By Rasika Deshpande

A bodybuilder, musician and a philanthropist. That’s Keyur DesaiBorn and brought up in Baroda, Desai had quite an ordinary school and college life. Growing up, he was very lean and shy. Speaking in public and elocution competitions were not his strengths. Infact, when he was in school, he tried participating in many elocution competitions but every time he used to fail and his fellow classmates used to laugh at him, he acknowledges. He however enjoyed reading books and was into studies.

“Whenever someone used to ask me what I want to become, my standard answer was B.E. in Mechanics. Right from early childhood. My father who was a Chemical Engineer inspired me,” Desai said.

When Desai was in 12th standard, there was a complete turn around in his life. His mother was unwell and bedridden for almost 6 months. So, in that duration, he lost track of his studies and couldn’t do well in the 12th exams. Because of this, he had to compromise with a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering.

“During that time, there was a possibility that if you get first class in all 6 semesters in Diploma, you could get admission in the second year of B.E. by giving an open test. When all my friends used to go to the movies and enjoy themselves, I used to sit in the library and study. I scored first class and distinction in all semesters. But unfortunately, the day before the open test I was down with viral fever and had to miss this opportunity. Later I decided to wait for 1 year and appear for the open test,” he said.

During that time he was attracted to technology and was very much keen on learning web designing and programming. So, he decided to take up a 1-year course which included infra training, e-commerce training, etc. Later on, he went ahead and completed his Executive MBA and has many Technology & Management certifications in his name. Today he is a regular speaker at various IT Conferences and Rotary Events.

Around that time, Essar was looking for trainees. Desai wasn’t sure if they were looking for trainees for a web designing role or something else. His elder brother gave him advice that there is a lot of scope in IT and he should explore the opportunity. So, he applied for it, came to Surat and appeared for the interview. When he appeared for the interview, he realised that the interview was for Operation Management Service and they were looking for help desk trainees. He got selected as a trainee and later was promoted to a Technical Executive role. Essar was his first job and now soon he will be completing 20 years in the company.

Talking about his initial days he says, “I was asked to take care of the IT help desk. Working at the help desk made me humble, more grounded and I learnt how to stay calm when people were constantly shouting on call. My manager taught me to stay calm, listen to people’s queries and never answer back or shout at customers. He taught me the customer is always right and has a right to be angry if something goes wrong.”

Desai says these 2 and ½ years made him a completely different person and gives his mentor and reporting manager Jayanta Prabhu credit in shaping his career. Prabhu supported him, guided him and gave him the right opportunities at work. Desai says it’s been an amazing journey to be associated with Prabhu for almost 18 years.

Desai’s father and grandfather always used to tell him that “If wealth is lost, nothing is lost. If health is lost, something is lost. If the character is lost, everything is lost. So, whatever you do make sure to do it with sheer integrity.”

“Bodybuilding gave me confidence”
A bodybuilder, musician and a philanthropist. That’s Keyur DesaiKeyur Desai has always looked up to his father. His father used to be a bodybuilder. He was Mr Gujrat and Mr Baroda. This inspired Keyur Desai to join a gym. Desai says his trainer, Mr Francis, who was Mr India, was very strict. He says, “Mr Francis was strict and used to shout at me. But after observing me for one month, he praised me in front of everyone. That gave me a lot of confidence. Later he suggested that I participate in Mr Baroda competition. With his constant support and guidance, within 11 months of my training, I joined the competition and was one of the finalists. That was a big turning point in my life. That was the moment I felt like I can do something in my life. I became more outspoken and vibrant.”

Proud Rotarian
A bodybuilder, musician and a philanthropist. That’s Keyur DesaiDesai’s maternal grandfather worked for many NGOs. He inspired Desai to join Rotary Club. Now he has been a part of the Rotary Club for the past 7 years. Talking about the experience he says, “You meet different people. And everyone’s mindset is about giving back to society. Whenever I attend conferences and Rotary events, I always remember my Nanaji as he was my inspiration for joining an NGO and giving back to the society.”

Desai says he failed to learn musical instruments in his childhood and later in the process of reviving the dying art of his father, he started learning harmonica. He enjoys playing the harmonica on stage with his father. He even has a YouTube Channel named Keyur Desai- Harmonica Melodies. “After a stressful day at work, I just play the harmonica for 15-20 minutes and that instantly changes my mood. My stress goes away and I feel fresh. These are some things that actually make positive changes in life. I want to urge people to focus on personal and social life along with work life.”

A bodybuilder, musician and a philanthropist. That’s Keyur DesaiDesai recently released his co-authored Amazon Best Seller International Book ‘Make a Difference’ along with 21 Co-Authors from across the globe.

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