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Yajur Madan joined Pathways School Gurgaon in Grade 4, as one of the first students to join the School in its inception year. While in Middle School, Yajur started exploring songwriting and started writing his own songs. He also began learning to play the guitar on YouTube. While graduating through the Middle Years Program at Pathways, he received a global outlook on Music from around the world, under his teacher's guidance. He relocated to Singapore at the age of 15 and further worked towards polishing his skills in music.
A true-blue Ed Sheeran fan, he has been following his milestones and aspires to be a music sensation just like him. Yajur gave a tough fight to Depression while he was in his teen years and strongly feels that penning down his feelings into songs helped him overcome this challenge. Having released his very first album at age 16, which garnered admiration from across the globe, he is on his way to launching his 2nd Album in October 2019.
Yajur Madan Interviewed by Pathways
Q1. Please give us a brief of what you are currently engaged in.
I'm still in high school (Singapore) but am working on music professionally. I'm 17 today and have been trying to balance both my high school life and professional life. I'm currently amidst promo for the first single of my second album set to release later this year! With the first album, it was a learning process in terms of everything but this time round, I am a lot more aware about what I need to do and more importantly, how I need to do it. I'm also undertaking a music production course, a video production course and a songwriting course online in order to gain as much knowledge as I can.
Q2. A note on your childhood. Also, how were your initial years at Pathways School Gurgaon (PSG)?
My initial years at PSG were extremely supportive and nurturing. I have distinct memories from the first few years that I still reminisce about! It was amazing to see friends of mine I met in 2012/2013 and look at where they are now! I feel quite homesick if I speak to any of them from back home, but a lot of them have given me continued support and helped me pick myself up on days I didn't feel like working which is something I will never take for granted.
Q3. You were a self-motivated music enthusiast. What made you choose music over other art forms?
I've grown up in a musical environment. My parents put me in that headspace very early and I'm extremely grateful for that. The music I write and sing is completely different from the music I was taught growing up but till date, I see the influence of the early years in my songs. I'm a massive fan of music and I genuinely believe music has the ability to bring people together and today having seen that in front of me, it's a beautiful feeling and something I cannot wait to experience for the rest of my life!
Q4. When did you launch your first album? How well was it received?
The first album I released was called 'Freckles'. It came out on June 15, 2018. It had 10 songs including Kawaii. The songs are available to listen here - http://yajurpathways.wixsite.com/website
The whole concept of Freckles was that, 'Freckles' are tiny spots on the face and these tiny spots at times are considered attractive and at times considered ugly but the whole album was a way to counter that idea and insist upon the idea of appreciating the little things in each and every individual and relationship.
Q5. How has music helped you with your depression?
Music, more specifically songwriting has helped me express myself and let out what I would hold on to inside. I would watch Jessie J videos and she would always talk about how writing itself was quite therapeutic and that made me want to write songs just about how I feel. Not only did this help ease the 'pain' people associate depression with but also helped me improve my songwriting as I have never really learnt how to write a song. I just wrote! Today, if I feel in any particular way, I can write a song and transfer my emotions into that song. This has definitely helped me gain a sense of control over my emotions and thoughts. I hope to be able to encourage more and more people to write how they feel even if it's not a song as this can definitely help them in a big way.
Q6. You are in the process of launching your second album. Tell us something about it. How does the taste of success feel? Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
The second album is called 'Queen'. The title is not only an homage to the ever -amous band but also is the title track for the album. This album might have a few more than 10 songs. The biggest difference with this album is, its songwriting which I finally feel confident in. Throughout the first album it was an experiment but with this album, I believe a 100% in each and every song. Also while writing this album, I had a moment of realization where I understood that there are far more important things that deserve to be written about than experiences of my life, and since that moment the writing took another level. The themes are more global and hence more relatable such as LGBT, depression, anxiety, uniqueness of emotional unawareness in a relationship etc.
I don't think I'm anywhere close to anything that tastes like success! I'm absolutely grateful and very lucky that I found my passion at 14 and chose to pursue it since that age even though a lot of people told me not to. I'm learning every day and have had the chance to work with some incredible people. I don't think age is any barrier when it comes to pursuing a dream and hopefully more and more high school kids are able to realize that. There's a dream venue in London (Shepherd's Bush Empire) that I hope to play in hopefully less than 5 years!
Q7. You have also been travelling and have been part of various concerts, while launching your first album. Please give us some more details on this.
I've had the pleasure of performing in Singapore and in India along with a few other countries. The whole chapter of the first album was essentially a big experiment due to which all my learnings from that experience are the reason why the second album is what it is today. I'll be performing in London and in the UK for the first time ever which is definitely an experience I'm looking forward to!
Q8. How has your journey been In UWC Singapore so far?
UWC has been a much-needed experience. I was 15 when I came here and in just short of two years, I have a strong sense of who I am and what I represent as an artist. I have certain beliefs and I stand by them no matter what. UWC is why the idea of a second album at 17 seems practical. Living away from home has helped me become independent and taught me how to manage a course like IB with a career in addition to personal, emotional issues every adolescent my age has!
Q9. What special memories do you cherish of your time spent at Pathways?
I cherish the relationships and the sense of home that Pathways gave me for many years. I loved the constant involvement of students into different activities and definitely saw the school grow every single year.
Q10. Your advice to the current class graduating from Pathways?
I don't think I have the right to give any advice simply because I have no doubt in the fact that they are all going to achieve amazing things post school. The only thing I would say is to not be afraid to pursue what you want because there is nothing one can't achieve as long as one's willing to work for it.
An IBDP Graduate (Class of 2014, Pathways School Noida), Vivek Verma is currently a Graduate Wealth Advisor with the De Vere Group's India Head Office in Mumbai. In the current times where the global market is witnessing an economic boom alongside a high degree of volatility, wealth management is an interesting career area with multiple entrepreneurial avenues.
A career in the finance stock market always stimulated Vivek. Under the guidance of the College Advisor and the IBDP Academic Team at Pathways Noida, Vivek carefully handpicked subjects that helped him boost his chances of pursuing his further education in his chosen field. Vivek went on to do his BSc. Business Economics from the University of Exeter. While at University, Vivek did a course on stock investing and got elected to become the Mutual Fund Manager in the Business & Finance Society of the University of Exeter. He represented the University in the Bloomberg Investment Competition and attended a Capital Markets and Investment Banking Insight Programme in UBS & Nomura at their London Head Office. During this period, he extensively networked with veterans in the wealth management field that helped him further learn the finer nuances of the trade. He then went on to do a summer internship in the Investment Department of SBI Life Insurance which helped him get hands-on experience.
After graduating from the University of Exeter in 2017, Vivek was immediately hired by the De Vere Group for his resourcefulness and insight in the field of wealth management. Having worked for more than a year and a half, he recently acquired his Level 3 Certificate in International Wealth and Investment Management by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment. Pathways, Vivek believes has been instrumental in channelizing his interests and shaping his career. It provided him the requisite exposure through a gamut of events, challenges and competitions bolstered by a plethora of co-curricular activities and sports that made him truly 'International minded'.
We are proud of Vivek's accomplishments in this short span of time. We do hope that his experience down the years would greatly help India too and this Pathwaysian Star would shine brightly in the firmament of the global financial market.
Vivek Verma Interviewed by Pathways
Q1. What triggered your interest in the field of wealth management?
I knew that I wanted a career in Finance since I was in the 10th Grade. The stock market, trading, investment banking and movies like Wall Street excited me. Choosing higher level Economics, Business Management and Mathematics in IB only reaffirmed my choice of pursuing a career in Finance; as I was fortunate to have excellent teachers who not only conceptually prepared me for what was to come, but also increased my interest in the field.
Q2. In your current organization, what are you designated as and what do you hope to accomplish in your current role?
My current designation is 'Graduate Wealth Advisor'. Given that I just cleared my exams that are a prerequisite for getting promoted as a Consultant within deVere, my current aim is to step up before Q2. Apart from aiming to get promoted; within deVere, my aim has always been to strive for perfection and help people at the same time while succeeding at my job. The solutions that we provide to our clients are world class and unparalleled. Our success speaks for itself with more than 80,000 clients globally and $10 billion under advice and management.
Q3. What really excites you about the Stock Market / Asset Management / Wealth Management?
Wealth & Asset Management excites me because it not only requires an understanding of economic concepts, world affairs and financial markets, but also requires you to have great interpersonal skills in order to communicate effectively with clients and build a rapport in order for them to understand your solutions and recommendations.
Q4. How critical is the element of "Networking" to be successful in this domain?
Networking is undoubtedly an essential element to be successful within this industry. It not only provides you with more perspectives and opinions, but enables you to access a wider market of potential clients, influencers and introducers.
Q5. A reflection on your time spent as Pathways.
Pathways was undoubtedly an instrumental phase of my life as I got invaluable exposure through various MUNs, conferences and intra-school events. Additionally, the supportive and fantastic faculty always pushed me to be the best version of myself by not only focusing on academics, but also extra-curricular activities that shaped me perfectly for University and beyond. I am very thankful to Dr. Advani and Mr. Abraham for their support throughout my time at Pathways.
A Graduate from the Batch of 2008, Gurmehar Sethi joined Pathways World School in 2006. From a child full of mischief, Gurmehar has journeyed through his years to eventually becoming a well-known Chef and Owner of a famous Restaurant in Delhi called 'ZIU' – Innovative Thai Cuisine.
In the 3 years since its inception, ZIU has received 3 Awards including, 'Times Food Award' for Best Thai Restaurant 2017, Best Oriental Restaurant 2018 and Best Regional Restaurant Award. Gurmehar takes pride in the fact that the restaurant has hosted many famous celebrities from India and is also quite popular amongst foreign Diplomats who live in Delhi.
Gurmehar's love for the culinary arts started early and he got a job in one of the finest hotels in Delhi - Leela Kempinski. It was during this time that he participated in a food competition and won the Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship 2012 Award titled "Gourmet Guru" by Food & Nightlife Magazine and was honoured with the title of one of the top 20 Chefs in India.
Before opening his own Restaurant, Gurmehar got to work with some of the best hotels across the globe - Mayfair Hotel in London, Banyan Tree Resort in Phuket, The Leela Kempenski in New Delhi & Udaipur to name a few. He also became a member of the most famous Restaurant Chain – Nobu, in the Palm Atlantis, Dubai. Gurmehar has very recently opened another branch of ZIU in Abu Dhabi!
We are proud of Gurmehar's remarkable achievements and wish him plenty of success in his journey ahead.
Q1. What inspired you to choose the Hotel Industry for a professional career and then to open a restaurant yourself?
I come from a family of hoteliers. My parents had a couple of restaurants back in Kolkata so I guess it's in my genes. Indeed there are several departments in food and beverage industry; however, food used to delight me the most. I followed my aspiration of opening a restaurant and achieved this in no time!
Q2. Your Restaurant is called 'ZIU – the Innovative Thai Kitchen' – please tell your readers, what inspired you to adopt this name for your restaurant, what is the significance?
ZIU means cultivated. We believe in progressing each day with new inventions in a number of aspects, especially food. The consumers only get to see the final product but the hard-work which takes place to make it happen is only known to the people behind the scenes. And believe me it takes a lot to maintain a Brand. So, we keep cultivating!!
Q3. Any difficult situations/challenges that you faced to achieve your ambition of opening a restaurant?
I would neither call a situation difficult nor a challenge but a lesson which is to be acquired well. We learn from our failures each day, and there is always a second chance. However, a restaurant definitely requires a lot of procedures when it comes to opening a new establishment. The most important is to have a great team. Once that is organised, the rest of the things fall in place with ease. I believe my people, my team, are my real assets. They are all a part of my dream and work towards achieving a common goal.
Q4. Do you personally oversee the food that is cooked in your Restaurant every day?
I am a chef and that's my job. If I am not travelling because of my upcoming projects, then I will always be seen behind the kitchen food pick-up counter. Personally, I don't believe in behaving like an 'Owner' and try to make myself approachable to my team, more like a colleague and a friend. That is what affects the outcome of the product. I welcome the suggestion of my team even if it comes from the staff working in the utility area.
Q5. Is there a Chef you truly admire?
Chef Rene Redzepi – at Noma in Denmark
Q6. Did you have a mentor chef? How long did it take to develop your own style of cooking, and what advice would you offer to young chefs looking to develop theirs?
Chef Nobu Matsuhisa – Japanese Chef, who also is a Restaurateur, has been my mentor, who I admire the most. Even today at the age of 69, he is seen working in a kitchen, creating new dishes and following up on all the guest feedback personally. He is my idol and I try to follow his footsteps.
Opening a restaurant is not done in a day, which I was aware of when I conceived the idea of opening one. I travelled the world and got myself trained in all possible environments in India and overseas, with the greatest of trainers and mentors. I took my time to reach to a position where I could show my own skills as a Chef and continue to grow.
For all the young friends who want to be a chef, believe me there are no shortcuts to success. Work hard and the rest will fall into place by itself.
Q7. Please share your experience of your time spent at Pathways. Your most memorable memory at the School?
Countless memories are attached with Pathways. It's like revisiting my second home from the past. Pathways was a cradle of leadership, self-grooming, communications skills, mature mind and an ability to make better judgements. We were bred in a way to stand out…aspire to achieve. Pathways was certainly elite and I had the most fantastic experience of lifelong and enduring friendships. Thanks to Pathways which gave me a cache, I always feel myself a few notches above the rest!
Q8. What message would you want to give to all our students and children in general?
Pathways has given you an environment and teachers with whose support you can stand on to reach for your dreams, become well-rounded, compassionate, independent, strong-willed. My advice to the children would be become valuable human beings and endeavour to change the world.
Q9. What are your future plans?
I am opening two new ventures – one in India (Delhi NCR) and one abroad (UAE). Wish me luck!
After graduating from Pathways School Noida in 2012, Saurabh enrolled at Cornell University, USA (Ivy League). He successfully completed a rigorous 4 year Operations Research Engineering Program in just 3 years with Latin honours. An entrepreneur at heart, he ventured into business right after graduating from college. He founded his own crowd driven publishing house - www.pblishing.com, which aims to promote writing talent in India and discover the next generation of writers.
Saurabh believes that the biggest problem with the traditional publishing business is that it is hard for new authors to gain access to the industry. This platform is way around the "slush pile" of rejected authors and solves this problem. Since its launch in 2017, the website has been able to publish around 30 authors in just a year's time.
Saurabh Mittal Interviewed by Pathways
Q1. You had joined Pathways School Noida in Grade 9. How was your experience at Pathways?
At Pathways, I was exposed to a learning environment through which I was able to realize my potential. Furthermore, the challenging IB and IGCSE curriculums pushed me out of my comfort zone to become a lifelong learner.
Q2. A reflection on your journey since graduating from Pathways.
After leaving Pathways, I joined Cornell University, USA. I completed the rigorous 4-year Operations Research Engineering Program in 3 years with Latin honours. Thereafter, I came back to India to pursue my entrepreneurial goals.
Q3. What is the most exciting thing about running your own venture?
I feel the most exciting thing about running a venture is the day-to-day involvement in decision making in almost all aspects of the business such as operations, sales, marketing, administration management etc.
Q4. What are some of the things you enjoy doing apart from your professional life?
I like to read, watch movies, and play golf in my leisure time.
Q5. Would you like to say something about your teachers & your friends from Pathways?
I am very thankful to all my teachers at Pathways for mentoring me over the years. They were very open with the approach and helped me push my limits and I was able to do well in IB. My peer group was very supportive and positive. Looking back, I also am able to smile and think of all the fun times I have shared with my friends especially, the annual camps, photography club expeditions, sporting events etc.
Q6. Any message that you would like to share with your Juniors at Pathways?
I would advise all the juniors to enjoy their school days but at the same time not lose focus on the purpose of education.
A mischievous child, Akshun had to be kept occupied after school in hobby classes like dancing and theatre. Fortunately, this created a spark of acting in him at an early age and he started working in educative street plays and performing theatre. His performance in Senior School's Annual Production in December 2010 "I, Van Gogh," as a lead actor, for which he received much critical acclaim, made his parents realizethat his acting skills were indeed good. Akshun graduated from Pathways World School in 2011.
Coming from a family of professionals, he was encouraged to complete his education. Along the way to his bachelor's degree in Biotechnology from Jacobs University in Germany, he dabbled in theatre and dance on the side. Eventually, he settled on acting and attended the New York Film Academy in Burbank, Calif., and trained for dancing at the Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles.
Akshun was not only good at theatre but was also a great football player at School and participated in a number of School Tournaments. He is now an Indian American actor/writer whose debut movie "Seven Rounds" based on the Kansas racial shootings is heading to be shown at the popular Cannes Film Festival. His new film showcases the heightened feelings of "fear and uncertainty".
Akshun Abhimanyu Interviewed by Pathways
Q1. A note on your childhood.
Growing up in New Delhi, India, I was constantly overflowing with enthusiasm. It was difficult for teachers to keep me stationary throughout the duration of the class. I was also surrounded by intellectuals who devoted themselves towards making society a better place. My father being a Scientist (Microbiologist) at TERI, (India Habitat Centre) and mother being a Doctor, gynaecologist often landed me amidst activities in the scientific world, which was an amazing experience.
My mother believes strongly in developing both sides of the brain i.e. reasoning and creativity. She lucratively tackled my hyperactivity by enrolling me in "creative" classes at an early stage which kept me positively occupied after school in various extracurricular activities. I started learning dancing and theatre at the age of 9 and 11 respectively. I enjoyed my school and was involved in making various science projects and represented my School at a National Level. I devoted my free time to the Dance Room or Drama Room. My love for stage gave me an opportunity to perform in the School's Annual Productions over the years, the last one being "I Vangough" in 2010 in which I played the lead actor.
Q2. What inspired you to make 'Seven Rounds'? What is the message that you want to convey through this movie?
Living in LA, the United States for past 3 years, upon graduating with Bachelors in Biotechnology from Jacobs University in Germany, I was motivated to work towards a change and embark on my journey as an artist. I developed my acting and dancing skills at New York Film Academy & Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles.
I conceptualized the story of Seven Rounds by relating to various incidents that happened in early 2017 that led to the travel ban being imposed in the United States. This ban was subjected towards a few nationalities. The number of victims of hate crime was increasing and gun violence, in any case, has been a major issue in the United States. The incident in Kansas which involved shooting of the two Indian engineers really shook me. Thus, inspired from these issues, I chose to work on this subject and got my screenwriter and a good friend, Karthik Menon who also graduated from New York Film Academy to collaborate with me on the script for the movie.
My movie conveys the message of love and kindness towards all human beings equally and to not judge people based on their appearance or their nationality.
Q3. How hard was it to get started with the movie? What roadblocks did you face?
I strongly believe that working with your friends is always dynamic and exciting. I was fortunate to work with two of my close friends. Director, George Savviddis from Greece and Karthik Menon from Dubai, who came along as very important pieces of the puzzle to make this movie happen. We worked on this project as a team and set up "Three flames productions" based in Hollywood which helped bring a strong set of co-actors and crew members to work for the movie.
I had to avoid getting too personal with the story and focus on the role of being the lead actor, Ashok. Working with my co-actor and great friend Abhay Walia, helped in developing a strong bond between the two characters and showcase genuine friendship between two Indian guys living in the United States. We faced issues in casting initially, however, we ended up with an amazing set of Cast. Producers, Miranda Guzman and Trevor Doyle handled the production efficiently and helped the team reach the desired goals.
Q4. What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?
I enjoy watching all genre of films. However, I personally feel influenced by movies directed by Mira Nair, Anurag Kashyap, Garth Davis, Aamir Khan and many others working towards bringing out genuine stories of the Society we live in.
The movies that have inspired me most are "The Reluctant Fundamentalist, The Namesake, and Water by Mira Nair". These movies have influenced my understanding towards film and media, which I believe, are the new age encyclopaedia and an effective resource to voice the issues of the society at a Global level.
Q5. Please tell us about your journey at Pathways World School Aravali. Which is your most special memory from school?
Pathways has been a key to my exploration towards my passion. My teachers and Dorm Parents have been instrumental in developing my soft skills and have been a part of my growing up. Living in the School Campus in Aravali, Gurgaon along with my amazing fellow Boarders, who became like a family to me, was an insightful experience. The School gave me amazing opportunities to discover my potential as an inquisitive individual. While studying my core subjects - Biology, Chemistry and Maths, I continued to remain involved in Theatre and Dance in School. Some of my friends, especially, Abhishek Chadda, Pronnoy Das and Jyotsna Chaman truly inspired me. I am fortunate to have had the best High School experience at Pathways World School and learnt a lot from my peers and teachers.
Performing in the play "I, Van Gogh", as a lead actor in the Senior School Annual Production in December 2010 was one of the most memorable experiences for me. The Play was a beautiful collaboration between the Visual Art and Drama Departments. The effort made by each individual to make that production successful taught me the importance of collaboration and teamwork. Our Drama Teacher, Mr. Renjith Janardhan, and Visual Arts Teacher, Mr. Ashwani Kumar played an important role in helping me find my potential and love for acting. The Show helped me overcome my stage fear and gave me immense confidence to act in front of an audience, which included my parents. The many opportunities that I have got in Pathways World School have helped me achieve my passion and into a confident individual to face greater challenges in life.
Q6. Any particular staff/teacher/mentor whom you would like to share about from your time at Pathways World School?
This is a difficult question. Many teachers influenced and guided my thought process while studying at Pathways World School, although some of them had a stronger impact towards my choices and supported my passion for dancing and acting. I was given undaunted support to balance my responsibility as a student in academics and to pursue my passion for the Performing Arts. I was mentored by teachers like Ms. Geeta Dahiya whose constant motivation fueled my passion and allowed me to think beyond achieving higher education. Ms. Kanan Sondhi, Ms. Mesha Das, Mr. Praveen Mariadas and Ms. Bhagirathy Jhingran helped me shape my vision and mentored me through my learning phase.
My Dorm Parents also played a key role in developing my personal skills and helping me become an independent individual in a global community. The importance of time and managing my schedule was strongly inculcated by their constant presence and perseverance.
Q7. Where do you see yourself 5 years from today? What is it that you'd like to aspire for and achieve?
I cannot tell about the future right now but I am positive that I will continue to make stories and work on movies that would help bring a change in the society. I am keen on gaining further experience in the field of performing arts and business entertainment. I have enjoyed my journey in this field since my schooling in Pathways as a student, researcher, and an artist. I would like to utilise all my experiences and eventually work towards bringing out stories from the grassroots level in my home country, India and around the world.
My aspiration is to manage productions and provide a platform to other talented artists and collaborators to voice their opinions about the mitigating issues in the society.
Q8. What message would you like to give to the young students at Pathways and especially those who are aspiring to go into a film career?
Aiming to work towards any field requires dedication and practice. Film and Performing Arts are strongly inclined to this concept. We all have our hidden creativities, it's important to start exploring and experimenting as soon as you get an opportunity. Also, opportunities can be created amongst your friends and peers and just involves a camera and motivation to tell meaningful stories. Join films, theatre or a dance club based on your choice and collaborate amongst others to achieve your specialised goal.
Watch movies, documentaries, TV shows and web series especially the ones that motivate you. Observe and use the resources that are available to you to tell your own stories. Learn to collaborate and work with a team as it will help you reach greater goals. Be passionate about your work and never stop hustling. Believe in yourself as it will motivate others to believe in YOU and your passion.
When Tushar Mishra joined Pathways School Gurgaon (PSG) in Grade 9 in the year 2011, he was a child who had seen many dreams and aspirations crashing. From the early childhood dream of becoming a pilot to looking forward to becoming a successful writer one day, life just kept on throwing roadblocks and greater challenges towards him. Amidst the poor Grades and a dangerously falling confidence, when Tushar moved to India, he knew that it will be a fresh start for him.
According to him, his journey in India was a new lease of life where he got an opportunity to connect back again with his family, rebuild himself and his dreams. He believes that Pathways School Gurgaon and the teachers here were instrumental in mentoring and guiding him to regain his confidence and eventually becoming one of the brilliant students and the Valedictorian: Batch of 2014 at Pathways School Gurgaon.
Tushar Mishra Interviewed by Pathways
Q1. You have already spent 3 years away from Pathways School Gurgaon at Berkley. How has it been so far there and how different is it from PSG?
Berkley has been good, a lot different from Pathways. It has been Exciting, Challenging and Humbling at the same time. Pathways has been a close-knit world with teachers but Berkley has been an absolute contrast. There are 40 thousand kids and every kid there is an achiever, a topper and hence one really needs to fight it out to create a niche for himself back there. Overall I am loving my life in Berkley.
Q2. What all exciting things are you upto these days?
I have just finished my fall semester at Berkley. Last year, in my Junior Year, I was multitasking – I was working with an advertising agency, I was copywriting, tutoring…
Q3. How do you think Pathways School Gurgaon was instrumental in preparing you for your journey?
I just love Pathways and I just can't shut up talking about this School. This is the place where the teachers, the mentors and my friends helped me get my act together. So Pathways will always have a special place in my heart!
Q4. You were on of the Speakers in the TEDx UIUC. You delivered a talk on Finding Balance at the Edge of Chaos. Tell us more about it. In a batch of 40 thousand students, why were you the chosen one?
I was asked to do the Ted Talk in November 2016 but initially I refused as I had plans to come to Delhi that November. However, my plans changed and I went up to the organizers wanting to know if they still had that vacancy for a student speaker and they were excited to take me in.
I think honestly, this is an underdog story, an 'against the odds' story…the story of my life. It just fit well in the whole backdrop of the context. As a student, I struggled throughout my academic career before college, leaving the United States after having failed nearly all my classes. I was presented with the opportunity to move to India, beginning a cross-continental journey through which I learned to navigate the challenges of mental health, academic performance, and personal worth and well-being.
Throughout this process, I have learnt the value in embracing life's inherent chaos, and finding the balance that allows one to excel and I believe Pathways School Gurgaon had a big role to play in this too. I guess this is the reason why I was the chosen one.
Also, my intention was not just to do a Ted Talk. I really wanted it to matter to people. The best part was when, post my talk, people started connecting with me by sharing their struggles and believing that if I could sail through and come up with flying colors, even they can. So the whole purpose of me being on the stage was gratifying at the end.
Tushar Mishra's Tedx Talk -
Q5. Would you like to say something about your friends here at Pathways?
Well both my teachers and my friends at Pathways are my people. They have kept me alive, they have taken mid night calls from me on School, grades, life and I believe all my teachers here had a major role to play in my life. When I got admission at Pathways, the batch size was considerably smaller as compared to my School in US, but I think that really helped me connect with each and every single member of my batch really well. I am still in touch with all of them and it is great to have that bond.
Q6. Any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with your Juniors at Pathways?
Ya, I think we keep on getting this advice from everyone around us but I would still like to tell them that this is the point in time where they can do literally anything. Their Job is to go to School, get good grades. They have the time to grow and think and explore things that one may not otherwise, and people should definitely do that. It is sad that we just don't do that enough.
Q7. You gave a brilliant impromptu performance at the Alumni Meet today, how did it feel to be back on stage at Pathways? Any Parting Words?
It felt like getting back to my family!! It feels good to be home
Vrinda Jain, Alumni of Pathways School Gurgaon (Batch 2014), who is currently pursuing her graduation from NIFT got this amazing opportunity to work as an "Assistant Stylist" in an upcoming Bollywood Blockbuster starring Youth Icon and Heartthrob- Varun Dhawan!!!
The Head Designer of the movie, "October", Ms. Veera Kapur was looking for an intern in Delhi when someone she knew showed Ms. Kapur her fabulous work. She happened to love Vrinda's work & our Alumni ended up bagging the job of the 'Assistant Stylist'.
When asked about her experience while working on this project, she said, "The movie, October, starring Varun Dhawan, is directed by esteemed filmmaker, Mr. Shoojit Sircar. Working for Mr. Shoojit Sircar, under the guidance of Ms. Veera Kapur, has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life. Being a part of the unglamorous process of movie making has taught me to appreciate not just the front runners ie the director, actors, writer, etc but also those members of the industry whose names, we as viewers, often don't bother learning.
On further asking her for any words of wisdom she would like to share for her juniors at Pathways School Gurgaon, she said, "One message I'd like to give all students is that no matter how hectic your school/ college life is, don't let it consume you. Be it any field, working hands on in the industry is very different from what one learns theoretically while studying.
Keep trying your hand at things outside of your institution because you never know what might strike a chord with you & inspire you for a better future."
A 2007 graduate from Pathways World School Aravali, Karan Vaidya was certainly destined for a bright future, having achieved good results in school and being amongst the most disciplined & dedicated students. But little did he know that one day he will achieve the remarkable feat of becoming the youngest appointed Honorary Consul in the world: Honorary Consul of the Republic of Latvia (Member of the EU) to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.
After graduating from Pathways, Karan joined Purdue University where he did a Major in Industrial Engineering. He simultaneously did internships with General Motors and Tsinghua University, Beijing and later pursued the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Tsinghua University's prestigious MBA Program, with a scholarship. He did the first year of the program from Beijing, where he became well versed with the Mandarin Language and Chinese culture. For the second year he chose London Business School. In London Karan won a competition held by a tech start-up company.
It was the 2015 tragic earthquake of Nepal that sent Karan back home to help support his country. He joined his family conglomerate that works in the fields of Trading, Hotels and Resorts, Real-Estate, and Construction. Today, Karan is working as the Vice-President of Vaidya Group and the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Latvia to Nepal; striving to better his country's economy as well as developing a deeper connection between to the two nations. He has become an inspiration for his generation and we wholeheartedly wish for his continued success.
Karan Vaidya Interviewed by Pathways
Q1. A note on your childhood. What aspirations and ambitions did you have while growing up?
As a child, I always dreamt to be a Chef or an Astronaut. Real life has deviated from the childhood ambitions but I have never let those dreams disappear. I still love cooking and whenever I am free, I cook for my family and friends and keep the dream alive.
Q2. A reflection of your journey since graduating from Pathways.
A lot has happened since graduation. I have gone on to get my Engineering Degree at Purdue University. Then I briefly worked for General Motors before joining the MIT MBA Program located in Beijing and London.
I have visited over 40 countries while writing a European travel column for a prominent newspaper. I have worked in a highly innovative telecom company in Toronto and as Vice-President of Business Development, Asia, I launched their first Asian Head Office in Singapore. Finally, after the devastating 2015 earthquake in Nepal, I returned to Kathmandu to help the recovering country and decided to stay here to create a long-term impact for its betterment. Recently, I have been appointed as one of the youngest Honorary Consul in the world for the Republic of Latvia to Nepal.
Q3. Please share in brief your role as the Honorary Counsel (HC) of Latvia? As the HC what initiatives are you working on presently? What aspects of this position do you think you would find most rewarding? What would be most challenging?
Although I have been recently appointed as the HC of Latvia; for almost a year my office and I have been working on introducing bilateral trade and cultural exchange between the two countries. Nepal and Latvia are two culturally rich, robustly resilient, beautiful countries. I will be working on bridging the countries through economic and cultural exchanges and enhancements.
I believe, being able to introduce Nepal to the Latvians and Latvia to the Nepalese is the most significant and rewarding aspect of this appointment. Introducing our culture and art to each other will be highly rewarding as well as interesting. The most challenging aspect will be the distance between the countries. However, with today's technology, I cannot complain about it much.
Q4. What do you attribute your success to?
First and foremost, I have to express my gratitude and attribute my success to my parents. They worked diligently to place my sister and me in an unparalleled institution of education such as Pathways World School. Institutions that introduced me to the world, and encouraged me to be strong, intelligent and diligent enough to face the world's ups and downs.
Q5. Any hobbies? What do you do when you are free? How do you manage your time and responsibilities?
I started playing the guitar and formed a band, back when I was at Pathways. We had also performed at a charity concert and raised enough money to make two wells in a nearby village. I have kept my interest in music alive by occasionally playing the guitar. And as I mentioned before, cooking has always been a passion as well.
Time is one of the most valuable gifts; I believe good habits lead to success. I keep to a strict routine which allows me to balance the three pillars of my life: My Family, My Work, and My Well-being.
Regarding time management, as I am currently managing over 200 people in multiple projects, time has become a crucial factor. I recently read a concise but powerful book called the "One Minute Manager". The book powerfully teaches the reader about time management and people management. I would recommend the book to anyone who is interested in a management position or is struggling with time management as this can happen with a lot of students performing multiple activities.
Q6. What personal habits have you willfully imbibed, which have had the most positive impact on your life?
As the Water-House Captain and Swimming Captain at Pathways, I had to make sure I was at the pool side by 5:30 am each morning. I might have hated some mornings, as all students know what sacrificing sleep feels like. But this one personal habit has impacted me till today. I still wake up by 5am and either go to the gym or for a swim in the morning. This sets the tune for my whole day. It has become a keystone habit, and regardless of where I am in the world, I keep the habit alive, and in return it allows me to take control of my day and take it in the direction that I want it to.
Q7. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
My grandfather was the very first person to build a resort in Nepal; I spent a significant part of my childhood around the beautiful resort. Somehow, those memories have been instilled in me and I have developed a strong passion towards hospitality and service. The hospitality industry encompasses my passion for service and my passion for cooking and food.
I am currently building a Five-Star Resort near Kathmandu that sits atop a hill overlooking the Himalayas. In the next five years, I will be developing a chain of resorts that circles around my philosophy of Service. I hope to be able to emanate my vision firstly in Asia and then in the rest of the world.
Q8. Please share your experience of your time spent at Pathways? Your most special memory at the school?
I had a stellar time in Pathways, and I truly believe it was the spark that I needed to open up to the world. I was heavily involved in academics, sports, as well as arts. I had an excellent time leading the Water house to several interesting and special victories. We had great times with Mr. and Mrs. Gholap as our House guardians. I specifically remember the highly interesting English classes with Mr. Shouquot Hussain and the invigorating Spanish lessons with Ms. Basabi.
The most special memory I have is the Charity concert I briefly mentioned before. It was a time when the whole school, teachers and students, came together for a good cause. The whole school was one single and beautiful unit in that moment. We had struggled hard to put the concert up and raise awareness about the need. It all resulted in a symphonic and masterful moment that will be embedded as a gem of a moment in my memories.
Q9. What message would you want to give to all our students and children in general?
School, especially high school, is an interesting time, you are still finding yourself, looking for answers, and questioning the world. I would say, don't be too hard on yourself and enjoy every moment you have there. Those memories will always be precious. Give your 100% to all activities, academic, sports, and extra-curricular. Never waste your time, grab the moment and make sure to make the most out of it. So, in the words of the legendary fiction teacher, Mr. John Keating (from the book Dead Poet's Society that was introduced to me by my Pathways English Teacher, Mr. Shouqout Hussain)- "Carpe diem, seize the day, make your lives extraordinary."
A Pathways School Gurgaon graduate, Shashwat Agarwal is fondly remembered as the Valedictorian of the batch 2016. He also topped the class with a remarkable IBDP score of 41. He is a perfect example of an achiever, who looks towards creating milestones out of every challenge life gives him.
Currently a student at UCLA, he is also the Director for two notable groups on campus. We wish him good luck for all the new ventures and future goals.
Shashwat Agarwal Interviewed by Pathways
Q1. Please give us a brief of what you are currently engaged in.
I'm studying at UCLA, pursuing Business Economics. Apart from my academics I am part of Indus Bruins, a south Asian coalition group, and LEAP, a leadership and education program dedicated to improving middle school children education and tutorship.
Q2. A note on your childhood.
I was born in Varanasi, UP. My dad is from Bihar and my mom from Varanasi. My dad did MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, and my mom did CA from Banaras University.
Q3. You were a brilliant student of 2016 Batch at Pathways, you got admission at UCLA, how has your Journey from Pathways to UCLA been so far?
It's been a tremendous journey. It's been very enriching, taught me many lessons and helped me develop some very important skills. Pathways laid the foundation upon which I feel I have grown more as an individual.
Q4. You are currently Volunteer Director for Leadership Education Advancement Program (LEAP) at UCLA. How did you chance upon this opportunity and what is this program all about?
I discovered this group during Week 1 of college, where all groups on campus attempt to recruit new members. I liked their project, as mentorship is something I particularly find rewarding, and felt that this group allowed me the opportunity to continue with an activity I enjoyed in high school.
LEAP goes to lower income middle schools in South LA and offers after school tutorship and mentorship services. We help them with their homework; do workshops on topics ranging from bullying, mental health to politics, and work on team building and leadership training exercises. In short, we offer a more wholesome experience to their education.
Q5. We hear you are also Director of Finance for Indus Bruins. What is this group all about?
Indus Bruins is a South Asian political group that aims to create a space for discussion and deliberation regarding various issues, identities and cultures associated with South Asia and their place in the current global scenario.
Q6. We can see you are into a lot of volunteer work. What motivates you for this?
Volunteering at LEAP per se is a very rewarding experience because it helps me give back to the community, and enriches my own experience at college. Indus is not particularly a volunteer work, but I enjoy contributing wherever I can as it allows me to keep an Indian friend circle and ensure I don't lose track of my roots and culture.
Q7. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Hopefully 5 years from now I would have graduated from UCLA and would be interning/working at a good company. Fingers crossed so far.
Q8. What special memories do you cherish of your time spent at Pathways?
I cherish the time spent in Anindita ma'am's room, just relaxing on the couch and talking about absolutely everything. I miss the lunches where we'd always spend more time and Ruchika ma'am would have to come and tell us to go to classes.
Q9. What would you do differently if you had a chance to turn back the clock?
I would try to improve my Spanish grade, and work more on my Extended Essay. I felt I could have done a better job.
Q10. Your advice to the current class graduating from Pathways?
You're about to experience a massive change in your life; make sure you appreciate everyone around you before taking the big step. And relax, take it easy; you're adults now. Decisions will come naturally to you. Remember to always value your own judgment; at this point in time we should make mistakes, learn from them and grow as a person. Don't be afraid of new things, and don't say no just because you're uncomfortable; step out, challenge yourself, and expand your horizons.
Q11. Your message for your batch mates ?
I hope you're all doing well. I cannot wait to see you guys again.
With great excitement, we share with you that Kirtimay Pendse – Alumni Batch 2015 is currently interning with the UNAIDS' (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) at Geneva, Switzerland.
The team he will be working with is called Programme Partnerships, Innovation and Fundraising. His team is working on innovative finance programs to increase accessibility to HIV treatments in Africa and helping build partnerships with funds and sponsors. The team's main focus is divided into various areas: they are focusing on transition funding (moving from international aid to increasing domestic investment for HIV treatments). UNAIDS has many donors, ranging from countries, to World Bank to other foundations like Bill and Melinda Gates.
Kirtimay's work will be centred on working on and updating the Donor Intelligence Map
We wish him best of luck for this project and we are sure he will win hearts through his work in the true PATHWAYSIAN STYLE!!!!
At the tender age of 5, while most other children his age were grappling with the alphabet, Abhishek Swarup had already decided to become a Doctor – that too a Cardiothoracic Surgeon. Abhishek joined Pathways World School, Aravali in 2003 in its opening year and graduated in 2008. He went straight to medical school in India and studied at Kasturba Medical College, Manipal. After becoming a Doctor in 2013, he has been interning at Sir Gangaram Hospital. He has also been able to go to America and work at institutions such as Brown University, Johns Hopkins Medical School and Harvard Medical School. Thought he spent only a month at each, he believes he gained some amazing US Clinical experience through this process. After the completion of his internship, he will subsequently apply to the United States as he aims to pursue a residency there in General Surgery and do his specialisation thereafter.
We congratulate Abhishek on his journey so far and wish him the very best for his future goals and endeavours.
Abhishek Swarup Interviewed by Pathways
Q1. Could you please talk us through your childhood briefly.
My childhood was like any normal childhood is expected to be. I have always lived in Delhi and my family made it a point that from the beginning, studies and co – curricular activities inside and outside of school were of extreme importance. One thing I have always valued is the independence and the freedom that my parents allowed from the start which I think is pivotal in today's world as it broadens your horizons and opens up your thinking. Hesitant at first, the change from a CBSE curriculum to the IB program definitely did me wonders as it teaches you to be global citizens and not limit your thinking in any aspect.
Q2. At what point did you decide to become a medical professional? Please describe your journey from a young school boy to becoming a 'Doctor'?
Funnily enough, I have wanted to be a doctor since the age of 5 and that too specifically a Cardiothoracic Surgeon. As long as I can remember, I don't think I ever changed my mind. I didn't follow the usual norm of going abroad to study and decided to opt for Medicine in India itself. The only glitch was making Indian Universities understand the IB program as 6 years ago it was relatively still new. I was lucky to have gotten admission at Kasturba Medical College, Manipal based on my IB scores. The 4.5 years spent there just flew by as the curriculum is extremely rigorous but brilliantly set. I faced challenges in the beginning as coming from an IB background, there were pros and cons to have gone to an Indian Medical Institution as the way of teaching differs and thoughts on how to go about things and work through things is also quite different. However, I never felt that I was at a loss as the IB program had definitely taught me to adapt in any given circumstance and be able to come out shining. Today 5.5 years later, I'm glad to say that I am a Doctor. You have chosen a very interesting field and have excelled in it at a very young age. Your thoughts on this accomplishment.
I was the only one from my entire batch in school who opted to do Medicine. It is an extremely daunting and stressful career but which field isn't in today's world! There were times where I would question myself if I really wanted to do this purely because of the stress levels and the competition I saw around me but I just decided to not let anything deter me and excel while enjoying what I am doing. That is my approach to Medicine. It is an extremely competitive field as one needs to think first of becoming a Doctor, then doing a Post Graduation and then a Super Specialization. It's a rat race for most but if you decide to enjoy the journey and love what you do – nothing is impossible.
Q3. Where do you see yourself 5 years from today?
The goal is to become a certified Surgeon from America in the next 5 years and be able to help medically on a global level. Fingers crossed.
Q4. Please share your experience of your time spent at Pathways? Your most special memory at the school?
It was and will always be the best days of my life! I joined Pathways in 2003, the opening year of the school. Even though it had its teething problems initially – it didn't deter the school from giving us world class education and broadening our horizons. Being part of the IB curriculum for 5 years really did good to me as an individual as it made me grow overall. It did wonders to my personality and I give 100% credit to Pathways for making me who I am today – an individual hoping to serve mankind through my practice of Medicine.
Q5. What message would you want to give to all our students and children in general?
Be yourself always. Stay true to yourself and do not let anything deter you from whatever you may want to do in life. Enjoy every moment and embrace every new day with a smile on your face!
While many other people his age were trying to grab their first driving permits, Shiv Kapur went ahead and got a Commercial Pilot's License from Florida. By the time he was 23, he was already sitting on the 'left seat of an Airbus A320', after becoming one of the youngest Captains that India has produced.
Shiv joined Pathways World School, Aravali in 2004 and graduated in 2006, which was the second batch to graduate from Pathways. We commend Shiv on his remarkable journey so far and whish him the very best for the 'sky' ahead.
Shiv Kapur Interviewed by Pathways
Q1. A note on your childhood.
I grew up in Calcutta in a simple household - went to school in the morning and played sports in the evening. I wasn't a very bright student and have seen bad marks in subjects that I did not like. I did, however, have very encouraging parents who would push me to excel in what I had interest in.
Q2. At what point did you decide to become a pilot? Please describe your journey from a young schoolboy to becoming the 'Pilot in Command' at Indigo?
I still remember my grade 2 teacher's angry face when she caught me drawing planes in my books and asking me to "GET OUT OF CLASS!" I remember this badge from grade 4 career day saying " I want to be a pilot! " It was a young boy's dream to fly the big noisy planes, which stayed alive in my head till the very end of my school life - pretty much forgotten by the rest of my family.
Post grade 12 at Pathways I was very clear about what I wanted to do despite having been accepted in University for a Bachelors in Aeronautical Sciences – my family of course very encouraging and agreed to let me pursue my dream. I got my Commercial Pilots license in Florida, came back to India got my Indian License and started applying to all airlines.
Indigo, despite being a small organization back in 2008, came across as the most professional with their speedy answers - I decided to go ahead with them and was on my way towards becoming a First Officer for an Airbus 320! In 2011, I just about met the requirements to apply for the post of Captain - I completed my training and checks and was sitting on the left seat of an Airbus 320.
Q3. You have reached this stage at a very young age. Your thoughts on this accomplishment.
There is always something new to learn and something more to achieve - I draw my drive from my belief that I still have much more to achieve and many more miles before I sleep. One can only excel if there is always a bigger brighter carrot in sight and out of arms reach! The learning curve should tend to infinity.
Q4. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
5 years from now I see myself as a trainer with an airlines - this will help me nurture bright minds and help me enhance my skills and knowledge helping freshers evolve into skilled Commercial Pilots and eventually Experienced Captains. I am already in the middle of the process to be the first level Trainer in my organization - 3 check flights to go. Once this is done, I will identify my next goal and walk a new path.
Q5. Please share your experience of your time spent at Pathways? Your most special memory at the school?
Pathways to me was the best 2 years of my life. It was and is my extended family. We lived together, laughed together, cried together. Pathways is a place where one could learn at their own pace and the process transcended way beyond just books.
There cant be just one cherished memory – I've lived a gamut of experiences at Pathways, right from simple and stupid to outright crazy! I remember the post dinner walks around the amphitheater just laughing at absolutely everything and of course the time we were punished for flooding the hostel on Holi.
Q6. What message would you want to give to all our students and children in general?
Treat "Pathways" in light of its literal meaning! In my life Pathways has been a fantastic learning experience, which has helped me pursue my dreams and shape my life in the best possible way. The structure of the school is such that one needs to extract the best out of it since there is no forced learning. At the same time,I would advise you to have a blast because this time will never come back - but work a way out to balance it with what the real reason behind your journey with pathways is for. Study well, live better.
My dad told me something when I was in grade 10 which I can never forget. "A well balanced few years working hard at laying your foundation will lead to the most comfortable 50 odd years ahead." He asked me to have all the fun possible but give a little more time than what I thought was adequate for studying!
The memories of Saachi Thahryamal ( Class of 2009 ) sashaying down the ramp built over the Aravali Swimming Pool , still so fresh in our minds…….She seemed just such a natural ……
YES we saw it then and we know it now ….. FASHION was the only way Saachi would go.
Not wanting to lose out on the sunshine and accolades that her first ever showing of her very own label " SAACH THARHYAMAL" at the RUNWAY to FASHION, on the 16th April was just an amazing collection of virginal white…… and Mehr Sandhu ( Class of 2011 ) and Mehrene Pirzada ( Class of 2012 ) opened and closed her show!
THAT IS LIKE A TRIPLE CROWN for Pathways Re~ Wired
Here's what Saachi has to say:
Q1. Please give us a brief of what you are currently engaged in (work/ study)
I launched my clothing line a year back under the label name "Saachi Thahryamal" , and have been very involved with it ever since! It's been an awesome ride so far.
Q2. A note on your childhood (where you were born, what your parents did)
I was born and brought up in Jaipur, Rajasthan. My mother is in the fashion industry as well and has been a designer for 10 years now. My father owns two very beautiful resorts- The Tree House Resort which is on the Jaipur- Delhi highway and The Bamboo Forest Resort which is in Tadoba, Nagpur (Maharastra).
I was in MGD till about 8th grade before I moved to Pathways in Delhi.
Q3. What inspired or lead you to get into Fashion Designing
I was always into fashion. I think everyone who knew me in school had this hunch haha… I knew it would be this industry that I would finally be in so I went on to study "Fashion Retail Management" at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design and once I came back to India I started working with my mother, it was only with time that I realized that I would like to launch my own line as I needed experience before doing so. It's what makes me happy!
Q4. How competitive is it and how did you break the barriers that came your way.
The fashion industry is extremely competitive, there is a new designer every day. There were no such barriers that I faced except my own confusion for a year after I graduated regarding what direction I want to choose in this industry apart from that, this field is such that there is no right or wrong. No doubt your product has to be commercially viable so people buy it but apart from that creativity is something which should be explored and as for my competitors, I wish them the best, it wouldn't be fun without a little competition.
Q5. You have tasted the world of glamour and success at a young age …. Your thoughts on that one quality in you that kept you going
The one quality that kept me going would be my persistent nature. Any field requires dedication and perseverance. I don't give up and I don't get disheartened if sometimes things don't go my way. That's just life.
Q6. Your biggest high in your short but exciting career….. we hear you just presented your first collection…. What did it feel like? Were you nervous?
My biggest high was very recent, on the 16th of April at Thyagraj Stadium when I just presented my Spring/Summer 2016 collection called "Snowflake"! it was like a dream come true- India Runway Week is a rather new fashion week compared to Lakme and others that take place but the whole experience has prepared me for bigger things and its wonderful how they give a platform to new designers! It had to be one of the best moments of my life and to hear good feedback was amazing. I have literally dreamt about walking down the ramp when the designers name is announced since I was a little girl. It was just amazing.
Q7. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now ? high fashion, haute couture, pret a porter ? your next step?
To be very honest, I can give a very clichéd answer and say that I see myself being a huge designer but I will say the truth- I don't think that far! Haha. I am still trying to soak in all the love I have received for this collection and am only thinking of the present moment and my current next step, which would be to apply for Lakme Fashion Week and do a lot of promos throughout the country! I believe only a pragmatic; step-by-step approach can lead you to your dream.
Q8. How do you cope with the late nights and tantrums of your models ? Whats your stress buster?
VERY luckily I don't have to cope with all that as there are always model managers and these girls know what they're doing, no point pressurizing them and making the job more difficult. There is always mayhem backstage and honestly I can understand their pain too. Being a model is not an easy job at all, so I was very easy on my models and just told them what I want and they delivered beautifully. In fact Mehr Sandhu who was also in pathways opened my show for me and Mehreen Pirzada was my showstopper. It was awesome to be working with my juniors from school and it's great to see how successful they have become too.
My stress busters are two very contradictory things – PIZZA AND GYM!
Q9. What special memories do you cherish of your time spent at Pathways?
Every single thing. My friends who have become like family to me, the dorm nights, the crazy food fights in the cafeteria, how extremely naughty our entire group was ( am sure a lot of teachers will not be expecting to read this interview of mine haha). School was amazing! It made me the person I am today- would not have been an independent, pragmatic and level headed person if it wasn't for the craziness we did in school!.
Q10. What would you do differently if you had a chance to turn back the clock?
I don't particularly like to regret because I feel everything that happens in life happens to you at the right time, if we rush things we can mess up… learnt this the long and hard way. So if I have to say something, I'd say that I wish I worked a little bit more harder when I came back from university and paid more attention to my creativity and passion but all in all, things worked out for the best.
Q11. Your advice to the current class graduating from Pathways?
Follow your dream! Everyone is going to say this to them but I would like them to know that it's not going to be very easy. There will be confusion, tantrums, irritation regarding your life but be focused, be present and do what you love!
Always listen to your heart and do whatever it is that gives you immense happiness and defines you. Never think about the success of your career before doing everything you can in your power to make it happen.
Q12. Your message for your batch mates?
I am in touch with majority of my batch mates and everyone is doing something so amazing with their lives. I am so proud of our batch! I wish everyone a lot of success, love and happiness and I wish every single person shows up for the next alumni.
Mitesh Mirchandani was part of the small group of students who joined Pathways World School Aravali in the inception month of the school – April 2003. Mitesh is from Mumbai and studied at the school from 2003 to 2006 (grades 8th to 10th). A residential student, Mitesh was one of the most noted sportsmen on campus, particularly showing exceptional talent in basketball. However, no one at that time knew his real hidden talent - photography. Today, we take great pride in sharing that Mitesh has become a cinematographer in the Hindi film industry. He is the Director of Photography (DOP) of the award winning acclaimed movie 'Neerja', for which he also won the Filmfare award for best cinematography. His first feature movie as a DOP was the Anurag Kashyap production – 'Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana'. Mitesh has also shot many popular advertisements for various brands.
We congratulate Mitesh on this accomplishment at such a young age and wish him all the best for his future projects.
Mitesh Mirchandani Interviewed by Pathways
Q1. A note on your childhood.
I was born and brought up in Mumbai, India. Stayed here all my life until I decided I wanted to be in a boarding school as I always looked at any opportunity to go out and explore.
Q2. At what point did you decide to get into filmmaking? Please describe your journey from a young schoolboy to becoming the DOP for a major production? How did you get hold of this opportunity?
I got an opportunity to be on a Hollywood production in Mumbai as an Assistant director. I ended up talking to everyone on set, especially the cinematographer, who really got me exited about the profession, and I wasn't too bad with the camera. So I decided I would do just that.
After the course I got back to Mumbai and met with a lot of people, worked as an assistant on a couple of jobs and moved lights in a couple. Simultaneously I showed my work around and hoped it would get me somewhere. I like to think there was something in there that caught the eye of the director of my film and then he asked me to shoot his movie. It took some time but it was worth it.
Q3. You have reached this stage at a relatively young age. Your thoughts on this accomplishment.
Well it definitely didn't come easy. I worked really hard and I'm really passionate about what I do. So it's just plain hard work and passion paying off.
Q4. What are your upcoming projects?
I'm still in talks with a few productions; lets see what materializes, I can't really say much at this time. Other than that I shoot TV commercials now and then.
Q5. Where do you see yourself 5 years from today?
Doing bigger and better projects not only in Bollywood but all over.
Q6. Please share your experience of your time spent at Pathways? Your most special memory at the school?
Pathways were my polishing years. I loved the staff there. They really helped me as I didn't feel at that time that I was the brightest of the lot. I played a lot of sports for which their facilities are simply amazing.
Q7. What message would you want to give to all our students and children in general?
Follow your heart, Always love what your doing, Never stop learning, Make smart decisions, Think out of the box, be different, and don't worry about failing; the success would be even sweeter.
Delson Armstrong is the author of the Red Serpent series of books. His first book, and the first in the series, Red Serpent: The Falsifier, was published in 2010 and won the popular choice award for Best Vampire Fiction of 2010. Two months later, he published Red Serpent: The Prophet's Secrets, and in June of 2011, he published Red Serpent: The Elemental King. Delson is currently working on the next books in the series, while still pursuing a career in screenwriting. In early 2012, he signed on to write a screenplay adaptation of the bestseller, Besa by Louis Romano, and is currently at the helm of its production as an Executive Producer.
Delson attended Pathways World School, Aravali from 2003 to 2006. We commend him on his achievements and wish him all the best for his future projects.
Delson Armstrong Interviewed by Pathways
Q1. A note on your childhood.
I spent the first five years in Bombay, then moved to New York. I remember, from early on, I loved to read, but it might have also been because the library I borrowed books from used to have special promotions in the summer, where for every 10 books you read, you received a free pizza! I loved movies as well, and every Friday, my family and I would go to the theater to catch the latest release. In 2003, I joined Pathways World School.
Q2. At what age did you develop an interest in writing?
It wasn't until we had creative writing assignments in the fifth grade that I developed an interest in writing, so much so that I began to write stories out of class, and admittedly got caught writing series of short stories in a science class instead of paying attention! Although, I was always a storyteller since kindergarten, narrating my days in school with certain "embellishments" to my parents, while on the way back home. You'd probably always see a mythical beast or two in my classroom, the way I told it.
Q3. At what point did you decide to take up writing professionally? Please describe your journey from a young schoolboy to becoming a published author at such a young age? How did you get hold of this opportunity?
I actually started writing my first book while still at Pathways (in my free time, of course). I was in the eighth grade, and I tinkered with an idea of an epic series of books for a long time, since the fifth grade, and began developing it. I knew writing was a passion of mine by then, but I never really looked at it as a career until my parents encouraged me to do so. Of course, the teachers in Pathways were always great supporters, and encouraged me both inside and outside of the classroom.
Notably, there was one teacher who really got me excited about the craft of storytelling. I remember him telling me, almost like some kind of prophet, "You have a lot of stories to write, a lot of movies to make, and some of them will be with me!" That really shifted my perception of what was possible. So, I decided to publish my first book, which opened me up to a lot of different people in the publishing industry. Later on, I went on to write screenplays and did some ghostwriting for a couple of studios both in India and the US as well. The road was long and challenging, but it has been fulfilling because I'm doing what I've always wanted.
Q4. You have tasted success very early in life. Your thoughts on this accomplishment.
I actually think there's a lot more I want to do before I can look back and say, "I've tasted success." I celebrate my accomplishments when they happen, but my mind's always thinking, "What next?" It's always looking for the next great story idea and developing it while I'm celebrating, and then the next day I get back to the keyboard and start tinkering with the idea.
Q5. What are your upcoming projects?
At the moment, I'm developing the next book in my series. I'm also developing a new series of books, the first of which I co-wrote with another alumnus of Pathways, Nikhil Lakhani. I finished a screenplay back in 2012, which we're currently trying to get financed and produced. I'm also in the inception stages of a few other film projects.
Q6. Where do you see yourself 5 years from today?
Doing the same thing I am now, albeit on a larger scale.
Q7. Please share your experience of your time spent at Pathways? Your most special memory at the school?
I was exposed to a whole host of different possibilities, and got a good foundation. My most cherished moments were those in silence. The Aravali campus instills a deep appreciation for silence and nature. I remember sitting at the amphitheater in deep reflection whenever I had the chance. I also loved the library, where I had access to some fine literature and knowledge. I also enjoyed the discussions outside of the classroom with friends and teachers on just about anything. In my mind, it was like being an ancient philosopher of Greece or Ancient India. I learned so much about life and gained access to various possible "pathways" (couldn't help the pun!) towards achievements in one's life.
When it comes to my most cherished memory, there really are too many to count, from the Shakespeare Festival back in 2003-04, to the camping trips, to those moments of immense silence and reflection, and the many philosophic sessions with my peers and teachers and so much more.
Q8. What message would you want to give to all our students and children in general?
Never give up on your goals or give in to second best. Everyone has a dream. Do it, no matter how hard it is. There's this saying that I try to always remember in the thick of apparent failure: "90% of people give up when they're 10% away from achieving their goals." I've also noticed that it's when you're very close to your goals that failures come at you from all directions. It's at that time you should know that you're on the right track. The clearing is just up ahead. So the question you have to ask yourself is, "do you want to be part of the 10%?"
Ria Sharma is the founder and CEO of the renowned organization, Make Love Not scars, which works towards helping and rehabilitating acid attack survivours. Ria graduated from Leeds College of Arts in 2014. Make Love not Scars was initially a college project she was working on but one thing led to another and the organization was born. She claims to have found her calling at a young age and hopes that her efforts will one day contribute towards making a change. Ria frequently writes for various online blogs and her work has been featured in the Times of India. An outspoken young individual, Ria is quick to voice her opinions on social issues.
Ria was awarded the prestigious Rex Karamveer Chakra and Global fellowship this year.
At Make love Not Scars, unlike most NGO's dealing with similar causes, they have an extremely individual-centric approach: each survivor is different, and their lives are not composed solely of their misfortune. The organization has helped several survivours achieve their dreams, and have done things such as raising money to send an aspiring artist to Parsons School of Design- The new Schools. Make Love Not Scars works on all aspects of rehabilitation such as medical, legal and financial support. They constantly work towards raising awareness as well and having existing laws implemented. Ria's interest in communication also helps the organization collaborate with various artistic individuals to create pieces inspired by the survivours in order to help and their online campaigns. The organization is proud to be crowd funded which gives funders from all over the globe a chance to be part of their movement.
If there was one thing you could tell about Leena it was her ability to look beyond herself and work for a dream that most would not have dared to dream…. this soft spoken, charming , determined young lady joined Pathways, Aravali, in 2011, as a Pre Term student for the IB Program. Her quiet grit and affable personality made her win hearts in the classroom and outside. Leena was everywhere and whatever she did was filled with her insatiable passion to give it her best!
Biology and math came to her, as easily, as dance and sport. This lanky girl played the basketball field with the same deftness, commitment, strategy and ease as she did in turning in her assignments to unrealistic IB deadlines.
We got Leena to answer some our questions so we could share them with you ….
Q1. Please give us a brief of what you are currently engaged in?
I am currently pursuing my undergrad in Biomedical Engineering (BME) from Purdue University. I have a year to go till graduation. I am also working as a Teaching Assistant at the manufacturing lab/workshop at Purdue Engineering. Also, next semester I am going to be a Peer Consultant/Ambassador for the career Counseling Cell at Purdue. I was previously a Research Assistant at a neuro engineering lab (for a year) and a team leader for an international engineering project team (for a year and a half).
Q2. A note on your childhood:
I was born in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. But owing to my father being in the Army, I moved around all my life. My father was a Civil Engineer in the Indian Army but is now retired and heading a civil consultancy and construction firm. My mother was an elementary school teacher.
Q3. At what age did you figure out that engineering was what you wanted to pursue and why?
I have always been interested in neuropsychology and the underlying mechanisms behind the behavioral patterns of different populations; and in turn mental healthcare. I think this stems from all the travelling that my family did when I was younger. As I grew older, I discovered the application of neuro engineering and other medical technology to healthcare and cognitive research. I realized that as an engineer, I would have greater ability to not just understand healthcare but to be affect the future of it – worldwide and especially in developing countries like India. And that is how I came to be in BME. I think I've always known that I wanted to pursue science; but BME specifically, since 11th grade.
Q4. Coming from a services background, what do you think you gained that helped you stay focused on your goals?
Coming from a service background, I've learned to live and adapt to different environments very quickly. This kept me from being perturbed due to being far from home. Moreover, having moved around a lot I had a good perspective on what was important and what was not, and this helped me set my priorities, focus on my goals and not get carried away easily.
Q5. Pune to Purdue …… long way ….. one quality you had that took you to it ?
More than anything I did, it was the vision and determination of my father to give me a good education and a quality platform to learn in that has brought me where I am. I cannot take credit for it. I have tried to do the best with what I've had, but it's my father who has taken me to it.
Q6. You are currently studying and working in your college, the secret of your work life balance?
Time management and organization. I use various methods on a daily basis to plan my day, week and month. Moreover, I set priorities on all my tasks and allocate times for them. This helps me visualize my day keep on track. But in the end, it's important to realize I am not always going to accomplish everything I want to in a day and not get bothered by it. As long as I am on track and finish what is important, I can keep going.
Q7. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? Which branch of engineering do you want to post graduate in?
Five years from now, I want to be working on developing and creating markets for affordable healthcare technology in developing and underdeveloped countries. There is a huge disparity between what is available in first world nations and the rest of the world. I'd like to be working towards bridging that gap. I want to eventually get a graduate degree in a combination of biomedical engineering and management.
Q8. What to do you miss most being away from the security and safety of home and country?
Being home, there is a certain sense of belonging and identity that one feels. Away from home, I miss that. But more than that, I miss being with my family.
What special memories do you cherish of your time spent at Pathways?
I cherish the friends I made and the time I spent with them. They are like a second family to me; and have been with me through my best and worst. Living and studying at Pathways was a huge learning experience and I'll always look back to all of it fondly.
Q9. What would you do differently if you had a chance to turn back the clock?
If I could go back, I would like to spend more time getting to know everyone in my batch on a personal level. They are all wonderful people who have a lot to offer to the world.
Q10. Your advice to the current class graduating from Pathways?
Make the most of all the time you have right now and everything that Pathways has to offer. Cherish your teachers and staff. They really do care about you and want you to excel. It's only when you leave that you will realize the worth it brings to you.
Q11. Your message for your batch mates?
All of you have the ability to do great things. DO IT!
Leena, we are delighted to see your dreams coming true and we know that you will continue to lead by example…..if you can dream it YOU can DO IT….. and who knows that better than you !