Wednesday, July 31, 2019

'The Renaissance Man' - Press for the Book Launch Program

The launch received good press from the local media. The Hindu, Deccan Chronicle, Times of India, Telangana Today, Eenadu were some of the newspapers that covered the event. The Hindu did a pre-event report as well. Thanks VVS, Das, Jac, Moses and all others from the media.

Pre-event report in The Hindu 'Ex-pacers ode to Doc'

Deccan Chronicle
Telangana Today
Times of India

The Hindu


Anjali - Selling the Old Cycle

Anjali's old cycle has become too small for her. This was a fancy one with all the colors and trappings that we had bought five years ago. She learned to ride on it, had some fun times on it but these days finds it too small. She initially said she would like a new bike for her birthday but then she decided to go for a new one right away after a few days. We went to Decathlon and bought her a new one. This one looks sleek, fast and has big wheels. It's just a little taller for her and she has to reach down with her toes - but she is happy with it and it flies like the wind.
New bike (2019)
Now, what do we do with the old cycle? One of the ideas apart from our regular 'give it away' plan was to sell it on OLX, an idea I dropped. She caught on to the idea - and forced me to sign up on OLX. Seeing my reluctance she took my phone and in five minutes I was registered and we needed to upload photos.

'Let's clean it up,' I said. 'So it looks good in the picture.' She got a cloth, some water and I sat down and started cleaning it up. Suddenly I noticed what a beautiful bike it was with its colored wheels and stuff and as I cleaned it some more, it really started to look good.

'I cannot believe that I am taking care of it now before we sell it,' I said. 'I never took as much care when it was with us. Maybe that is what we do with all things in our life.'
It was harsh, and the reality sunk into both of us.
'Don't say things like that,' said Anjali. 'I feel really bad.'
Old bike (2015)
I know, I felt bad too. Not so much about the bike as much as the realisation. I remembered a vague story I had read somewhere - about this poor woman who dies penniless, hungry and homeless and after her death the local moneylender and others get some money together and give her a good funeral including new clothes etc. No one cares for her when she was alive.

The moment will stay with me and hopefully I will be more careful with what I have, and treat them better, before its time for them to go.

Funnily, I have not sold the bike on OLX despite a few calls. I don't think I will. I like the idea that Anjali got that business figured out quickly, registered etc but I feel that my biggest learning is from this - to take care of it when it is with me.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Anjali - Van Monitors

Anjali and Brahmani are the seniors in their school van. She spent a whole evening regaling me with the kind of problems the younger kids have. 'Akka, she took my pen,' or 'Akka, she called me a non-living thing,' or stuff like that. She imitates the younger kids and its hilarious.

While all the fun and stuff is good to laugh at, keeping them under control is a big thing for the two young ladies. The biggest problem is that the kids throw wrappers out of the window. They get a snack - chips or biscuits or whatever - eat and throw the wrapper out of the window.

The two monitors were unhappy with this and asked them not to throw wrappers out of the window. The young kids stopped throwing them out of the window and instead, starting throwing them inside the van. Which would have been okay if the van was cleaned on a daily basis. The van was not being cleaned.

'It's so dirty Nanna,' she complained.

I told her to complain to the transport in charge. So they dutifully went and complained to the in-charge. They listened promised action but nothing happened. The two ladies got down to the job and started cleaning up the van themselves. When I heard that I said that was fine, but they still needed the right person to do the job - so they complained again.  It worked. Now the van is clean and the kids are not throwing stuff out. Good job.

I like what responsibility does - I feel that after her van monitoring, she is being more aware of the little things - like stuff on the floor, her bed, her shoes, thanks to her experience with the younger kids.

Everyone should be given an opportunity to lead.

The Sunday HANS - Get Some Sporting Sprit

My take on why New Zealand got sporting spirit all wrong!

Book launch of 'The Renaissance Man - Doc MV Sridhar' at Uppal Stadium

The book launch of 'The Renaissance Man - Doc MV Sridhar' was held fittingly at the Uppal stadium Hyderabad which provided a fabulous backdrop to the event. The clubhouse overlooks the lush, green ground to the side and it was a superb setting for the book. Dr Pushpa, Sridhar's mother said this was Sridhar's favourite ground - it was where she wanted to host the launch. VVS Laxman, Doc Sridhar's unabashed fan was there to launch the book as the Chief Guest, with Venkatapathi Raju, CV Anand, G. Vinod, Dr. Neeraj and me as Guests of Honour. Dr Pushpa joined us on the stage. The event was at 11 am.
The launch of 'The Renaissance Man' by (from left) G Vinod, CV Anand, Dr Pushpa Maturi, Md. Azharuddin, VVS Laxman, Venkatapathi Raju and me
Suresh offered to pick me up and that was a huge relief for me. Shobha and Anjali joined in and off we went to the stadium - a little earlier than we thought - we were there at 10 am. As we entered we saw Sagarika's parents Shankar and Rama Melkote arrive at the same time. Uncle gave me a big hug and said he loved the book. 'Unputdownable' he said. Aunty said she liked it too. That was a good start.
Anjali outside the clubhouse
Sagarika, Bobby, Narsing Rao, Ravinder Singh and others were working at getting the venue right. Lakshmi of Akshara Book Store had deputed her man Vijay to ensure smooth sale of the books. Mahendra was overseeing things. One could sense the moment growing bigger.
The All Saints gang - Venkatapathi Raju, Masood Ahmed, Joseph Fernandes, Brother Joseph, Azhar, Denzil Balm and Noel David

Soon the cricketers trailed in - Noel, Kanwal, NP Singh, Yuvraj, Venkatapathi, Chamundi, Ramesh, Parth Satwalker, Nanda Kishore, Ramesh Kumar, Pragyan Ojha, Akshat Reddy. From All Saints there were Joel, Joseph Fernandes, Bro Joseph, Denzil Balm, Masood (who came from the US), Madgusudhan Suri and others. CV came dressed nattily, VVS arrived, Vinod arrived. Neeraj came with his recording equipment.
Joe, Bro Joseph, Azhar, Raju, Denzil and Kanwal

I saw Das who gave me the project, VV Subramanyam who had thoughtfully and kindly put up a pre-event article in the Hindu that day. There was Ramaraju, Benhur. Dr Pushpa and several of her relatives.
Lamp lighting - CV Anand, G Vinod, VVS Laxman, Dr Pushpa, Venkatapathi Raju, me and Dr Neeraj
Veena Kondapalli who wrote a poem for Sridhar. Yogesh, Ajitha, their son Yash, Eunice who was compering the show.
On stage with Doc
Chandu, Sanjay, Vardha. Pankaj came. Mythily and Chanti my sisters, Shrinjay and Shashank my nephews, and Mythily's friend Nagalakshmi came as well.
A view of the audience from left - Kanwaljeet Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Narsing Rao, Noel David, Dilip, Bro Joseph 

As the guests were being called on stage there was a quiet presence in the audience and we saw Md Azharuddin quietly make his way and sit in the second row. We invited him to the dais. All it needed was a call from Dr Pushpa inviting him and he came - beautiful. were all invited on the stage, lamp lit, a prayer song sung and the proceedings were on.
Azhar speaking
The book was released up front and the media took pictures.
Me at the mike
Dr Neeraj opened the proceedings with a short speech and a fantastic video that he had made a year ago 'Sridhar we miss you' - a tribute by the OMC batch of 1982 to their dear friend Sridhar. It was the perfect set up for the morning as everyone turned emotional as they saw Doc smiling, laughing, singing and were wiping away tears.
VVS Laxman speaking

Dr Pushpa who sat next to me was in tears. You can watch it here. It set the mood perfectly as everyone could see snippets of Sridhar's life, pictures, videos, voice overs, was like he was in the room. Many got emotional and I could see them drying their tears.
Me and Laxman - nice pic

After that emotional video, CV Anand, who was Vice President when Doc was part of the HCA administration spoke about Doc and his contribution first. He spoke about how he first met Sridhar, how Sridhar invited him to the HCA, how they worked on the ground, the relationship he shared with Sridhar. G Vinod, former Labour Minister and President of HCA, who was a great friend of Sridhar spoke about how Sridhar had some wonderful qualities and was a great friend and professional. Venkatapathi Raju, former Test player and a great friend of Doc spoke and recalled how Sridhar pushed them to do better, the camaraderie in the team.
Reading excerpts from the book

Azhar, who was senior to Sridhar at our school All Saints High School, spoke about how he knew Sridhar from the time he was 10, how his father and Sridhar's grandfather worked in the same department and how he just came because Sridhar's mother invited him, Dr Pushpa spoke after Azhar and thanked everyone and gave us mementos.

I spoke next - mainly bout why the book came to me, the reasons why I was the best person to write it, the process of writing it and my discoveries along the way.

With the family - Sagarika, Andy and Arnav to the right

VVS Laxman spoke last and spoke with lots of emotion and passion for a full 25 minutes as he reminisced his early days with Sridhar, how Sridhar mentored him, pushed him to grow, made life more bearable for him, kept them all in good space, how Sridhar had advised his father when they asked him whether Laxman could pursue both cricket and medicine at the same time. The entire two hour video can be watched here with all the speehes etc.

The proceedings lasted over 2 hours.
Ms Rama Melkote, me and Shankar Melkote

Then we signed copies - Laxman was as usual very obliging and spent a lot of time with people, signing copies, taking selfies and so on.
Bro Joseph, Clement Michael, Noel, Joseph Fernandes

I signed several copies myself. We all enjoyed a fabulous lunch hosted by Dr Pushpa after that. It was a morning full of great vibes.
Ramesh, Vijay, Parth, me, Laxman, Yuvraj, Nanda, NP Singh

The book is available at Akshara Book Store, Jubilee Hills. It is also available at amazon at this link

Shashank, Anjali, Shrinjay, Chanti and Mythily at the Uppal stadium
You could also write to the following email or address to obtain copies
- Global News  -
- Dr Maturi Pushpa, Plot No 29, BN Reddy Colony, Road No 14, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad - 500 034
Ph 98495 65000, email

Friday, July 26, 2019

Just Look Up - Sadhana Ramchander

Sadhana writes lovely books. They are rooted in life, in nature, and have a quality of stillness about them. By the end of the book you are taken to a space that you experienced in your childhood, of wonder, of being secure, of hope, of being small and being fine with the world being bigger and letting it take over. It's a beautiful thing to do that with your work.

Anyway while working on the book 'The Renaissance Man' she gifted a copy of this book that she wrote, to Anjali. 'Just look up' is about the trees around us. A lovely introduction with beautiful pictures, poems, quotes, trivia and facts. I saw Anjali looking through it the other day and I picked it up today to read it - and loved it. Just as I loved going through the other book she had gifted me 'Hyd and Seek'.

So we look up and are introduced to 28 trees that we see in and around Hyderabad mostly - the Kadamb tree, Badminton Ball tree, African Tulip tree, Flame of the Forest, Rain tree, Coral bead tree, Scalet cordia, Siris tree, Skunk tree, Badam, Gulmohur, Copper pod, Tree jasmine, Bakula, Pink trumpet tree, Tree of gold, Red casia, Jacaranda, Indian laburnum, Banyan, Sandalwood, Peepal, Orchid tree, Temple tree, Queen crape myrtle, Cannon ball tree, Sausage tree and Baobab. With interesting facts and photographs and details where the pictures had been taken - Necklace road, Sanjeevaiah park, Indira park etc.

It's a compact book of 72 pages with lovely pictures and content. She recommends two videos to watch 'The private life of plants' by Richard Attenborough and 'The Inconvenient Truth' by Al Gore.

I was happy to read her blog at the same time. It's so well written, and so complete. Again, that element of stillness comes through and one realises that she does that with all her work. I read her blog about her badminton days, tree walks, read. While reading her blog I realised she conducts tree walks - to introduce children and adults to these wonderful trees. I'm planning to go with Anjali on one. She includes the book - so one can buy it and get it signed by the author as well.
For more information on the tree walks write to Sadhana at or to There's one at Women's College Koti tomorrow morning at 630 pm.

Sadhana's other books - 'Autorickshaw Blues and other colours' is published by Katha and is really beautiful. The other book of hers, with Lakshmi Prabhala's photographs is called 'Hyd and Seek' and its a wonderful coffee table book about Hyderabad from a different lens.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Invite to the Launch of 'The Renaissance Man - Doc M V Sridhar', (and the Making of)

It was mid-October 2018 when I received a call from Jagannath Das (1), senior sports writer.
'Doctor Sridhar's mother approached me to write a book about him,' he said. 'I thought you could help out.' I had no clue what he wanted me to do - perhaps he wanted me to guide him or structure it. 'I said, I will help, no problem.' Das quietly left the ball in my hand and moved out of the project. He told me later that he had no time, had never written a book and thus was not the right person. I said it was ok and I would first talk to Sridhar's mother to understand what was on her mind. Narasimha Rao "Bobby" (2) Sridhar's advocate friend called me and arranged a meeting.
The invite to the launch - come one, come all
How I Knew Sridhar
I knew Doc M V Sridhar from school. He was two years my senior at All Saints High School. I first met him at Lal Bahadur stadium in the 1977-78 period. I was playing table tennis there after school and he was too. He walked over in his characteristic easy manner, asked me if I was from All Saints High School, made some small talk and left. I must have been in my seventh class and he must have been in his ninth. I'd see him at school after that and figured he was a popular boy - good at academics, sports, extracurriculars. Then, in my eighth class, I saw his name and picture in the Sportstar - playing for Hyderabad in the Under 15 state tournament which Hyderabad won. I had that photo under my bed for a long time - Bro Joseph was the manager, and Ehtesham, Laeeq and Sanjay Bhatnagar were the other members apart from Sridhar. It served as an inspiration for me to play cricket at a higher level.

Sridhar passed out of school and joined Little Flower Junior College. LFJC would play against All Saints on Saturday afternoons - they were a fun bunch. By now I was in my tenth class and had started representing the school side. That year when he was playing for the Hyderabad Under 19's, I saw him bat at that Lal Bahadur stadium - he got 76 against Andhra that day if I remember right. Then he joined Osmania Medical College and we heard he gave up cricket - I thought that he was a studious guy and knew exactly what he wanted to, be a doctor. We bumped into one another at the Inter-varsity tournaments.
Meting Jawahar Mahi, Neeraj at the Food Court at HPS, Begumpet at the HLF
When he married Sagarika, my junior from Engineering college, he had just broken into the Ranji team after scoring 13 hundreds in a row in the league games. It was a fantastic achievement - he kept scoring runs at first class level too. I attended their wedding, and they both attended ours three years later, when Shobha and I got married. He scaled great heights as a cricketer in the next decade and became Hyderabad's highest run getter (6701), highest number of centuries for Hyderabad (21) and several records under his belt. I was working at jobs meanwhile - sales, finance, marketing - away from cricket, though I played league matches.

In 2007 my first novel 'The Men Within' was launched and I invited him. When the book was made into a movie Sridhar was part of the movie - as one of the cricketers who succeeded in other aspects of life too. I had a long chat with him and wrote a blog about him then. This was in 2010.

In 2013 he called me at midnight and told me I was Chairman of Selectors - he was Secretary of HCA then. We worked together for a year at the HCA. When my book '50 Not Out' was released in 2015, I met him at the airport, and he hugged me as usual, and even showed me a copy of the book he was carrying to Mumbai to read. In 2017, Sridhar passed away suddenly.

Going by the history we shared, I realised that it made sense for me to write this book because there were many things in common - our school, cricket, people, environment (school, college, HCA). Even if they got a great writer, the cricket part could have been compromised. Being aware of my unique understanding of his space, I felt I should meet his mother Dr. Pushpa.
Joseph Fernandes, Bro Joseph, me and Joel - meeting on Bro Joseph's birthday
Making of the Book
I wondered what Dr. Pushpa (3) had in mind when I met her. She was with her friend Dr. Indira and brought out a bunch of carefully collected and organised articles about his cricketing life and other achievements. I asked her what the purpose of the book was and she and told me that since he had some very good qualities as a person and a professional, the book could focus on bringing out lessons from his life to inspire youngsters. I liked that angle because I am constantly looking for lessons to learn.

At that time there was some talk of bringing the book out in 15 days so it would not have been more than a booklet. I spoke to Mr. Shankar Melkote, Sridhar's father-in-law, and he said that it should not be done in a hurry and we should do a good job at it. Dr. Pushpa wrote down a general flow of his life on a piece of paper and a list of people to meet. It looked like there were about 20 people who could give me information - apart from the articles in the folder. I guessed it would take me about a couple of months to get to the first draft, all going well with the interviews.
Vivek Jaisimha, me, Noel, Vidyuth, Sanjay and Venkatapathi
I read the papers first, and made notes. Then my interviews started - with Dr. Pushpa herself at their home in Banjara Hills. I met her several more times to get perspectives about Sridhar's childhood and his relationship with his parents, grandparents etc. In time I met Sagarika (4), children, Andy (5) and Arnav (6), friend Vinay (7) at home. I met Sridhar's in-laws, Melkotes, Shankar (8) and Rama (9) at their home in Sainikpuri. I spoke to Sitaram (10) their manservant over phone and also met him at Matrusri Engineering College at Nagergul when I visited it. Dr. Indumati (11), his aunt from the UK spoke with me over the phone.
Running through the manuscript at Pune - early on the 7th May after the bus journey

To get some inputs on Sridhar's school life I went to Joseph Fernandes's (12) house at Uppal and met him Joel (13) and Bro Joseph (14) to get information about how Sridhar was at school. It was Bro Joseph's birthday as well so we had a long, extended meeting with Bro Joseph recounting some wonderful tales. Joseph and Joel assured me they would set up meetings with others who knew Sridhar! I met Dr. Hariprasad (15) at Apollo Hospitals (with Neeraj), to find about how Sridhar was in his Under 15 days. Hari was his captain at the Under 15 and Under 19 levels. I met Ehtesham (16) at Minerva Coffee shop to get his sense of Sridhar - they played from the Under 10 days onward for All Saints and even played Ranji Trophy together. I called Chatterjee (17) and he volunteered much information about Sridhar and shared pictures. I called Subba Rao Vadlamani (18) in the US over phone. I was getting information on the cricketing aspect, but I had no clue how Sridhar was in class or at home. That was when I met Swaroop Kolluri (19) who was on a short visit to India at his house in Banjara Hills and he gave some great information in that clear and articulate manner of his. It was a wonderful two hours spent with him.
A cover designed by Sadhana
Much later Dr Pushpa found Anil Kaza (20), Sridhar's childhood pal and he opened the floodgates to many school friends. Anil is based in Geneva and was vacationing in Bhutan and we spoke over phone. (This was so amazing because at the end of the conversation, Anil asked me if my sister went to REC, Warangal and when I said yes he said his wife was Chitra Narayanaswamy! She was my sister's close friend and I knew her very well too as she visited us at home quite often. Small world! Now we all plan to meet when they come to India next.)

Anil gave me the contacts of Vijay Kumar Raju (21) who played table tennis with Sridhar and became state champion as well. He was kind enough to get Ravichander (22) to share some more stories. (They introduced me to Premanand who holds the school group together and despite his offer to have a big get together where everyone shares stories, we could never get down to that.) Srinivasa Katikithala (23), IAS officer in Delhi was another who spared time and gave me some stories. Sridar's tenant Subrahmanyam (24) was a great source of anecdotes too. Ravi Kaza joined in later and wrote a note and sent some pictures. By now we had a fair idea of Sridhar's childhood - full of fun and mischief. As his aunt wrote in her piece, he was a terror. Some of his childhood stories were crazy. Not all of them made it into the book of course!

Little Flower Junior College
I realised that a key person to this effort would be Dr Neeraj (25) a close pal of Sridhar and someone who was fond of Sridhar - enough to compile pictures and vidoes. He made a lovely 15 minute video titled 'Sridhar we miss you' on behalf of the medical college gang. I called him to give me time and he asked me to come to his office at Somajiguda. I ended up going there many more times in the next few months. We connected easily and there is a comfort we share - He is one of the best things to have happened over this project. Neeraj is the quintessential artist - he is a gold medalist in medicine and never practiced medicine for a day.

Neeraj was a treasure house of information. He first gave me a copy of Images, their college year book (OMC). He shared contacts of their friends from college. Luckily for me, Neeraj had also gone to Little Flower with Sridhar so we could dig up some more information there. We met Jawahar Mahi (26) at his Banjara Hills house. Jawahar was close to Sridhar and was part of the Lung Fung gang - Srivardhan, Ali Nawaz, and Kamalakar. Harendar Prasad aka Jimmy, another childhood friend, spoke to me over the phone (27). I spoke to two doctors who knew Srivardhan very well at Deccan Medical College - Dr Varda Raju (28) and Dr Srinivas (29) and they gave me many new angles which proved helpful. Such as the fact that Sridhar acted in a movie, been a partner in a restaurant and once bought a pup as a gift for Sagarika!

Osmania Medical College
We moved into the Osmania Medical College days and I established contact with Ananta Parakrama (30), who played cricket for the state too and was my senior at St Alphonso Junior College. Ananta was very close to Sridhar and a sane voice that kept him under control. I connected over WhatsApp with him and we spoke extensively over a period of time. Other close friends included Venkat Nagesh (31), Milind Bhide (32) who gave me stories over the phone. When Ananta came down to India in January 2019 and we met in freezing cold at the Hyderabad Literary Festival - Neeraj, Ananta and I - on Day 1 of the festival. The very next day we met another close chum of Sridhar's - Jawahar Thomas (33) at the same venue, occupying the food court for long hours. Jawahar Thomas's name figured in Joseph Antony's book 'My Way' on my mentor and hero ML Jaisimha and Jawahar said he had helped out a bit there too.

Among Sridhar's pals from Himayat Nagar was Yogesh (34) who knew Sridhar from when they were six - I met him at his Hamstech office in Punjagutta. Another good friend was Eunice (35) and I spoke to her over phone. I got much information from them.

To get a perspective from the cricketers who played along with Sridhar I fixed up a meeting with Vivek Jaisimha (36), Venkatapathi Raju (37) and Noel David (38). Vivek and Noel scored double hundreds in the match where Sridhar scored that mammoth 366 against Andhra (the third highest in Indian first-class history). Vidyuth (39) was kind enough to host the meeting at Secunderabad Club. We had a very productive session. Others who spoke at length about Sridhar were Nand Kishore (40) who gave a clear and detailed account, NP Singh (41) and Kanwajit Singh (42) - all over phone. I met VVS Laxman (43) at Park Hyatt and he gave me a lot of his time and some very good insights about Sridhar as a mentor, leader and player. Purushottaman Vijay Kumar (44), my classmate from MBA, gave me his insights - he was Doc's roomie when he made his debut.

Satyam Computers
We moved to the Satyam chapter and here we started with Zain Hussain (45) who gave a lovely note about his memories with Sridhar which we retained almost in its entirety. Then Sambit Das (46) who I spoke with over phone at Bangalore. Sambit was a cricketer too and had led Satyam. He shared some fine pictures of Sridhar. Then Anil Dhanasri (47) who came all the way from the USA for Sridhar's anniversary at Sridhar's house. I spoke over phone with AS Murthy (48) for a long chat. I met T. Hari (49) at his office in Madhapur.

Matrusri Education Society
Moving on to the Matrusri story I met Srinivas (50), the current Chairman of the society at his clinic in Vijaynagar Colony. Then Neeraj and I went to the Engineering college at Nadergul and met SGS Murthy (51) and Saibaba (52). I met Sitaram who now works there. We spent half a day walking around the campus, drinking tea at the canteen. It was a lovely campus.

We moved into the HCA chapter and  I met Mahendra (53) at his office at Pragati Printers first. He gave me a lot of time, inputs, as he was the Treasurer when Sridhar was Secretary. He was also a childhood friend of Sridhar's. Bobby gave me his inputs as a club secretary. Narsing Rao (54) was kind enough to come home and give me his inputs - he was the only one who came home. Vidyuth and I met at his office in Banjara Hills once to discuss his association with Sridhar - when Sridhar was Secretary, Vidyuth had been Vice President.

Basava Raju (55) spoke over the phone and so did Girish Dongre (56) who sent me a nice mail. He told me how Sridhar would love going to Cafe Mondegar in Mumbai for his favorite meals (I am amazed at how many things in common Sridhar and I had - including Cafe Mondegar). I met G Vinod (57), ex-President HCA at Boats Club (Neeraj came with me) and his brother G Vivekanand (58) at his residence in Somajiguda. I spoke to CV Anand (59) extensively over the phone. CV had been a Vice President at the HCA.

Moving on to BCCI, I did not have much to go on. That was when Nishant Arora (60), Sridhar's colleague at BCCI stepped in and took it upon himself to get as much information as possible. His article in the Quint was wonderful and gave me much information. Nishant called me and spoke several times from Canada. He personally obtained comments on Sridhar from Anil Kumble, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Anurag Thakur and from journalists like Gaurav Kalra. Nishant opened a wonderful perspective on Sridhar's BCCI stint. Vijay Tagore of Midday (61) was helpful and shared many details and numbers to contact in the BCCI. Vijay Lokapally (62) shared his insights and was of help when we were seeking pictures from the Hindu. All through the effort Jagannath Das was my go-to man for any information - for cricket statistics he gave me a great lead (S did not want me to put his name out in the credits) and he went and got quotes from Harbhajan, Azhar etc.

Writing Process
I made notes while I interviewed people and at times recorded them on my phone. I realised that the recording makes sense because sometimes we miss nuances. Then I would go home and type them in the appropriate chapter. Later on I would figure out which one to use where, how much to use and what to use. It would still read like bits and pieces stuck together so I had to put it all together, find a suitable voice and make it flow easily as a story. I passed every draft through Dr Pushpa who read every word with great concentration and helped me to pitch it just right.

Book Title
For the book title, we tried several options - my choice was 'Make everyday count' which seemed to be Sridhar's philosophy in life. Neeraj had a few - 'Run getter, Go getter' was what he liked. The man who inspired the final title was, Satish Kolluri (63) who also shared his passion for music with Sridhar. Satish called Sridhar that. (Renaissance Man is used to describe a clever person who can do many things very well.) Dr. Pushpa's friend Dr Indira (64) who was present at the first meeting contributed as well.

Notes and messages
Several relatives and friends sent in written notes, poems, songs - his cousins, aunts, friends and their messages have been included. Sagarika shared the messages sent by James Sutherland, CEO, Cricket Australia and some others which spoke highly of Sridhar's contribution. I used quotes from articles in newspapers and magazines liberally - journalists like Solomon, Rajaraman, Vedam Jaishanker, Valentine Wilson, Das, VVSubramanyam, Nishant Arora - all of them had written extensively about Sridhar.

Editor, proof
The first proper draft was done in April and once it was ok with Dr. Pushpa, I told her we should hire an editor to knock it into shape. We tried a local editor, then another in Bangalore before settling with Keerti Ramachandra, who had edited all my books so far and is a very experienced editor. She brought on another person to proof check. Editing took a month - starting April. I carried my work on to the vacation - Shobha, Anjali and I were off to Pune and Mumbai for two weeks. I returned to Hyderabad for a week, after that, worked on completing the book. had a crazy last day checking the facts and figures before heading off to Pune on May 7 in a bus. I wanted to hand over the final draft to Neeraj who said he would start work on the layout. I worked through the day at Pune and sent it off to Neeraj by evening. Now I could relax for a week.

Book layout and design
When I returned it turned out that the layout was not as easy as we thought it would be - neither Neeraj nor Pragati Printers could do it because it needed detailed work. Finally we hired the services of Blue Pencil and the wonderful Vijay and Sadhana Ramchander came on board to help with the layout, design, ebook version etc. They were very patient and added a lot of value in bringing the book out exactly as Dr Pushpa wanted. For all pre-publishing work I will unhesitatingly recommend Blue Pencil. They are genuinely nice people. Sadhana is a wonderful writer - published books and writes a fabulous blog.
Vijay@Bluepencil, Neeraj and me at the wonderful Blue Pencil
Choosing the right pictures for the book took a long time - we sifted through several pictures, found context. A few pictures we bought a few off the net - the Hindu was one source. Since several pictures were not of great quality Neeraj tried to improve them. There was a lot of discussion on color or black and white, inline or as a bunch, and finally we did all types in the book. Once the pictures were put in place we put in captions and here Vijay did a great job coming up with witty captions. We all met several times at their home office in Himayat Nagar and drank wonderful coffee - me, Neeraj and Dr Pushpa with Vijay and Sadhana. They were good times indeed.

Cover design
Sadhana developed two simple designs for the cover as promised. Then Neeraj went and designed a killer cover - an artist's rendering of the 'Renaissance Man'. You must watch it very closely to understand what he has done with the concept of the Renaissance Man, It is beautiful - with the Vitruvian man in the background and the picture in front having strokes in Van Gogh's style. We used a sketch of Sridhar that Neeraj had made in the narrative as well. Mahendra had already said he would print the books at Pragati Printers, one of the best in the country, so that was taken care of. A few more versions, more proofing and checks, and finally we were ready to go to print.

Dr Pushpa probably read the manuscript at various stage at least 50 times if not more because every version was run through her and she edited it the way she wanted it to come out. Vijay was another wonderful pair of eyes who caught the minutest errors and I was so happy to have him work on the layout. Sagarika was the fourth pair of eyes who read all these versions. Keerti and her proofreader friend added to the lot at the editing stage. I would seek Shobha's help when I felt stuck.

The book finally went to print a week ago and is now ready.

So it was that after 64 interviews (give or take a couple), several more calls and meetings, the book came to completion. Neeraj was a huge help in this journey which would have got tiring and boring - he came with me to meet Hariprasad at Apollo Hospitals, Swaroop at his house, Jawahar Mahi at his house, Vinod at Boats Club, Ananta and Jawahar Thomas at Hyderabad Public School, SGS Murthy at Matrusri Engineering College, Abhijit Chatterjee at his house in Sainikpuri, many trips to Blue Pencil, several on his own to Pragati Printers. He came armed with his recording equipment, his phone with which he took pictures and videos. A big thanks to him for helping me out, driving me around in his car, where we listened to him and Rashmi sing fantastic Karaoke versions on his stereo!

Dr Pushpa guided the entire process with the greatest of patience, giving me the freedom to write the way I wanted, gently putting her points if view across and making sure that the book turns out as she envisaged it. She had to speak to several people, connect many dots, read many proofs and she made many visits too to Blue Pencil. I was always amazed at her strength and fortitude and her love for Sridhar.

At all times Sagarika was there to close things or take decisions where we were getting stuck and to read all the proofs we kept plying her with. She did say she was not ready to deal with this yet, but she took it on, and it is admirable the way she did it. I also found Andy extremely composed and articulate and Arnav was a revelation!

The release is on the 28th July at the Uppal stadium. VVS Laxman is the Chief Guest, with guests of honour being G Vinod, Venkatapathi Raju, CV Anand, Neeraj. It promises to be a fun event. See you all there.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Shoplifters - Movie

A beautiful love story that slowly sinks in - about how beautiful their love really was. Japanese.

Anjali - OKRs and Sports Day

Part of Anjali's plans for the Sports Day are to hopefully beat a couple of good athletes who run much faster than her. 'But they are so fast and beat me easily,' she said.

'Well you can practice a bit, get better and give them a good fight if you wish,' I said. She thought about it.

A few days ago she had started cycling in the morning every day. There is a clamour to eat fruits and vegetables and to sleep on time. Now she added another small routine.

Every day in the evening she dons her sports shoes and gets ready for a few sprints. She asks me to time her. I give her whatever advice I know - stretch, jog a bit - then get into the sprint. While sprinting get you hands pumping in the direction of your goal and not criss-cross, similarly with your legs, lift the leg up high, focus on the process.

So she marked her run, some 35 metres either way, run, turn and sprint back, on the road next to the house. Day 1, the first timing was 27 seconds. It improved to 24 and then 23 seconds in the same day. On Day 2, she went to 21. As days go by she has now steadied herself at 19 seconds. The sprint routine is part of her daily routines now. It's been about 10 days and there is a minor adjustment every day - hell or toe, soundless or with sound, shoe with laces or without, and everything has a small discussion.

I don't really know what will happen to the races but the fact that we could measure her improvement, see how the effort is paying off, see her working at a goal, is itself quite satisfying. In time she will enjoy the process more than the result and well, that's pretty close to being in bliss.

Anjali - Father's Day!

Father's Day is big in Anjali's school and there have been occasions when I went and spoke to the children about some topic of my choice. So for her it is a big day. I never knew that there was a Father's Day when I was in school.

Every year there is a nice card and a hug from Anjali on the special morning and I love the care and detail and thought that goes into it. Reminds me of my mother who would similarly get happy about my birthday and give me an apple and a hug. Though it is not a big deal for me, it is for her.

But this year I had to go to Pune on an emergency - a somber occasion of a young relative who passed away. The mood was upset and I was tired after a hectic journey. But when I returned in the morning I found this lovely card waiting for me with a beautiful message.

Thank you Anjali. I loved the card, the care and thought and love you put into making it. I especially liked the drawing of us both with our googly eyes and those perfect expressions. It is one of the best gifts I could ever get from my most special daughter.

Vanity Bagh - Anees Salim


Thought for the Day - Every Moment Gives Something to be Grateful for

As I type this message I realise that there are several things I can be grateful for

My fingers for typing, Keyboard (Dell), Sagar who helped me buy the keyboard
My eyes, my spectacles, my ophthalmologist (Challa), the optician
My body for the health, all my doctors, the food that sustains
My chair for the comfort, Home Centre
My keyboard, screen, computer (Dell)
The internet (Beam)
The blog and Google for the blogger
My parents for my education
The book, movie, conversation that spurred this thought (too many)
My desire to share
Your desire to read and thereby encourage me

And I realise that each moment is actually carried by so many who have been part of me, who are part of me and I cannot think how I can ever be ungrateful to anyone, anything, even for a moment.

So the game continues, to be aware of it every moment which is a fine way to stay real and to lose yourself.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

My Musical Notes - Queen 'The Game'

This is the first introduction to Queen and it was a solid one. It had terrific energy with songs like 'Dragon Attack', 'Another one bites the dust', 'Crazy little thing called love', 'Need your loving tonight' and others. My favourite was 'Another one bites the dust' followed by 'Dragon Attack'. 'Crazy Little thing called love' left enough impression to last a lifetime. Another of Mani's contributions to my musical growth. (Dragon attack) (Another one bites the dust) (Crazy little thing called love)

Queen, I have heard on so many occasions with my friends, myself. Favourite memory is listening to it on my hooked up system where I connected a tape recorder to our radio to increase the volume and played it loudly back in the 80s. Queen was always cool.

Years later I found another Queen fan in Sunil Jyothi who was another music friend of mine. Sunil loved Queen and Jetthrotull and introduced me to several new singers. Most impressive of that list was Supertramp but we can come there later.

This one dedicated to Mani.

My Musical Notes - Bread's Greatest Hits

This was a tape Mani gave me when we were in school perhaps. Maybe early 1980s. Mani was not too possessive about his cassettes unlike some of us. He also listened with a marginal interest - not obsessively like I did. So it stayed with him for all these years. It was the first time I heard Bread. They had a different sound, soft and soulful. Very fragile.

Bread was an LA based band which made its music in the late 60s on. Their best number was for me 'If'. Nice lyrics. I shared this one song with all the girls I felt something for. Sharing music was big for me - it was letting that person in. Many a night I have played this cassette and dozed off listening to the soft music of Bread. (If) (Make it with you) (Guitar man) (Sweet Surrender)

I loved the sound. It fit a particular mood. No one ever asked to shut Bread off when I played it. It seemed to have some haunting quality to it.

Thank you Bread for the wonderful moments. Dedicated to Mani.

My Musical Notes - Little River Band 'No Reins'

1985. Choudary and I are at Chirag Ali Lane for some work of his after college. He takes me to this little shop that sells all sorts of stuff - including music. In this vague little shop I find an exotic collection. Like this one - a rare album by Little River Band 'No Reins'.

Little River Band was little known to me. The numbers I had heard of theirs till then were 'Man on my mind' and such which were completely different from this one which was a rock collection. Some fabulous numbers like 'Face in the crowd', 'Time for us', 'No reins on me', 'Thin ice' and 'How many nights'. 'Forever Blue' was a haunting number.

I just realised that it has John Farnham on vocals. (Face in the crowd) (No reins) (Time for us) (Thin ice!)

Not too many shared my enthusiasm at listening to Little River Band but it's one of my favorites and I listened to it alone many times. Biggest memory - finding that shop and going there with Choudary on his Bullet.

Anjali - My Pens are My Best Friends

'This is my fourth pen this year Nanna,' said Anjali. She was very excited indeed. I have no doubt that it must be her fourth pen what with the amount of homework she does these days.

'I love my pens,' she continued. 'They are my best friends. I even remember all their names. The first one was a Papersoft, Glow, Czee and Czee again.'

I remember seeing a Sachin Tendulkar interview when he was fifteen and the journalist (my good friend Jagannath Das) asked him who his best friend was and he said 'my bat'. I also remember the Olympic trainee Ellakiya Dasan telling me that his best friend is the track, his shoes. There is something nice about people who see everything as a relationship and then the bat, the track, the pen starts working with them.

I have never had such an attitude but I do love the fact that Anjali has. 

Rich Dad Poor Dad - Robert T. Kiyosaki

I read this book many years ago but it did not make sense then - not enough to take any action on. I read it again (thanks to the Book Exchange Program at our colony) and I find a lot of good information that people can use to become financially literate. Robert T. Kiyosaki is a bestselling author, is rich and has also developed games like CASHFLOW which teach financial literacy. If you do not go into depression after reading the book over lost chances, you can do something yet.

The title comes from the lessons he learns from his own educated dad (poor dad) and his friend Mike's rich dad who is busy making millions. First up he debunks the idea that a job will make you rich (today it does actually, if you're in the top league). He says that jobholders work for someone else and just make enough to cover their expenses. His advice appears to be to own the business than work for the business.

First up he says the rich do not work for money - their money works for them. He says one reason why most people cannot think beyond jobs is that they are driven by two major emotions - fear and desire. He describes emotions as energy in motion.

The major lessons from the book. Get financially literate. Know the difference between assets and liabilities - assets are those that put money in the pocket, liabilities are those that take money out of the pocket. If you invest in assets you could finally end up at a stage when your assets do all the work of earning money for you over your living expenses and you can retire. On the other hand if you invest in liabilities that only eat up the money, you will end up with nothing.

He makes a simple observation - the rich buy assets, the poor only have expenses and the middle class buys liabilities they think are assets. Real assets fall into these categories
- businesses that do not require his presence, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, income-generating real estate, notes, royalties from IP and anything that has value, produces income or appreciates and has a ready market.

He sees a house as a liability because you end up paying a lifelong mortgage on it - it does not earn for you.

There is a chapter on corporations which he says as fiction and how the rich profit from them. Corporations spend first and then pay taxes while employees pay tax first and then spend. Clearly he says - get into business if you wish to make money.

Kiyosaki says work to learn, not work for money.  Learn how to sell, how to pitch. It's not about talent - it's he ability to sell what you have. To succeed he says one must know the management of cash flow, management of systems (self and time with family) and management of people. One must know the basics of accounting, investing, understanding markets and law.

Clearly the obstacles for one to become rich and stay rich are - fear (of failure mostly, so they do not take a risk), bad habits, arrogance (which he says is ego+ignorance), cynicism and laziness.

To get started he gives 10 steps.
1. Get a big purpose, bigger than reality. A purpose is a combination of 'wants' and 'don't wants'
2. Use the power of choice daily - decide, invest in education
3. Choose friends carefully, learn from everyone, the successful ones and the not so successful ones
4. Master a formula and then learn a new one
5. Pay yourself first (this is the best one for me). If there is a shortfall he says don't get into large debt positions, keep expenses low, build assets first, don't dip into your savings, find new ways to make money
6. Pay your brokers well
7. Be an 'Indian' giver (whatever you invest, look to get the original back as soon as possible)
8. Assets buy luxuries
9. Have a hero
10. Teach and you shall receive.

The easiest thing to do in this list is no 5, pay yourself first.

There is a fear of money that appears to rule the planet. If one can get over the fear, one can get comfortable with money. One must first examine the relationship one has with money and sort it out. Once it is clear, all else will fall in place.

Anjali - The Importance of Routine

I was telling Anjali the other day how important routine was, with some small examples - food, exercise, studies etc. She nodded as she always does. However, she seemed to have taken this seriously.

These days she goes to bed on time on her own, gets up early, does some yoga, goes cycling in the colony and gets ready well in time. She takes her diet seriously and is now eating more vegetables than she did earlier. Back from school and she is particular about finishing reading her books and completing her homework. I am impressed by her self-motivation. Way to go girl. Perhaps one of the few who I have been able to inspire.

Meanwhile, I am not half as disciplined as she is. But I am getting there.

Porterhouse Blue - Tom Sharpe

Porterhouse gets a new master - a politician who has ideas of changing the culture of the decaying old school. The Dean and company at the school oppose his ideas just as the head porter Skullion is. To complicate things we have a postgraduate student Zipser who is besotted with a huge, matronly bedder aptly named Mrs. Biggs.

Things somehow conspire to make Skullion the Master in the end but at a huge cost to all. Typically Tom Sharpe but not as funny as Wilt.

Meeting Subir Chowdhury – Adding Conviction, Curiosity, Communication and a Caring Mindset to Life

It was the World Cup semi-final. India was to play New Zealand, big game and I had decided that I will put everything aside, settle down and watch the game. At 10 am Suresh called me and said ‘My friend Subir is in town and I think you will enjoy meeting him. Could you do a fireside chat with him at the TiE speaker series?’ Suresh, (Chairman and CEO of Brightcom Group and President, TiE Hyderabad), never calls without a good reason and I normally say Yes with no hesitation. But on this day I told Suresh that I would get back – Subir Chowdhury is a bestselling author (a real one, unlike me – and I haven’t read any of his books), a management consultant who consults with Fortune 100 companies and a speaker. All that I attempt to do, he does them 100 x better! How could I do a fireside chat with him without enough preparation?

Suresh told me to take my time and sent me the link to Subir’s website. I read a few pages of Subir’s website and I knew this was going to be better than the semi-final. I messaged Suresh that I would do it, and immersed myself into understanding Subir. So many things he said resonated with me and I really wanted to meet him and get his perspectives.

Subir and Suresh had been at IIT, Kharagpur together, as students, back in the late 80s. Subir has since moved to the USA and is now a bestselling author with 15 books (business - mostly themes around quality and productivity), is a sought after speaker and thought leader (is in the top 50 most influential thinkers list). He is a leading management consultant and one of the last words in quality. He is also the Chairman of ASI Consulting Group based in the USA, which deals with Strategic Initiatives, Quality Counseling, and Training.

Subir also does a lot of philanthropic work –the Subir Chowdhury School of Quality and Reliability at IIT, Kharagpur, the Subir Chowdhury Fellowship on Quality and Economics at the London School of Economics, the Subir Chowdhury Fellowship on Quality and Economics at Harvard University, the Subir and Malini Chowdhury for Bangladesh Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, Global Quality Awareness, a non-profit initiative of the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Foundation (to improve the lives of individuals and communities) and the Frances Hesselbein Medal for Excellence in Leadership and Service by the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Foundation are some such initiatives. Among the many awards and recognitions he has received are the Outstanding American by Choice Award by the US Government and the Thinkers 50 nomination (many more awards, too many to list). Subir is also a heritage collector of rare Indian artworks by eminent Indian artists like Rabindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, Abanindranath Tagore as well as western artists like Monet, Rodin, Renoir.

Glancing through Subir’s list of books I realised how much he believes in greater efficiencies and in all the factors that go into individual and organisational productivity. His books include ‘Robust Engineering’, ‘Design for 6 Sigma’, ‘Management 21 C’, ‘Organisation 21 C’, ‘Power of Six Sigma’, ‘Taguchi’s Quality Engineering’, ‘New Generation Business’, ‘Talent Era’, ‘Ice Cream Maker’, ‘Power of LEO’, ‘Robust Optimisation’ and his latest bestseller ‘The Difference’. The Difference caught my mind with its promise of showing how to achieve 50 x through a caring mindset (he says ‘Good Enough isn’t enough’). I made a list of possible questions to ask and included one of my own – how does one write a bestseller? I drove down to Suresh’s house to meet him, Subir and another classmate of theirs - Subrato.
Suresh handing me a memento on behalf of TiE, Hyderabad
Having met Subir, I ran the questions with him. Instinctively I could sense his comfort with people – he did not tell me how to go about it, did not ask me to change what I wrote, smiled a lot, told me we would have fun, put me at ease and took the pressure off. As I read out a question to him he would launch into the subject with the same passion as he would later do on stage. I wondered how he would have any energy left to speak there at the chat, but that’s one thing I learned about Subir – he had the same energy level all through the evening. He was so passionate about what he wanted to share.

How to Write a Bestseller (or do anything well) – Have Conviction
While heading to the venue, I asked Subir how he wrote bestsellers. Subir was kind enough to share his insight. He said we need conviction behind our own product to make it successful. Why didn’t I devote enough time to promote my book on cricketing lessons ’50 Not out’ in all cricket playing nations he said? Why didn’t I get testimonials from all the top cricketers and reviewers? He said that’s what he did. He knocked on doors starting with the best in the business and kept at it until they agreed and made sure his baby did not suffer because of lack of effort. He said that was what conviction was and told me bluntly – maybe you are low on confidence or self-esteem I don’t know but why didn’t you do that? I felt like I was in school, caught having not done my homework. This was great advice and I was grateful that he cared enough to help me along by pointing out my grey area. He clarified the concept to me – conviction is doing things as if today was the last day. Start at the top, put energy in your work, tick all boxes and persist. I am completely sold on the idea.

The Magic Keys 3 Cs – Conviction, Curiosity, Communication

At the venue Suresh introduced us to the 100-strong audience and we started off. I asked Subir what was the one thing that connected all the thoughts he wrote about – quality, leadership, organizational efficiency, individual efficiency. Subir said that the 3Cs are the magic keys to succeed - Conviction, Curiosity and Communication.

Conviction, he said, was the key to take your idea to its full potential. He cited my case as an example and told the audience how I could have pushed my cricket book which did fairly well, to become a best seller. Conviction means you handle your priorities with the greatest urgency - it has to be done today. Prioritise, focus, and add urgency and energy into it.

Curiosity is our ability to say ‘I don’t know’. He said he always likes to think he is the dumbest guy in the room. By saying ‘I don’t know’ we learn so much more. He gave the example of his grandfather who taught him many things – one story about what is greater the number 9 or 0. (Another wonderful story of how his grandfather told him that we can meet anyone who is breathing. Young Subir had asked him if he could meet the President of the USA and his grandfather had said yes. Subir has dined with three US Presidents so far.)

Communication was the third C. Communication means that one should be equally comfortable talking to a rickshaw puller and to the head of a Fortune 100 company. One needs to hone that art every day. It is clearly about how adaptable one can be. If one learns ‘communication’ as defined by him, one would learn to operate from below, without ego, with humility, with a learning mindset, with caring, and do what we do with complete conviction. It was a layered thought, simply expressed.

The Caring Mindset – Way to 50x Results
My second question was about the fourth C he talks about – a ‘caring mindset’ which he says is the difference between organizations that operate at x and those that operate at 50x. Subir reaffirmed that a caring mindset is all that one needs to achieve 50x results. He said a caring mindset was represented by a STAR culture – Straightforward, Thoughtful, Accountable and Resolve (resolute). It needs courage and honesty (and even an amount of love) to be straightforward, it needs one to care to be thoughtful, it needs a culture of ownership to be accountable and it needs an inherent resolve to be at it relentlessly until one achieves it. I completely agree - the world could do with a caring mindset, with more honesty, thoughtfulness, resolve.

I asked him what the difference was between him and the rest of us, and he spoke about how he felt he was just another ordinary guy. All he did was knock on doors, followed the process, believed in himself and his product. I also asked him if people could have a caring mindset (the soft side) and make money (seemingly the hard side). Was it possible to be good and still make money? He said yes, that’s the only way. Create, innovate and the money will follow. He shared several stories to drive home his points well and held the audience's attention throughout.

Q and A
We threw the floor open for questions. Several questions were asked about how to develop the STAR culture, one that leads to 50x results. He said that to create a culture the leader has to change first and not merely talk about change. The leader has to show the STAR qualities through his actions, his persona. In fact, this is one thing that he kept saying all through, that it was about leaders and what they show and are deep inside. He suggested to Maruti, leader of a startup, to read a book of fiction and share it with his team to change the culture – I didn’t fully get the significance of it - perhaps to make the leader more human and vulnerable I guess.

The TiE Board
Do You Care for People Who Matter the Most to you?
One thing he stressed on was whether we really care about their people – not just organizationally – but people who matter. Like our spouses! When was the last time you hugged them or said you loved them? Lots of silence! He advised everyone to spend time with their spouses, to be nice to them, tell them you love them. In a gentle yet practical manner he drew attention to what our real priorities are, what caring really means and that if we cannot care for our families, we cannot care for anyone else. (Which means that we cannot be 50x what we are – I am sure many people went home to their spouses with a little more caring that evening!).

There was a line he used in some other context – ‘if we cannot embrace our weaknesses how can we convert them into our strengths?’. Loved that.

Subir retained the same energy the entire evening. He said - if you don’t have the conviction don’t do it – whatever you do, do it full-heartedly. It showed in this talk – this was a talk he did for free – but he did it with all the passion as if it was a million-dollar assignment. Every question, every person who wanted to meet him, he dealt with the same energy and humour. The sense of wonder was always evident and continued all through the evening.

The talk went beyond the stipulated 730 pm and ended at 830 pm. Summing up, there were four things that I took away as things to practice. To practice conviction – bring energy to priorities and go at them as if they had to be completed today itself. It’s now or never. To practice Curiosity – carry the 'I don’t know' attitude and be ok with being the dumbest guy in the room. That’s a sure way to grow faster and faster. To practice Communication – be adaptable and connect with both the rickshaw driver and the fortune 100 boss. It needs non-judgment, curiosity, real interest in other people, in life. To practice a caring mindset –summed up in one line in the book ‘The Difference’ – be the one who picks up the toothpick on the floor in your organization. Pick it up and do not wait for someone else to do it. Be the one who really cares starting with the most important people – your spouses to start with - that’s the caring mindset.

Meeting Subir was worth missing the semi-final (which in the end turned out that I had not, it got washed off and I could see the second half next day.) He was just one of the guys in the room and not for a moment could you sense an ounce of arrogance or 'I know better' or 'I am better than you guys' about him. There is always this wanting to help, to share about his grandfather's stories, his clients – one client who was down with cancer and wanted to know how to earn forgiveness, another who had no time for his family and was all business and who thanked him for giving his daughters back to him, the top leaders of Indian manufacturing who were asked about when they had hugged their wives last, the floor workers at Toyota who connected so easily with him leading to a solution, the way he had saved billions of dollars for a Fortune 100 company, the reason why he works only with the top man and no one else to build cultures in companies that are all about ‘Quality is everyone’s business.’ He spoke of People and Process – and of how Quality is a balance of people power and process power. People power is about instilling the Quality mindset in people – an uncompromising, honest and empathetic attitude to do the best while Process is about a solution-oriented mindset and perfecting ideas and solutions.

There is a talk by Subir on YouTube, a commencement speech at Central Michigan University (550K views when I saw last). It is a lovely speech about the choices one makes, some lovely stories and very good advice (be the dumbest guy in the room, be a zero, the people who support you are the numbers in front of the zero, aim to touch the sky not the ceiling, between the pen and the coin – choose the pen – it helps you create, innovate, knock on doors till a door a opens, the coins will follow). You can watch it here at

It was wonderful meeting Subir and I am certainly better for it just as I am sure so many more in the audience were that day. Thanks Suresh for the lovely evening and for the opportunity to pick Subir’s mind and Subir, many thanks for your wonderful insights and your time.