About a fortnight ago, I met Captain G R Gopinath, an ex Client of Starcom in Bangalore, in his office for 20 minutes. During that short meeting, he told me a little story about Christopher Columbus and the Ocean. Frankly, it was not even a story, it was more like the Captain’s perspective on what Columbus might be thinking before he gathered his fellow explorers and set sail on his fist voyage. Now, I have not studied Columbus and his life thoroughly enough, but there was something in the way the good Captain gave me his perspective.
Earlier this week, on the way from the Delhi airport to the hotel fairly late at night, my taxi driver Kamal told me his story of how he fled his home town Lalitpur in Nepal twelve years ago, to avoid being drafted by either the Maoists, or the Nepalese Army and to avoid being tortured by the Police on suspicion of being a Maoist rebel. He came to the unknown place called Delhi, when he could not speak Hindi, he didn’t have any relatives here, and started his career by washing cars by the day and sleeping in places vacated by them at night.
I find both the stories – of Columbus of Genoa, Italy and of Kamal of Lalitpur, Nepal – very inspiring.
In fact as I write the only farewell note of my 20 years of working career, I am thinking not of memories but of inspirations I am taking away with me.
I have always taken pride in the people who have chosen to work in our organisation and I have said many times that we have been so fortunate that people have chosen to work with us when they could have gone anywhere else. Today, I am reflecting on what an amazing and inspired 12 years, I have lived in this organisation. My inspirations have come from many people in our client companies and media owner partners, but they have mostly come from my co-workers – people like you.
From some, I have learnt how to treat the workplace as my second home, from others how to stand unperturbed on a bad hair day. Some have inspired me to be aggressive, some others to be patient. The analytical approach in some has got me excited, while I have learnt to be creative from some others. Some taught me how to deal with ambiguity, while some others encouraged me to provide clarity.
Many of you have inspired me without even knowing about it – through your thoughts, actions, and responses.
Today, I am not leaving SMG with a heavy heart and sadness. I am doing so with pride, relief, a sense of accomplishment. I have many good memories from SMG and I will always cherish them. But as I said before, it is the inspirations I am carrying, which I hope will hold me better stead.
Today, I am thinking of all the people I have interacted with – in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Colombo, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Chicago and many other beautiful cities where we have offices and where I have met some of the smartest people in my working life.
Today I am thinking of Cheryl, Niyati, Maria, Marilyn, Amith, Rafiah, Malli, Chetan, Pravin, Andrey, Sriram, Gan, Ranga, Dr Ravi Moorthy, Ravi Bhaya, Chee Weng, Bonita, Jeffrey, Melissa, Jean, Robin, Pushkar, Sanjay Barkataki, Santonu, Hemang, Dinkar, Angela, Preeyada, Atipol, Triluj, Madhavan, Shashi, Asokan, Praveen, Dupi, Madan, Nikhil, Sandeep, Sandip, KC, Tarun, Sanjay Shah, Raj Jha, Srikanth, Manish, Manjunath, Puneet, Gautam, Pranay, Mahesh Motwani, Mahesh Ranka, Anjana, Vikas, Ashish, Dinesh, Patrick, Anand, Sindhuja, Ashwini, Amrita, Priya, Naresh, Aruna, Avinash, Amitabh, Manik, Anish, LV, Atul, Natraj, Sejal, Mona, Verghese, Tejasvita, Shilpa, Manas, Kenny, Paul and many others, who have had a impact on me.
Each of these people have inspired me. I feel incredibly lucky for it and I feel humbled.
Amith [Prabhu] asked me to write something as my last piece of advice. But I have decided not to give any pearls of wisdom or helpful advice to you.
Today I just say my thanks, to each of you, for making my 12 years in SMG- each day of it- worth it.
[Published in SMG India house journal StarSync special edition, Dec 2010]