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Interview – Nipun Varma (Adventures of an Indian Techie)

From 9 to 6, Nipun is an IT professional working with UST Global, a leading digital solutions company and a public speaker and stand-up comedian during the weekends. He is a social worker, movie enthusiast, and family man round the clock. Having tried various other roles like that of a teacher, call center executive, HR professional, and TV newsreader during various stages of life so far, Nipun has now added another feather to his cap, that of writing.

Q: Why did you pick up writing?
A: I have always been a voracious reader. Regardless of the genre, I try to read as much as possible. According to me, the desire to be a writer is a very common side-effect associated with anyone who is suffering from the reading-mania.

Q: What’s your inspiration? What keeps you going from sunrise to sunset and further?
A: Entertaining the people around me gives me the kick. Through my writings, stories, and speeches, all I try to do is to lighten the mood around and make others feel that the world is not such a bad place after all. There is nothing sweeter than a hearty good laugh.

Q: Your stories are hilarious. Are they from experience or just stories told by your friends/acquaintances which you happen to turn into a collection?
A: Being a very ‘talented’ techie (1 gram techie- borrowing the terminology from the book), I have been fortunate enough to find myself in soup many a time, so about 50% is from my own experience. However, there are times, when I am part of something wherein I might not be directly involved, but the ‘wannabe writer’ part in me always keeps looking for such bouts of inspiration. Trust me, the techie world is brimming with stories to be told. We just need to keep our eyes and ears open.

Q: As much as I’d like to believe in the positive attitude of the protagonist, there are times when one just can’t think straight under stress/pressure. What tips do you have for those poor souls?
A: Yes, indeed. There are times when we feel it’s the end of the world. There are occasions when we curse ourselves to be in that situation. I have been there many times just like everyone out there. In such situations, what works for me is trying to find the funny side of it. After a royal mess up in a high profile meeting, I wasn’t able to sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night and wrote a funny story about it. You can find that in one of the chapters in my book. Once I was done teasing myself, I could sleep peacefully and put everything behind me. A hearty laugh at ourselves is the best healer according to me.

Q: Do you think our IT industry is over-hyped?
A: I think the answer is subjective. Choose IT only if you are really in love with computers and engineering. Per the current trends, only core techies will be able to survive in the future. Career-wise, yes there are perks but not everything is hunky-dory inside those fancy buildings. So choose wisely. Google maps can’t guide us in our careers. It’s up to us, our interests, and what makes us happy.
Now, what happens to the major chunk of people who were pushed into IT? Well, they become writers, stand-up comedians, and filmmakers.

Q: Do we hope to see similar plots from you in the future or are you going to try different genres?
A: In fact, my initial attempt was to write serious stories. But no matter how serious my story and I were, my readers ended up laughing (unintentionally of course). It was then that one of my friends suggested attempting humor. As I am not talented enough to invent heavy plots or characters (maybe a ‘1 gram writer’), I just took something from around and wrote about it. As I said earlier, many more techie stories are yet to be told. I am planning for a techie series.

Q: A stand-up comedian/nne you admire and why?
A: I am a huge fan of Kanan Gill. Especially his “Pretentious Movie Review” YouTube videos are just amazing. I think there is nothing more powerful than humor to convey a strong message. Now one interesting thing about stand-up comedians in India is that most of them including Kanan come from an Engineering background- probably 1 gram techie themselves. See there definitely is some divine connection between IT and humor. Probably, the Supreme Techie up there has wired the techies this way so that there is a built-in pressure release feature.

Q: A message for your readers.
A: I think there are two options for us. Do what we love or love what we do. Barring a lucky few, the others only have the second option. In such cases, it’s very important to do something that makes you happy simultaneously. While you are busy doing things that you HAVE to do, find time to do a little bit of something that you WANT to do. This gives you the kick, the fuel, or the mileage to manage the HAVE to part of life.

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