A Bow-Wow with Rukmini Vaish

Rukmini Vaish belongs to Delhi! She is a nature lover and is crazy about animals. She worked for 8 years with major companies in telecom and FMCG space after her MBA and then decided to take the entrepreneurial plunge. In 2016, she co-founded CollarFolk, a platform that helps families plan pet friendly holidaysIn this interview, she talks about her travel experiences, her favourite food her love for the mountains. 

Tell us all about your furry friends! 

We have 3 babies at home – Kaiser, Thor and Kiki. The boys are black labs and Kiki is a golden retriever.

Kaiser is 9 years old, he’s my father-in-law’s best friend and gives me the in-law treatment from time to time! Thor is 3 years old and has decided to adopt me as his favourite person in the house. Kiki is going to be 2, she is a diva and the brat at home.

Which has been the most memorable holiday that you’ve had with your pets?

We recently went for a trek to Chopta and Tunganath (in Garhwal, Uttarakhand) with Kiki and Thor. We trekked for 3 days through jungles, meadows and scaled the Chandrashila peak at 13000 feet. The babies loved it! They were the pack leaders, literally guiding the group through the trail, jumped into every possible stream and were the first to reach the summit. In the evenings, we’d all enjoy the bon-fire and then cuddle up in one tent. It has to be the most fun and adventurous trips in recent times.

Rukmini, Vijay and their babies!

What’s your favorite way to unwind after a hard day at work?

I like to get into bed after an early dinner and read before calling it a day. Right now I am reading From Heaven Lake by Vikram Seth and am inspired to plan a trip to Tibet soon!

If not in India, where would you like to live and why?

I have been to Australia and love the outdoorsy lifestyle of the country. I often discuss with Vijay, my husband, that it would be great if we get an opportunity to move there for some years. The most amazing part about Australia is the beautiful shore line that runs across all major cities and the plethora of travel options within a couple of hours drive. Worth mentioning is the burgeoning food scene in the country, Master Chef Australia has me hooked.

What would be your advice to those who have never had a pet before but want to adopt one soon?

Bring home a pet if you have the time and energy of bringing home a baby who never grows up. Also, adopt, don’t shop.

What’s your favourite comfort food?

I love the Tamilian vegetable stews in the winter, I have been introduced to these wonderful recipes after getting married into a Tamil family.

If granted a wish, what would you ask for?

I wish to create an ecosystem where every pet lover is able to bring up a pet at home. There are so many families who love pets but are unable to have one due to their busy lifestyles and lack of organised service providers in the pet space. On the contrary, a country like the US has 2x number of pets as compared to babies, the pet services infrastructure there allows for this.

Which is your favourite travel destination in India?

Anywhere in the Himalayas – I am a mountain person.

The Himalayas. Image source: Wikipedia

Tea and Tales with Tea Sommelier Snigdha Manchanda

Snigdha Manchanda is India’s First Certified Tea Sommelier. She perceives tea as a lifestyle product and not a commodity. She trained under Japanese Tea Master, Nao Numekawa, and founded Tea Trunk in 2013. Tea Trunk curates finest teas directly from farmers and crafts them into unique tea blends with all natural ingredients. Snigdha is an em-panelled author and spokesperson for Tea Board of India. She is also an INK Fellow 2013. In this candid interview, she shares with us her travel experiences, her favourite books, teas and more!

India’s First Certified Tea Sommelier, Snigdha Manchanda

Tell us about your most memorable holiday. 

It was at a tea garden in Darjeeling. When someone asks me which is my favourite tea, I say the ones that I have sitting in a tea estate. It was a quiet time in the hills learning more about tea and enjoying every cup.

What’s your most favorite comfort food? 

Sushi or Asian curries and noodles.

Do you cook? What do you like cooking? 

I can make a mean Thai curry. In fact, that’s the only cooking I love to flaunt.

Tell us about the most inspiring books that you have read. What makes them so special? 

I am a huge fan of Ruskin Bond. His book Friends in Small Places is very special to me. His writing has an old world charm and talks about idyllic places that I would love to visit.

Which is your favorite tea flavor? 

My favorite tea changes with every season. Currently, I am in love with our Tea Trunk Lavender White Tea. It is great to cook with it too – infuse it in cakes or cookies or just make Lavender Lemonade.

Would you describe teas as a romantic drink? What makes them so? 

Tea is a leisurely drink. While coffee has conversations, tea has tales. I would say that tea is best enjoyed with good company and a moist cake.

Tell us about your time at the tea school in Sri Lanka. What was the most memorable about your experience there? 

I think tasting a 100 different kinds of teas every day and building my palate as a tea taster was the most important learning experience for me. It has built everything I know about tea today.

Share with us a secret about tea that we might not already know! 

Tea is native to India. Many people think Britishers brought tea to India. However, tea was always growing wild near the Assam border, but we just didn’t know it was called tea! Singpho tribes living there chewed on the tealeaves as tobacco and in fact continue to do that even today.

Is there customer story that touched your heart? Tell us about it!

Many of our tea blends are inspired by the people who drink it. Many people drink tea for health reasons so I wanted to craft a tea blend that helps in burning fat and improving the drinker’s skin quality. While researching Chinese medicines for this, I found that the combination of rose and oolong is known as the tea of beauty. I am overwhelmed by the response we received for this tea. Many people have written to us that our Rose Oolong Tea has helped them with their acne and has helped them in managing their weight too. Though we do not promote our teas as tonic, it is the quality of ingredients and the right recipes that make the difference. I am truly happy to know how our product delivers true value to our customers.

Tea Trunk curates the finest teas of India and crafts them into unique blends with all natural ingredients. Their teas are whole leaf, flavorful and healthy. No artificial colors. No additives. No tea dust. So you can enjoy tea like it should be! 

The inside ‘scoop’ with Rohan Mirchandani

Rohan Mirchandani is a Co-Founder and CEO at Drums Food International, makers of Epigamia Greek Yogurt, India’s first branded Greek yogurt, and Hokey Pokey ice cream. Epigamia was launched in 2015 and is currently available across major metros. Drums Food is one of the fastest growing FMCG companies in India.

Rohan moved to India from the United States, where he grew up, in 2013 to pursue Drums Food’s foray into the FMCG space. His passion for food is linked to his passion for travel and history. He considers himself an amateur gastronomist as he can never be satisfied with a meal without knowing its origins and the culture behind the cuisine.

He has traveled to over 40 countries and has a particular obsession with how certain cultures have influenced and contributed to some of the most interesting cuisines in the world. He says, “What I find fascinating is the Italian and Jewish influence on the food of New York City, Arabic influence on Spanish cuisine, and Portuguese influence on Indian Goan cuisine.” Rohan has a Bachelor’s degree in Finance & International Business from NYU’s Stern School of Business and an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

What made you move to India from the US and start Hokey Pokey?

In December 2011, while I was studying at Wharton, I had a chance encounter with Shripad Nadkarni, former head of marketing for Coca Cola India and now my mentor/advisor/investor. The meeting made me realize the potential India has in the coming decade for consumer brands. This short period of ten years or so is a once in a lifetime opportunity when brands that will stand the test of time will be created.

Do you miss living in the US? What do you miss the most about it?

Yes, I do miss living in the US, but it’s the more simple things I miss like my friends and watching my favorite American sports. However, I have met some amazing people in India in the 3 years that I have been here and they have made me feel more than at home.

Which is your favorite Epigamia flavor?

Every flavour has a unique taste and making me choose one is so difficult but our Alphonso Mango is something that I just cannot do without! The wonderful all-natural taste of Ratnagiri mangos is something I can talk about all day.

Which has been your most memorable holiday experience?

My most memorable holiday was in the year 2011 when my wife and I went to a tiny town called Frascati in Italy, outside of Rome, for a friend’s wedding. Aside from the memorable wedding, this was one of the most special holidays as we decided to land in Frankfurt, Germany a week before and make our way down to Rome in a rented car with no hotel reservations and no plan of which city we would be in next. The only goal was to get to the wedding in time! I’ve never had so much fun since as we drove down through the German Black Forest region, through Baden Baden, Munich, Verona, Florence, and then eventually Frascati (near Rome). Each day was an adventure and we just let our imaginations carry us from one location to the next, deciding only towards the end of the day while we were driving as to which city (or country) we wanted to spend the night in.

Which is your most favorite regional Indian cuisine and why?

My most favorite regional Indian cuisine is Chettinad from Tamil Nadu. As a dominant non-vegetarian, I find the mix of spices, specifically tamarind and coconut, just a delight when cooked with roasted and marinated non-vegetarian meats and seafood. My favorite is Chettinad sea food with Appams. One of the reasons I fell in love with this cuisine so much is when I realized how diverse South Indian food is beyond the usual misnomers of only idli, dosas, and wadas! I discovered the variety in non-veg South Indian food is just amazing.

Tell us the five books that have inspired you.

Buyology- Martin Lindstrom
Freakonomics- Steven Levitt
Delivering Happiness- Tony Tsieh
Short & Tragic Life of Robert Peace- Jeff Hobbs
Band of Brothers- Stephen Ambrose


If you could pursue a hobby and get paid for it, what would it be and why?

If I could get paid for traveling the world, eating all types of cuisines, and learning new languages, I’d be up for it!

Do you cook at home? What do you like to make?

I love cooking at home and having studied in Italy for 6 months, I make a pretty mean gnocchi.

Gnocchi. Source: commons.wikimedia.org

When you look back at last 4 years of Hokey Pokey, what comes to your mind?

This is an endless question and I could go on and on answering it! I think my favorite story was when I was on a flight from Delhi en route Mumbai in 2014 and sat next to this person who saw me in a Hokey Pokey shirt. She assumed I was a brand manager at Hokey Pokey and proceeded to engage me in an animated conversation for over 2 hours. She was a passionate fan of the brand and gave me all types of feedback- good, bad, and ugly. She really expressed her desire to see us make some changes as she considered herself a devout customer and proponent of Hokey Pokey.

My favorite part was the surprise on her face when I told her I was the founder and CEO! She totally lost it… (laughs)

Have you tried Holachef? How was your experience?

I have ordered RAW Pressery juices and Epigamia on Holachef! The experience has been wonderful so far with the delivery.

A Travel Interview with Sudeep Shukla

Sudeep Shukla is a traveller and travel blogger. He is a communications professional and currently works as an Asst Brand Manager with Hindustan Unilever Limited in Mumbai. 

He blogs at chasingtheexperience.wordpress.com and goes by the name @oldmonk_says on Twitter. We caught up with him for this fun interview where he shares his travel secrets and foodie preferences. 

Tell us about your passion for travelling. How did it start?

My passion for travelling always existed. Staying away from home made me explore nearby places during my years in college; and that’s when the travel bug bit me harder. I decided to travel the world, one country at a time, but on a strict budget because I did not want money to be a deterrent to my travel ambitions.

What are the key things you focus on while selecting a destination?

My first focus is on my travel (bucket) list and then what all the destination has to offer in terms of things to do, places to see etc. Besides that, cost of travel to the destination also influences the decision a lot ?

How do you like to explore the local cuisine while you are travelling? Share with us an interesting anecdote!

Sudeep Shukla

I prefer tasting and exploring the food that locals eat at any destination. I almost never look for ‘gourmet’ experiences during my travels. I am a big fan of street food and that’s the first thing I look for when I am exploring a new place. From tasting dried sea food to scorpions and snake wine in Vietnam to falling in love with the Turkish Doner Kebabs and coffee, I have eaten strangest things during my travels . Once, I tasted the best Saxonian food in Dresden, Germany while we were looking for cheap street food. The restaurant owner turned out to be an Indian who heard us talk in Hindi. We obviously started chatting with him and he told us that not many Indians visited that place. He promised that he will get us the best food that we would ever taste! True to his word, the food he served us was so delicious that we gave him our backup “theplas” as a gesture of our gratitude.

Which is your more favorite regional Indian cuisine and why?

I am a food-lover and enjoy nicely prepared dishes, whatever cuisine they may belong to. When I am in south, I enjoy eating south Indian food and when I am in north, I love my Punjabi dishes. But nothing beats a hot dal and chawal with kheer on a usual day.

Photos from Sudeep’s travels.

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Do you think travelling solo is as important as travelling with company? Which one do you prefer amongst the two?

Yes, travelling solo is very important as it teaches you a lot of things and also makes you more responsible. It also helps you understand yourself better while meeting new people and exploring new things. I prefer solo travelling, in fact that’s how I started travelling in the first place.

A big advantage of travelling alone is that it is easy to plan or even go without a plan. When it comes to travelling in a group or with a company, a lot of things matter like everyone’s common tastes or interests, etc and planning according to that can be a bit tedious, unless it’s with people who really want to do the same things as you!

Do you cook? What do you like to make?

Yes, I do like to cook whenever I get time. Mostly I make simple comfort food like dal-chawal, raita & pulao, some basic sabzi with roti or pasta.

Which are some of your most favorite travel books?

I like Into the Wild, The Motorcycle Diaries to name a few. Besides that, I love reading any and every edition of Lonely Planet!

If not in India, where would you like to live and why?

If not in India I would love to live in either Germany, Caribbeans or New Zealand. The food, the culture, the places there are too inviting for me. I love the vibe of those places and would like to settle there if given a chance.

Take your pick:

  • Beaches or mountains? I am a beach bum
  • Hotels or home stays? Home stays. Cheaper and more authentic! They give you a chance to spend your holiday like a local.
  • Sunrise or sunset? Sunset. Sunrise is too early for me to wake up for ?
  • Fine dine or street food? Street food anyday

In Conversation with Anuj Rakyan

Anuj Rakyan is the founder and MD of RAW Pressery.  His interests in health and fitness got him to launch India’s first truly healthy, “All Good. No Bad” brand of cold-pressed juices. With RAW Pressery, he aims to address the scarcity of honest and transparent products in India. He is a graduate from Duke University, North Carolina and has worked as an investment banker in the past. He loves to travel and enjoys adventure sports.

Tell us about your most favourite food and who’s most favourite chef? 

Hands down my favourite food has to be Mum’s dal chawal. No guessing who my favorite chef is! Her food is made with love. It’s food for the soul.

Share with us an interesting anecdote from your travels. 

I had made a trip to Tuscany once, where I had the privilege of spending an entire week at a castle. The landscape was breath-taking. Our in-house chef at the castle was this old Italian mamma, called Agatha. It was beautiful to see how she would pick fresh local produce and combine it with herbs, spices and olive oil to make the best Italian food I had ever had. It was an incredible experience to taste the farm fresh food prepared with affection and care.

Do you consider yourself a foodie? What’s your most favourite cuisine of all times?

There’s no sincerer love than the love for food, said George Bernard Shaw. I can’t call myself a foodie but I love indulging and exploring new cuisines and preparations from around the world and they’ve got to be vegetarian!

My most favourite cuisine of all times is Italian. Balance of flavour and the choice of fresh ingredients are the core of real Italian food. It’s something that can make me go back for a second helping.

Tell us something about Raw Pressery. What inspired you to start it?

RAW Pressery is India’s first and largest cold pressed juice brand. We’ve been in business since January 2014 and haven’t looked back ever since. RAW was carved out of a personal need to create a beverage that is healthy and tasty. I wanted to create something that mothers would feel happy giving to their kids. It’s tough to eat all the veggies and fruits everyday consistently so juicing is the best alternative. I realized that good health could begin with a simple bottle of juice! I was once in my kitchen with a Norwalk cold-press juicer splattering carrots all over the ceiling. Enter RAW Pressery.

My inspiration was addressing some simple questions:

  • Why does being healthy have to be so complicated?
  • Do we believe the health claims marketed by the big food companies?
  • Is there any beverage brand you can really trust to be honest and healthy?

Which is your most favourite Raw Pressery drink and why?

TRIM. Nothing tastes better than fresh greens that we might miss out consuming. FOMO! (fear of missing out)

Anuj’s favorite RAW Pressery juice is TRIM

How do you like to unwind after a hard day at work?

I start by consciously turning off the technology. It’s quite a stress buster. For me the best way to unwind after a stressful day at work is when I can jump right into my Calisthenics routine. Post which a dinner with my family and close friends would be amazing.

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What do you love the most about Mumbai?

(smiles) Its people.

What is your fondest food-related memory from your childhood days?

My fondest memory is synonymous with food; revolving around my sister and Maggi. My friends and I would come back home after a night of partying and wake my sister up to make us her signature preparation of Maggie with baked beans and cheese. I think Maggi has been a part of all our childhood stories, bar none.

Do you cook? Share with us a recipe that you cook and take pride in! 

I don’t cook. But whenever I do, it’s usually breakfast. My friends love my preparation of Eggs Florentine. More than anything, I take a lot of pride in my abilities to make deliciously healthy juice mixes. Try this one, tell me if you like it:

1 juicy orange (peeled, with the pith on)

1 apple

½ banana

1 kiwi fruit

Ice (if you’d like)

Blend well and don’t add any sugar or water.

That’s how it should taste #allgoodnobad minus all the icky stuff!

Have you tried Holachef? How was your experience? 

I have tried Holachef. I love the fact that Holachef has diversity in the cuisines it has to offer. There are so many options to choose from. It’s the only portal online that has a separate set of meals catering to our breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack-time needs.

A tête-à-tête with Rishi Raj Kanoria

Rishi Raj Kanoria is Vice President @ Media.net and has 12+ years of experience in the internet technology industry. Prior to joining Media.net, he completed his MBA in Strategy & Finance from Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. He is very passionate about business & technology and is a wanna-be coder.  He is a traveler and a foodie in the purest sense and enjoys spending time with my family & friends. He is married to Sadhna Raj Kanoria, VP, Sales & Marketing, Holachef

1)    What do you think Sadhna does at Holachef? 
I think Sadhna gets to taste some amazing gourmet food at Holachef on a daily basis and gets paid for it at end of the month. That’s makes me super jealous :D. On a serious note, I believe she is a rock star multi-tasker who has been extremely passionate about building Holachef (she was the first employee) and is taking the company to new heights.

2)    Who is a better cook between the two of you?
We both are wanna-be cooks. If we are forced to cook, Sadhna would cook better than me. However, I think she cannot beat me in making “masala chai”.

3)    Which has been your most memorable holiday and why?
All our trips have been memorable. We have traveled to various parts of the world including USA, Australia, South East Asia and many parts of India. However, our most memorable trip was to Australia last year. Apart from doing the regular touristy stuff, we had an amazing time scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef and cycling through the beautiful city of Cairns. We also ended up watching India play Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground – it was amazing to cheer for our country at that historical stadium. We met Adam Gilchrist & Mathew Hayden at the SCG – it was phenomenal! One of the key highlights of the trip was eating at Gazi in Melbourne, a restaurant owned by the famous master-chef George Calombaris.

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4)    Do you consider yourself a foodie? What’s your most favorite food of all times?
I am definitely a foodie. My one point agenda when I am traveling is to try the various cuisines that different cultures have to offer. However, my most favorite food item is dal chawal.

5)    If not in India, where would you like to live and why?
If not in India, I would LOVE to live in Miami. Great beaches, great people, amazing food – everything that I want in life.

6)    Which TV shows do you watch and why?
I watch all kinds of TV shows – Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards, Suits, Friends, Big Bang Theory, Comedy Nights with Kapil Sharma are some of my favorites.

7)    Which are your most favorite restaurants in Mumbai?

Mumbai has many amazing restaurants (one of the reasons I love Mumbai). Some of the restaurants I like are Mamagoto, Soda Bottle Opener Wala, Cafe Basilico, Silver Beach Cafe, Dakshinayan.

8)    What’s your idea of a great weekend?
Swimming or a good game of squash followed by a good lunch/dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. If time permits, I love to play Fifa on my newly acquired Play Station.

9)    Tell us something about Sadhna that we don’t already know!
She is a ferocious Fifa player and will not accept defeat easily. Statutory warning: If any one decides to play any sport with her, please let her win. Else she may attack you; and believe me .. she can hurt.

10)    Have you tried Holachef? How was your experience? 
Of course I have – Holachef is my go-to place when I am looking for comfort food. Most of the times the food has exceeded my expectations.

A candid interview with Jagruti Saxena

Jagruti Saxena is a Corporate Communications professional with over a decade long work experience along with triple masters in Communications Management from ARU, Cambridge (UK), MICA (Ahmedabad) and SIMC (Pune). She loves to teach and is a guest faculty at some of the leading communication institutes. She is an explorer at heart and wants to travel the world with her daughter. She is married to Saurabh Saxena, Founder – CEO, Holachef.  

Tell us something about Saurabh that we don’t already know!

Saurabh is an unassuming, simple, loving husband and a doting father with no airs or hang-ups, and that’s what I adore the most about him.

Does Saurabh cook? Who is a better cook between the two of you?

(laughs) Holachef has spoiled us for choice as far as food is concerned! But when we do cook we put our heart and soul into it. We are usually the weekend cooks.

Which has been your most memorable holiday and why?

I recently did a backpacking Spanish spree. I was awestruck with its friendly culture, art, history and cuisine. Walking through the narrow, cobbled streets and dainty houses in Spain is an experience in itself. One can’t forget the chocolate churros in a cup of thick, hot, chocolate dip!

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How often do you and Saurabh order-in from Holachef?

We call it our second kitchen!

How do you both like to unwind?

We love to go on long drives and try to take short holidays to some serene destinations as often as possible. While at home, spending quality time with our daughter (who is 4 years old) is the most rewarding experience for both of us! Being around her helps us to keep our work at bay (at least for a while!).

Being a communications professional, what do you think is the best and worst thing about it?

Warren Buffett said it best, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently”.

As communications professionals, we are always on our toes with a sword hanging on the head. At the same time, we never have a dull moment as we are always challenged to do new things or to do them differently.

If not India, where would you like to live and why?

Knowing me, I can’t be grounded to one place. Given the opportunity, I would like to work in different countries and experience the varied cultures. What a wishful thinking!

Since you are from Pune, tell us what you miss about the city.

I miss Pune for infinite reasons; top 3 being friends, weather and food! Pune is at its best in monsoons. Except for the summer time, Pune undoubtedly has one of the better climates in the country. The lovely drizzles, trekking in those rains, the road side chaat and old-school Puneri food joints, a hearty breakfast at Vaishali – a popular south Indian restaurant which is ever bustling with its fans – and many more such memories paint a nostalgic picture of this beautiful city.

What’s your favorite drink?

I love cocktails made by Saurabh. We should ask him for a name

A fun chat with Kashyap Deorah

Holachef catches up with Kashyap Deorah for a fun interview. Kashyap is an entrepreneur, author and investor. He loves building global technology companies and providing commentary on the Indian startup ecosystem. He goes by the name @righthalf on Twitter.

1)      Tell us about your most favorite food and who’s most favorite chef?

“Ma ke haath ka khana” is undeniably the best. If I take that bias aside, I have to say that my mother-in-law is the best chef in the world. She is famous in both families for cooking up the perfect recipe regardless of the constraints.

2)      Share with us an interesting anecdote from your travels – something to do with food / culture / people.

My wife, Shruti, my son Kanav (then 2yrs old) and I took six months off inearly 2015 to travel the world together. Near Valparaiso in Chile, we did a home stay with a charming couple in the wine country. We picked the place because every last review about them was superlative, and soon we found out why. The couple took us around to tour the beautiful coastline, art deco district and wine country. Yet, the best part were the meals at home. They had their own orchard where they grew all fruits and vegetables. They did all the cooking together; all three meals of the day were made by them. Their selection of wine and coffee was heartfelt. Our relaxed conversations with them over those meals and about our lives connected us so much that we are still in touch. Kanav calls them Hector dada and Gloria dadi, and I recently congratulated them when Chile won Copa America against arch-rival Argentina.

Home-stay hosts in Chile, Hector and Gloria in Casablanca, Chile.

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3)      What inspired you to author your book, The Golden Tap? What’s the biggest challenge you faced while writing the book?

During the travels, I was constantly nagged by the sudden boom of startups in India. It should have all felt positive because the times I used to dream of when I started my first company in ’99 had finally arrived. Yet, I found myself nagged by something but could not tell what. As that story de-constructed in my head with a fortunate vantage point of being thousands of miles away from India, I thought I had a story to tell. And then the universe conspired. After moving back to India (we were living in Berkeley, California the previous year), Kapil from Roli Books called after reading a blog post I wrote. He asked if I would write a book on Indian startups. My reaction? “Funny you should ask!”

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The biggest challenge was the structure of the book in order to best deliver the story that I wanted to tell. I was able to get past that in the first month and then everything started flowing in the right direction. But I never imagined this was going to happen but look how it all worked out!

4)      You have been part of the Indian startup eco-system since 1999. Tell us how this space was at that time.

My then future father-in-law had asked me what I was going to do after graduation. I spoke to him for ten minutes about my startup Righthalf.com and after listening to me patiently he asked, “No, I mean what will you do for a living?” I was dumbstruck.

At that time, there was no social proof for entrepreneurship. Most people thought there was something wrong: either I did not get through a university in the US, or did not secure a good job, or there was some other personal issue. You had to be crazy to startup, especially in tech. It was like being a trespasser digging for gold in a treacherous desert before the gold rush.

5)      Tell us something about HyperTrack – how did you start it and what’s your vision for it?

In my travels around the world, I saw how smartphones had become part of everyone’s lives and how local businesses were going online because of smartphones. After spending nearly a lifetime in ecommerce and marketplaces, we used to imagine how offline and online will converge, and it looked like we were already past that now.

When I got back to India, I started discussing business ideas with Tapan Pandita (now my co-founder) because we were both in love after our Chalo/OpenTable experience together. And I do mean that Tapan and I were in love with each other in the sense that we wanted to start a company as a team. Co-founding a company is like marriage. Love is a pre-requisite!

We were inspired by the quote ‘the only people who made money in the gold rush are the ones who made shovels’. We started looking for shovels for this new economy: connected commerce. Location tracking stood out as a big pain. Everyone was building an Uber-for-something but we could not track anything else in our lives other than an Uber. We dug deeper and found it was a hard problem, and took the plunge to solve it for the global market.

6)      After moving back to India, how did you decide to live in New Delhi?

My wife and I celebrated our 10th year of marriage (many more years together). She had moved across the oceans for me on multiple occasions and now it was my turn. One of the goals of our travels was to figure out where we were going to live next. She got her dream job, of being the renewable energy advisor to the central regulator of electricity of India (CERC). Seeing her excitement and commitment towards it, I wanted to support her in taking it up. And now I am in New Delhi!

7)      What’s your favorite drink?

A nice glass of red wine.

8)      Do you cook? Share with us a recipe that you cook and take pride in!

No I do not. I have had to field a lot of criticism about this, especially when working at OpenTable (the leading restaurant reservations platform of the US) where so many of my colleagues were from the restaurant industry and had been chefs, waiters or restaurant managers at fine dining restaurants. And here I was, culinary-challenged street-food junkie.

9) Have you tried Holachef food? How was your experience?

Yes, I have had Holachef food several times and loved it. My family in Mumbai orders it often, and I can’t wait for you to launch in Delhi at some point so I can enjoy it more frequently as well.


About The Golden Tap

In the book, Kashyap chronicles the transformative era of the Indian economy, as minimal large companies have managed to pass the IPO but start-ups are worth millions. Kashyap Deorah, serial entrepreneur and visionary, talks about the foundation of the business model that will become the future of the Indian economy where hyper-funding is the new normal.

About HyperTrack

HyperTrack allows businesses to track people, goods and pay per use. For companies that are just starting out and are in boot-strap stage, the services will be offered free upto 10,000 tasks and then will be charged 4 cents per task.