Big Bang Spot got lucky- pretty much very lucky when we landed an interview with Rohit Raj. Well, we don’t really think he needs an introduction but for all those who don’t know, Rohit Raj is one of the big names in entrepreneurship in India. He owns an event management company, a chain of hotels with his father and to top it all, he is one of the noblest people in India because of the works he does for the poor.
Rohit was young- too young- when he decided to do what he loved and succeeded in it, but before he was managing events, he was an engineering student who decided to break free of everything that was holding his creativity and became one of the fastest growing entrepreneurs.
BBS: Rohit, what does it feel like be the youngest event manager of India? It obviously feels good but we want you to elaborate on that part.
Rohit: Correcting the question, I am ONE of the youngest event managers in India. When I was in Deshbandhu College, I was managing Mohit Chauhan for them and saw 10,000 odd people grooving to Mohit Chauhan’s beats. Yes, it definitely feels good to be managing someone who you preach and follow, and rather overwhelming sometimes, considering that I have just entered my twenties. But it is only when you see the other side of the coin that you realise that there is a lot of hard work that has been put into it. There were nights when I had to sleep in my car, days when I had to work with my empty stomach, days when I had to put up a show when it had been raining the whole night before, but in the end, it all feels to worth the ‘kick’ I get when I see all those people, having a great time.
BBS: Unlike 90% of the engineers, you dared to step outside the rat race and do something so uncommon – dare I say there were high possibilities of failure. What inspired you to take such a risk?
Rohit: The word ‘failure’ only comes into play when you are doing something that you are not passionate about. When I went to JUIT, I was not really passionate about engineering, but was doing it just for the sake of it. And that is exactly why I came back after a year. But when I joined Journalism and Mass Communication and thought of pursuing into Event Management, things have been a roller coaster ride, but the passion has remained the same- I love entertaining people.
And nothing specifically ‘inspired’ me to take such a risk because the idea was to get out of engineering and make a better living and lifestyle for myself and make my parents proud of me.
BBS: Rohit, we must commend you on the work you are doing for the poor, the needy. It is curious, though that in the race of providing ourselves worthy, we forget about certain things. You achieved it all and you are progressing with every passing day- how did such a noble idea become a reality?
Rohit: ‘You make a living by what you take, you make a life by what you give’ The basic idea behind ‘Sneh Foundation’ was to serve hungry and underprivileged individuals with whatever food left over at our restaurant and other nearby restaurants. This joint venture between me and my father is still a dream and needs some more time to become a reality.
BBS: I have to say, nobody achieves something as big as this without someone to back them, who was your support while you struggled?
Rohit: I struggled in my first event itself when my vendors asked me 40,000 rupees straight, which was a big amount for a 19-year-old who didn’t have a lot of savings. That is when I called up my father and asked for his financial help, and he without any hesitation had told me he would transfer the amount immediately. That is when I realised that my father had my back, in fact he always did. He would talk to influential people, his colleagues and tell them about me and my involvement in his business and I think of him as my role model because he has taught me a lot and has been by my side- from taking my first step to teaching me about business ethics. But I have never mentioned his name as my source of inspiration, only because I think it is clichéd, but because I totally believe in it.
BBS: Can you tell us how one is supposed to behave in the limelight so as to avoid going blind? What is your mantra; what is your motto?
Rohit: Being famous or being in the limelight is a part and parcel of the game when you are into Event Management, which seems to be a very glamorous career from the outside, but has its own challenges. I believe that one needs to channelize it in such a way that popularity makes them earn a name, money and a brand. Even if I become a brand, I still want to stay grounded and stay connected to the people because at the end of the day, it’s the people who are source of revenue.
Being in the limelight doesn’t mean that you need to fly around, just that when you are famous it is because of the people who are watching you. You are made by them- you need to give it back to them.
And I only have one mantra in life which I completely believe- ‘You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough’
BBS: A person as successful as you must have had haters – a lot of haters- in their way. What did you to avoid the negativity?
Rohit: I think, till the time people don’t talk behind your back you are not doing something right. I have had my fair share of haters, and they trace their way back right to my school days. But I have come to a consensus that not all of the ‘haters’ need a response from me. Although, being the self-aware person that I am, I make sure that I am aware of everything that is being said about me- good or bad, and definitely try to improve on the things my critics have pin-pointed. And yes, I have been blessed to have a fair share of supporters as well.
BBS: Now, you have called yourself a foodie and a traveller- something that everyone at BBS got attracted to- what part of travelling you like the most?
Rohit: For me, travelling isn’t about the destination but the journey. The mornings with a view, the nights with good music are highly appreciated by this man who travels almost 5,000 kms in a month.
BBS: Of course, you need to elaborate on the ‘foodie’ part.
Rohit: I enjoy every type of food- street food, casual dining, fine dining. I can relish the road side chole-bhature as well as a fancy dish. But chole-bhature are my favourite since they are easily available and yummy to eat.
BBS: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Rohit: Well, not exactly 5 years but 8 years to be precise. I see myself in the Forbes ’30 under 30’ list, and you will too.
BBS: This is the age of startups and success- you are a live example of that. Anything you would like to suggest to upcoming entrepreneurs?
Rohit: In this age, I believeit’s more about the presentation and marketing rather than the product itself. And to all those coming up with start-ups and are hunting for success- it is not as easy as it looks, you don’t get success overnight, but if you keep all your excuses aside and put your passion in your project nothing can stop you. If you put in your hard work right now, you can chill afterwards Whatever you do, do it with all your heart. It’s definitely a difficult way, but trust me guys- it is worth it!
Well, wasn’t that a treat? The answers made my day and I can’t see any reason on why someone would not be satisfied by them. Team BBS wishes you luck, Rohit and we loved talking to you. With the hope of succeeding like Rohit, we end this article. Have a great time, everyone.
Writer: Ayush Tripathi