This is My Life Story

READ IT, LEARN FROM IT & MAY YOU FIND YOUR DHARMA!

I was born to Telugu parents in Miraj, Maharashtra. When I turned three, we relocated to Tripoli, Libya, and at six, to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Soon after, my parents enrolled me into Good Shepherd Public School in Ooty, Tamil Nadu (the best time of my life). I was artistically gifted, which helped me win several art competitions during my school years. After school, my parents enrolled me into high school in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh (the worst time of my life!) and thereafter, into Bapuji Dental College & Hospital in Davangere, Karnataka, because they believed my ‘good, artistic hands’ would make me a successful dentist. Life in dental college was busy, and I found very little time to devote to drawing. I didn’t particularly enjoy cleaning & extracting teeth either. The daily sight of saliva & blood hurt my artistic sensibilities, so upon graduation, I decided I didn’t want to be a dentist.

While contemplating what I wanted to do with my life, a chance encounter with a few Tintin comic books, which I grew up to as a kid, rekindled in me my passion for drawing, and I resumed drawing once again. I created a comic strip on animals called ‘Noah’s Park’ and in less than six months, produced over 3000 comic strips on various animals. Upon a friend’s recommendation, I sent samples to several magazines across India and in no time, various magazines, newsletters & websites expressed an interest in my work, started publishing my comic strips and remunerated me for them. I then decided to move to Bengaluru and become a cartoonist full-time.

My parents were shocked to learn about my sudden career change.

“What?! You want to become a cartoonist??” my father asked me in shock when he arrived from Saudi.

“Yes, father. I really enjoy drawing and creating comics,” I said.

“Useless fellow! I sent you to study dental, and now you have become mental! What money will you make as a cartoonist?! You will end up on the streets doing street art!” my father screamed at me. My mother was even more stunned.

“Who will marry you, son?? No girl wants to marry a cartoonist! Waaaaaaaah!” she wailed for days. All my friends thought I was crazy and lost respect for me. Some even distanced themselves from me because they didn’t want to be associated with a ‘nutcase’. Nevertheless, I stuck to my decision because I loved cartooning more than anything else.

Life as a cartoonist wasn’t easy at all. Although my comic strips were getting published by several magazines and even the Times of India (Bengaluru Times), I was paid very little and ended up sharing a dingy, cockroach-infested house in a slum with an engineering student and lived off boiled tomatoes, 5-minute noodles & cheap street food for years. Soon, I began offering cartooning lessons to kids & worked as a freelance illustrator to make ends meet but still barely managed to survive.

After five years of struggling as a starving cartoonist and losing over 10 kilos in weight, I became despondent, decided to give up cartooning and return to dentistry. Just then, a newspaper ‘found me’. It contained an ad that said ‘Cartoonist Wanted in Kuwait for an Investment Company’. The position offered a handsome salary, yearly bonus and other perks. I applied for the position and didn’t hear back for weeks. Then one day, I received a call from Kuwait telling me I had been hired from among many other applicants from India, the Middle-East & Africa, and that the company was willing to pay for my travel to Kuwait and put me up at a 5-star hotel for a month until I found a suitable accommodation.

A week later, I found myself wolfing buffet breakfast like a famished pig at the 5-star hotel, unable to believe my good fortune. I was now a cartoonist in Kuwait’s biggest investment company (if you read my book, ‘How I found my Purpose’, you will see why an investment firm hired me) earning a salary that was ten times more than what I was earning in India. In a month’s time, I rented a plush apartment overlooking the Persian Gulf in a prestigious Kuwaiti neighborhood, purchased a brand new VW Passat and even hired a driver to drive me around. During my time in Kuwait, I had two comic books published, pursued other careers that I enjoyed & did well enough to purchase an apartment in Dubai. I then immigrated to Canada and became a Canadian citizen.

So what’s the gist of my story?

Follow your passion / bliss / love / dream / calling / dharma, no matter what. Every person on earth has manifested in flesh form for a reason, so find out what your reason for being here is. Discover what it is you love so much that you would even do it for free, and when you are engaged in it, you lose track of hunger, thirst & time itself. Do that, and the entire universe will conspire to make your dreams come true and make you a success. Mind you, you will have to struggle for a while, because the universe will test you to ensure you are serious about pursuing your passion. Once it is convinced that you are, it will manifest pleasant coincidences in your life. Serendipities & miracles will unexpectedly occur, and all that you ever desired will become yours. You may use the Bach flower remedies Wild Oat & Cerato, and also read the following books to find your life purpose.

  • Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra
  • Karma Yoga by Yogi Ramacharaka
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • Star Signs by Linda Goodman
  • Pathways to Bliss by Joseph Campbell

As of today, my written and illustrated works have appeared in India, Kuwait & Canada. Besides being a writer & cartoonist, I have also been a 2-D animator, magazine creator, personal fitness trainer, newspaper editor, advertising copywriter & Bach flower therapist. Oh, I have also been a dishwasher, general labourer, residential cleaner, security guard, concierge & movie extra, because that is how most immigrants begin a new life in Canada.

I currently reside in Toronto and spend five hours a day writing books and creating comics while not petting random dogs on the streets and practising yoga at home. I speak 4.5 languages & am extremely proud of my Indian heritage.

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