Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought.

                                                                                         William Hazlitt, English Writer (1778-1830)

Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought.

William Hazlitt, English Writer (1778-1830)

Simplicity perhaps can be defined as freedom from material desires and emotional desires. Simplicity also avoids waste, teaches economy, and avoids value clashes complicated by greed, fear, peer pressure, and a false sense of identity. I know only one person who can fit all the aspects stated in the above two definitions.

After a few months of joining Indian Telephone Industries Limited (ITI), sometime during July 1974, I came across a news column announcing that the Department of Commerce, Central College will be rolling out from that academic year a One year Post-graduate (PG) Diploma Programme for working executives in the disciplines of Industrial Management, Finance Management and Personnel (presently known as Human Resources) Management. As I was working during the general shift (8.45 AM to 5.30 PM) at ITI and the classes were only during 6.30 to 9 PM, I decided to join the Industrial Management discipline. The course commenced sometime during August and one of the evenings, I met this young and smart-looking person from the Personnel Management discipline. He introduced himself as Prasanna Bhat, an officer working in Karnataka Bank, K.G. Road branch. I could have never imagined then that he’d become my life-time friend, apart from a brilliant academic, successful banker and corporate advisor!

Venkatramana Prasanna Bhat (1951-2020) was born as the second child of eight children of the pious couple, M.Venkatramana Bhat and Lakshmi Bai. As Venkatramana Bhat was employed with Co-optex1 he was often transferred to different cities. Thus, by the time Prasanna completed his schooling, he had studied in six different cities – Kozikode, Erode, Chennai, Tirunelveli, Hyderabad and Bangalore, and in different languages! Having got a couple of double promotions, he joined B.Sc (Hons.) at Central College even before turning sixteen. He further continued in the same college and completed M.Sc (Physics) and immediately got selected as an officer in Karnataka Bank in 1972.


Before joining Post-graduate Diploma in Personnel Management in 1974, having joined a bank, Prasanna had completed both the papers of CAIIB (Certified Associate of Indian Institute of Bankers) examination conducted by Indian Institute of Banking and Finance. Though we had taken up different disciplines, the fact that both of us secured FIRST RANK in our respective disciplines at the end of the academic year perhaps brought us closer! Prasanna further completed PG Diploma in Financial Management during the next academic year. Subsequently when Bangalore University announced Three Year Executive MBA program in 1976, abandoning the PG Diploma programme, both of us joined the MBA programme during its second year, as we got exemption for the first year having completed the PG diploma. Our association continued not just for those two years, but till he breathed his end in 2020!

As a student of Financial Management, Prasanna wrote an innovate paper on Continuous Discounted Cash flow, to highlight the depreciating value of money over time for various frequencies. This technique can be used to assess rate of return on capital expenditure proposals. With a view to take the consent of Head of the Department of Commerce to include his name for getting the paper published, Prasanna approached him; but as he could not understand the concept, he did not give his consent.  As Prasanna came out of the room disappointed, Prof. Hanumanthappa who was seated in the opposite room called Prasanna and enquired about the matter. When Prasanna explained him about his paper, he went through it and gave his consent to include his name as co-author and thus the paper got published in a reputed journal2. A few years later Prasanna got his doctorate too on the same topic under the guidance of Prof. Hanumanthappa who subsequently got elevated to the position of Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University!

On the career front, Prasanna quickly climbed the ladder of banking hierarchy and rose to the position of Assistant General Manager (Human Resources) reporting directly to the Chairman,  much earlier than forty! However, in 1992, after serving the Bank for twenty years he resigned to join Sangli Bank as General Manager.  In 1994 he took over the reins of Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation of Tamilnadu3 (ITCOT) Limited, Chennai as its Managing Director.

It was during Prasanna’s tenure at ITCOT, I used to regularly visit his office / residence whenever I was in Chennai. Most of the time, he cooked his own food and cleaned his house himself.   He was very much conversant with home remedies as well as astrology.  As he remained a bachelor, Prasanna spent his spare time advising people on family related and health related matters, apart from being a prolific writer and speaker at several management seminars / workshops.  During one of my visits I was surprised to see on his right hand index finger a golden ring with a big Emerald stone. Knowing his lack of interest in material life, I asked him about it. He laughed and narrated the story behind it.

During his tenure at ITCOT, while he was travelling once from Chennai to Coimbatore by train, one of the co-passengers started conversing with him sharing his concern – delay in arranging his daughter’s marriage. Prasanna asked him details of her date, time and place of birth. Based on his astrological predictions, Prasanna told him that she’d get married shortly to a good person and suggested that she wears a ring with emerald stone. Some six months later, Prasanna’s secretary informed him that a gentleman has come from Coimbatore to meet him on some personal matter. When the gentleman was ushered in, to his surprise Prasanna found him to be the same person who happened to travel with him during his train journey to Coimbatore a few months back. Informing that his daughter got married a couple of months’ back as Prasanna had predicted, he thanked him profusely. As he did not have contact details of Prasanna he was wondering how to meet him. When he was watching Television one evening, he saw Prasanna’s face being flashed as Managing Director of ITCOT in one of the news channels. Thus, he landed up at ITCOT office in Chennai.    He took out from his bag a gold ring with emerald stone and requested Prasanna to wear it as a token of his respect and gratitude.

There are many such beneficiaries who have benefitted from Prasanna’s predictions based on astrology for their life-related issues and Home-remedies for their health-related issues!

In 1998 Prasanna resigned from ITCOT to take up a short term foreign assignment as Advisor to Saudi Arabia Monetary Agency (SAMA) for developing Small and Medium Industries there. After his return from Saudi Arabia he took up consulting assignments mainly in the areas of Finance and Human Resources development, including one in Muscat during 2002-3. He was also an Adjunct Professor of Finance in a few Colleges offering Post-graduate programmes in Business Management – Bharathiyar University, Trichy, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai to name a few.

During his tenure at ITCOT he had advised Shriram Group, promoted by first generation entrepreneur Thyagarajan. Subsequent to his returning from Saudi Arabia, Prasanna had briefly done a few assignments for Shriram group also. In 2006, as Shriram Transport Finance Corporation Limited was rapidly expanding, Thyagrajan requested Prasanna to be a full-time Corporate HR Advisor overseeing recruitment and training of management trainees across India. Having accepted the offer, Prasanna travelled almost twenty five days in a month across India covering many cities. Perhaps, this constant travel year after year for ten years, took a toll on his health and during early 2016 he developed Restless Leg Syndrome4 (RLS). By October 2016, he resigned from Shriram assignment and managed RLS through exhaustive research, experimenting constantly with diet along with Ayurvedic medicines.

Having retired from all my assignments in 2018, I started writing blogs on various topics based on my life experiences and used to share with him. When I decided to put together contents of these blogs in the form of a book, I couldn’t think of anyone else other than Prasanna to write the foreword. When I requested him, he sent it in less than twelve hours! I was fortunate that he was one of the guest speakers at the virtual launch of the book on 29th November 2020, as he breathed his last on 25th December 2020 after being hospitalised for six days.

I consider the foreword that Prasanna wrote for my book – Doing Well, Feeling Happy, is the best reward that I have received in my life!


[1] Tamilnadu Handloom Weavers’ Co-operative Society Limited, popularly known as Co-optex established in 1935 is basically engaged in marketing handloom fabrics produced in Tamilnadu through its 200 show-rooms spread across India.

2Prasanna Bhat V, Hanumanthappa K, 1976, “Technique of Continuous Discounted Cash Flow”, The Chartered Accountant, September 1976, Vol. XXV, Issue 3, Pages 195-199

3 ITCOT is a Consultancy Organisation founded in 1979 as ‘Deemed Government Company’, a joint venture of All India Financial Institutions, State Financial & Industrial Development Corporations & Commercial Banks to offer project and business consultancy services to Entrepreneurs, Banks & Financial Institutions, PSUs, Government departments, Corporates, MSMEs, Start-ups, etc.

4Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a brain nerve and sleep condition that causes a strong, nearly irresistible urge to move your legs that’s at least partially relieved by movement. Symptoms are more common when your body is at rest in the evening. It usually occurs in addition to uncomfortable sensations in your legs like throbbing or aching. The urge to constantly move can interfere with your ability to relax or fall asleep.


February 19th, 2024 | Ravi 73