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Writing their own destiny, with élan

In the second part of HT’s annual celebration of youth brilliance, meet another set of go-getters who have excelled in their fields and show great promise for the future. From a dentist who has topped the PCS exam, to an aspiring doctor who has started in style, we also feature achievers from showbiz and fashion.

chandigarh Updated: Aug 27, 2014 17:07 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times

In the second part of HT’s annual celebration of youth brilliance, meet another set of go-getters who have excelled in their fields and show great promise for the future. From a dentist who has topped the PCS exam, to an aspiring doctor who has started in style, we also feature achievers from showbiz and fashion

Putting Kashmir on the fashion map

Sajid Ali Dha
29 Srinagar, Fashion Designer had to fight the parochial understanding of fashion back home. "It wasn’t an easy choice. I had my own issues to deal with and convince people in my life about fashion as a career choice," he says. Hailing from a family that has shawl businesses, he did his bachelor’s degree in fashion and business studies, and followed it up masters in international management from Kingston University, London.

It was during the masters that Sajid made a breakthrough when he started working for Diesel-London as a denim specialist after going through a series of interview and style looks. This March, he established himself when he showcased his line of clothing, donned by reputed models, during Lakme Fashion Week in Delhi, making him the first Kashmiri to do so.

His focus remains on the fast-vanishing Pashmina and Tilla works. His affordable line has an outlet on, and he is among designers who would showcase work on the India Online Fashion Week later this year.

Define success.
Creativity and creating.

Who inspires you, and why?
Vivienne Westwood, the English fashion designer, has always been someone that I have looked up to. She is a true artist.

What’s your biggest achievement so far, and what is your ultimate goal?
All achievements, big or small, are very important to me. My ultimate goal is to live my life on my own terms, and yet be respectful and humble.

3 things that can make India an ideal nation.
No corruption; good infrastructure; and good governance.

In what way can youth participate in achieving that ideal?
Young people should first be sure of what they want in their life, and then they can do wonders. Also, youth must not overvalue materialistic pleasures.

How do you intend to uplift Kashmir through fashion industry?
Kashmir has a rich history of art, with works literally on the verge of extinction. I am incorporating Pashmina as well as Tilla work in my styles. I am soon going to start a unit in Kashmir where I will have local craftsmen and artisans working with me.
(By peerzada ashiq)

‘Choocha’ just wants to make people smile

Varun Sharma

22 Jalandhar, Actor

Making his debut as the irrepressible ‘Choocha’ in Bollywood comedy ‘Fukrey’, Jalandhar’s Varun Sharma won many hearts and also got awards. An alumnus of The Lawrence School, Sanawar, and Apeejay School, Jalandhar, he has a bachelor’s degree in media, entertainment and film technology from FTII, Chandigarh. Since acting had always been on his mind, he moved to Mumbai in 2011. He has also done ads for big brands.

What does success mean to you?
Bringing a smile to the face of the audience with my performance is success for me.

Who inspires you, and why?
My father. I have seen him working hard throughout his life to give a comfortable life to his family. Being in the field of acting, I am also inspired by ‘King’ Shahrukh Khan.

What’s your biggest achievement so far, and what’s the ultimate goal?
When I got confirmed for the role in ‘Fukrey’, it was the biggest achievement of my life. My ultimate goal is just to keep acting, playing different roles.

Three things that can make India an ideal nation.
Remove corruption, improve agriculture development, and increase literacy rate.

In what way can youth participate in achieving that ideal?
Start from your neighbourhood. Donate books and teach needy children. We can start from our house and help our maids. For corruption, don’t pay a bribe to get rid of cops when you are about to be challaned!

What’s your take on Punjabi cinema?
Being a Punjabi, my fascination with Punjab is obvious. I’d like to do more Punjabi movies or a Bollywood film shot in Punjab. I have worked in one Punjabi movie ‘Yaraan Da Katchup’, and will love to do more in future.
(By neha Arora)

Aspiring surgeon, a keen eye

Lovedeep Singh Dhingra

18 Jalandhar, AIPMT topper

Lovedeep, now studying to become an MBBS doctor at AIIMS in Delhi, got the second rank in the All-India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) and thus topped Punjab. An alumnus of MGN Public School in Jalandhar, he was third in the medical stream in the district in Class 12 with 96.4%. An aspiring eye surgeon from a family of doctors, Lovedeep also likes to do magic tricks and solve puzzles.

How do you define success?
Inner satisfaction.

Who inspires you, and why?
My mother, for making me learn discipline, Albert Einstein for imagination, Elon Musk for innovation and courage to take risk, Roger Federer for his success consistency, and Mahatma Gandhi for staying calm and sticking to his core beliefs.

What’s your biggest achievement so far, and what’s the ultimate goal?
Clearing the AIPMT and the recognition through media that followed was great. I want to become a recognised doctor of the country.

Three things that can make India an ideal nation.
Educated people, eradication of corruption, and good healthcare provision.

In what way can youth participate in achieving that ideal?
There is a need to convert youngsters into resources.

How are you taking your legacy forward, being from a family of doctors?
Having grown up seeing three doctors in my house, including my father, mother and grandfather, I could have never dreamt of anything other than having ‘Dr’ prefixed to my name.
(By neha arora)

Sports to screen to stage, not such a long journey

Tanya Abrol

28 Abohar, Actor

Tanya Abrol burst into the limelight with ‘Chak De India’ in 2007. While still pursuing her graduation from MCM DAV College in Chandigarh, this girl from the small town of Abohar in Punjab made sure not let the fame go to her head and finished her graduation before taking up acting as a fulltime profession. If acting hadn’t happened to her, she says she would have tried for civil services. Tanya has appeared in several TV shows, hosted awards and worked in theatre post-Chak De.

She has most recently appeared in Punjabi Movie ‘Love you Soniye’ and is currently working on a Bollywood film besides continuing with theatre. A sportsperson all her life, she is the daughter of a farmer father, while her mother runs a beauty parlour in Abohar.

Define success.
Living a happy and healthy life. And owning a Ferrari, perhaps!

Who inspires you and why?
Almost everybody I meet. From some I learn to do things, and from others, what not to do.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?
My favourite moment, I’d say, was when I saw my photograph for the first time in newspapers when I represented Ferozepur in Punjab State Games in judo when I was in Class 10.

3 things that can make India an ideal nation.
The right education, responsible leadership, and an active and responsible media.

In what way can youth participate to make India an ideal nation?
By performing our duties mentioned in our civics books! I studied about our duties towards our nation in school and I am pretty sure they still have those books. Even if one manages to perform 50% of those duties, many problems of our country will be solved. One can start by not throwing garbage on the road. Also, when you see something wrong happening, raise your voice!

What key difference do you find in TV, cinema and theatre?
The number of audience, apart from technical differences. Television is a household thing and the fastest way to reach the audience. Cinema is magical, bold, and gives more freedom to makers. Theatre, personally, is very satisfying for me to enhance my skills.

Any suggestion to struggling actresses?
I’d rather use the term aspiring, because at some point everybody is pretty much a struggler. Work hard, be focused, learn, and give it your best shot every time. And try to improve further.

Are you satisfied with your career direction so far, and what are your ultimate goals?
I have been working in Mumbai for seven years, and life has treated me very well. My short-term goals include starting a business by 2015, so am working on that. I also wish to write a book, travel across India and learn about our different cultures.
(By Nanki Singh)

The doctor who wants to cure the system

Dr Ravjot Grewal
27 Patiala, PCS exam topper qualified dentist, Dr Ravjot Grewal has now entered the civil services in style — securing the first rank in the Punjab Civil Services (PCS) examination. Daughter of an army colonel father and a teacher mother, she finished first in her second attempt, after getting a respectable 47th position in her first attempt. After the first time, she took up the job of excise and taxation officer but her desire to be in the civil administration made her take the exam again. Now, she is posted as assistant commissioner (grievances) at Fatehgarh Sahib. She did her Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) from Army College of Dental Sciences, Hyderabad, and started preparing for PCS during her internship. Anthropology and public administration were her PCS exam subjects. Versatile, indeed.

How do you define success?
Maintaining balance among all aspects of life is success to me. Though it is important to work very hard to achieve goals in life, one must also take some time off to enjoy the achievements.

Who inspires you, and why?
My inspiration comes first from my family. Hard work, discipline and honesty are qualities I have learnt from them. Second, I get great inspiration from stories of ordinary people achieving extraordinary things.

3 things that can make India an ideal nation.
Education, empowerment of weaker sections, and adequate job opportunities.

How can youth help achieve that ideal?
Youth has the greatest role to play in transforming India from ‘developing’ to ‘developed’. The time has come to learn lessons from our past failures and focus on participation of youth for inclusive growth.

What’s your biggest achievement so far, and what’s your ultimate goal?
Joining the civil services is the biggest achievement for me, like a dream come true. My ultimate goal is to serve the public with utmost integrity.

How has your medical training helped you in civil services?
BDS, being a professional degree, helped me become more disciplined while preparing for civil services. Moreover, it helped build concentration.
(By navrajdeep singh)

‘Hard work is a basic, confidence the key’

Sahil Vedoliyaa
27 Moga, Anchor, Actor Vedoliyaa’s foray on the stage started with mimicry in college. Wanting to be independent and earning a living on his own, he heard about the profession of being an anchor and decided to give it a shot. With a friend who was already an established name in the profession, Sahil decided to follow her encouraging words and got his big break hosting live music shows for a Punjabi channel, MH1.

There was no looking back. He went on to host the red carpet for Punjabi film awards, worked for two seasons of the IPL and also the ICC Champions league. He has also appeared in Punjabi film ‘Pooja Kiven Aa’ as well as a few commercials. Son of a banker, Sahil gives credit to his stint in college in Chandigarh for his career trajectory.

What does success mean to you?
Success to me is being known and appreciated for my talent worldwide. But that’s incomplete without the ability to contribute to society.

Who inspires you and why?
Manish Paul (anchor-actor) and Sandeep Maheshwari (motivational speaker); Paul for his oratory skills and the way he captures the audience; Maheshwari for his ability to move people’s hearts and motivate them.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I was the first male anchor in the Punjabi industry to have been nominated for the Best Debutant Male Actor Award for ‘Pooja Kiven Aa’ at the PTC Punjabi Film Awards 2014.

What are your ultimate goals?
To explore the world, learn from people, and put into use the acquired learning in the best way possible. And to achieve balance in work and family life.

Three things that can make India an ideal nation.
Enthusiastic and proactive youth; sincere citizens; respect for our culture, heritage and indigenous systems like yoga.

How can the youth help make India ideal?
Since our country has the maximum youth population, we have great potential. We just need to place the interests of the nation at the forefront.

Any advice for aspiring anchors and actors?
There are no shortcuts. Passion and consistent hard work are needed. For being an anchor, you also need a great deal of confidence.
(By nanki Singh)

First Published: Aug 27, 2014 15:56 IST