Our #PunekarAchieves series is about Punekars who have gone one step ahead of just dreaming and made a profession out of their passion. Many of us harbor secret wishes to ‘give it all up’ one day and pursue our true calling, which could be something unconventional that may not be accepted by ‘mainstream’ society. But how many of us can gather the courage to truly do what it takes to make our dreams into a living reality?
In this monthly series, let’s take inspiration from these ordinary people who against all odds have become the heroes of their own dreams…
Arjun Malhotra: Co-Founder of No Thepla Holidays
Very few investment bankers who have devoted precious time and money towards achieving prestigious degrees like CFA would give it all up in a breath. Call him nuts or ballsy, Arjun took a step that the rest of us are too afraid to even think of – he gave up one of the best paying jobs in the finance industry to become a traveling hobo!
Having lived all over the country from Kolkata to Kochi, Arjun grew up being comfortable with new places and strange faces. He moved to Bombay for his education and also worked with ABN Amro while he was there. A job offer from Ernst & Young got him to Pune where he caught up with college friend Ayesha and her sister Sanaya and bonded over their common love for travel. As irony would have it though, a ridiculously busy work schedule made sure that Arjun could barely travel at all and was confined to the city most times.
An impromptu holiday to Malaysia and a few excited discussions with Ayesha and Sanaya was all it took for Arjun to decide to give up his cushy career for a life-on-the-go.
No Thepla Holidays was born out of the need for a company promoting traveling rather than tourism. The idea is to make people look and expect beyond fancy hotels and TripAdvisor lists – to really experience a place like a local without worrying about ticking things off an itinerary. It was founded with the belief that travel should be holistically enriching rather than superfluously luxurious. Within a short span, No Thepla has made a mark in the niche flash-packing segment and has seen a steady growth in business.
And on one such holiday, as he walked out of his simple hut to face the boundless sea and sparkling white sands, Arjun realized that no amount of wealth can replace what travel has given him.
As I heard Arjun talk animatedly about his varied travel experiences, I recognised the biggest difference between people of his age and him – perspective. Meeting new people and encountering new things have completely changed his life goals – he’d exchange a fancy car and lovely home for a new travel experience without a second thought. An unencumbered spirit and an undying faith in his passion is what makes Arjun (or Malo as his friends call him) a dreamer who isn’t afraid to chase what he wants.