Kishore Maharjan has been a banker for more than thirty-three years and an entrepreneur for almost twenty-five years while Srijana Joshi Maharjan is a film maker and entrepreneur. Kishore and Srijana Joshi Maharjan lead extremely busy lives but still find time for themselves and for social as well as family gatherings. A couple whose mutual understanding, respect and trust has allowed them to find a balance between work and family life. LIVING caught up with the couple to get their take on life, family and business. Excerpts from the interview:
- What are your backgrounds and how did you enter your respective fields?
SM: It is a funny story. I initially studied Commerce. But while I was working, I was also doubling as a Radio Jockey. However, I was always interested in how movies worked. I never had the desire to work on screen but was fascinated by off-screen work. The desire to know more about how films are produced and to educate myself better, I went to London to study film making. From there I produced many short documentaries and music videos as well as movies and I will be debuting as a Director in a movie that will soon be coming out. I also run my own company called Ideashop where we do product placement for various companies.
KM: How I joined the Banking industry was just happenstance. As I was waiting for my MBA results, I was debating what to do. I was approached by a good friend of mine to audit for a large tender they had obtained recently. As a young man who was free and willing to work, I joined the project. That was the moment when I officially joined the industry and I had the opportunity to learn more about it. From there on, I worked in different banks and also laid the foundation of two banks myself. And as they say the rest is history.
- How do you manage time for your family as well as your business?
KM: We both know our roles and I think we respect it and that is why it is not so hard to manage time for work and other things. Also our kids are all grown up so we do not have to keep looking after them. We have three kids. Our son is a banker in the US, one daughter is running her own company called AbhilashaInc. in the UK and our youngest daughter is doing her MBA from Edinburg, but she is currently on a break and working here in Nepal at Laxmi Capital.
SM: For him it is easy to manage (laughs). But like he said, we both know our respective roles and we have our own businesses to run. But I have a house to run also, so sometimes it gets stressful. We have to attend many social gatherings after working hours, so sometimes I do not feel like going, but I want to support him so I accompany him no matter what.
- You are both owners of Lalitpur Patriots cricket team as well. How did that come about?
KM: I have always been interested in sports. From a young age I was playing football or cricket and other kinds of sport. But my heart got stuck with Squash. I am a regular squash player and I am also the President of Nepal Squash Racquets Association. Because of my sports background, I wanted a team that represented my area i.e. Lalitpur. So, along with my wife I set out to make a team. Hence the Lalitpur Patriots was born.
SM: I have never been into sports. Apart from a little cycling I was not a sporty girl. But it was a good opportunity for me as a business owner, so we decided to form a team. But since I didn’t know anything about the sport, I had to learn about cricket. And while learning, I fell in love with the game. I try to watch as many games as I can but if given the choice I would rather skip it (laughs).
- You are both very busy. Do you get free time? Do you take vacations?
KM: To be honest, we do not take many vacations, but we do take some time off. I play Squash almost every day so that is my go to de-stressing time. Apart from that, we love Pokhara. It is one of our favorite cities to just go away and relax.
SM: Yes, we love Pokhara. Even if it’s just for two-three days we go and de-stress. But last time we stayed there for seven days. Not worrying about anything, we spent our time there relaxing. But we also go to the US or UK or Thailand when we want to spend time with our kids and relax for a while.
- Let’s talk about your hobbies?
KM: My hobby is playing squash and I play as much as I can. Before I was working, so we used to play 11 points games but now that I have more time, I usually play for 40 points. It’s a really good way to burn calories fast. My friends and I have also built a designated squash court with international standards. I also conduct a Squash tournament in memory of my late mother.
SM: I don’t have specific hobbies. I was an RJ for a long time and there were many things going on in my life, so I did not have the time to develop a profound hobby. I don’t have a specific hobby but I do love listening to music, watching movies and reading books.
- What changes have you seen in terms of women in the corporate world?
SM: There was not much role for women in the corporate world when I started working. Even if there were, they would be in the lower levels of the organization. But things are changing, and women are reaching higher positions and I feel it is because women are no longer shy when it comes to facing challenges head on. I feel women are more capable of seeing a 360 degree view of the world.
- What message do you have for the younger generation?
The message we would like to give the younger generation is that the real world is very tough and cruel. It will not give you any excuses or allow you to give excuses so get your hands on in life. Do not stay free; try to work from an early age. Develop your skills and try to achieve whatever you set out to achieve.