“Engineering to Ikigai: 25 Journeys towards Purpose” is published by Indus Publishing. Priced at Rs. 325, the book is available at Sarita Cloth Emporium (Next to ICICI Bank / Near Star Cinema), M.G. Marg, Gangtok, and also at Jainco and Rachna Books. It is available online on https://tinyurl.com/HelloIkigai (publisher) and https://amazon.in/dp/9390508347 (Amazon). The international version, “You know the glory, not the story: 25 Journeys towards Ikigai”, priced $46, is published by World Scientific. The authors are donating 33% royalty of the book to charity.
A new book aimed at young people looking for direction in life and career, “Engineering to Ikigai: 25 Journeys towards Purpose” refers to “Mahatma Gandhi Marg, the posh, stone-tiled, pedestrian street of Gangtok…with flower beds, benches, fountains, and leisurely-walking tourists and locals” and “the majestic Kangchenjunga, Sikkim’s sacred mountain.” In 1995, Naresh Agarwal (http://nareshagarwal.com | [email protected]) from M.G. Marg, Gangtok, and 1994 School Captain of Tashi Namgyal Academy boarded a Singapore Airlines flight leading to a new life journey. With Computer Engineering from Nanyang Technological University and Ph.D. from the National University of Singapore, the “boy from Sikkim”, as he was known, spent almost fourteen years in Singapore. He is now an Associate Professor and Director of the Information Science & Technology Concentration at Simmons University in Boston, USA, and President of the Association for Information Science & Technology.
In 2018, Naresh collaborated with fellow NTU scholar and Singapore-based Banker Rahul Singh to write a book documenting 25 journeys originating from different parts of India, including his own from Sikkim, to Singapore between 1993 and 2012. The 17-18-year-olds went on 100% scholarship to become engineers but found their Ikigai or “reason for being” in different areas – entrepreneurship, innovation, research, academia, dance, filmmaking, nature, flying, mountaineering, philanthropy, self-acceptance, and even monkhood. E.g., Vishrut Jain founded a charity that educated 18 girls in Nepal upon seeing an 8-year-old girl sold for 15,000 Nepalese rupees. Pranoti Nagarkar-Israni and her husband spent 8 years perfecting the technology for the world’s most popular roti-making robot, Rotimatic. Manik Gupta helped millions navigate through his work in Google Maps and as Chief Product Officer at Uber. With over 700 hours and 3 years of effort on the book, the stories are examples of Ikigai, serendipity, and resilience, that both document these journeys and inspire the reader to discover their own calling in life.
Ikigai means something that gives you a sense of purpose – a reason for living. In his foreword for the book, Padma Shri Arunachalam Muruganantham (on whom the Akshay Kumar movie ‘Padman’ was made) writes, “While there is a lot written about the Japanese concept of Ikigai, not much is known about how one can implement Ikigai in one’s life…Each story strikes an emotional chord with you…The reader will find aspects of their own life reflected in at least some of the stories, if not all…one finds oneself pondering, ‘What is my Ikigai?’ If there is any book that can help you answer this question, there is none more practical than this one. I’m confident that it will help you go beyond your fears and discover your life purpose.” Sikkimese novelist Prajwal Parajuly writes, “Wholesome, entertaining, and encouraging, these essays are a masterclass on purpose, resilience, and the importance of giving back. The book should be mandatory reading for all young people.”