A student of Delhi Public School, Karan Paranjpye was not unduly disheartened when he did not make it to the top colleges of Delhi University in 1996 for his graduate degree. “Instead of enrolling into a mediocre college in Delhi University I thought it better to enroll into a good college of some other university. And Pune was my obvious choice given the fact that I had my grandparents there,” says Paranjpye. He went on to enroll himself at Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce and opted for economics as his specialisation. Talking about the highlights of studying in Pune he says, “Pune is not just a leading educational hub of the country. It is also probably the most cosmopolitan city in terms of its student population. There are students from all states of India and several Afro Asian countries which attributed to the richness of my exposure in terms of different cultures and people. In short, studying in Pune broadened my horizons and made me understand and value the importance of diversity in all aspects of social and professional life.” Paranjpye says that he has no regrets about not studying in Delhi University. “I consider myself fortunate to have got the opportunity to venture out of the comfort zone of my home city at an age which is critical in terms of acquiring the learning and attitude that marks the foundation of one’s future life. The experience made me a stronger individual capable of facing challenges, and balancing my personal and professional life,” he shares. Talking about the lighter aspects of the city that make student life memorable, he says, “There are a lot of places, in and also around Pune that one can visit. For those interested in history there is Shanivarwada, Kelkar Museum and Singhva Gad Fort. Those inclined towards nature can soak in the greenery and natural beauty at Khadakvasla and Pashan Lake and the small hill stations of Khandala, Panchgani and Mahabaleswar. These are all amazing places for picnics and good fun.” Naming food joints, he says, “I am a foodie and so all the food joints come very easily to my mind. Few of my favourites were the NCC Canteen at Symbiosis, Vaishali, Zamus, Simply Delicious, Jazz by the Bay, PoonaCoffee House, Chinese Room, Malaka Spice, The Place and Dorabjees.” Talking about his experience of living with his grandparents he says, “The experience was great although at times I did feel they were a little strict. Though I was away from home it was still home and they did pamper me. Since they were old and depended on me I learnt to take on responsibilities for many of their daily activities/ chores.” After his graduation, Paranjpye pursued a masters in personnel management from SIBM. His professional journey began with Infovison Solutions where he was selling the Amex Corp card. “After that I worked with Kotak Life Insurance, Standard Chartered Bank, Times Business Solutions Ltd and now DCB Bank. I have a blend of sales and training experience across various products like cards, insurance, liabilities, recruitment solutions and CASA,” he says.
Things you’ll not find in the official college prospectus
* The lime juice and vada pav in NCC Canteen is a rage
* The extracurricular activities in Symbiosis involve some very unusual platforms like Moot Courts
* The annual Rose Day celebrations at Symbiosis culminates with the crowning of Rose Queen.
Sometimes as a special treat the teachers take the students to the surrounding hillside for a morning class
What you must eat
* Pastries at Simply Delicious, a well known bakery chain
* Chicken sandwiches and burgers at MG Road
* Shrewsbury biscuits available at all bakery outlets are a local favourite and a must-eat
* Dosas at Vaishali on FC Road
Where you must go/visit
* For those interested in history there is Shanivarwada, Kelkar Museum and Singhva Gad Fort.
* For party lovers there are pubs like Ten Downing Street, Crystal Ball and Scoo-Ba-Do
What you must carry
* Since Pune is rainy for a good four months it is good to carry an umbrella, gum boots and raincoat
* Also since it is a biker’s paradise it would be good to take a bike along if you have one. Will help in saving pocket money as public transport is slightly expensive
* Tucks for your room mates since you will be living in a PG
What you must know (local language/cultural aspects)
* Knowledge of Marathi is an asset. At least the basic words that can get you through in the streets should be known. Pune is the stronghold of Marathi Brahmins and is the cultural capital of Maharashtra
Key learning from college
Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce
“The ethos of Symbiosis is strength in diversity. And this is one learning that has got ingrained into my psyche and will stay on forever. My class had students from almost all states of India and some Afro Asian countries. The best thing was that every student was free to be himself or herself and yet we had one single and collective identity. What better way than this to understand the fact that by appreciating and embracing differences people can evolve into better human beings and enjoy life so much more.This lesson is helping me work with people from various backgrounds and cultures,” says Paranjpye
Talking about his way of achieving work life balance Paranjpye says, “I make an effort to take a short holiday for three to four days at least once in a quarter and go out of Mumbai so that I get to spend time exclusively with my family. Also I spend my Sundays only with them. My immediate family consists of my wife Vinita who is a chartered accountant by profession and my three-year-old son, Mihir. I balance my work preassures by also keeping in touch with my classmates from school and college. I travel a lot for work and since I have friends in almost every city I make it a point to catch up with friends in every city.
Let’s talk about my job
DCB Bank, Vikhroli West,Mumbai
Talking about his present job, Paranjpye says, “I am presently working with DCB Bank in the HR department. I head sales training for the organisation. My designation is associate vice president training. My role involves imparting training on sales, service and products to the frontline sales team as well as the branch banking people across the country who are associated with the retail banking operations of the bank. I love it when people do better in their jobs after my training that essentially involves experiential sharing. The downside is that given its back end nature my job is a thankless one.”