Transition and Transformation
“Transformation does not happen by learning new information.
It happens when you change how you view and react to other people, events, and things around you”.
I started feeling helplessness when I was about seven. My elder sister who was suffering from Type-1 Diabetes succumbed to the disease when she was just about twelve. This happened within a few weeks of our moving to Khadakavasala (a small town situated seven and a half miles from Pune) following my father’s transfer from Bangalore. I saw the elders at home wailing and didn’t know how to console them. The fact that my sister didn’t return home after my father had taken her out with a few of our neighbours and his colleagues made me seek the reason for it. I was told that she has reached God. It was only a couple of years later I learnt a little more about death.
When I was almost nine, I was afflicted by eczema and it was terribly itchy and painful. I suffered from jaundice a couple of years later; there were severe diet restrictions. Over a period of time I realized that death and diseases are inevitable part of human life. My understanding was endorsed by Buddha when I studied the rudiments of Buddhism as part of my high-school history! This understanding helped me get toughened to face several such situations in the future.
Born in a middle-class, not-so-conservative family, which considered graduation and a well-paying job as a sign of settling down in life, I have had to drastically transform myself on a few occasions during the last forty years. Having got toughened in my early years, I was prepared to face these challenges.
For the first time I realised the need to transform was when I got married and start a new life (1980). However, the major challenge and need to transform really was when I had to resign my well-paying public sector job to become a full-time entrepreneur (1984). In April 1989, I became the President of Consortium of Electronics Industries of Karnataka (CLIK), an industry association of small and medium electronics enterprises. My father who was suffering from cardiac problems since August 1984, died in May 1989. My wife who was employed as a lecturer had some health set-backs in the same period. With two growing children and three enterprises that I was managing, life had become very challenging. I realised that the time had come for me to reorient myself and this demanded change in my priorities.
My only younger brother, a bachelor, had been working in Oman since 1983 after a stint with Indian Institute of Technology, Madras for six years. In early 1990, I was informed by a friend of my brother that he had resigned from his job and lost most of his savings by investing in a business of one of his friends. As father’s first death anniversary was nearing, I sent him a message to return to Bangalore. He landed up within few days, bare-handed. He stayed with us for close to ten months and during that time I established an enterprise for him to develop software and deal with software products because he was experienced in that domain. By the end of 1990, however, he left for Nauru, a small island country in Pacific Ocean to take up the job of Computer Advisor to the President, leaving the fate of the software company—which I started for him—to me.
In March 1991, my term as President of CLIK came to an end. I planned for a long holiday with my family to Europe and the United States during the annual vacation for my wife and children (April-May). I decided to use this time to work on my future plans in the light of changing situations. After looking at several options, I was convinced that for the company to grow and strengthening middle-level management, the best way is to go public. On my return, I suggested this to my partner. But he was not convinced. As I knew it was difficult to raise funds any other way for growth, I informed my partner that I’d like to quit in a year’s time.
While it was a challenge to quit my well-paying ITI job to become an entrepreneur, it was a greater challenge to come out of business, having borrowed money from banks and private financiers. This transformation demanded much more courage than the earlier one as I had already moved into my forties.
In 1993, with the support of a few business friends I established a consortium company to promote exports from small and medium Electronics Industries. It stabilized financially in about four years. An Australian company visited us in early 1999 and showed interest in partnering by participating in the equity. Around the same time my brother was diagnosed with stomach and oesophagus cancer, exactly ten years after my father’s death. At that point of time, he was working in Pohnpei, a small island in the Pacific. Realizing that he was unwell, he managed to reach Chennai and I arranged to bring him to Bangalore. Despite the best of our efforts, he succumbed to the disease in November.
In the earlier year (1998), I was nominated to be the President-Elect of Rotary Club of Bangalore Koramangala, of which I have been a member since 1988. I had to take over as President from the First of July, 2000. At the time of his death, my brother was in the process of writing his thesis for his Ph.D. I decided to transform myself again, this time to become a researcher and social worker. I informed my company board that I will resign in a year’s time.
As President of my Rotary club, I worked along with my team on fifty service projects to celebrate fifty years of my life on this planet. This gave me confidence to continue social work subsequently. After completing my term as President in June 2001, I prepared a synopsis on the chosen area of research to convince my research supervisor that he should accept me as a research scholar under his guidance. Once he gave me the nod, I registered for Ph.d in 2002.
During the process of writing my thesis, sometime in September 2008, I underwent a minor surgery in my nose for excision of a polyp. The biopsy report revealed that the growth was malignant. After nine years of my brother’s death, I was facing a similar situation at the time of writing thesis! I was advised to undergo another surgery to establish negative region. Though the surgery helped in confirming that areas around the point of growth were not malignant, it damaged the eye sac and impaired olfactory function to a large extent.
By this time, my research supervisor was on lien to the Government of Karnataka to become the first Secretary and Executive Director of the newly formed Knowledge Commission. He was kind to visit and assure me all support till I completed my thesis. Convalescence period helped me to concentrate on thesis writing and finally I completed it by November 2009, exactly ten years after my brother’s death! I turned sixty in 2010 and entered a new phase in life with a doctorate to my credit.
March 02, 2019 | Ravi 10