It’s time now I guess for a bit of a flash back before I move along to my experiences with Xerox and also importantly my experiences with the Soka Gakkai movement in India.At about the time I left HCL to join Xerox I was 41 years, in 1991.Much water had flown under the bridge as some would say.So what where the principle changes that took place deep within me, how did I progress as an individual ?
The most significant period of development was during the two years I spent at IIM B doing a full time PGDM, in 1974-76.I had left my secure and stress free job at ITI B’lore to jump into an area of high promise.I had a wonderful time at ITI; I was a member of the Officer’s cricket team,was well thought off and had a good circle of friends. I had a comfortable PG accommodation with the Thomases .. all seemed well.But I had no meaningful work to do .. and a boss Sachdeva,the then Chief Engineer,Transmition R&D, who didn’t think well of me at all.In my entire career he was just one of two bosses I had an unacceptable working relationship with.I think he completely miss read me and left me with a great feeling of insecurity .When I informed him of my decision to leave and take up a course at IIM B’lore , he had no words of advise on the other hand had tried to get me to accept a site survey assignment for a microwave link in UP before I left for IIMB. I was better advised by other senior managers( part of the cricket playing fraternity) that I must put my intention to leave very definitely by a certain date in writing and that I would only accept the assignment on those terms.My seniors advised me that If I left for UP I may never get relieved in time as the Chief Engineer could insist that I remain till a replacement is found. Ipe Thomas also agreed with this assessment.All felt I was being taken for a ride and did not understand why the Chief Engineer was doing this. My letter did the trick and I was relieved without having to go on the site survey to UP.Such was the man he was that he would will fully try to damage the career of one so young. I never got to hear of him again so I don’t know what became of him.It was this experience that led me to always seek a mentor relationship with my bosses.This I as fortunate to receive through out my career.
IIMB was the first time I stayed at a Hostel!!!It turned out to be a great experience.I wish I had done the same during my Guindy Engg College days.My mom refused to let me stay in the hostel as a neighbour had got into bad ways at the hostel ???!!!Not staying in the hostel put an enormous burden on me for travel (I had a 3 stage journey — by bus from Royapuram to Beach Station,an electric train from Beach to Saidapet ,then another bus from Saidapet to Guindy .. not to forget the more than one km walk from the bus stand to our class rooms).This left me with no time at all for sports or any other extracurricular activities.Also I’m sure I lost an opportunity for faster self development.My buddies at Guindy were my old school mates from St Mary’s, KC Srinivas & Cedric Surrao. They were constant companions as we travelled most of the time together and also study mates.I still remain in touch with both.We had another close buddy,Aleem, who unfortunately died in a tragic way in the swimming pool at HAL Hyderabad. Srini dedicated his entire life to the Atomic Energy Commission and currently works at the Atomic Energy Establishment in Kalpakkam while Cedric has migrate to Melbourne,Australia.I met him and his wife Sheryl last October.
While my tenure in IIMB was one of the best phases of my life, my days in Guindy and the time just before and just after was a forgettable period of my life.This was a time I regressed as an individual rather than progress.This is too harsh an assessment ,I certainly progressed .. but as several astrologers said I was passing through an extremely bad period .. a 71/2 year phase that normally comes once a life time.Thank God for that!!! It was a period when I accumulated a great deal of self doubt and anxiety on what was to become of me. I lost confidence in myself .The rot( if I was to harshly call it that) started in the later years of school and went on till just after my stint in Guindy.
At school I was a good and promising athlete. But I grew unsure of myself and completely lost a sense of timing and rhythm. From being a promising long jumper I just couldn’t get my run up and take off correct.I just kept missing the take off board stumbling and losing momentum.The same happened at hurdles were I was made to demonstrate hurdling style to others. Now I just couldn’t get it right just couldn’t get into the 3 or 5 step rhythm .I fell seriously ill with mumps and in less than a month a relapse that nearly killed me.I survived.More illnesses later in the year made the whole year a wash out from competitive sports and when I got back to the sports field I was too weak and in a higher division and my performance dropped. The reason I just brush past this phase is that I don’t want to get into too much of introspection of a period long past.If I was living my life all over again I would do thinks differently and maybe would have come out of the rut much faster.In this life it took ages 71/2 years plus ???!!!!