Sunday, June 1, 2014

I Will Survive - Sunil Robert

A fine book and heartily recommended not only for all Hyderabadis but and all the lion hearts who wish to convert adversity into opportunity. Sunil Robert must have been one shade away from my life, he is of my age, has been in the same areas and same places (Ramnagar, Osmania University), has similar loves, knows similar people, and I was scanning the book for names I would find that are common to us. Raza, I cannot claim as a common friend, he being senior with a superstar status at the Osmania University College of Engineering, but Amirullah with his disarming smile and his very welcome presence struck a chord instantly. We played for the college together too! And there is mention of the HCA, and Hyderabad's sports journalists, VVS, Paul and even my late friend and mentor Rajan Bala. I am sure I will find many common friends now.

Sunil speaks with great honesty and candour, utmost sincerity and love, and you know he genuinely wants to share his experiences with the hope that it might benefit someone - not to aggrandize his achievements, make money or for fame. And many would benefit from reading his story and take heart and inspiration from it and be better off for it. From a childhood that posed him severe challenges, financial problems that almost kept him out of school, kept hunger and strife as constant companions, to rebellious teens where he swung close to the edge, before finding the strength to fall on the right side. once he did, there was no looking back and his tale must be read to see how he embraced challenge after challenge, gave his best to every single job, used a cool and calm head to propel himself on his first principles and became a consummate, award winning corporate communications professional. May who have been mentioned in his book with more opportunity and promise would be rather ashamed that they could not do half the justice to their talent as Sunil did. And for that I believe Sunil falls into the category of the few who can do justice to their talent - by being themselves, by following their calling wholeheartedly. For the rest of us, we all need to read this book and find the strength and courage to follow that path.

Courage certainly because despite the tongue in cheek narrative, Sunil made brave choices all through and overcame any doubt or fear by plunging into life headlong. A career that started with sales (Eureka Forbes!), A&M Advertising, SQL Star, i-flex and now TCS, he has fared brilliantly. His academic achievements after the days at St. Pius School and the famous Polytechnic College at Masab Tank, an engineering degree, an MBA and post graduate degress in journalism (four gold medals in Journalism) are a fantastic turnaround. His constant challenging of the status quo, his knowledge of his strengths and passions, and mostly his energy, intelligence, perseverance, and courage, served him well. The moment when he finally makes it to school after running around to raise money to pay off fees and starts writing - ah, what a moment. My heart flew when I read that part. Wonderful story.

Sunil has since written another book 'Bound to Rise' which has been released in 2014. He has 25 years of experience in various fields - sales, marketing, advertising, brand building, corporate communications, public relations - and has won awards and accolades for his brand building work. He currently lives in New Jersey and has been selected for the Rex Karamveer Global Fellowship award for his efforts to inspire India's youth.

Many thanks are owed to Vinod for giving me the book to read. I would have been poorer without it and must admit that I am now inspired enough to practice a few of Sunil's lessons. A lot comes to mind but its a story that must be read - on his relationship with his father, the letter to his son, his nature of making friends and keeping them, the way his wife influenced the big change in his life by bridging the turbulent relationship with his father - and more. Fine effort and certainly recommended. Now to read 'Bound to Rise'.

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