Wednesday, December 30, 2009

IDIOT....[TES Summit 2]

There was something weird about the summit.
Participants in the summit somehow all looked the same,everyone wore a business suit,had a blackberry,had frameless spectacles and had a Azim Premji type hairstyle.Each was having a sophisticated aura around him...and you just feel Entrepreneurs ought to be mavericks.How come all of them are same?
Narayan Murthy and Nilekani were the ones for whom i went to the summit However this post is not about them.
This post is about a new hero of mine this post is about Murugan.
40 yr old man...8th Class Dropout...hails from a village in Coimbatore and here he is lecturing 2500 CEOs and MDs in a hall full of people from IIT,IIM and MIT and  of course NITH ( Me :) )
Ok he is standing right there no business suit...just a t-shirt and jeans (Only Steve jobs does that in his presentations).
Text of his speech follows...please try to read it in a south indian accent. :)

I have no ppt, i have no written speech infact  i have not come prepared for this presentation.
but when you speak from here[points to heart] you don't need any of those.......[Mild Applause]

I am not from IIT,MIT or IIM infact i am a 8th class dropout (smiles )[Scattered mild Applauase]

I didn't know English earlier so i had to use a translator,but that guy was a waste.I used to say something and he used to translate something else.[mild giggles]
So i learn't English[Applause]

I want to share my story with you
One day i was sitting in my room and my wife was hiding something behind her back.
I asked her "Sudha what is it that you are hiding?"
She snapped back at me "Nothing none of your business,...just shut up" [Mild Laughter]

As i am a very curious person i ran after her and peeped into the room .[Giggles]
She was having a nasty cloth in her hand...i realized it was her menstrual periods and she was using a cloth .I asked her that why is she using a cloth why not the sanitary napkin that they show on tv.[Audience stunned as this is something you don't talk in front of 2500 high profile CEOs]

She smiled at me and said that if me and your 3 sisters start using those expensive napkins,we won't have enough money to eat.

I felt bad as the cloth was not at all hygienic,so i went to the chemist and asked him for a Whisper.He stared at me confused and wrapped the pack in a if we were smuggling something.[Claps and laughter]
I went home and cut open the napkin to see what is the material inside.It was rooyi(cotton),i weighed the cotton from the napkin and found that it cost me just 20 paise and they were charging Rs10.I went to a tailor gave him the rooyi and asked him to make a similar napkin.[Stunned Silence in the room]

Ok in 30 minutes my product was ready.....but where do i test it????[giggles]
When you(points to us) guys want to test your product you take it to a lab but the only testing lab i had was my wife.[Hall has gone crazy,thunderous clapping and laughter]
So i asked Sudha to test it for me.She took the pad and kept it in the almirah.
I saw that and asked her to test it right now and give me the feedback.She told me to shut up and come after one month to take the feedback.
I thought it is a very frustrating process,you have to wait 1 month before you can test your product.[he is Giving evil smiles]

So one month passed and i was coming back from the market,the moment i entered the room my wife gave me a mouthful of pejoratives.What a nasty thing you have made,it doesn't work at all.[a lot of ohhh shitt and oooh noss in the hall plus a few laughters as well]

[Please keep reading it in a south indian accent,that was making it even more hilarious]

I asked her as to what changes can i make in the product.I implemented her suggestions ,it took me 3-4 days and when i took the product to her .. guess what..she again kept it in the almirah....[He has become the darling of the audience,we are just loving him]

It was a very frustrating process,make small changes to the product but testing team was super slow.

I thought this way it won't work so i went to a medical college ,i thought that this is their profession and they won't be embarrassed about it.[Crowd is Appreciative and Clapping]

Whatever i did product was not working..then i thought that maybe the material is not rooyi ,it is something else.i took the material from whisper and sent it to IIT bombay and BITS pilani for research.After 2 months they told me that it is wool fibre and not cotton.[Sighsss in hall,oh nosss]

After that i made a process that would make rooyi work like wool fibre.I gave the product to my wife this time to test and yess it worked.
Murugan was rubbing shoulders with proctor & gamble ad johnson and johnson.[thunderous Applause and in unison]

After that i thought i can make a napkin but there is a process to it.So i decided that i won't leave it here ,i will make a machine that will prepare these napkins.
I made that machine and it costs around 8000 per machine and it can produce 800 napkins in an hour costing Rs 1 per napkin.I have sold this machine in around 10000 villages giving hygeine to thousands of village ladies and a source of income to atleast 10000 families.
[Standing ovation,clapping,whistles...CEOs running to the stage and hugging him.Absolutely stunning Standing ovation for two minutes or so]

Thank you all..thanks for that...[he is so humble..i just love this man]

I will throw these proctor and gambles and jhonson and jhonson out of this country[he is not only humble,he is aggressive as well],as they are working on the apex of the pyramid and i am working at the bottom of the pyramid.[I was amazed as he knew CK Prahalad as well]

[Now he delievers the knock out punch]
See every year 2000 people go into IIMs and 3000 people go into IITs.These are brilliant people.They achieve a lot and their achievements are glorified by the media,sometimes glorified ...sometimes over glorified.Now when these achievements get so much attention it gives confidence to 5000 students in iits/iims as they think if our seniors can do it we can also do it but in a nation of 130 crores do we need to give this confidence to only 5000 people?
If it motivates those 5000 people ,it sort of demotivates the rest of the nation.
People start believing that it is the IITians and the IIM guys only who can make it big.
Which is not at all true.
Every year just 5000 will get in.Does that make the 5001th person bad or for that matter the rest of the nation

Please show my story to every indian....everybody will feel inspired that if this 8th class dropout can do this,

[Stunned Audience..may be a lot of introspection going on....]
[That filmy style person starts it slowly and the rest of the hall joins it.Stunned and blank audience.]
[Thunderous applause,a sort of eery thrill in the air ,as if all of us have been shaken]

Amidst all this ,organizing head of the TES summit goes on stage and makes an announcement.

TES Head -"I had heard MURUGAN last year at TIE bangalore and i very proudly say that this man is the single motivation behind TES Summit Mumbai".
and rightly so the TES summit 09 was called "JUGAAD" - The enterprising indian.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

All are rich .....[TES Summit 1]

I was on my way to Mumbai for the TIE Entrepreneurial Summit.As registration was very very expensive I took a Rs 526 train ticket and it would take 20 hours to reach Mumbai.Two uncles after discussing the morality of Rakhi Sawant slept on the middle and upper berth opp to me.I had also slept for some time and now i was just looking at the green fields outside.I was not thinking anything ,just staring blankly outside the window.An Aeroplane flies over the train and that sets my mind to launch a new "All are Rich" theory.
According to this theory
"NO person in this world is poor --currency may vary"

So the theory goes like this...
The person travelling in  plane must be a rich guy .He cannot even imagine doing nothing but just travel to mumbai in the next 20 hours.He'll have a meeting followed by a lunch with the delegates and then a function to attend in the evening and then a corporate dinner.His schedule is packed.He doesn't worry about the money but his time is more valuable.

On the other hand....

All of us in the train are poor guys as we don't have money but we have a lot of time.We can afford to be in a state of worklessness for the next 20 hours.No meeting to attend ,no lunch to participate.We can go on discussing Rakhi Sawant for long stretches of time followed by a sleep with our mouth wide open but our money is too valuable.How can we spend Rs 5000 only on travel when in either case we'll reach mumbai only?
So we can deduce that

All the people in the plane are money rich but time poor.
All the people in the train are time rich but money poor.

Plane poeple wish they had more of what train people had in abundance,
Train people wish they had more of what plane people had in abundance.

Hence proved that in some way or the other  "All of us are Rich. -- currency may vary"
After proving this theory of mine i thought who are the guys in the train who are travelling by 1st class AC.
(After all- They are paying 5000 rs and they'll take 20 hours to reach mumbai )
May be they are confused people...

Let me be honest and ask myself Which category do i fall in?
I think I am a rich guy...sometimes money rich and sometimes time rich.
So i did onething...
I went by train and returned by plane. :)

What happened in between the train and the plane is for the posts to follow....
Mumbai Summit was stunning...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


In class 3 i changed my school from Village Darlaghat to Town Solan.
That meant a change of mediums.
Now i was a student of the most reputed English medium school in Solan.
At home we didn't speak English at all....
It was really difficult decoding those esoteric instructions from the teachers..

I was sort of comfortable in English but it was limited to monosyllables or bi syllables at the most
eg.Hi, Hello,Welcome,good morning,good night.

Any thing longer then that required a mental translation in English for each of the words
and then assembling each of those words
and then adding verbs
and the nouns
and the pronouns.
By the time i was ready with my sentence it was no longer needed.

English embarrassed me time and again....

One such incident was ...
Four of my cousin sisters and me were sitting and having some chit chat.It was getting dark
Didi said "Gaurav Please curtain kar doge?"
Gaurav gave a nervous smile and thought "Kar to dunga but Curtain hota kidhar hai aur ise kaise karte hain?"
I was blushing...heartbeat had increased...all four of them looking at me and waiting for me to "Do the curtains".
and i am sitting there absolutely clueless ....Not even a minute idea of what is required of me....

Those querying eyes were asking me "Come on you it"
this helpless Soul was asking  "Please someone tell me where does one find it?"

After a lot of brainstorming i stood up ,
leapt out of the quilt and sprinted in a direction that was opposite to that of the curtain.

I ran straight into my mother ...she was cooking something.
"Mumma Mumma Curtain kya hota hai"
She answered nonchalantly "Parda".
The obviousness with which she gave the answer made me feel like a Duffer even more.

It has been 17 years since that event ....
but today it was kind of deja vu
One of my office mates was leaving for lunch and wished a "bon apetit" to me.
You won't believe same emotions,same feeling,same blush ,same rush of heartbeat as to what should i reply to that???

Immediately i googled 'bon apetit', Smiled and thought ....
You never stop learning.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Over Priced

Last weekend i was having a cup of coffee in Barista with one of my old friends,
We were enjoying a very good discussion on the good old college days .
After a discussion of 2 hours or so i asked for the bill and placed my ICICI card for payment.
The girl took my signature, returned my card , said "Thanks Sir" and gave me a
the coldest of smiles.

I returned the smile with a equally fake one.

I didn't even notice the amount deducted from the card.We continued the banter and after sometime left for home.

I had to take a rickshaw to get back home, so i approached a rickshaw man
.He was a man in his late sixties ,visibly weak and tired.

I asked "Asalatpur ka kitna loge"
He said "15 rupay bhaiya"
I said "Loot rahe ho kya ,10 hi bante hain."
He said "Thand ho rahi hai, isliye jyada maang liye"
I said "10 main chalna hai to chalo"

He knew i was going to get another rickshaw so he agreed to my terms and yes 10 Rs it was.

Sitting on the back seat i was lost somewhere and was fiddling away with that Barista bill.
I opened it ...the bill read
2 hot cappuccino = Rs 250 + Rs 26 service tax.

Reading that bill froze me for a moment.

I sort of knew what was overpriced.
I sort of knew that i was haggling at the wrong place.

I felt as if i should apologize to the old man driving me home in that chilly night.
I wanted to make up by giving him 50 Rs .
He might not deserve 50 but still he needed it genuinely.

I reached my home got off the rickshaw but couldn't gather the courage to give him 50 rs.
As again my educated self told me that it was too much.
I gave him 25 Rs.He counted and gave me a puzzled look.

I held his hand warmly and gave him a approving smile to keep it.

In return i got a very pure ,very true and a very very warm smile which was not at all obligatory ....not at all superficial and despite the chillness of the night ...
not at all COLD.........