Mark Rego has battled and survived cancer twice, visited 111 countries, worked with orphanages and is the host for Bangalore’s favorite pub quiz show, Booze and Brains, in Watson’s, Vasanth Nagar. He has also been featured on BBC News for all the work he does for destitute children. This tall, charmingly entertaining man and father of two grown daughters was also a chef, and planned the menu for his food joint, Peppa Zing here in Bangalore.
On surviving cancer: “Because I was damn adamant in my head to make it through.”
These days though Mark keeps himself busy emceeing all over the country, a professional one for over 20 years, he says that he doesn’t consider it as a hardcore career for himself. He says that he hosts parties and shows only because he loves doing so. When asked how his family feels about his out-of-the-box career, he says, “As long as the bills are paid and food is on the table, my family is alright with it.” Adding further positives of this career, he says, “In fact, I have a lot more time to be with them compared to any other full time job.”
He is an eccentric man that is for sure with all his out-of-the-box life choices, but what makes Mark’s eccentricities hit the roof is his massive mask collection. With over 4000 masks, he has one of the biggest collections in the country. Travelling and the stories from all over the world encouraged Mark to collect masks. He says that each mask has a story and he remembers them all.
Speaking of the hard and painful journey he took more or less a decade ago, Mark humbly acknowledges that he owes his win of the deadly illness to his mother, who herself fought and survived cancer. To know the man, who is healthy as a horse today, one wouldn’t believe that he once was in the last stages of cancer. He states his reason for surviving: “Because I was damn adamant in my head to make it through.”
I have a wonderful life. I have beautiful children, a lovely family, and a brilliant career. God has given me a lot in life and now it is time to give back to society and people.”
His obstinacy and positivity didn’t just help him survive, but also had a spillover effect for hundreds of other children. While Mark was battling it out, he also came across several little children who were silently suffering the same life threatening illness. He says, “When I would go in for treatment and see so many small children with cancer my heart would break every time. At this point I made a vow to God. If helped me make it through the illness I would help these children with their battle. God has kept his promise of letting me live to see my children grow, and I’ve kept my promise of improving the lives of orphaned children and children battling cancer.”
And survive he did. Today Mark is responsible for improving the lives of many orphaned children and children who battle cancer. His entertaining ways and jovial attitude tends to rub off on these children with an amazing grace. Mark doesn’t just pick up the spirits of children but also that of the world-weary workaholics who visit Watson’s in Vasanth Nagar. Mark is the brain behind the longest running (21 years) innovative quiz show in the world, Booze and Brains, which is held every Thursday in the said pub.
With all the charities and laughs he is responsible for one can easily liken him to a Mahatma. And it wouldn’t be wrong, but this Mahatma doesn’t have a light-touch for aggressors. Remarking on the recent molestations that are on the rise in the city and country, he says, “I would beat them up. I have done it before. These people are not humans! You need to pay them back in their own language.”
Mark Rego has a want for nothing. Being very satisfied with his life, he says that he rather give than take. Mark says, “I have a wonderful life. I have beautiful children, a lovely family, and a brilliant career. God has given me a lot in life and now it is time to give back to society and people.”
Mark Rego is the man who doesn’t shy away from taking the tough or the odd road in the journey of life. Much proven by his choices, his bold moves have never let him down.