He gave up a successful career as a banker to follow his passion, farming. Here’s an interview with Sankalp Sharma on marriage, family and more.
How did you meet your wife? Was this a love or arranged marriage?
Ours was a love marriage. We met through common friends when we were working in Mumbai. Neither of us officially proposed to each other, it was a natural flow. We started off as friends and over a period, we realised that we like each other so spoke to our parents and got married.
What motivated you to quit banking and take up farming?
I was into liabilities in banking for more than a decade. All those years, I knew my calling was different and banking was not the career for me. I wanted to do something creative. But farming interested me and only after I took up farming, I realised it is a very creative field. I wanted to give something back to the society and hence, farming.
I’m using the skills I’d learnt from mechanical engineering and MBA in getting the process of farming and selling in place. Though I am in the initial stages, I am trying out a new concept called, ‘Zero budget natural farming’ in my farm at Vidisha near Bhopal. Once I succeed with this method in my land, I will help the farmers in the nearby areas. My dream is to stop the use of chemicals completely and grow harmless, clean produce.
When you took the decision to quit banking and move into farming, what was your family’s reaction?
My wife was very supportive. She is also an entrepreneur and is looking to start her own company soon, though her field is completely different. She is a freelance writer and editor. She’d always known that I wanted to do something completely different and she encouraged me to go ahead and do it.
My parents were initially very apprehensive, because this was a completely new line of work, but I was sure about my decision and gained everyone’s confidence. Once we were all on the same page, they were completely for it and supported me wholeheartedly. Without the support of your family and spouse, it is very tough to be an entrepreneur. I am blessed to have each and every one of them, they are my backbone.
My wife and I, we are lucky to have been blessed with better lives, and I do not mean monetarily. When you have a good life, I feel people should take the risk and follow their passions in life instead of being stuck doing something they do not like.
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When you start off as an entrepreneur, the initial years are hard. How did you and your wife handle the days when things didn’t go as planned?
Oh yes, initially it was very tough. My basic salary that was guaranteed every month stopped and we did have financial crunches. And my job is very dependent on external factors like rain; a great season can end badly, climate change has a different effect on the crops. It is a different ball game altogether.
It is all about understanding your partner and supporting each other. Since we started off as friends, she knows me really well and understands me. So when I used to get demotivated, she’d become completely positive and tell me encouraging things to lift my mood until I started to feel better. We ideate with each other to figure out the best way to do something. While work goes at its own pace and has its ups and downs, she is the one who keeps me mentally motivated and strong.
As a marriage progresses, work gets stressful, life is more hectic and things change in a relationship. What is the one thing that has been constant in your marriage?
Trust. As a couple, you have to believe in each other. There have been times when I wonder if I made the right decision. But since she’s also an entrepreneur, she understands the initial hardships. It is all about trusting your partner, being there for them and supporting each other to realise our respective dreams. That is what is the most important.
For any relationship to succeed, you need to respect and trust each other. As long as you believe in each other and are together, everything will fall into place.