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INTERVIEW with Amar Desai, Helen O'Grady Principal for Nairobi, Kenya by Kamal Kaur


Kenya
04 July

INTERVIEW with Amar Desai, Helen O'Grady Principal for Nairobi, Kenya by Kamal Kaur 

Amar Desai- full time diaper changer and part time grumpy tax payer.

I run Aperture Africa Productions, a leading award-winning theatre production house in Nairobi that has been staging productions for over 10 years now. I am also the principal of the Helen O’ Grady Drama and Speech academy in Nairobi offering 21stcentury skills through drama to all age groups. Besides the creative space, I run Alpine Adventures, a boutique adventure and travel company.

I have been a part of the organizing committee of the Rhino Charge, the world’s largest 4×4 motorsport event in the world that raises approx. US$ 1.5M annually for the Rhino Ark Charitable Trust’s conservation projects around the country.

With the slightest chance, I love to take off into the Kenyan bush and star gaze the night away.

In 2019, I was awarded the Business Daily Top 40 Under 40 (which should hopefully give away or not my age)

 

Describe yourself.

I’ll give in a 100% for things I’m passionate about. That makes my work and play all so much more fun. I like to think of myself as a fun, humble and hardworking person who would rather spend time at home watching Peppa Pig with junior or be camping in the wilderness rather than rave it out at a smoky club making small talk.

 

How do you think people perceive you? 

Arrogant. Perhaps because I don’t quite smile very easily and take my work seriously. On the contrary I’d like to think that I am perceived as the happy go lucky, outgoing human who lives for the day, works hard and would do anything for family and close friends- that’s who I am!

 

What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?

When will the next boda-boda interrupt the smooth drive?!

Long solitude drives are a perfect time for self-reflection, thinking of what’s for lunch and of course mapping out the next road trip.

 

Tell us something we don’t know.

Despite all the social banter and obligations, I am quite the introvert.

 

How many friendships have you ruined because you refused to play a game of Monopoly mercifully?

Confession- I’ve actually never played Monopoly so please be merciful on me! It’s a win-win really. Don’t play and you don’t lose any friends…

 

How long does it take you to scroll through Instagram before you eventually give up?

2 minutes. I’ve never been a huge social media person and patience isn’t a virtue when it comes to social media. For so many of us, the social media space has become a breeding nest for a make-belief identity. We have lost the meaning of what it really is to keep things simple, actually live life and be true to yourself. We have become artificial beings living for someone else, for something else, in someone else’s persona. As much as it’s a great tool, we seem to have lost the path somewhere along the way…

 

What do you think cats dream about?

How to make the most dramatic road crossing as the next superstitious driver passes by.

 

If you were a Disney/ mythological character, who would you choose to be?

 King Louis from The Jungle Book- the jungle VIP who loves to swing and constantly in search for man’s red fire…

What’s not to love about him?

 

You’ve got to give one up:

Coffee

Cheese 

 Yikes can one really choose? I’d say cheese…

 

Why wouldn’t you give up the other? 


Nothing gives an early morning jolt better than coffee!

 

What do you think is completely overrated in this world?

A Marriage proposal. And yes, I still get the s+*&s from Jinita…
I honestly feel that we all make such a big deal about this when all that matters is the mutual connection on taking things to the next step. 3 days (or even 3 hours later), it won’t matter how grande or not the hullaballoo was. Or does it?

 

What series are you watching currently and would you recommend it to others?

Money Heist. Almost given up after reaching season 3. A weak plot is a serious road kill.

 

If you have no financial restrictions at all, what would be the one thing you would buy for yourself?

A 50,000 acre ranch somewhere in Laikipia and an island off the Kenyan coast.

 

Do you ever compliment yourself? Do you acknowledge your success or the good job that you’re doing?

Not quite as often. I tend to get over critical with the work I do. And need to be constantly reminded to either appreciate myself or the team working within my space.

 

Who applauds your success the most?

My wife and parents. And now the little one has learnt how to clap too

 

Five worldly possessions you cannot live without.

I’m quite a simpleton and not sure I have 5. Here are some: A 4×4, my tent and good food.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination that you’ll go to again and again?

Diani & the Mara

 

What’s your honest opinion on family Whatsapp groups?

Game of thrones! All is well until someone unleashes a little fire and out come the night walkers!

 

Lastly, you’ve been gifted an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with it?

Learn to become the elephant whisperer. Elephants’ social skills and how they communicate is something that has always fascinated me. I would love to get to know them.

PS: if you haven’t read the book “The Elephant Whisperer” by Lawrence Anthony, I would highly recommend it.

 

See the full interview here: 

https://kamalkaur.net/2020/06/15/meet-amar-desai/?fbclid=IwAR0fkbcQncvZrKETovABGUKj1VS8J5NEvPBgabQaPpE6cw_Ihl25FypQzh0

 

 

 


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