Amchi Puneite Abroad – Vivek Sud

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From Selling ‘rock’ tee-shirts to becoming Pune’s favourite DJ; from learning Danish to working in Oil and Gas America, Vivek Sud has come a long way from his Bishop school days. Vivek vividly remembers wearing a white shirt and shorts and walking into boarding school thinking two clear thoughts; ‘where is my mum?’ and ‘who are you?’ as he looked at the dorm monitor.

Eventually Vivek’s parents moved to Pune and post school, he enjoyed ‘awesome college’ days at Nowrosjee Wadia. A Bachelors at MIT quickly followed after which Vivek reached the quintessential question faced by many people keen on studying further. Now where? He was always a bit different so instead of choosing the time and tested path of the UK, US, Canada or Australia, he chose to continue his academic endeavours in Denmark. An added bonus that swung his choice was getting his preferred education sans tuition fees.

 

It was not easy to leave Pune because Vivek had made quite a name for himself. At the time he believed he would return armed with more degrees and raring to go. Little did he realize he would be bidding alvida to the city of his heart.

His college days in Pune were action-packed. Academics aside, he indulged in all kinds of ventures. At Nowrosjee Wadia, he began selling ‘rock’ tee-shirts. During his engineering studies at MIT he founded “Devil’s Den, the city’s first bi-weekly disco at Regency Hotel.

Slowly and steadily, Vivek began making a name for himself and became a mini celebrity in his age-group among friends, family and party animals. Even after graduating as an engineer, he continued entertaining Pune initially with a DJ stint at Pyramyds and later winning the first ever War of the DJ’s. Entertainment became second nature and he decided to set up a rental and retailing business, Pro-Audio and Lighting Equipment. Through this business venture, Vivek consulted with pub owners, provided DJ services, organized rain dances and fashion shows and planned events at Pune’s popular disco, Polaris at the Blue Diamond, now the Taj Vivanta. He loved the hustle and bustle of his life in Pune and decided to bolster his accomplishment with the Masters degree at Aalborg University in Denmark.

Pune’s blue-eyed boy left the shores of his city to get an abrupt wake-up call. He missed his bed-side chai and the ‘help’ at home. He had to unlearn a lot and develop new habits. His eating pattern changed. His days became more peaceful. He took long walks, went on weekend trips, made new friends, started golf. Slowly and steadily, this Punekar’s horizons started expanding. He enjoyed the work-life balance and the country with the ‘happiest people in the world’ charmed him enough to keep him there for a decade.

But Vivek got restless again. It was not enough to be working in the field. He wanted to be in the oil capital of the world. Houston beckoned and propelled by the desire to hone his skills in his chosen industry, Vivek decided to go back to school in his late 30’s.

An MBA in the business side of oil and gas at Bauer College of Business led him to a dizzying career in the corporate world of Wind Energy, Oil and Gas. Seven years later, he is in Houston as a strategic business partner at Siemens, delivering innovation by utilizing his skills of engineering and business development. He loves the diversity offered by his adopted city. Meanwhile, “hiding far away in New York city’, Vivek met his future spouse and now wife, Radha Singla.

But Vivek is quick to add, despite having travelled extensively and having had the good fortune of experiencing different ways of life in a few countries, he has not completely left Pune. It is a city you can never really leave. He admits he was totally wrong when he thought he would return when he left to go to Denmark but return he does. Time and again. Only now he comes as a visitor and not to stay.

He returns to spend time with his friends and family. He returns to the familiarity of his city. In hindsight, he reminisces about the fun times he had in a city where everyone knows each other. In a way, he feels it is a bit like ‘back to the future’ each time he is in Pune. He connects with life-long buddies, people who have given him unforgettable memories. He loves spending time with his parents and niece. He enjoys showing his wife his old haunts. Above all he misses the street food like pani puri at Pudumjee Park, breakfast at Vohuman and late nights at the Blue Diamond coffee shop. Some of his other favourite memories include running at the Racecourse and getaways to Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani and Goa.

Vivek candidly admits having tried to return to Pune a few times. He interviewed with various firms but nothing seemed like a fit for him. Who knows? If he finds the right kind of job, this Puneite may be back one day. Maybe he will once again don the mantle of Pune’s favourite DJ.

Monique Patel

Monique Patel

Monika Patel – Monique to her friends – is now a permanent resident of New York City, but her heart is permanently in Pune, her home for 28 years.
Monique Patel

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