I was recently introduced to Kapil by a wonderful friend, Dinah Liversidge. Kapil and I had such an engaging and lively chat that I wanted to shine my ‘spotlight’ on him today. ‘Kaps’ has introduced me to changing faces, a wonderful charity working with disfigurement. Kaps himself lives with disfigurement and here’s his story.
I was born in the late 60’s in Hampton Court Surrey. I was the eldest child – my parents had moved to the UK only a few years before. I think it was a real shock for my parents when they realised that I was facially disfigured. These days such things are picked up by pre-natal scan. In those days (and to be honest in developing countries today) the technology did not exist. My early years were an endless journey of hospital visits and operations.
In my mind there is not much difference between racism and being bullied because you look different. I certainly experienced both of these as I grew up. However the greatest irony was when I was trying to have an arranged marriage. Indian people were obsessed with looking good – and any groom had to “fit the part”. I really struggled to have an arranged marriage. It was bizarre that Asians who had experienced racism could not see that they were just as bad when judging somebody by their looks.
However there is good news. I met my wife Kaye on line & we have been married for almost seven years – with two young boys. She used to work in Financial Services and introduced me to Yoga!
I set up my business “Fingetips Intelligence” a few years ago. My business helps companies with their management information (e.g analysis of sales, client reporting). We make a difference by automating the entire process. Our clients come to us because they want to free up time and automation helps them do this. For one of our clients we saved 9 months a year as they can now generate all their client reports at a press of a fingertip. I get most of my business through word of mouth and am therefore a keen networker, I also like to connect people.
One of our clients said that I’d probably saved his business as he was always arguing with his business partner about the quality of information. It used to take 8 hours a month to produce and thanks to me this time was eliminated.
Kaps you’ve made your journey through life with facial disfigurement, how has this impacted on you?
My journey through life has been heavily impacted through looking different. I had more than my fair share of name picking and bullying as a child. Many of my school friends have gotten in touch with me via facebook and apologised for the pain they inflicted. At school, I was very academic – with a great love of maths. I suspect that was another reason I was bullied, I took solace in my mathematics and developed this aspect of my character even further. However the upshot was that I ended up with a MSc in mathematical modelling from Oxford University. The certificate is on my wall and it is a great talking point for my clients.
Despite my strong academic background, I struggled to get a job in one of the top consultancies. Again my face did not fit as I was not client facing. These days I spend my entire time talking to clients and act as a connector between people.
What positives have you learnt about yourself up to this point in life?
People always say that I am exceptionally thoughtful and always make time for others. I am very determined and resilient. I generally see the positive in all situations. I am a great believer in the power of attraction.
What is your proudest moment?
Without doubt the proudest moment was becoming a father to two handsome & healthy boys. My eldest (Krishan) is 4 in February and he just loves asking questions and demonstrating knowledge. Its great we hang out with each other at the weekend. My youngest (Hari) was born in June this year and he just gives this massive smile whenever he sees me. He loves it when I sing to him. His favourite is “Morning Has Broken”. He also likes “Row, Row the boat” and just grabs my hands so he can pretend to be rowing.
What really matters to you in your life?
Just being happy and spending time with friends and family. I’ve known some of my closet friends for almost 20 years and it’s wonderful as we go through the circle of life together.
You champion a great Charity ’Changing Faces’ how did you get involved?
I can’t actually remember (it was 15 years ago). I think I saw a newspaper article and contacted them. I moved back to London a few months later and started raising money / awareness. Things seemed to grow from there.
You allowed your face to be used in a promotional campaign for Changing faces, how did that feel for you?
It was one of the most amazing things I’d ever done. It allowed me to do things that would normally be associated with celebrities. I have had an A1 size picture of me on Bus stops all over London. At one point, I could drive my from home in Chessington, Surrey up to Wembley and see my picture on every other bus stop. I’ve met some really famous people – was funny having Champagne with Angus Deaton.
What are your future aims personally and for your business?
When I was younger, I used to do a lot of travelling for pleasure. I travelled all over South America (Argentina, Galapagos Isles etc ) and The Far East (Thailand, Cambodia). I’d love to resume travelling – this time with the family. Obviously the business needs to grow considerably first. It would be fantastic if I could get to the stage where I had people working for me.
What’s the best thing about running your own business and what advice would you give anyone thinking of doing the same?
The best thing about running your own business is you get to learn a multitude of skills (selling, marketing, commercials). It gives me a real buzz when I talk to Directors and they complement me on my commercial astuteness.
If someone reads this blog and they are living with any form of disfigurement what advice can you give them from your experience?
The best advice would have to be to get in touch with Changing Faces and they can help you based on your individual needs.
Thank you for joining me Kaps in my first interview for A Spotlight on…It’s a pleasure to know you and every success in life and business!
You can contact Kaps in the following ways and follow him on Twitter @Database_Whizz