On my pinboard: Varun Agarwal

Bengaluru boy Varun Agarwal is an entrepreneur, filmmaker and author. He has co-founded three companies, including Alma Mater, an online store for student and alumni merchandise.

His bestseller book ‘How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded A Million Dollar Company’ is also being made into a Bollywood movie by Nitesh Tiwari.

As a motivational speaker, he has given talks in over 100 schools and colleges. He also runs a video content company ‘The Enthu Cutlets’. Varun’s latest venture is ‘Grades Don’t Matter’, an online video platform that aims to inspire young students to pursue alternative career paths. Varun also has many interesting projects
lined up.

Inspiration
Purnima Agarwal (Varun’s mother)
“Although a lot of people have inspired me, my mother has had a deep impact on my life. Her ‘I don’t give a damn’ attitude inspires me even today. She instilled a carefree attitude in me, which has helped me in my life. She let me go out, explore and find out what worked best for me. I owe my success to her.”

Author
William Dalrymple

“I prefer reading non-fiction books. My current read is ‘Transactional Analysis’ by Eric Berne. The book gives an insight into the human mind and the different relationships we deal with. Also, my interest in storytelling inspired me to write. I admire William Dalrymple’s books. His ‘White Mughals’ is something I connect with. It signifies the relationship between India and the British.”

Travel
South Africa
“I love travelling, but I have not been able to travel lately because of my busy schedule. Among the places I have travelled to, South Africa is my favourite. Be it the food, the wildlife, nature — everything about it is perfect. My go-to place would be Capetown for its mountains and beaches; one cannot cover all the places even if they spend a hundred days there. Back in India, Puducherry is my favourite, because of the history. I also love exploring the princely states in India. It is fascinating to go out and learn how life was once upon a time.”

Films
The Shawshank Redemption
“A cinema is preferred based on the mood a person is in. So, I have favourite films for various situations. ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ is one of my favourite films. I connect with the film as it takes me back to my engineering days. Coming to India, I like the film ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’; it is one of the best classic black comedies I have watched. In actors, I admire Aamir Khan for he takes a lot of risks in each of his films.”

Musician
Freddie Mercury
“I am into pure classic rock music. Given that, I am a huge fan of Bohemian Rhapsody, and Freddie Mercury is someone I really admire. Though he was diagnosed with AIDS, he went on with his life with no less enthusiasm. He is
indeed an inspiration to many. Among the Indian singers, Amit Trivedi is my favourite.”

Food
Masala Dosa
“Being a foodie, I love exploring different varieties of food but the masala dosa has to be my favourite. CTR is the best place for masala dosa; I went on a research tour to find the best in the city. Bengaluru also has some great Korean restaurants. ‘Soo Ra Sang’ and ‘The Himalayan’ are my favourites. I also like Japanese and Chinese cuisines; especially ramen.”

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On my pinboard: Varun Agarwal

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