I am probably the best example for the adage Old wine in a new bottle. Just as the wine gets older, it becomes more expensive. Similarly, at the age of 67, I feel eager to work harder and contribute to the society. This passion towards work can be traced back to my first job with TATAs. I was interviewed by none other than the great Russi Mody, a legend who was instrumental in building TATA iron and steel company. In the interview, he asked me where do you want to work? Steel or Coal mines? I choose coal. He was completely taken aback by my answer, probably wondered how a boy from South India could sustain working in a tough terrain like coal mines. His next question was, “Where do you want to end?”. I simply replied, I want to sit in the chair where you are sitting. He just smiled and said, “What nonsense”, but I assured him about my goal and thus began my 20 years journey with TATAs. I first started with coal and then moved to steel. Later on, I set up a cement plant and after few years I was picked up by Hyundai as their Sr. Vice President HR. I worked in this Korean company for over 12 years and finally retired from my first innings.

In my second innings, I decided to achieve my passion. My inner passion has always been to give back to society. I always believed that if I am able to help others achieve their dreams, it will make me a happy and an enriched person. I started practicing this. I created an institution with an intention to help school and college dropouts. As Layam opened its doors in 2007, we soon realized that there are scores of candidates with poor academic records but exemplary skills (either technical or life skills). We stepped in as a catalyst for growth. Thus began my dream of helping others achieve their dreams.

Candidates coming to us are trained and upskilled. Later on, we place them in leading companies wherein they start their journey toward career success. Today, I am proud to say that we have trained and placed over 15,000 people in various jobs across India and there are many more who are coming into our fold. Today, my institution has a pan India presence. At times, I sit back and think, ‘Have I really earned my salary and for what am I working’, then I recall my father’s words. He said, “before you get a job, think about what is your contribution to the society?” My contribution to the society may be a drop in the ocean but when I see successful candidates fulfilling their career dreams, it fills me with immense joy and satisfaction.

I have always believed that developing empathy is an essential trait which I have tried to imbibe in every step of my life’s journey. While doing so, I have refrained from embracing a stance like, I am okay but you are not okay. This ego trip can become an ongoing phenomenon with no clear solutions in sight. Instead, try to enjoy the simple pleasures in life and do everything with your heart. God has given us head and heart. Do not dump all your negative feelings and emotions into your heart. Instead, use your head to filter it. The most important thing in life is to first understand yourself. You are the architect of your life. Believe in yourself. Success is in your hands and let’s not blame the world, destiny, God or anybody for our shortcomings. Each one of us can write a success story. Some of my suggestions may be very difficult to practice in the present environment but success like I said comes to people who are willing to take a risk! If you shy away from taking risk, then do not expect any gain!


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