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Influenced by Inspiration!

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Rajit Nair

Not too many had an influence on me, but those influenced really inspired and left a mark on me. I know it’s a cliché if you start the list with your mom. What I learned from my mom is to face the challenges in life even if you need to make sacrifices. The sacrifices she made for the betterment of the children are implausible. This may look very ordinary, but 40 years back losing husband (when I was 11 months only) and to take care of 3 siblings is something appreciable. Facing life’s challenges with courage and with a determination to succeed is her mantra. Next in the list is my grandfather, Sri. P. Vasudevan Nair (Late), World War II veteran. What I learned from him is the importance of discipline in the professional sphere. In addition, I learned from him was to approach any problem with an open mind and then to view it from all possible angles, a solution would automatically emerge. In recognition of his honesty, dedication and punctuality, he was named as ‘discipline Vasudevan Nair” by the then Maharaja of  Travancore, H.H Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma (the last ruler of Travancore). 

Professionally, very few people had instilled influence in me. One among them is Dr. C.R. Soman (passed away on 06 November 2009). He was the first person who exposed me to the world of computers and Internet. Also, influenced me to read and understand more and more subjects and not to confine to one’s domain. I was fortunate to work closely with Dr. Soman and have some greener reminiscences. His flair for both English and Malayalam languages is incredible. I recall an incident that shows his passion to keep occupied. Dr. Soman had a road accident and was forced to be on bed due to multiple leg fractures and I used to be the bystander during the day hours. After couple of days, Dr. Soman suggested writing a book to ‘kill’ the boredom. I have noticed that to hold a workaholic like Dr. Soman idle was a challenge. He was never before ‘tied’ down like this before. And thus the first draft of the popular title “Questions & Answers on Smoking” was born. Dr. Soman dictated the entire text in 2-3 days. Once he was out of the cast, the book was ready for printing. Only through Dr. Soman was I fortunate to associate with a team of doctors with ethics, they include Dr. C.C. Kartha, Dr. Ramdas Pisharody, Dr. V. Raman Kutty, Dr. Vijaya Kumar, Dr. K.P. Aravindan, Dr. S. Sivasankaran, Dr. Y.S. Sivan and more.

Another attribute of Dr. Soman which influenced me that he never says ‘no’ to anyone or any opportunity where his opinion is sought for. Either it is a small college function or a chat show in TV or Radio or an article for a newspaper or a magazine, he always agrees. Time management was the biggest challenge faced by Dr. Soman. His photographic memory and the wealth of information he possessed were amazing. Once one of the departments (either Computer Science or Electronics, don’t remember exactly) in the College of Engineering, Trivandrum invited Dr. Soman to be the Chief Guest for one of their departmental functions. His younger son also was the student of the same department at that time. The students who organized the function was not sure whether Dr. Soman being a Public Health Expert, a well known Nutritionist and more over a medical doctor by profession can be of any value addition. Dr. Soman addressed the students about their domain and its possibilities in serving the mankind. Both the Professors and the students equally were stunned and saluted Dr Soman for his in-depth knowledge even on a technical topic away from his area of expertise. The passion to learn more and more is what made Dr. Soman different from others.

Another person who influenced me was Rev (Dr.) Thomas Kottarathil (Late), former Principal of Mar Ivanios College, Trivandrum. How Fr. Kottarathil used to mange unruly mobs during college functions and those who ‘skip’ classes was astonishing. To memorize each and every student by name and his/her branch/class always amazed me. His style of functioning actually guided me to be cool during a conflict and absorb the heat of the opposite party and then put forward my view. This tactic I used in many client meetings and till date this works well for me, even though one or two occasions being criticized by others for being ‘frozen’ while the client was ‘yelling’. If you too join the band, then the meeting will resemble any rally by the political parties in Kerala. I still believe and continue to believe that listening with empathy is the prime step to face and diffuse conflicts. 

Listening to  Edward de Bono’s motivational speech on lateral thinking in Dubai, UAE also had an influence on my thinking and approach, especially while attending meetings or discussions, which requires problem solving.

The person who influenced me to write my own blog is Mr. Bal Gopal, the owner/blogger of He is the person who introduced me to Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi Devi) during our association in Kuwait. I still remember, Bal Gopal volunteered to do the service of taking care of the footwear of devotees arriving for Amma’s Darshan during 2001 Amma’s visit to Kuwait. As all other volunteers were opting for services inside the venue to have the glimpse of Amma or to be in the limelight, Bal Gopal was happy with the choice to be outside. I was fortunate to be a part of his team that successfully managed 1000s of footwear during the two days of Amma’s visit.

Finally, I would say my wife Tittu (Usha Nair) who amazed me with her perseverance and confidence in me during the turbulent days. She is the person who taught me to have checklists for things to be done. We have checklist for everything possible at home. She strives for perfection and meticulously ensures that the finer details are taken care. This is to avoid ‘harsh’ criticism from the ‘critic’ at home. 

Even my 4-year-old son influences and inspires me, the way he manipulates us (his parents) to get things done. 

There are lot of others knowingly or unknowingly influenced me, it may be another time or occasion I would elaborate. 

Meanwhile, I am keeping my eyes, ears and mind open to be receptive to become more influenced!

Please keep visiting  (every week) for more on the series “Fearless or Shameless”. 

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