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 around 41 years .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 .I had left my secure and stress free job at ITI B’lore to jump into an area of high promise.I had had a wonderful time at ITI ,was a member of the Officer’s cricket team , was well thought off and had a good friends circle ,had a comfortable PG accommadation with the Thomases .. all seemed well .But I had little or no meaningful work to do .. and a boss Sachdeva, the then Chief Engineer , Transmition R&D, who didnt seem to think well of me at all.In my entire career he was just one of two such bosses I had an unacceptable working relationship with .I think he completely miss read me but he did leave me with a great feeling of insecurity .When I had 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 contrived to get me to accept a site survey assignment for a microwave link in UP before I left for IIMB.I was however 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.They also 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 was relieved without having to go on the site survey to UP.Such was the man he was or so I read him .Never got to hear of him again so I dont know what became of him.I guess it was this experience that lead me to always seek a mentor relationship with my bosses.This I got in very good measure through out my career.
IIMB was among other things the first time I stayed at a Hostel!!!It turned out to be agreat 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 one of our neighbours had got into bad ways at the hostels ???!!!Not staying in the hostel put an anormous 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 lost another opportunity for faster self development.My buddies at Guindy where my old school mates from St Mary’s KC Srinivas & Cedric Surrao.They where constant companions including travel 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 swiming pool of HAL Hyderabad.Srini went on to dedicate his entire life to the Atomic Energy Commission and currently service at the Atomic Energy Establishment in Kaplakkam while Cedric has migrate to Melbourne , Australia .I did manage to meet him and his wife Cheryl last October.
Even as I said the stay in IIMB was probably one of the best phases of my life , my days in Guindy and the time just before and just after was probably the worst period of my life.This was a time I think I regressed as an individual rather than progressed.This maybe too harsh an assessment , I must certainly have progressed .. but as several astrologers had 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!!!This was a period when I accumulated a great deal of self doubt and anxiety on what was to become of me .Dont know the root causes and cant really go back so far in time to meaningfully analyse the situation .I had just lost faith in myself .The rot ( if I was to harshy 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 athelete .But at this stage I was so unsure of myself I completely lost a sense of timing and rythem.From being a promising long jumper I just couldnt get my run up and take off correct .I would just keep missing the take off board stumbling and losing momentum .The same happened at hurdles where my hurdling style used to be used for demonstration to others .Now I just couldnt get it right just couldnt get into the 3 or 5 step rhythem .Then I fell seriously ill first with mumps and then in less than a month a relapse that nearly killed me .I just about survived.More illnesses later in the year made the whole year a wash out from competitive sports and when I got back was too weak and in too high a division to make any impact .The reason I just brush past this phase is that I dont 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 ???!!!!