Rehan Guha talks with You & I
You’ve been in the hospitality industry for more than 15 years. How has your career evolved during that time?
It’s grown tremendously in terms of my responsibilities. My career really began in Saudi Arabia, where I worked with a company called Pizza Inn. I initially went there as an assistant restaurant manager, drawing a salary of just Rs. 12,000 a month. From the life of low pay and dormitory-style living, I grew to become area and concept manager, with all my expenses borne by the company!
You moved to Hyderabad after working around the world. What do you make of the work culture here?
Hyderabad is extremely warm and kind, even to people who aren’t from here. The city is also receptive to new concepts and experiments, especially in terms of food and music. I’ve noticed that Hyderabadis lap up different cuisines and music just as comfortably as they enjoy biryani and the teen maar dance.
Tell us how you picked this line of work.
Well now, that’s quite a story. I lost my father when I was 17 years old. My mother was a housewife with three kids to provide for. As the oldest, I had to jump in and shoulder those responsibilities with her, but that could only have happened after I completed my education. It was decided that my mother would put her savings into educating me well, so she sent me to Australia. I chose hotel management as my course because I love food, and back then I thought it would require the least amount of study (you see, I hated it)! It was only after six months that I realised that it was not child’s play, but instead quite a lot of work. But it didn’t pinch me, because ultimately it was my passion for food, not algebra and geometry (which I was awful at).
You’re very social. What are your thoughts on the city’s social capital?
The party scene in Hyderabad is definitely getting better. Testimony to that are the recent Sunburn events and other international artists playing here. Though it’s not as great as Pune (my hometown), the situation in Hyderabad is slowly and steadily opening up to a wide variety of music – for the better, of course.
How do you usually unwind?
It’s over a couple of drinks or movies, or just idle chit-chat sessions with my wife and friends. I’m also hooked onto series like “Fringe” and “Game of Thrones”, so that helps me completely shut off from outside world.
If there was one thing you could change about Hyderabad, what would it be?
The heat! Imagine how lovely our city would be without its mad heat and humidity. Hyderabad is rated as one of the best cities to live in, beating Mumbai and even Bengaluru. So why on earth would I want to change anything else about it? But yes, it’d be more than perfect if the heat went away!
Any other stress-busters?
It’s time with my pug, Boozo! There’s nothing more gratifying than playing with your pup who only has unconditional love to offer you! (Smiles) Otherwise, when I want to be around human beings, it’s with my wife and friends over drinks or movies.
Tell us more about yourself.
The craziest thing I’ve ever done was getting over my fear of heights by going bungee-jumping, and routine bores me. As I’ve already mentioned, I love food and try as many cuisines and local dishes as I can wherever I travel. Above all, family always comes first for me. Nothing and nobody is more important than they are.
Rehan Guha talks with You & I