Instead of going round and round, trying to wrap truth in complex language, I will be straight-forward: I left Delhi because I had failed, miserably. But a different kind of success awaited me in a small town in Punjab.
Despite being “gifted” as a creative person (a graphic designer, writer, photographer and an illustrator) I could not cope up with Delhi anymore. I had shifted companies and my new bosses (both of them) were major assholes. Understandably, I stopped going to work one fine day. Without notifying them. I didn’t think they deserved it. When they approached me I told them it wasn’t working out. It was that simple.
But it was a dangerous time to quit your job. Especially when you were recently married. There were no openings around. I rejected half the job offers that came my way and the other half rejected me.
Then I thought of starting my own advertising agency. It sounded like a glamorous idea.
So I rented some office space in South Delhi and started working on my own. I got one client, very easily, but they didn’t pay enough. I was creatively satisfied, but broke, unable to pay my bills and support my family. Returning home was the only option left. We packed our lives in a car and drove all night from Delhi to Punjab, me and my wife. It was a pleasant journey. We entered Punjab at dawn. We felt relieved like never before. Delhi does that to you. Delhi stresses you out and makes you get used to it. Leaving that monster was like leaving all your burdens behind. We looked forward to a pollution-free, slow paced, happy and satisfying life in a small town.
I started working from home. Within a few months I was being talked about as “the best designer” in town. I started the trend of making original logos and charging money for it. Every top business in the town knew about me. It felt great to change the way advertising was done in my hometown. My experience of working with the biggest brands in India (Sony, HBO, Philips, Taj Hotels) came in handy and soon I helped build dozens of brands.
Were I in Delhi today, I might be earning twice or five times my last salary, but chances are… I’d still be working around assholes, working inefficiently, trying to feed egos of a few, and predominantly doing what I was supposed to do, rather than what I loved to do! And even after all these compromises, I would be faceless employee who thought he was doing his “dream job” but was actually doing worse than a “9 to 5” job, if you know the timings of advertising agencies.
What’s my point? It’s one simple thing: Today, your physical location is of least importance. If you have a talent, a strength, a product or a service that actually “makes sense” you do not have to be in New Delhi or Bombay. Kotkapura works just fine. Here is some of the work I did between 2014 to 2015 – the first year of my startup in a small town.