God is kind: That refrain pops up frequently during the conversation with Atul Shinghal, founder and chief executive officer of digital wealth manager Scripbox. Be it academics or work, he refuses to take credit for any of his achievements.
His father’s postings across the country—he was in the Indian Army Corps of Engineers—meant that Shinghal got to travel across the length and breadth of the country. It also meant exposure to several physical activities. “I had a privileged upbringing,” he says. From golf, hockey and football to riding and sailing, he has done it all. He even won a silver medal in yachting at the Asian championship.
Sports form an integral part of his fitness regime. Golf is his first love and he loves to hit the golf course whenever he can. “It is a great social connect platform. Also, it is the only sport where you play against yourself. No one else can affect your game,” he explains.
Shinghal’s interests strongly influence his work philosophy. From sports comes the first one: “Do the right thing and do it well. While doing the right thing is about ethics, doing things in the right way is about excellence,” he says.
The humble entrepreneur enjoys socialising and draws his energy from people around him. As a leader, he prefers being the shepherd who guides his flock from the rear. He believes in focussing on people’s strengths.
Offering a cricket analogy for another work philosophy, he says that there is no sense in trying to make a batsman into a bowler. “Trying to correct people too much just does not work,” he philosophises.
Food is where the next pearl of wisdom comes from. “When you are hungry, you do not want to go and make a sandwich; you want to eat it. That [offering] is what has brought us where we are,” he says.
A typical day begins with a date with his wife over coffee and crossword, something that he has been passionate about since his days as a student at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. When Shinghal is travelling, his wife sends him a photograph of the crossword and they do it together. When both his daughters are home, the entire family does the crossword ritual together. If not crossword, family time is spent on board games, card games, television serials or just simple chatting.
While travelling, he prefers exploring new cities on foot. Goa is his favourite beach destination.
The family love to host friends at home. If you are travelling to a new location where you have a friend, try staying with them, Shinghal advises. “It is not that we cannot afford a hotel, but staying with a friend means we get to spend a lot of quality time together,” he says. Their friends love the simplicity of the house and the “delectable vegetarian meal my wife cooks”, he says. His favourite is the bread basket, a “very simple bread dish with cheese etc.”
Deeply spiritual himself, he envisions his brand as bringing peace in people’s lives by way of financial santushti (satisfaction). The “boring”, “happy-go-lucky” entrepreneur does not forget to once again thank God for the success of his venture.