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I believe in high risk and high returns, says entrepreneur Ishendra Agarwal

An Electric Engineer by profession, Ishendra Agarwal, the Founder of jewellery startup GIVA, always had his mind on setting up a business of his own.

I believe in high risk and high returns, says entrepreneur Ishendra Agarwal

Sunday February 28, 2021,

7 min Read

IIT Kanpur alumnus Ishendra Agarwal was born to a middle-class family with old ties to the jewellery business. Despite being an Electric Engineer by profession, Ishendra always had his mind on setting up a business of his own.

He started his corporate journey with Twigly, a D2C food startup. Post which he joined the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as a management consultant, followed by a stint in the VC industry.

With an aim to provide premium jewellery at affordable prices, Ishendra launched GIVA Jewelleryin April 2019. The Bengaluru-based startup provides hallmarked silver jewellery. At GIVA, Ishendra's primary role is ensuring continuous growth through his expertise in operations, marketing, and finance.

Ishendra Agarwal, Founder of GIVA

Recently, YS Weekender caught up with Ishendra to ask him questions from the Proust Questionnaire. The Proust Questionnaire is about one’s personality. It has its origins in a parlour game popularised by Marcel Proust, the French essayist, who believed that in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.

Here are Ishendra's answers:

YS Weekender (YSW): What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Ishendra Agarwal (IA): Happiness is a state of mind and I feel you’re happiest when you’re mentally at peace. For me, this is at three levels: being healthy, being around your loved ones, and doing what you love.

YSW: What is your greatest fear?

IA: Fear of regret - I am a very strong believer in following my heart and if I feel that if something is very exciting, I never hold back because I am afraid not doing so might come back to haunt me in the future. I am not afraid of failures but very afraid of not trying.

YSW: What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

IA: Procrastination - I am a firm believer in bias for action and hate putting off things for later. However, I still feel I can sometimes be more proactive in closing things faster. It’s an area where I feel I can improve on and will continue to focus.

YSW: What is the trait you most deplore in others?

IA: Dishonesty - I feel that integrity and honesty is central to everything we do in our lives. Success and failure aren’t always in our control but being honest and putting our best foot forward is - so whenever I see dishonesty or a lack of real effort - it really disappoints me.

YSW: Which living person do you most admire?

IA: My Dad - he has been an inspiration from the day I was born. An entrepreneur himself, he has always encouraged me to be bold and entrepreneurial. In addition, he has taught me how to balance work and personal life perfectly. 

YSW: What is your greatest extravagance?

IA: Food - I am an absolute foodie, I love eating. I really enjoy tasting new types of cuisine and hardly miss an opportunity to try new restaurants all the time.

Ishendra Agarwal

YSW: What is your current state of mind?

IA: Calm and focused.

YSW: What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

IA: Prudence - I believe in high risk and high returns. Always playing it safe will not get you incredible results, it is important to take calculated risks in life.

YSW: On what occasion do you lie?

IA: I never lie - I believe you owe the truth to all the people around

YSW: What do you most dislike about your appearance?

IA: Definitely my waistline - work makes it really tough to get time to exercise regularly, but my new year’s resolution is to eat healthy and work out regularly. After all, a healthy mind can reside only in a healthy body.

YSW: Which living person do you most despise?

IA: I don’t despise people, it's negative energy. If I don’t like someone, I stay away from them.

YSW: What is the quality you most like in a man?

IA: Hard work - there is no substitute for it. Beyond a certain point in life, while a certain threshold in aptitude is important, the right attitude is everything. I might or might not be the smartest person in a room, but I know I’ll always be working hard – no one can take that away from me.

YSW: What is the quality you most like in a woman?

IA: Same as above.

YSW: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

IA: I love asking “What-Why-How” to almost everything.

YSW: What or who is the greatest love of your life?

IA: Right now - it's GIVA and AVNI :)

YSW: Which talent would you most like to have?

IA: Music - I love playing the guitar but unfortunately I am a novice. While I played for some time in my college, I would have loved to be able to play the guitar professionally.

YSW: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

IA: I would exercise more regularly if I could.

YSW: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

IA: Honestly I feel I have not achieved much yet, and hopefully my biggest achievement is yet to come.

YSW: If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

IA: I am a die-hard cricket fan and would love to be in Sachin Tendulkar’s shoes.

YSW: Where would you most like to live?

IA: Leh-Ladakh but with better infrastructure.

YSW: What is your most treasured possession?

IA: My guitar.

YSW: What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

IA: Not being fully in control of oneself physically and mentally.

YSW: What is your favourite occupation?

IA: I love what I am doing right now! There is nothing more fun than watching a small business take baby steps and grow up.

YSW: What is your most marked characteristic?

IA: My persistence and strong urge to push and get things done.


YSW: What do you most value in your friends?

IA: Loyalty - a friend in need is a friend in deed. Friends aren’t the people with whom you speak the most or spend the most time, but people who are there for you when you need them the most. There is no better friend than someone who you can count on no matter how difficult the situation gets.

YSW: Who are your favorite writers?

IA: Peter Theil and Ben Horowitz.

YSW: Who is your hero of fiction?

IA: Batman - I love the fact that he has no superpowers and is yet able to take on any opponent - this also makes him very believable. On top of this, his ceaseless dedication to walking the path of righteousness.

His story makes me believe that even someone who has been very fragile can turn things around and become a saviour for others.

YSW: Which historical figure do you most identify with?

IA: Alexander the Great - because my name rhymes with Alexander and also because of what he achieved.

YSW: Who are your heroes in real life?

IA: I think in this day and age, it has to be all the brave medical personnel all across the world who have led the fight against Coronavirus. Without their assistance, we would have found ourselves in a very very difficult situation. My heartfelt thanks also go to all the delivery personnel who have made survival without stepping out of our homes a possibility.

YSW: What is your favourite name?

IA: I like my own name very much.

YSW: What is it that you most dislike?

IA: Dishonesty.

YSW: What is your greatest regret?

IA: Not starting GIVA earlier than I did.

YSW: How would you like to die?

IA: Peacefully, in my sleep.

YSW: What is your favourite journey?

IA: It's always the journey home.

YSW: What is your motto?

IA: I’d love to play a part in putting India on the global map by pushing the 'Make in India' agenda.

Edited by Megha Reddy