Hi, and welcome to #TalkbackTuesday. This week’s interview is with Mr. Nikhil Sasidharan. See his interview below.

Talkback Tuesday is a weekly interview with everyday people. It is always inspirational to look into the life of another person and realize it is just as complex and large and confusing as your own.

Note: This interview with Nikhil is a transcript of a phone call. Full podcast below:

1. For the readers, who are you, what do you do, and what is your current side project?

I’m currently doing my Masters in Chemical Engineering from BITS Pilani, Goa. I had completed my B.Tech from NIT Durgapur and I have a job offer at hand from Honeywell in Gurgaon.

There’s possibly a paper publication in my Masters. Hopefully, by God’s grace, that’ll happen for me.

Talking about my side projects, I’m very much into football. I play football regularly. I watch football regularly. I’d almost made it to my college team at NIT, but unfortunately I broke my leg at the time.

I’m also an avid fan of wrestling. I keep myself updated and I enjoy it.

In a Glance: Nikhil is a Chemical Engineer by trade, getting ready to jump into his first job. He’s an avid fan of football and professional wrestling.

2. You said you follow regularly and play as well. What got you interested in football, what do you enjoy about it and why do you watch and play it?

I got into football as a very young kid. What interested me was that this was the first sport I saw where you had to control your feet and no hands were involved.

It’s sort of a passion these days. I play for stress relief. What got me into football was that my parents refused to let me learn it. I wanted to get into football coaching, but my parents insisted that there was no future in it. That was exactly what got me so much into football.

I became really interested to learn it. Although I never received a formal education in the sport. However little I know to play is only by playing and observing. It’s the only sport I’ve ever wanted to play by my own choice. Call it childish anger, if you will.


Which leagues do you watch and who are your teams?

I watch 4 leagues. I watch the English Premier League, the Italian League, the Spanish League, and occasionally, the Indian Super League. In the EPL, my favourite team is Manchester United, always has been. It’s my first love. I’ve been attached to it since my childhood. In Spain, my preferred team is Barcelona, particularly when Andres Iniesta plays. In Italy, my team is Inter Milan because of the way they used to play was really fascinating. They’ve recently fallen, but I believe they will make a comeback.

Manchester United Logo | Nikhil Sasidharan #TalkbackTuesday
Nikhil is an ardent supporter of Manchester United.

(What do you think about the Indian Super League?)

You have to understand that a lot of us watch the EPL, and so we are going to make comparisons. But that’s unfair, because India is not a sports-primary nation. It’s an education-primary nation. The infrastructure for sports – the stadiums, the money, the resources, the coaches which are available in other countries are not available in India.

The ISL is baby steps. A lot has to be done. There’s a long, long way to go before India makes it to where it wants to be in the FIFA world cup. The most difficult barrier is changing the mindset of  the people. Parents have to be willing to push their children towards sports. In every football-focused nation, children start practicing football from the age of 5 or 6. They go to the coaching academies at that age. [Listen to the Podcast for more!]

3. Why engineering? It’s a meme at this point that every Indian student is an engineer. Why did you particularly choose Engineering and what excites you about it?

I’ve always wanted to be in this field of science. When you go into science in school, it’s either medical or engineering – there’s no other option. When you’ve chosen to be in the science field, this is what you have. I couldn’t do pure sciences, because I don’t think I could have studied that much. And to be very frank and honest, it’s the easiest way to make money in this world.

I sucked terribly at biology, and that’s why I went into engineering.

(Because you’ve jumped from school to college to college, have you given yourself time to explore other careers?)

Right now, I’m excited about my new job. I’m lucky to be placed in Honeywell; it’s one of the foremost chemical engineering companies in the world. I have not had the time to explore other career options. Maybe I could have if I’d thought about it from my school days. I don’t think we have a lot of time after leaving school to explore. I may be wrong, but that’s what I think.

4. If you had young students in front of you, and you had to give them 3 pieces of advice, what would you tell them?

Be goal-oriented. Your goals define what you achieve, and what you achieve defines who you are.

Make your parents proud. At the end of the day, they are the only people who really matter. They’ve put in a lot of effort and money into making you the person you are. Make them proud. When things really go bad, they’re the people who support you and care of you. Unless you’re married, of course, then your spouse will also be there. But that is not applicable for young students. Your parents are the only ones who love you unconditionally.

Be cautious. Work hard, because when life hits, it hits hard and it does not give any warnings. I have some experience with that myself. My mother, who is my role model, saved me at the right time, so I could achieve whatever little I have achieved. When life hits you, you realize that those who are with you in your good times are not necessarily with you in your bad times.

In a Glance: Be goal-oriented. Make your parents proud. Be cautious and work hard.

5. Great. Finally, what can you leave the audience with? What should they explore next?

Whatever your passion is, follow it. My passion is football and wrestling, and I hope to get a chance to talk to you about wrestling soon.

If you do watch football, do follow it. It’s getting bigger than ever. Do follow the English Premier League. There’s a ridiculous amount of money being put into it now. The game is getting more and more global.

Other than that, have goals and live your life.

Thank you for reading Talkback Tuesday! Did you enjoy it?

Next, check out the previous interview from last Tuesday with Arun Jagannathan by clicking on the image below. Arun is a GMAT and GRE coach and an entrepreneur, founding the coaching company CrackVerbal. We spoke about the state of Indian education and his take on teaching in India.

Cover | Arun Jagannathan #TalkbackTuesday
Click the image to see the interview.

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