This is something I’ve always maintained, and I continue to wax eloquent every chance I get: the world is made up of stories. People are stories. And today, I’ve been tasked with a most intricate project – to narrate a chronicle full of entwining tendrils and ribbons of many other stories. Today, I’ve had the privilege to bring to you a character who I’m honoured to call a dear friend, and (dare I say it) a big brother too.

Arjun Puri is the kind of person whose ever ready (and Eveready-powered) smile immediately puts you at ease. He’s the kind of person who can make conversation with anyone. He’s the kind of person who is brimming with fantastic tales from an adventurous life. He’s a mixture of the fortune of opportunity and the talent and spunk to grab at it. He’s also a great conundrum to me, because I will never know whether stories come to him or he has the eye to catch them as they breeze past. But either way, you can immediately tell that language is his art and the lives around him are his inspiration, and that his destiny is to share these beautiful tales with the rest of the world.

Our storylines met through an odd and unexpected way, with him deciding he wanted to work in education and choosing OP Jindal Global University to do so. Mutual friends worked their magic and sure enough, new friendships were forged. A love for literature fueled the fire, and soon late nights with take-out, and miscellaneous projects embarked on, led to winding conversations and an unraveling of Arjun’s story.

Arjun’s ancestry is a robust collision of literary and cinematic talent. Starting with Ramtanu Lahiri who was actively involved in the founding of the Brahma Samaj with Raja Rammohun Roy, his illustrious history is only the tip of the iceberg of Arjun’s heritage. Arjun’s great grandfather was the renowned Bengali poet and novelist, Manish Ghatak and his great uncle was the Padma Shri winning filmmaker, Ritwik Ghatak. The next generation was spearheaded by his great aunt, awardee of the Padma Vibhushan, Mahashweta Devi, whose widespread impact and fame need no introduction. This has continued on to his parents, to whom he believes he owes everything. Ina Puri, his mother, is a writer and a two-time National Award winning filmmaker (for her documentaries on Manjit Bawa and Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma). She is also one of India’s leading art curators. Arjun’s father has worked with ITC for over thirty years, and he too has been a great influence with his relentless encouragement that Arjun should pursue his passions and his dreams. Coupled with this legacy, Arjun has grown up surrounded by literary greats and famed artists and filmmakers; it is no surprise that the streak of creativity in Arjun is such a vibrant aspect of his personality.

Right from the days of schooling, Arjun has been surrounded by culture and tradition. He is an alumnus of La Martiniere for Boys in Calcutta, a school once described as “the Eton of the East”. That is where he began to nurture his gregarious and energetic approach to life. He graduated as Head Boy, not letting his handicap with Math get in the way of making history at his school. He also studied at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, a prestigious institution which has seen British royalty pass through its hallowed halls. There he even earned the now notorious nickname, Fred; something nobody is willing to let go of despite his earnest pleading. He followed this with four years working at Merrill Lynch in London where he could freely express his love for Arsenal in the real Gunner way – another thing we bond over!

After having his fill of the corporate grind, Arjun moved back to India to reconnect with his roots. He spent a year travelling to spend time with locals in rural Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. He satiated his endless appetite for stories through these interactions, also working on farmer empowerment and teaching children on his weekends. He was so inspired by his experience that he began a blog as Chaiwallah to share his stories with more people.

Soon after this, he decided to channel his energy on education and social policy and soon moved to OP Jindal Global University. Here, he is injecting a much needed dose of dynamism and culture into a fledgling institution filled with bright minds. He is, as usual, involved in absolutely everything on campus and has cultivated a loyal fan following. Kudos to “Mr Puri”!

Arjun has now begun culling out the next phase of his winding road that he calls life. He has begun working on focusing his knack for stories in a more streamlined fashion, and he’s got his big break. Launching his first book, in collaboration with the designer and artist duo, Thukral and Tagra, at the Jaipur Literature Festival this year, he could not be more eager for the opportunities waiting in store for him. He is also working on his first novel, his fiction debut, and another book on another one of our shared passions – food. The pen has finally struck paper, and there is a stunning masterpiece pouring out onto paper.

While my narrative has come to an end, I must say that this is just the beginning. There are some fabulous things waiting in store for Arjun and it would do us well to be very excited for them. So, watch out for a few signs like if your friends talk about a friend who accidentally exchanged his laptop with a stranger at the airport and later found him through a long and winding comment thread on a frantic Facebook status, only to realize they may be related – that’s Arjun, because he knows everyone. Or if you come across a person narrating a story about this guy who sat in someone else’s car in a hotel and took it to his destination without realizing, only to come out having contemplated the deepest aspects of life with the driver – that’s Arjun on another one of his rounds, unintentionally colliding with great stories. Or if you come across a magical and loving narrative about the elusive secrets of Calcutta – that’s Arjun, expressing his undying devotion to his birthplace. Or if you look up at the bestsellers in coming years and see Arjun Puri emblazoned up there with his latest book. Remember, you first heard it from me.

(Puri’s book, “Bathtub” co-authored with Thukral and Tagra is launching at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2015. Publisher: Bird Group D2).

(Chitrangda Jai Singh enjoys reading fiction, travelling, and dining at quaint cafes. She spends her time whining about the intricacies of law school, immersing herself in existential crises that afflict most 19 year olds and laughing uncontrollably at the most inopportune moments. She is currently grappling with real life at Jindal Global Law School in Sonipat, Haryana).