Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Interview With Parth Gokhale - On How Not To Forget Good Occassions

Parth's essence is best explained this way. He is the only person in the world that I know who remembers every one's birthday and anniversary, every one's children's and grand children's anniversaries, and makes it a point to wish them without fail, year after year, irrespective of the fact whether they remember it or not. Now he is a gregarious guy and his list runs to a pretty large number and what amazes me is this - I suspect he has no qualms about wishing even those who rarely acknowledge his warm and heartfelt greetings. But Parth goes on spreading happiness and joy from his side, making sure that no one is deprived of at least one smile, one warm greeting on a special day. It is a noble thing to do certainly and one that requires much love, energy and patience - all that Parth has and displays in much abundance.
Me and Parth (some years ago)

Now that's a soft and sensitive side to him that he does not hide - despite being a senior executive in an MNC Engineering firm (he's not some college kid who has much time on his hand). Puts that in a slightly different perspective does it not? He is a rare one, this Parth, for being that and doing what he believes in to make the world a better place. In my opinion Parth is the kind of a person our world could do with a lot more of. Unafraid to show his love and affection, unafraid to say what he thinks is right, willing to set the standards that he expects others to follow - Parth does appear like he is operating out of a fairy tale. But wait, there's more.

Parth is not only about birthday and anniversary wishes. That was just to show one side of him. He goes that extra mile for the people he loves, is sensitive and intelligent. He has a fine sense of humour, enjoys good music and  what's more, sings well. He has a lust for life, for love and for all things good in God's world. Rarely would anyone ever have a grouse against him - and why would they. You can spend many hours talking anything with him - books, sports, cricket, movies, people, ideas, religion - and expect an intelligent and honest answer. And to top it all, he is a self-confessed perfectionist!

I've known Parth for over two decades now and since I know that he is one who will never stand you up on an engagement and will always keep his word, I decided to interview him and get a peep into the mind of a person who can love unconditionally.

Q. What interests you most in people?
A. Their attitude towards other people, towards work, towards nature...  I take to people who show a caring attitude.
Q. What do you think people really need?
A.  People need a realisation that contentment and peace of mind are more important in one's life than one-upmanship and material possessions.
Q. Why are you nice to people? 
A.  Can't help it I guess!  It comes naturally.

Q. Why do you remember every one's special days even if they forget yours?
A.  I try to remember people's special days (I'm by no means infallible!) because I want to, because it gives me joy - not with the expectation that they remember mine in return; because I like to think it pleases them to get a wish from me just as much as it does me to get one - and I do get wishes on my special days too, not necessarily from the same people I remember...

Q. What emotion are you most comfortable with (your preferred emotion)?
A. Being emotional. I cry easily while reading books or watching movies. I like the fact that I am capable of being moved. I like being able to feel what they are portraying. My second most preferred emotion would be happiness.

Q. The traits that you admire in people?
A. Curiosity and willingness to learn or to know more about things that interest them, even the small things in life. I like the fact that they actually take time out to know more about those things. Olaf's father was one such.

Q. Who makes you laugh the most?
A. Raja (a cousin)! Children.

Q. Your favorite comedians?
A. Charlie Chaplin, Mehmood, Amitabh Bachchan

Q. What would you like to see more of in this world?
A. I would like to see undisguised expression from people. Say what they mean and not seek to manipulate.I would like to see more openness, honesty and transparency. People should say what they want to say and not say something and hide something and expect others to understand. There's too much of that going on.

Q. If you were in the perfect world, how would it be?
A. There would be no misunderstandings within the family. People I love would be all around me. I'd be doing work that I would like to do (work that I do now is work I love too). Travel much. Time with friends. Time at my disposal.

Q. If you had the power, what would you like to change in this world?
A. Slow down progress a bit. Things are changing too rapidly. We're consuming the environment too fast.

Q. Who were the people who influenced you the most?
A. Can't think of teachers and mentors as such. My mother has perhaps had the most influence on my life.

Q. Your biggest strength?
A. My humaneness, my capacity to love.

Q. Your biggest weakness?
A. My unwillingness to confront. Not incapability, just the unwillingness.

Q. Your biggest fear?
A. Of failure. More so since the fear grows even more because I haven't really failed.

Q. On work ethic, your advice to young professionals?
A. Do the job right. Think through, put in some study, don't do things in a hurry and push half-done jobs. Do a good job.

Q. Your secret to success as a professional?
A. One must have a passion for work. You need to be interested in work. Get involved. Find challenge. If you have superficial engagement you won't do a good job. Also, learn to be patient. Be there for the long haul.

Q. Are you a perfectionist?
A. Yes, I want perfection in what I do or what my people do.

Q. Has your attitude to perfection changed as you grew older?
A. Yes, now I know that some people are not able to cope. Sometimes I overlook the imperfections. Sometimes I completely trust the guys to do it and do not pass it through my filter at all.

Q. Has this change helped in terms of results?
A. I think so. (Positively.)

Q. Your top 5 songs?
A. There are many more but these come to mind first: Mere Naina, Koi Lauta De, Pukarta Chala Hoon, Jaane Woh Kaise, Door Rehkar Na Karo Baat

Q. One thing you'd like to change about yourself?
A. I get angry easily. Would like not to get angry. At other drivers or at Neha (daughter).

Q. Your favorite childhood memory?
A. A cruise on the Mediterranean sea that I had gone on a school trip with my school friends from Stella Maris College, Malta in 1978. Another trip to Victoria Falls, Zambia, in 1975.

Q. Your favorite food? Your favorite meal (outside of home)?
A. Shevya chi kheer (and it's one thing my wife makes even better than my mother!). At home I love the full meal, freshly cooked.  My best meal outside home was the one I remember having in a road side dhaba near Chennai - rice with sambar, rice with rasam and finally more rice with curd, served on a banana leaf. A sumptuous vegetarian meal!

Q. 3 things that you think God has blessed you with?
A. Family, including the extended family. Beautiful friends. And an attitude of being content with what I have.

Q. One thing that moves you the most?
A. When I see something or read something that I exactly feel myself. I get a feeling of oneness with that character then.

Q. One big lesson you learned from life?
A. Things are not always the way you'd like them to be. Things are not as transparent. It makes me sad. Frustrated. I hate such things.

Q. What are the things you enjoy doing the most?
A. Jigsaw puzzles, climbing (Sinhagad), being at home, meeting people I love to be around with.

Q. If there is something you wish to tell Neha from your life experience what would it be?
1) Don't be afraid to love. Love as many and as much as you can and ignore what others may think or say.
2) Remember to do the things you enjoy doing.

These questions pertain to the favourite series
Q. Your favourite three books?
A. Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, Lord of the Rings, Joy in the Morning

Q. Your favorite English movies?
A. Mackenna's Gold, Lord of the Rings, Ten Commandments

Q. Your favorite Hindi movies?
A. Sholay, Padosan, Chalti ka naam gaadi

Q. Your favorite authors?
A. P.G. Wodehouse, Agatha Christie and W.E. Johns (the author of Biggles)

Q. Your heroes?
A. Gavaskar - perfection is what I relate to in him. And Gandhi, who was truthful to his ideas.

And that ended a short interview with one of the nicest people you'd meet, Parth Gokhale. From climbing Sinhagad to going off to Sreevardhan, to long weekends eating pomfret and drinking beer and watching the US Open, to bonfires and long singing sessions, we shared much. Here's to being who you are Parth, and wishing that you get back all the love that you share many fold from the world.


Dr. Seven said...

Nice. I would have guessed many of Parth's responses, since much of what he said comes through in his interactions with everyone.

Shubha Gokhale said...

What a lovely interview. Thanks, Hari, for putting Parth on the spot and thank you Parth for telling it like it is (you are)!I felt very touched by your responses and by your advice to Neha.

Harimohan said...

Satish, That I think is a wonderful compliment to Parth because it means that he is the same all the time - transparent and like he said, being and doing what he thinks. I fear I may be two different people (at the very least!)

Harimohan said...

Hey Shubha, Thanks. I liked the interview too. It has potential for a sequel!

Dr. Seven said...

Being two different people is not bad either. You get to play a double role in your life. :)


Harimohan said...

Satish, I only need to differentiate one from another. Maybe give them a different hairstyle. Or a hidden mark that only someone very close would know. (That's how we'll catch the vamp who is the traitor.) See, life's already getting interesting with my double role. Now to think of a triple.

Unknown said...

Hari, I know Parth, Chhaya and Shubha from Malta from the late 70's -- I recognised Parth from this picture! -- and would love to get back in touch with them! Could you pass my email address on to him and please tell him that his old childhood friend, Peter Xuereb, sends his very best wishes...? Thanks -- Peter

Rajesh Raghunathan said...

I know Parth, Chhaya and Subha from Nashik days in the early 80's. Picture of Parth is exactly what I remember of him way back when. Would be great to reconnect with him and rest of the family. Thanks, Rajesh Raghunathan

Sudha said...

I am thrilled to come across Parth again. I know Parth, Chhaya and Shubha and their amazing mom, Manik from Malta. He, my brother, Harish and I won the China quiz and were featured on local TV as 14/15 year olds. Parth: would love to get back in touch.
Sudha Sarma