The very visible Mr India

No television, no newspapers, no magazines — that’s how author and photographer Vickrant Mahajan prefers to live his life. You’d think he’s a recluse, but this friendly and effervescent man believes that he does have the Internet to keep in touch with the current affairs around the world. “I don’t want to hear the same old stories of gore and macabre. I feel like I’m being a voyeur. But Google’s my friend and that’s what tells me whatever I want to know.”

Deemed as the new Robin Sharma of India, Vickrant has just launched his fifth self-help book 'Stretch Yourself '. And at 32, he’s has donned many hats — well, at least 12 — he’s been an editor, publisher, model, actor, numerologist, voice-over artist, communication trainer, columnist, scriptwriter and a motivator.

But it’s photography that is his passion. Married to photographer Ronica Kandhari, the duo has even done a number of projects together. “As a lifestyle photographer, I get several opportunities to shoot interiors, weddings, lifestyle shows and even spas, but it’s coffee table books that I love doing,” says Vickrant. Which is why after five coffee table books, he’s well on his way to his sixth — a collection of photographs from actress Amrita Arora’s wedding. “It’s an absolute behind the scenes look at a celebrity wedding complete with star couples. You can see all the Bollywood tamasha.”

Grown up in Jammu, Vickrant went on to complete a diploma from the University of Denver after which he worked with Harper Collins as an editor. While at the publishing house, he decided to enter the Grasim Mr India contest. “I was a complete novice. All I wanted to do was come in the top three amongst the 15,000 people who had applied. I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do this too,” he says.

And he did. As the first runner of in 2003, Vickrant got several offers to model, but instead he chose to walk the ramp. “For about 6 months, I did a couple of shows for Suneet Varma, J J Valaya and Rohit Bal and then I decided to write a book on how to win a male modelling pageant,” he says. That was his first book. 'Model Dreams: How to Win a Male Modelling Pageant' went on to become almost like a handbook for several male models, who were entering the industry post 2004.

It’s his zen-like approach to life, that lets Vickrant juggle balls in the air. While he’s not a practicing Buddhist, he does believe strongly in the middle path. For it was during the pageant that Vickrant learnt to stretch himself. “I’d finish the whole day’s work, hit the gym for a couple of hours, get home, cook, read and sleep by about 2 am. And the whole cycle would begin all over again the next day,” he says. “All of us stretch ourselves at different levels, but if we just did it consciously, we could all achieve a lot more in life. That’s what my new book is all about.”


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