot, Trilok Gurtu, John McLaughlin, AR Rahman, Talvin Singh, Karsh Kale, Jo Jo Mayer, bands like Shakti, Pink Floyd, Maha Vishnu Orchestra, Tool, Motherjane, Avial and many more.”

Tarit loves to play multiple percussion instruments and wishes to play each and every instrument that has been invented so far. “Currently, I own and play mainstream instruments like tabla, dholak, thumba, darabouka, djembe, cajon, didgeridoo, Morsing and Handsonic HPD15. Apart from these instruments, I have a lot of African shakers, Nepalese instrument, ocean drum and folk instruments like khomok and Ektara. I want to buy more and more percussive instruments,” tells Tarit when questioned about the number of musical instruments that he could play.

He aspires to travel around the world and learn to play their traditional instruments. Also, he wants to spread India’s rich classical music worldwide. The very zealous, Tarit firmly believes in learning, practicing and preaching.


It's the hope that doesn't let a struggler give up and that’s how the story of Deepankur Batra goes. Born and brought up in Hauz Khas, he’s 25 years old now and hasn’t given up his dream of becoming an actor. He rather lives it with absolute vigour.

Deepankur, very handsome and extremely expressive, dreamt of becoming an actor since toddlerhood. And yes, it is so evident in what he’s today. He always enjoyed entertaining people. “I used to take part in dramas and dance shows since the time I was in school. Making people laugh or even bringing that little smile on their faces would give me a feeling of utter contentment,” tells the very outgoing Deepankur.

This was the time when he decided not to look back ever. Trying to recall his childhood experiences of acting and getting nostalgic, he adds, “I remember this incident when I was in class 12 and had to perform in a play as the lead actor. I fractured my right arm but did not put the plaster on just because I didn’t want to spoil the act. So, I did it with my broken arm and we still managed to win. All these little things really proved to be morale-boosting.”

Making a career in acting and that too in a city like Delhi is surely not a cake walk. It involves a lot of hard work and most importantly, one needs to trust himself. In the process of his work the struggler gets cheated by unscrupulous elements, is exploited, tolerates insults and even goes hungry when his financial resources run dry. There are only a few people who continue to work dedicatedly and strive through all the hurdles and obstructions. Deepankur is an epitome of such ability and goodness.

He belongs to a middle class family. His father runs a shop in Hauz Khas and always wanted Deepankur to assist him just like his elder son. Choosing an offbeat career and sticking to his own decisions has not been easy for him. By deciding to become an actor he had to go through a lot of pressure from the surrounding people. He’s lived a very hard life, a life full of tantrums but strived through all the difficult times courageously and fearlessly.

An alumnus of Laxman Public School and a graduate from Bhagat Singh College, Delhi University clearly loves each and every part of theatre. Soon after his graduation, he went out in search of some interesting roles. “I met a lot of casting directors in Delhi and gave numerous auditions. I came across a few casting agents who tried to manipulate actors or exploit them for their own benefits. This was the time when I decided to move to Mumbai, but had to return with a broken heart after finding the same scenario there as well. I never wanted to give up my dream and hence started taking up offers in Delhi at very low wages.”

This great artist has got a lot of experience in theatre. At the tender age of 17, he performed in the play 'Good Bye Blue Sky' which bagged the national award for the best play. It was then that he got into other theatre groups and worked with Vivek Mansukhani, Sohaila Kapoor, Kuljit Singh, and Revathy Venkatraman. Whilst working with such renowned artists, he also started getting small commercial projects in Delhi. He also did a supporting role in the English film, 'Curry Munchers' which was released in Australia and New Zealand. He has also appeared in 4 commercial ads, one of which is presently on air and played one of the characters in Saavdhan India. It is after so many small ventures that he got to be a member of the production team for a Bollywood movie which is yet to be released and has now bagged the role of the main character in an ongoing series of a well-known television channel. Associated with one of the international theatre groups in Delhi for last 6 years, he did limited but quality work in theatre and production.

 A true admirer of Dilip Sahab, he totally is a self-made man and feels blessed that he has got parents, a brother and an amazing grandfather who had faith in him. All four of them are his strengths. With eyes full of emotions Deepankur quotes what his dadaji used to tell him,
“Always take your hobby as your profession. And you’d definitely succeed in fulfilling all your desires.”

Apart from acting, he exercises vigorously in order to keep himself fit and loves to play badminton. He aspires to become a world-class actor and plans to move to Mumbai permanently.