Last week a friend from Southeast Asia and I were talking about Pune – climate, culture, industries, connectivity, and the like. Eventually, he asked me: “So are there any famous people from Pune?” I almost started reeling off names, and then stopped myself. A list of famous or well known people is, more often than not, a list of usual names when it comes to Pune. So I started thinking and soon enough, writing.
So this week I am starting a profile (every few columns, I will write a profile column) about a few people from Pune who are, in my opinion, famous and who should be known to a lot more people. I am in touch with a few of them and, am quite proud that I know them, considering what they are doing and what they have achieved.
First up is a journalist who was a rookie when I first met him. Today, he is famous: Rahul Venkit is a Multimedia Journalist/Correspondent for the Xinhua News Agency based out of Brussels, Belgium. He reports on and analyses news in current affairs, economy and trends related to the Europe-China affairs. He is also a Communications Consultant for the World Health Organisation, and a freelance contributor for NDTV.
So is that it? He’s famous because he’s from Pune and works in Brussels? Nah, that’s just the calling card. Rahul Venkit is one of those extraordinary human beings who epitomise what hard-work, critical thinking, and continuous learning can achieve by taking talent and moulding it with experience, and then adding more talents, and then more experience… you get the drift.
I first heard of him from two of my close friends and classmates, Ruta Sathaye and Aishwarya Mavinkurve. They were working with a rival newspaper and they kept mentioning this new kid on the block who was doing great stories and could write well. He was 17 by the time I eventually met him at an event, and I was taken at once with his wide-eyed belief in a better world, logic, communication skills, respectful mannerisms and sheer talent.
Today, 16 years later, Rahul Venkit is a global journalist, communicator, film-maker, musician, singer, producer, humanist, among other things. And with him, these are not just talents he dabbles in – he continuously performs and works at improving every aspect of his interest.
Rahul speaks six languages and has varying degrees of professional proficiency in each of those languages – English, Hindi, Marathi, French, German and Tamil. He completed his Bachelors in Arts in Economics from the University of Pune in 2003, and later earned a Master of Art in International Journalism (Broadcast) from the University of Westminster, London, UK. Rahul has worked out of five different countries (India, Singapore, UK, China, Belgium) in his career so far, and has travelled many other places.
You can read about his work, experience, and views here.
This week, then, Rahul Venkit is The Punekar for doing his bit to put Pune on the global journalism map. Kudos!