Eating out, inviting MS Dhoni home — startup founder Yogesh Kabra’s post-COVID wish list

Note to readers: While we accept the reality of the coronavirus, it is important to be optimistic. We must believe that there will be a day when the disease will no longer be the all-destroying scourge it is today. And when that day comes, we will be able to enjoy life, maybe with a few adjustments, the way we did before COVID-19. To that end, we are starting ‘If Covid Vanished …’, a series of interviews with corporate heads and achievers, where we ask them where they’d like to travel or eat, who’d they like to meet, and so on, if the world became Corona-mukt. Follow the series here.

Gone is the India where men’s homewear looked like what Paresh Rawal wore as Baburao Apte in Hera Pheri. The modern Indian man understands the importance of quality innerwear and leisurewear. The quarantine further highlighted the need for essentials made from good fabrics.

As a result, the country has seen some startups in the men’s undergarment and home wear categories that aim to offer international quality clothing to Indians. One of them is XYXX Apparels, which attracted a Rs 6 crore investment from early stage venture capital fund Sauce VC last year.

In this interview, the brand’s Surat-based founder, Yogesh Kabra, speaks about what he’d do if COVID vanished.

If COVID ended tomorrow or became easily manageable, which city would you like to travel to first and why?

The first city I am looking to travel to is Mumbai. Ever since the lockdown, I have been waiting to be at my office in Mumbai and work with my team.

Which famous stranger would you like to invite home and talk to?

I am a shy and boring person to be around, honestly, but if I have a chance to invite someone home, it would be Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Considering he has recently retired from international cricket, I would like to indulge in a tête-à-tête with him about his journey, experience, teamwork, leadership skills and more.

Which restaurant/ bar would you go to first and why?

With the lockdown I have gotten used to not eating out, but since the past few days my tastebuds are longing for churros and my favourite place for them is Sancho’s in Mumbai. So that would be my first hogging destination post the complete unlocking.

What public performance/ occasion would you like to attend?

Belonging to a typical Gujarati family, I enjoy attending weddings and the family time that the line of wedding events bring along. A lot of weddings in our family have been pushed and scheduled post-Covid. I’m looking forward to them.

What new skill would you like to learn?

Lockdown has gotten me closer to my kitchen. I have been learning and practising cooking. My next objective is to learn to cook Japanese food.

The first song that comes to mind when you think of a COVID-free world.

A COVID-free world feels like the consistent and collective crooning of the song ‘Viva la vida’ by Coldplay. I am in love with this album as there is more to what it reflects, and also how beautifully it complements the theme of crucial changes of life, including death and war.

What will you do with your masks?

Interesting thought! Honestly, quite unimaginable right now, but I would like to keep them safe and continue to use them while I am in a crowded or polluted area.

What would your motto be for life after the pandemic?

I have always believed in the motto, “keep learning regardless of the situation you are in”.

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