This post was supposed to be written on the 21st of June, but then writers are usually lazy men.

When I came to Delhi last June, I was moving back to a city where I spent the first twenty one years of my life. The palatial house at Chanakyapuri , where I’d be residing under the aegis of an ex-Air India Chairman uncle looked inviting, and the pretty girls standing outside Sri Venkateswara College - even more so.

I lost my way riding to office that first day. Delhi had changed in my eyes, in more ways than your eye can see.

That first day, there were only the four of us. The three founders, taking turns to give presentations about the company to their first employee. They spoke well, but what I really dug into was the hotdog I had at their expense in the nearby café.  Later, as I was reading through my offer letter, some of it read – Neeraj Narayanan, Head – Website & Social Media, WeAreHolidays.

We are a one year old start-up.  And in those two words, start and up, lies the joy of my professional life.  People who have worked in startups and written on them will tell you how you get to do something different every day, how you learn so much, how you get to create something of your own, how you have the liberty of trying to do things differently and a hundred other things.

And funnily, it’s true. When I came here, I came as a writer, thinking that I love to talk about travel.  But soon, I was reading up on social media and then flirting outrageously on the company page just so that I could get us a few more followers.  Then within weeks of joining, I was looking out to build my own team and interviewing people. One day we’d be sitting and designing Goa banners (albeit on MS Paint), the next day we’d be wondering if our logo should be bright yellow or pale.

It is only once you are in a startup that you realize that an MBA education and all its management fundas can go take a hike. You can spend the whole two years making presentations and happily telling your class that “to market this product, we shall use BTL activities, print media and radio ads” but paise tumhare chacha denge kya? It is only when you are sitting in a meeting room in a startup company and have Rs. 30,000 as your marketing budget and are tearing your hair out wondering what will give better dividends - distributing 10,000 pamphlets  in Gurgaon (Rs. 2 printing charge on bulk order) or distributing 10,000 pamphlets in Faridabad, that you realize how you did not really take any kind of budgeting into account in that management class a year back. I think I spent my MBA years wisely  –  being madly obsessively in love, and playing cricket.

Come to think of it, the best part of working with a limited budget is that it forces you to be creative.  It makes you ponder long after you have left office, thinking about what you can do to make people notice you when you don’t have television, newspaper or ad agencies to act as your media. We spent two days deciding if we wanted our pamphlets in the shape of an aeroplane or the boring square shape that every other brand’s pamphlet is.  The discussion on whether it should be yellow or blue took 4 hours.

Working for something that matters to you can be overwhelming. I really don’t remember a day this whole year when I have been talking on the phone late at night, and not mentioning what I did at work that day.  Obsessing about the company’s brand and how it should be perceived has now become a full time occupation.

The greatest pleasure of working of course is in seeing something you created coming out in the real world. Just two days ago, we decided to do a small contest on twitter.  With a measly following of 150 people, we never really expected it to be big, but yet we spent two whole days planning for it. Then on d-day, our efforts bore fruit and somehow our contest trended across the country. For a good two hours, we were the biggest trend all over India, and you should have seen us then. I was not really jumping ecstatically and celebrating  like I would on a cricket field, but I do faintly remember shaking my fist at the computer, and later at night smiling the whole way as I drove back home.

There are probably a dozen instances like this when we have felt on the top of the world. And probably fifty instances when we are arguing madly with each other on how things should be done. But it is alright, for we know that at the core, we are all fighting for doing something we believe in. The routes might be different, the destination is the same.

This year has also been as much about discovering myself professionally as much about losing myself personally. While I used to think that I would be happy here if I’d just have to write, I realize that there is a love that lies not in the confines of my office. It is on the roads of Delhi, acting as a guide - showing outsiders the city, talking about India, their own countries and their personal lives, and joking a lot.

When people ask me these days what I do, I grin. That is before taking a deep breath and rattling off that I manage a team, read about new travel destinations, post tweets, collect images, read, create proposals for corporate partnerships, lock juniors in the bathroom, play table tennis, update the facebook page, follow what our competitors are doing, read a lot, think of ideas for spreading the brand name and then read some more.

When the company pushes me a lot, I blog. They shouldn’t have to push me for it for I love writing, but then, writers are usually lazy men.

Na na that’s not me, I am quite sober. That’s Deepak, founder and err boisterous.


Neeraj Sleeping @The WAH Office

Now that’s me, making optimum use of one of the meeting rooms. I told ya, I was sober :-)


Neeraj Narayanan

At WeAreHolidays, Neeraj Narayanan is Head of the Content and Digital Media Team. He has a Masters in Advertising & Media Communication, has had experience as a Communication Consultant to the Government of Gujarat, and as a Brand man in the IT giant firm - Cognizant.

On weekends, he conducts Heritage Walks in Delhi.

Neeraj Narayanan – who has written posts on WAH Blog.