Karanveer Shetty is a psychologist, biographer, public speaker, and model. He founded Psychtalk, a place where people suffering from mental health issues and taboos can get advice and solutions on their problems.
Set to publish his autobiography, Karanveer spoke to Team Storiyaan about his journey, the importance of reading, and taboos of mental health in India.
Questions and answers
The versatility in your personality displays your abilities in different ways. Tell us a little about your life as Karanveer Shetty.
To define it in one line, “A man who burns his hand often to learn more.” I come from a middle-class family, and being the only child to my parents, I had a lot on my shoulders to deliver. Childhood was more into studies and sports. I was always inspired to become a cricketer, but life had other plans for me. I am a traveler who believes in capturing moments from the naked eyes instead of the lenses. I am a fitness freak. I always make sure not to miss the Sunday volleyball game with my friends from the locality. I have a gem of selective friends. On most days when I’m not occupied, you’ll always find me sitting with my headphones plugged in, facing the ocean at Marine Drive.
What attracted you to the field of psychology? Were you always fascinated with human behavior?
My interest and curiosity towards psychology started when I lost someone too close to my heart. Her suicide always kept me awake with questions like why and how. I was fascinated to know how human behavior functions and what are the measures to understand and deal with it. Since then, every person I have healed or helped in any way is a tribute to her. I think it’s rightly said that people honest to their jobs have a personal agenda towards it and that honesty takes them closer to success.
Psychology as a subject and as a profession is on the rise in recent years. Why do you think that is? Do you feel as a society, we realize the need to understand human behavior and to think?
The rise in awareness regarding mental health has been growing since the media started reporting cases of suicide. People have now started opening up and talking about issues related to their mental well being. A few decades ago, mental health was considered a taboo. Communication has currently limited itself into some random good morning forwards and Facebook memories. Lack of communication, cut-throat work competition, unstable relationships, etc., has led to an increased necessity to understand the significance of mental health. From my experience, people still don’t give mental health the attention they should. They would rather spend money on shopping than on their mental well being.
Can you tell us a little about Psychtalk and how it came to be?
On my journey to Kerala, I met a person with whom I exchanged a healthy conversation. While departing at the station, she told me that my words helped her, and there are so many people like her who need help. After a few days of contemplation, I decided to launch Psychtalk. It is an initiative to help people who cannot openly talk about their problems and are economically weak to afford the entire procedure. I mainly focus on motivating people, helping them build faith back in life with the help of self-made- quotes inspired by my experiences and thoughts. I also help people who need immediate assistance without any charges. So far, the response has been satisfying.
What made you decide to write an autobiography? What are the important things that you want to highlight through it?
Whenever I talk about my life journey with my family or friends, they feel it can inspire people. I intend to showcase my journey of life, my services to people, a little about my love life, and overcoming the hurdles without losing hope and being determined. I believe if it can help someone or act as a ray of hope, then my purpose in life is justified.
How did you gravitate into modeling? Tell us the story behind it.
Modeling was something that was always on my mind, but due to other things in my pocket, I couldn’t focus on it. I was a fitness freak since my late teenage days. Along with a right height and a dusky complexion, people admired and encouraged me to pursue modeling. But later in life, I started getting offers for photoshoots on my Instagram page. Well, it still feels funny and surreal as photographers approach me. It took me 15 days to believe that I was finally going to be on a modeling journey.
What is the most important thing when it comes to managing different works and maintaining the gap between personal and professional life? How do you do it?
I believe that a balance between personal and professional life is essential. But sometimes I end up working 16 hours a day due to the increase in mental health cases every day. I think it’s especially important to understand the priorities in life. People completely neglect families by focusing too much on work. But I think one can plan their routine accordingly and spend at least some time with their families. From my experience, work is important, but family is life. We work to give a better living to the family, but better living without them is not okay.
I always make sure to be back home on time and spend quality time with my parents and never miss my volleyball sessions.
You share a thought every day. Do reading positive lines help a person to bring a change in their daily life?
I think reading is critical because it is observed that it builds a sense of motivation for around 63% of people. If I ever miss out on posting a quote, my profile is flooded with messages. People wait to read them every day. But not everyone likes reading, so I have started another initiative where I talk about the quotes in a one minute video. I believe face to face interaction to be effective and efficient. I hope it reaches out to many people and creates a difference in their lives.
Even with the modern society evolving every moment, some people think that it is forbidden to talk about mental health. What are your views on it?
Society is not genuinely modern. The day people start talking about their mental issues openly is the day I’ll believe society attaining modernity. About 47% of the cases that I have treated have deteriorated their mental health because of the social taboo on mental health. My genuine question to such people is when society doesn’t pay their bills nor help them emotionally, then why do they suffer because of the community? I think life is so much more than such taboos. One needs to come above those stereotypes and start living for themselves.
How different is it to write a book than writing a research paper?
A research paper needs a lot of research and approval, and an autobiography needs an intense flashback to all learnings and success.
1. The weirdest myth you have heard about psychology— Psychologists are Omniscient.
2. Your favorite fashion trend era – The 1980’s
3. A role model in your life/ someone you look up to – Nawazuddin Siddiqui for his self-made path to success.
4. Favorite holiday destination – Scotland
5. The food you can’t resist – Tandoor Seafood