Uploading an old piece I wrote for Manthan, ITC-ABD’s Intranet, at the end of last year…

1. I completed twenty five years of my work life on 14th April 2008, leading to a flash-back on how I stumbled into rural management as a career and what I made of it. I am truly lucky to have a convergence between the ‘call of my life’ and the ‘mission of the organisation’ I work for. With eChoupal 3.0 just set in motion, it is like taking a fresh guard at the stumps in my silver jubilee year.

2. April also gave me my latest gadget, the Amazon Kindle. With a habit like reading five books at a time, all the time, there couldn’t have been a better mate. You can buy a book with the flip of a button, take hundreds of books wherever you go, dismantle the shelves at home to make space, highlight paragraphs, make notes, change font size and what not. And at 10 oz, the weight is no more than a large cup of ice-cream! Some great books I’ve read recently include Predictably Irrational, Presenting to Win, Einstein’s Enigma or Black Holes in My Bubble Bath, The Back of the Napkin.

3. August 2008 brought India’s first Olympic gold in an individual event through Abhinav Bindra. Hopefully that’s the beginning of a richer haul, and also the last time we heard the usual refrain ‘Can’t a country of Billion people win one Olympic gold?’

4. September took me to Mount Everest! No, no… I didn’t climb; I just took a Mountain Flight to see the snow mountain from under five kilometers away. What a magnificent sight it was. This visit completed two ends of a spectrum for me; some years ago I went to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth.

5. October was a gala event in Boston. I was speaking at the Harvard Business School Centennial Summit there. Harvard has been my dream school, because three out of every four cases I was taught at IRMA was written at Harvard. To be part of its hundred year celebrations was a great feeling; this was again thanks to eChoupal.

6. November will be sadly (and angrily) remembered as 26/11 for a long time. One SMS I received in the aftermath was very revealing, ‘Irony of Modern India: The politicians divide the country by words, while the terrorists unite it with bullets’

7. In December, at the Pan IIT alumni meet in Chennai, I saw the Agastya Mobile Lab on a mini van. Packed with over hundred science experiments, mostly Physics – my favourite subject, this lab was a great exploration of the every day world all over again for me. How I wish every child is exposed to such experiments to make learning interactive and encourage curiousity instead of the routine rote method used in most schools.