Ask Saurabh Yagnik, EVP and Business Head English channels, Sony Pictures Network India about his life outside of work, and he quips: “There is traffic!” The jokes keep coming as we chat about his weekends, which he says are busier than his weekdays. “The weekend boss is tougher to deal with than the weekday boss,” he laughs.
But the EVP’s life comes full circle on these days which are dedicated to his seven-year-old daughter Akshi whom he takes out cycling, swimming, to the movies. “It’s great fun when you have a young kid growing up,” he smiles. Mornings are the time for indoor cricket with Akshi and the ground rules are set: “I bowl. She’s never out.” They also bond over TV shows and movies. “We watched The Hunt together,” he informs.
Family bonding also includes yearly summer vacations which have taken them across Egypt, South Africa, the Middle East and Switzerland. “My wife Anuranjani, who is from a travel background, designs all these trips,” he shares.
In Egypt, they spent three days on a night cruise. “It was a different experience,” he recalls. He thoroughly enjoyed South Africa last year, where they went sightseeing to a vineyard and a private wildlife reserve. He also reminisces fondly about Cape Town and its beautiful coastline and greenery. “You feel close to nature and see its pristine beauty.”
This summer, they are off to the UK and Scotland. And no, he has no part in laying out the itinerary. None at all. “Least interference,” he cracks up.
In India, which they have largely covered, Darjeeling is his favourite town where he and his family vacationed in a garden estate. “It was beautiful. You could trek around the tea gardens and there was a stream flowing nearby. There was a log hut to put up in for the night, with no electricity,” he recalls. Kerala is also close to Yagnik’s heart; you name a part and he’s been there. He does enjoy treks once in a while.
Yagnik confesses that he wasn’t much of a travel enthusiast until he met Anuranjani. Whenever the couple gets some spare time, they go for long drives, movies, coffees and walks on the beach. He shares, “Getting some time together is very challenging.”
Yagnik does have his quirks. He’s a stickler where his tea is concerned. “I prefer to make my own tea, which is strong and with masala. It’s something I won’t compromise on,” he states. He’s equally particular about the spices and other ingredients that go into his food, he confesses.
Like his tea, Yagnik won’t compromise on fitness either.
His daily morning regimen mix comprises meditation, yoga or some physical activity such as running and mixed martial arts Muay Thai. “I started Muay Thai three-four months back. Before that, I trained with fitness group Striders for marathons. I have participated in some four Standard Chartered marathons since 2007. I started running during my Unilever days, when the culture was catching up. I have been doing yoga for three years,” he says. He shares a deep love for all these activities which help him unplug and unwind.