Paromita Sanatani – Author & Publisher – Famous OD’s Profile
Paromita arrived 1975 at Dover College as part of the official first 40 girls intake to Duckworth House. A year later she moved to newly opened 2nd girl’s house, Belmont, of which she became Head of House in her final year 1979/1980
After A levels she went to Brighton Polytechnic (these days Brighton University)where she pursued her dream to study Interior Design at the School of Architecture. Little did she know that she was going to be channelled into office design and space planning after graduating. In 1985 she started as junior designer at Austin-Smith:Lord in London, followed by Llewellyn Davies Weeks and finally working freelance for Heery International.
Disillusioned with the niche she found herself stuck in, the 1991 recession in the building industry offered her the chance to get out of the commuter rut and go see the world!
After 8 months solo travel around the world, catching up with many OD’s along the way,Paromita knew that she would not just be picking up where she left off.
One fateful day in May 1992, she saw an advert in the local paper looking for German speaking tour guides. She enquired, went for the interview and got the job accompanying Brits by rail, holidaying in Austria. Long story short, the company offered her to rep the winter ski season in Bulgaria (Panorama Holidays Ski Experience). First week of 1993 she befriended a charming ski instructor and by August that same year they were married.
In September 1993 Paromita moved to Bulgaria and her big adventure began. A Eastern European country fresh out of communism (since November 1989) with serious political instability in neighbouring former Yugoslavia, the car journey through Serbia was quite a nail biter as Serbian cops were known to pull you over and fabricate incidents in an attempt to extort bribes. However on this journey the wedding dress clearly visible in the luggage compartment, they only received blessings and good wishes each time they were pulled over.
The rental income from Brighton meant she could focus on building a home and starting a family. Being a foreigner (Westener) in Sofia had its advantages. It was a close knit expat community and Paromita soon made many new friends through the International Women’s Club of Sofia (IWC Sofia).
One friendship in particular opened a completely new career path in writing and publishing which has lasted nearly 25 years and brings together Paromita’s passion for travel, good design and helping others in the tourist information guides she publishes.
In 2003 together with her friend they started publishing Sofia the insider’s guide, published a book ‘The insider’s guide to Sofia and beyond'(2005) and eventually became the Bulgaria licensee for In your pocket. In 2016 they were founding partners of Sofia Restaurant Week.
In 2017 they split the businesses and Paromita remained with the publishing side of the business and in 2017 became a shareholder in In Your Pocket. Unfortunately the business is currently on hold because of Covid-19, but Paromita has learnt to trust the flow of life – always open for new opportunities.
Looking back on 27 years of living in Bulgaria she has truly appreciated the additional opportunities that have come her way.
These include President of the IWC (2000), Charity Bazaar co-ordinator (1996-99), founding member of The Federation for the Welfare of Street Dogs (1998) editor in chief at the Sofia City Guide (1997 -2000), ‘Family Matters’ columnist at The Sofia Echo, Manager of Traditzia charity shop(2000) helping artists and people from social institutions sell their gift items, English IVR recordings and voice-overs for various clients, participation in various TV chat shows and the icing on the cake; a small role in a really lovely Bulgarian movie ‘The Migration of the Belted Bonito'(2011)
Thankful, content, fulfilled and optimistic she prefers to spend her time these days focusing on her health and wellbeing. Paromita and Todor are still happily married with a son 25 and daughter 21.