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In our endevour exploring the Indian video game culture, sometimes we uncover some really great stories. The questions to these stories invariably remains the same: “how did it all start?”, “where will you go from there”. But its the answers that differ every time. Unfolding like a video game with multiple endings.

One such story which we would like to share with you is of Saloni Pawar. A YouTuber, Streamer but above all a gamer, we sat down with Saloni recently (across Laptops) and went around asking her those same questions.


Give us a brief intro about yourself and how you got involved in this (still) unorthodox hobby?

My name is Saloni Pawar and my Ingame nick is Meow16K and i am also a youtube streamer(Channel Name: Meow16K) . I’ve been playing for 2 years. It all started when my brother challenged me at a game in cs. His point was that it’s a game for boys and I naturally would suck at it.That was when I started playing as a retaliation to that single mindset and finally i realized later that I actually liked playing.

What were some of your favourite games growing up? At what moment were you inspired to carve your own niche in this field?

I started gaming with cs1.6. I seldom played Road rash, GTA Vice City and Far Cry as well. My brother and his friends were hardcore LAN cs1.6 players and they were really good. That was the first motivation that I got, wanting to be above par them. One milestone after another, the community always kept me going.

With gaming still being seen as fairly niche/elitist hobby in India, did you face any obstacles that you faced whilst trying to carve out a career path in it?

Orthodox crowd is a big reason why a career in gaming is not yet a major preference among people. Anyone initiating in that sector is criticized and labelled “dreamy” or “unrealistic”. Being a girl should not matter but that actually doubled the reactions which was horrible. Even parents aren’t usually ready to accept the possible success outcomes this path has. Although, when my parents became aware of the various opportunities that gaming offers, I always had their sweet support.

As a female, do you feel somewhat of an extra pressure to be competitive/ thriving in a still “MALE-DOMINATED” profession?

People judge. They judge badly. Being a girl is probably something strange in the gaming field even now and that attracts needless attention at times. Worse is that everything is monitored and even the slightest bad performance becomes showcased.

Is there any negative experience you’ve had in this field that you’d like to share? Any negative/backward trends that you’d like to be eliminated as soon as possible?

Everyone wants to be better at the game. And everyone keeps getting better. Human mentality doesn’t appreciate change easily. In gaming terms, a person who was worse than you always has to be worse than you. If he/she somehow beat you in the future, that person is cheating. That person is called names. Amazing, isn’t it?

Just get an open mind and enjoy the game for what it is. Winning and Losing both are a part of it. Keep getting better, that’s the only important part after all.

How much do you actually PLAY games as part of your daily schedule (for non-work related stuff)? Do you wish you had the time to play more?

I play for approx. 4 hours every day. I share my system with my brother so I have to limit its use as he needs to work on it most of the times. I do wish that I had more time to play but it’s hard adjusting everything else into little time and reserving a huge chuck for gaming. No balance in that case. With time probably I’ll find a solution!

Video Games are perhaps not the most popular hobby amongst females (in this country, at least). Say a few kind words of encouragement that would help other women appreciate it more.

Hobbies are gender neutral. If you like doing something, just do it. They are supposed to ease your mind, nothing else. If gaming gives you relaxation, you go start that console/computer up, girl!

Lastly, where do you see gaming in India evolve 10 years down the line? As an emerging medium, what are your hopes in terms of seeing it be part of Indian pop culture?

It’s already a huge picture. I expect it to come close to the foreign gaming scene, if not akin to them. Hopefully that will encourage more people into making Esports their major and we will see many new talents, with a level the world has never seen before.

Lastly, leave us a few kind words/ personal philosophy/words of wisdom that you ascribe to, and that our readers can be enlightened by.

Don’t let “log kya kahenge” drag you down. Keep on moving along the path that you want your life to take. Pursue what you wish and let your example roar through generations to come. Create your own legacy!

If you haven’t already heard of meow16K, or Saloni Pawar, you can find more about her using the links below. Also if there is anything you would like to say, we would love to know more in the comments.

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