« Back to articlePrint this article

Small town engineer to founder of a company

December 23, 2019 10:40 IST

We'd asked you, dear readers, to tell us what your first salary was and what it meant to you at the time.
Rediff reader Sudipto Joel from Lucknow shares his inspiring story.

Sudipto Joel

IMAGE: Sudipto Joel started off as a system engineer. He is currently director of Arpan Interactive Solutions Private Limited. Photograph: Kind courtesy Sudipto Joel 

I was born to parents who were teachers in the tier 2 city of Lucknow.

My grandfather was a civil engineer and had always been my inspiration to pursue engineering. To achieve that, I joined agriculture engineering from Allahabad Agriculture Institute. But destiny had, as they say, some other plans for me.

At the end of my first semester I realised that agriculture was not my cup of tea.

I returned to Lucknow and did advance diploma in multimedia.

The day I completed my course in 2001, my friend's sister suggested that I apply for a job at Uptec Computer Consultancy. I applied and was selected for the interview.

I still remember my first interview where I was sitting across my boss to be and he asked me how much salary I was expecting.

Since I was a fresher I responded 'I expect to get a decent one (salary) as we are not sitting in a market to negotiate things.'

They offered me Rs 3,000 and designation of system officer.

I grabbed it as I never expected to get the job in the first attempt.

I deposited my first cheque in my bank the same day and kept enquiring each morning if the money was deposited.

On the third day I withdrew almost the entire amount after filling a withdrawal form.

I bought a TIMEX watch for my father and had a small chaat party from a famous shop in Lucknow.

In the next three years in the company my salary was hike to Rs 4,500.

That's when I left the job to join another company in Lucknow with Rs 5,000 as salary and designation of software engineer.

I took up the job because of the word 'engineer'.

Unfortunately, I had to quit the job and move to Delhi for better opportunities as the IT sector was going through a dull period.

Moving to Delhi gave me a lot of exposure.

I was groomed in client communication and technology skills. But I hated my personal life.

To reach my office in Gurgaon (and later on Noida) I had to leave from home at around 6:30 am. I would be home at 9:30 PM. 

After my last assignment with IBM Noida in 2009, I decided to move to Lucknow and build my own software company.

I founded Arpan Interactive Solutions Pvt Ltd to benefit people like me who did not want to move to metros.

My wife inspired me to achieve what I am today.

Today I have about 22 employees with about 50% female staff, who may have missed the exposure and salaries offered in a metropolitan city.  But I am proud to also share that 50% of employees are earning more than 10 times my first salary of Rs 3,000 from 19 years ago. 

I feel satisfied that I have been able to give them all a platform to achieve what they really intended to be and Arpan has become a large family to them.

Some time ago, when I met my first boss at a conference he said, 'When I took the first interview (of Sudipto), that day itself I know he will be an entrepreneur some day. Look today he has come across the table and is sitting along with me.'

I hope that I am able to provide more and more opportunities and resources from Lucknow and around so that they don't need to venture out to other cities.


Dear readers, do you remember what your first salary was?

When did you receive it? Which year was it?

Do you have a photograph of it?

What did it mean to you at the time? Tell us all about it.

What was your first job and salary? And how did you spend it?

Did you buy a sari for your mum or a gift for your girl/boyfriend?

Write in to us at (Subject line 'My First Salary') along with your NAME, AGE, LOCATION and photograph, if possible. We will publish the best responses right here on!