“In 2004, my father went bankrupt and we lost our sleep. ‘Bhookhe pet to neend nahi aati sapne kya aayenge.’
Let me start from the beginning, my family was well off and my upbringing was just like any other 90s kid who used to love reading comics and watching cartoon shows that used to come between 5 to 7 pm on DD metro. It was in 2004, my father went bankrupt. He had less work to do; he had more time to fight with my mother. He also sold our home. Consequently, my parents got divorced. Within a month our world completely changed. Now, I was homeless with my mother and my younger brother.
Every relative advised my mother to return to her village but she never gave up. She rented a room with the little savings she had. Thankfully she had been stitching for years, thus she didn’t have to beg to fulfill our needs. She rented a shop and started stitching clothes to feed us. She was doing it all alone. We were too young but to help her I started working as a newspaper vendor in the morning & as a caddie (one who carries a player’s bag in golf) on weekends along with my brother.
I completed my 12th, now as every other guy in the 2000s I too wanted to be an engineer. B.tech was costly and it was out of question to opt for it because of my circumstances. So, I opted for BCA from an open university. Parallely I was looking for a job and got an offer in a data entry firm. They were paying 2K/month, which was fine for me. I took this job & requested them to allow me to take classes for 1 hr in my office time. They were kind enough to allow me.
Three years passed by –
After BCA, I was looking for programming-related jobs. Fortunately, I got one offer but when I joined there, I found my job profile was related to internet marketing, not programming. I felt a little disappointed but again the pay was good, so I continued working there but I had thought of leaving this job soon. As time passed, I realized this job is called Search Engine Optimization and it had great demand abroad. 2 years later I left that firm to start on my own. We were living hand to mouth back then, with no savings. I needed an internet dongle that costed 3K, I asked my relatives but they would think how will he manage to return the amount and then deny. But my mother had faith in me, she managed and gave me 3K. With her blessings, I got few projects within a week. It was 2012. Now it is 2022 and I have 10 employees working in my firm. I have almost everything that a middle-class family needs.
My work was going well. In 2018, I had free time and I again started reading comics and even started my comics review blog (comicscoop.com). Two years later, Covid hit, I too was affected. After treatment I was in quarantine, I used to get nightmares. This time I used to think deeply about those nightmares and started to weave stories around them. Now I had a few stories but not any illustrator, inker. I didn’t want to give away these ideas to anyone, so I thought I will publish these on my own. This is how SWAYAMBHU was born.
One of my close friends and a publisher, Ravi, introduced me to my first writer Sudeep Menon. He was an active comic book writer at that time. He liked my ideas and developed the story of our first launch INCOGNITO. Since then, I brought some international artists to make Indian content which would be of international level. My vision is-” A comic audience should not be limited to kids only. Comics deserve more respect in the Indian community. We aim to create content for mature readers.” It took 20 Years to think above basic needs and give time to my love, my passion COMICS.
I firmly believe in Shahrukh Khan’s dialogue from “Om Shanti Om”-“End tak sab kuch theek hi ho jata hai, Happy endings, agar wo thik na ho to picture abhi baki hai mere dost….picture abhi baki hai.”
Total Work Experience : 17 Years (JKDC, Reliance Communications, ExperIT, More branch of Aditya Birla, Wensil,
Gurukul Vidyapeeth, Started as an SEO Freelancer on UpWork in 2010, Established my own SEO company in 2012 and named it SEOTalkers, Established Swayambhu Entertainment in 2020)