Backpacker or Brand Manager – MPD makes Ninja a Finalist for Titan Be More!

What in the blue blazes is this?

Titan Be More Legends is a search for explorers; for people who believe that they weren’t born to live just one life. People who pursue a passion, explore the new; places, people, interests, challenges, dreams, and a new side to their personality.

 

What’s the Titan Be More Philosophy?
All of us tend to lead one-tracked lives. There are many sides to us that stay unexplored for many reasons. And to make our life a more enriching experience, we must unlock ourselves. And, this is not about imagination or about role playing.
Every Titan watch is a compass to finding a ‘new you’ within you. It embarks us on a journey that never ceases as there is always a new destination to explore as soon as you reach one.
Thus, the Titan philosophy of ‘Be More’.
How the hell did I make it here?

One morning, my boss opened the India Today magazine and saw an Ad for this. contest. There was a really sporty cool woman featured on the ad and he felt we needed to recruit her to work with Red Bull. After she blatantly rejected this on the phone, he realised he would direct the rejection efforts towards convincing me to enter this contest. And I did.

What the hell did I write in the contest entry?

I cannot believe how last minute this entry is. My boss told me about this a month ago and I’ve been putting it on my Things to do list everyday. That’s probably the reason I forgot about it.

Introducing myself, I’m Aparna Shekar Roy, currently and formerly a cubicle slave, but someone who tasted the outside world in between for a while. Having completed my MBA 7 years ago and worked in the corporate world, I remember spending the first 6 years just toiling away, a victim of EMIs. Whatever little I managed to save, I spent on tickets to travel to a new destination, eager to experience something new. That was life from 2002 – 2008.

It was all going good. I worked hard. Earned well. I got married to a great guy. We bought a house, a car, all that. I learnt a Brazilian martial art. I went dancing in the weekends. I managed to sneak time to read. I even got along with my boss. Yes, it was all going good. But, it wasn’t going great. It was just way too predictable for my liking. My dream was to travel. Not on a short 2 week holiday but for a really long time. My dream was to wake up and not know what I was going to do that day or the next or the next. And that’s what I did.

I quit on a Monday morning. I served my notice period and cashed my PPF of 6 years. I convinced my husband and my in laws and my mother. I booked my tickets to South America and took off on a 7 month backpacking trip across Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Bolivia. It wasn’t as overnight as it sounds. I planned it for 6 months – booking tickets, applying for visas, reading about the continent, the culture. Most time went in convincing my father in law that a Colombian drug lord would not hold his daughter in law for ransom.

I used my marketing skills to get some freebies – a laptop to blog from, a backpack, a sleeping bag and a pair of shoes. I threw away my mobile phone. I packed 10 kgs in a backpack and took off. Traveling more than 15000 kms by bus, staying with local people and eating food from supermarkets, I really learnt how to live life on a shoestring.

500 words in this entry is not enough to explain the amazing time I had and how it helped me grow as a person.

If there is just one thing I would take out from the entire trip, it would be this – LESS IS MORE. The lesser stuff I had, the lesser money I had, the lesser baggage I had, the more I could experience from life and make the most out of. And that’s something no job can ever teach me in my life.

Cheers,
NINJA
(No Income No Job Aparna)

PS: Back in the corporate world and eager to explore another continent.

So.. what happened?

I forgot all about the above entry. While I was peacefully sipping tea in Egypt in December, I got an SMS that I was a finalist. Sometime in Jan, they put a lot of make up on my face and made me wear some brand colour clothes and did a professional photo shoot and video shoot. And now in February, to my sheer embarassment, these photos (where I look sligthly fatter than I am or I would like to believe that) are on the Internet…. they are even on India Today…..

That’s not enough. They even managed a video shoot with me to make a vignette for CNN IBN channel. When I was shooting for that, I thought I sounded ok. But, now listening to myself on Air, Im terrified with my own South Indian accent. Embarassment again.

The only fantastic thing that happened was meeting the other finalists –
Hina – Fantastic entrepreneur and an Odissi dancer
Som – Lawyer, Mountaineer, Writer….. and a lot more…
Devan – Works in the retail industry and is a forest conservator
Dr. Chauhan – Neurosurgeon and Photograher
Joseph – Businessman … Social worker… more than anything, a true gem…

All have some amazing stories. You can read them in the website Titan World

Now what?

Now, if you think the journey has been entertaining and interesting, please reward me with a vote.

Go to Titan World Be More and click on my picture and vote for my story.
or
SMS TITAN ASR to 53636

And please take time to read the other stories and vote for them too. I have a very simple strategy. If the prize is money, the winner can keep it (its ok). If its a dinner with Aamir Khan, I shall do a guerilla act and appear as a waitress if I do not win.

Finally……

Thanks Titan for this opportunity… And Thanks God for making my first appearance in any business channel or business magazine a cool one – Backpacker makes it. Brand Managers can rot in their cubicles 🙂

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