Coming full circle
AJAY CHATURVEDI, 39 Banker-turned-entrepreneur
Ajay Chaturvedi gave up a hefty salary, gourmet dinners, expensive vacations, his BMW and other trappings of success, and returned to India from the US in 2006 to set up HarVa, a rural company which also has the first women-only-run BPO.
Where once he experimented with cuisines at fine-dining restaurants, Chaturvedi has given up alcohol and meat, and turned satvik. He no longer buys branded clothes. Late-night partying has given way to early-morning meditation. He travels to the Himalayas every six months to “switch off and catch my breath”. WHY: From Dehradun, Chaturvedi grew up in a large joint family that grew its own food and went to the grocery only for milk. When he moved to the US to study and work, he says his life became all about “absorbing the material world”. “I had moulded myself according to others’ expectations... I didn’t know who I was,” he says. “I decided I wanted to do something meaningful. I wanted to keep my eye on my real goal — happiness.” THE IMPACT: “From an external journey — literally and metaphorically — mine has become an internal one,” he says. He spends his leisure time reading books like the Bhagvad Gita. He's started travelling less for business, more for self-fulfillment, occassionally exchanging notes on Advaita and Judaism with a Jewish scholar in Kedarnath and learning to regulate his breath in Uttarakhand with his guru. “I believe I had to experience all that I did to be where I am now,” he says. Life has come a full circle for Chaturvedi — back home.