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Describe Yourself ?

My schooling was at Central School, a very simple school in New Delhi. I was always notorious at school for cheating and bunking classes.
My average score was 44 percent. I never got more than 35 percent in Hindi and Sanskrit, but I always managed to pass all examinations.

I would dream of driving a Ford Mustang GT, which I would watch from bus stands during my school days.

Whenever I bunked school, I would to go near the embassies to pass time, watch the lovely cars with blue number plates (which all embassy cars have), watch the free movies they showed and attend their festivals.

Class X. I managed to get a first class. Two years passed by. I had no idea what to do.

I did not appear for any entrance exam. I scored 57 percent in Physics-Chemistry-Mathematics in Class XII. The world was dark for me. I was not even eligible to appear for many entrance exams.

My parents were good enough to understand I had some potential. As the youngest of three, my parents did not want me to waste time preparing for entrance exams. Coming from an engineer’s family, they requested me to study engineering.

What did you study and why did you pursue such an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career?

I managed to get an admission at the Poona University-affiliated Maharashtra Institute of Technology, only because my father paid Rs 125,000 from his PPF savings.

My father told me: ‘I am giving all my PPF savings only because I want to fulfil my responsibility of being your father’.

‘If you pass your engineering exams,’ he continued, ‘and start to earn, I would be very happy.’

He also said, ‘If you can stand on your own feet, please come back or keep in touch. Else, don’t show your face.’

He paid my fees and expenses for four years at Pune.

I majored in Petroleum Engineering. No one really wants to study Petroleum Engineering — that’s why I got in. I was lucky to get a seat. I had no idea what the field was all about. I had visions of having to work at petrol pumps later on.

My Mechanical/ Electrical/ Computers and other counterparts would always taunt me that I would have to work at a petrol pump.

Of course, I found I would have nothing to do with petrol or petrol pumps. I worked hard and topped the Petroleum Department with 78%.

What was your first job?

During the campus interviews, Schlumberger, the leading oil services company, offered me a job at $80,000 per annum with four months vacation every year.

My friends who taunted me ended up with jobs in Indian companies with starting salary of Rs 4,000.

After two months of work, I would come home to Delhi for a month. I started my career in France and visited 30 countries in the course of my job.

In two years, I had a car, two houses, enough bank balance. I was only 23 years old then. Life got a little boring because I had all my needs and luxuries covered.

I then decided to do a Masters in the UK in Petroleum Engineering. I went to Heriot Watt University, and graduated with a 3.8 GPA.

What was next?

I now work with a French oil company. I work for six weeks in Paris or London and I come back to India for six. I also have an insurance package of $401,000, which can be claimed anywhere in the world.

Today I am 30, married, with nine years of experience working abroad. I have never worked in India.

I am neither an IIT graduate nor an MBA holder. When I compare myself with the IIT/ IIM or any other software engineering graduate my age abroad, I feel happy. I have seen how they live, how miserly they are, how they have to save money.

I have also started Archana Petroleum Scholarship, after my mother. It helps economically backward students at the Poona University Petroleum Department.