Sayan Guha | #TalkbackTuesday

#TalkbackTuesday number 10 – with Sayan Guha, and we talk about careers, life lessons, and music.

Sayan Guha | #TalkbackTuesday

Hi, and welcome to #TalkbackTuesday, which is where I feature people and interview them. It is always inspirational to look into the life of another person, and realize it is just as complex and confusing and large as your own.

This week’s interview is a return to the series for me, and I’m very excited to present a great little talk. I spoke to an old friend from school, Sayan Guha. See his interview below. The ideas expressed are his own.


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

Ola señors and señoritas. It’s not who I am but what I do that defines me. My name is Sayan Guha. You can call me Sanu, which has absolutely zero meaning, or Chandra, because apparently I’m as beautiful as the moon. People call me Taeko (Baldy) and Hagu as well. So basically I’ve gone from someone whose surname was regarded highly in the historical caste system to people’s stool.

I’m currently pursuing my Masters of Commerce at the University of Queensland, as well as my CPA Finals (Certified Practicing Accountant). At the moment, I’m working for MARSAI Clinic as a Junior Accountant and as a Volunteer at Save the Children, Australia. Evident from that, yes, I’m in Australia right now (for those who think Queensland is in the UK).

Sayan Guha | #TalkbackTuesday
I believe Sayan Guha might be the valedictorian of this class.

My current project is researching compliance levels of various companies according to the AASB. So it’s basically going through numerous pages of Financial Statements as well as Australian Accounting Standards, then checking for compliance level and creating a report and a database as a platform to start consulting such companies.

2. Tell me more about how you’re juggling your activities. What is it like to be pursuing two qualifications at the same time?

I think as someone from a middle class Indian family and a household full of doctors, engineers and PhD’s, I have always been forced to excel in a specific constructed way. It was either science or commerce, while other courses didn’t feel valuable.

When I was in school, I was hardcore into music and games. I was grateful enough to represent my school in various school fests but it came at the cost of my books acquiring dust… and that shows in my grades. So after I finished school, I made it a point to excel, not to make anyone happy, but to have the basic necessities of life and have them with my own resources.

It is hard to pursue two qualifications at a time. You spend a lot of time alone and hunting through the library to find a vacant seat. Friends soon stop accommodating and life becomes a drag. You tend to find happiness in yourself (no pun intended) and your own existence starts mattering more.

After I finished school, I made it a point to excel, not to make anyone happy, but to have a life with my own resources.

Even though you make sacrifices, you calculate the pros and cons before hitting the pedal. Undertaking two courses and the pressure they bring, helps you focus and keep your head strong. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy myself. Australia is all about a pint of beer on the beach.

Plus your status as a student depends on how well you’re taught. I’m lucky enough to be mentored by the best in the industry. Learning is a lovable experience, not a drive down a road that’s filled with potholes. You don’t stress at all. I occasionally play lawn tennis and badminton.

So even though the CPU has changed, lifestyle has changed, games and methods of learning have changed, it has only made me grow stronger, better and sharper. The perfect ‘Complan’ boy.

Sayan Guha | #TalkbackTuesday
Fun fact: Shahid Kapoor was the original complan boy. Now it’s Sayan.

3. You mentioned pressure helping you focus. How important do you think it is today for young people to embrace pressure? How do you recommend handling stress and keeping it under control?

Pressure is something that will either make you or break you. Every successful person that we remember has been through pressure. Our own guardians, the very people who support us psychically, mentally, and financially have been through pressure. Our very birth was huge pressure. Pressure is everywhere. We need it as much as we need oxygen to breathe and clothes to wear. A lot of people think stress is not good for your health. Stress or anxiety brings the best out of you.

Marijuana or other kinds of illegal addictions that today’s youth embrace in order to momentarily relieve themselves from stress is nothing but a pure low blow. The pharmaceutical industry is growing everyday with huge profits because people can’t take stress. Everyone dreams of becoming rich and successful but no one is willing to put themselves to the test and grill themselves till they rise like the phoenix again. Youngsters today should totally take stress head on.

As long as you have an aim, zeal, pride and confidence, no trouble will seem too big.

Gandhiji led the entire nation to freedom and today’s youngsters are stressed only because they need to build a career. It doesn’t make sense at all. Pressure helps you learn because if there’s no stress, people won’t work and they will grow into rich brats who have always been spoon fed by someone or the other. I highly believe that pressure works for everyone. It brings out the best in you. When you run out of options, you feel stressed. When you’re nearing the last date, you feel stressed. You get innovative and start thinking out of the box and that is what people today look for. Not brains or experience but what you have to offer and how you efficiently and effectively manage risk.

4. Following up from your previous answer, what do you think of the increasing number of people undergoing treatment for clinical depression and anxiety?
What do you say about students and professionals who underwent self-harm and/or committed suicide from too much stress?

My uncle happens to be a Senior Psychiatrist at Belmont Private Hospital, Brisbane. I’ve been staying with him for 2 years now and in these 2 years, I have understood that people have lost resilience and self confidence. Edison took decades to come up with his invention of the light bulb even after countless discouragement, failures and criticisms. He never gave up. If he did, then we would’ve been still been striking bricks to light a fire.

What the youth need is a proper mentor and a strong mind. During my uncle’s 20 years of practice, he has always told me one thing, “I am fascinated by the power of the mind over the body”. The mind is the key. If you have strong will and a stronger mindset, I do not think people undergoing stress need treatment at all. God forbid, people can be their own doctors and turn my uncle into an unemployed poor soul. We have tonnes of mentors and we know of famous people failing but never giving up. I don’t understand why we can’t follow them and bounce back when we fail.

My uncle always told me, “I am fascinated by the power of the mind over the body”. The mind is the key.

Isn’t failure the pillar to success? The only message to students and professionals who are causing self-harm or committing suicide is that it might not mean anything to them but it means jolly well too much for the people who care for them. Stress is a way of life. To be successful, you need to walk across the bed of nails. It will never be easy. If it were, then people would be millionaires by working at the call centres. Everyone has been sent on this planet for a purpose. Make it happen and think that you’re different from others. Everyone has problems but you need the courage to fight it out. That is what will define you as a ‘go-getter’!

Sayan Guha | #TalkbackTuesday
Sayan believes in the dedicated approach.

5. Finally, do you have anything to plug? It can be something commercial, or it can be a nice idea or music that you enjoy.

Other than the fact that I wanna work my ass off for 15 years and then open my own coffee shop in Kolkata, I want to know if anyone has any ideas about themes and how to go about this plan. Also, can anyone give me a proper bloody diet to increase my BMI? I am so sick of being thin.

Also, Ed Sheeran is coming with a new album so phew! I am interested in music jams. I’m also happy to entertain anyone visiting Brizzy in the near future. Till then, take care and orchestrate your life the way you feel will make you happy.


Thank you for reading Talkback Tuesday! You can leave a follow-up question for Sayan in the comments below and I’ll try and get an answer for you.

Next, check out the previous interview, from nearly a year ago, Right Here.