My first interaction with Prateek was when he was just 20 and already a front runner to become an associate editor of Crazyengineers.com. For a boy just out of his teens, he showed great maturity and had more knowledge than what his other 20 year old mates had or probably what we had when we were just 20. Few years have flown past and today I feel proud to interview him. For I know, with interests in NGOs, Engineering and armed forces, today I’m talking to a future business leader.
Who’s behind the rather reticent, shy, complex yet arrogant looking Prateek Varma?
That is a bit difficult to answer because you are asking me to open up which I hardly do. The truth is that there is no one behind it. I am shy and reticent but also loud and talkative. I am a contradiction i.e. I keep contradicting myself. By nature I am shy and reserved but on occasions or when the situation demands I can be the most outspoken and outgoing person you have known. I have to be the centre of attraction and once I am, I start looking for an escape route
Complex because I have shown different personalities and I change from one to the other with ease. I grew up alone and that has a lot of benefit in a way that it gives you ample time to develop your creativity and imagination. I created different worlds and personalities through my imagination that I can go to at will. I know it baffles the other person but I seem to enjoy it.
Arrogant yes, because I have to believe that I am better than everyone around. It is some strange quirk that I have to be physically, mentally and psychologically superior to everyone else.
If I ask you to choose a persona, what will you choose and how will you describe yourself as? An unemployed graduate? A money splurging spoilt brat? A radical activist with extremist views on Politics, Kashmir and Corruption? Just another human being?
I am already all of these. But I would rather be none of these and certainly not just another human being. My fantasy would be to rule the world but in the long run I would like to be known as the man who changed the world. And I would rather not have extreme views.
You are from a family with a military background and war heroes. Don’t you think the hindrances and threats to India’s growth as world power and world economy are more internal than external?
Yes I do believe that. First reason is that we are not united. We are divided according to religion, region, creed, sect, caste etc. It was this disunity that allowed the English to rule us for 2 centuries and we have not learnt any lessons from history. Today, it is the politicians who divide for vote bank politics. Divided we fall.
Second thing is that we don’t have a strong leadership. Self interest is given more priority over national interest. Every person in power thinks that they have only 5 years to plunder the nations resource and they do that. Plus no one is ready to hold the bag, they would rather pass the buck. The way Mamata Bannerjee is misusing her portfolio as Railway minister is just one example. Beaurocracy and grass root level corruption is a big problem too.
Third is that we are a democracy only on paper. In reality our politics is like a monarchy where the child of the king is the next in line to the throne. Democracies don’t work like that. And I am not talking only about Congress; almost every party is like this.
Do you often ask yourself this question, “What next?” What answer do you get?
Actually…..No. I define a long term strategy for myself and continue with new tactics and changing old ones as I move forward. My usual question is “Did I finish the things I had planned today?” answer is usually “No you started many things but left everything in between.” There is a minute moment of depression and then another voice says, “What the heck? Go to sleep now. We will see it tomorrow.” And the cycle repeats like an infinite loop.
Quoting a dialogue from a popular movie, Paycheck. “If you remove suspense from life, even the hope fades away.” Your comment please!
It is true. If you already know what is going to happen then you have nothing to look forward to. Take an example of a cricket match. When India requires 50 runs from 5 balls to win, people start leaving the stadium. They know what is going to happen and they have lost hope. Even the players on the field know that. Similarly when India needs 1 to win from 5 overs with 5 wickets remaining, people are happy but there is no suspense. Heartbeats don’t stop; it’s more like a relaxed happiness.
But when they need 5 from 1 ball, there is still hope though very minute and every supporter and player clings on to it like their life depended on the last ball. There is suspense and hope and that makes the moment exciting and worth living and remembering.
Thank you so much for your time. Would you like to refer me to some one who I can interview here?
You are welcome. I was hardly doing anything worthwhile anyway. 😉 By the way thanks for featuring me. I know many people and naming one will be quite difficult. I think will choose the diplomatic path and skip this question.