Friday, September 19, 2008

Idea 5 - The Real Need ..

The last driver we had at my parents' place, was a very special man and when he decided to quit, it must be a very special reason that made him to. He was more an extension of our family than a 'driver'. Though his primary 'duty' was to help with my mom's transporation needs, he was a passionate 'gardner' , helped my dad's office with some odd jobs , helped my bro with the aquarium 'maintenance' and many other things. I had lessons to learn from him - i still remember the times when he used to push my dad into buying more saplings and make the little space around our house GREEN !!! He was always treated well - his kids education expense were taken care of and my mom would treat him, the same way he would treat his sons.

So, when the special man decided to quit, there must be only reason - Entrepreneurship. Yes, he is an entrepreneur now !! He got some money coming his way and he decided to 'start-up'.

When asked what he was going to do , his answer was to supply drinking water to some areas in Coimbatore. He had planned to buy a mini delivery van and get a contract with one of the drinking water bottlers.

But what struck me was his answer to the question 'why this business ? ' - " Water is a basic need and people will always buy water. There is a REAL need for water and i can satisfy this need. "

He, sure, has thought hard about solving a 'real' problem - Simple, responsible thinking. Not a surprise.. coming from him.

Having known him, am sure his new venture will be a huge success. 

Friday, September 05, 2008

My Best 26th B'day Gift

The greatest satisfaction and happiness comes out of making some real impact with the things we do - Ever since i quit my regular job, the need to make a real impact is what drives me largely, to do things that i do now.
So, when Meera , an active volunteer at Deepam, e-mailed this on our e-group, it was a huge boost to the small effort a bunch of us had made thus far at Deepam ( Despite, me knowing that Meera was being a bit nice to us :), given her talents )
Here is the mail
Subject : How Deepam landed me ( Meera ) a scholarship
The interview went well, but there were a couple of determining factors. Here's how - 
Interviewer- So Meera, your work ex all seems ok. Also, we sometimes need to use complex software which is unknown to us. Right from our faculty, to the staff and students, we might need some instructing to use the software.
Have you ever had a chance where you taught people to use new software or technologies? 
Meera -This is really exciting. I, in fact really love teaching, especially computers/software. 
' I gave them a brief gist of Deepam and what we do here. I told her that we are a small group working to make literacy for lesser privileged children a reality. That we, apart from teaching them to use computers,also try to work on so many concurrent things like building their english, trying to get materials ready,and setting up a system for them, give certificates, encourage them to questions, read up on news.. etc '' 
She ( Interviewer ) was very impressed. 
Finally, this is what she ( Interviewer ) said - These kids, am sure are smart, and catch these software and concepts real quick. If you can teach lesser privileged kids, you surely need to stretch a bit more and be patient with our faculty and students here, and I'm sure you can teach them too. This is a really good job you are doing here. 
This came from the head of the department! Considering that this department is a behavioral science department, they were all the more impressed, and knew the impact of such voluntary work in the society. They told me they'd keep me informed about the position after the weekend. But, they gave me a call 30 minutes after the interview and told me I got the position. I was elated. 
The Deepam factor sure gave me a definite edge over the others.
I know working in Deepam gives immense satisfaction, but additionally for me, it helped in landing me a job + assistantship :) :)  "
Thanks Meera !!
That was the best b'day gift i got , this year ! ( Yes, i turned 26 last week :) )

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Chennai Marathon 2008

Some months ago, i watched a short clip of the 1982 Boston marathon - Alberto Salazar won that closely fought race. What stayed with me was a line from the commentary - " Salazar runs longer than anyone else at the 'red line' - the point of pain. He continues to run at the red line longer than his fellow runners "

That line was a big motivation for me when i started training 3 months ago . I wanted to run for a good amount of time at the 'red line'. That was the goal, since, i had always given up at the red line.

I can see some improvements - I ran for 2 hours continuously on 2 sundays in the last 1 month (Before this, the longest i've done is 1:35 , for a non-stop run ). My breathing which was shallow, has improved as well. And importantly, i've become more regular at the runs and i run atleast 4 days a week - whether it is at 5 am / 8 am / 1 pm / 8 pm or 1 am ( Yes, i've run at all these times in the last 2 months ).

So, with all of this behind me, i ran the chennai half marathon last sunday - I finished the 21 km in a disappointing 2 hours and 38 mins. Disappointing, since i was targeting an under 2 hour run.

The heat was not the excuse since i was all ready for the big day – I even ran from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm , one of the Sundays. I trained for the hot conditions. But, i just couldn't change into 'overdrive' mode because of a mild fever i was carrying.

The first 40 mins of the run was smooth for me and I ran at 10+ kmph. Around the 40 min mark, I started to walk... That was the hardest part of the race – the mind playing games and suggesting that I quit the race ( I always had the ‘fever’ excuse ). I decided to walk for a while and shut those thoughts out. It was hard when a fellow runner ( ofcourse, he was being nice :) ) , asked me not to ‘give up’ and run… just the other week, I ran a 2 hour continuous run…

I just decided to finish the race and 2 hour target had to wait for another day. 

I kept walking for another 10 mins and i had a chocolate bar. I decided to walk the ‘shade’ part of the course and run in the sunny parts. Soon, I started running and ran the next 4 km. From then on, running in the sunny parts and walking the in the shades, I managed to complete the run in 2:38. 

It was a great feeling, running the ‘home’ marathon – knew lots of people who were running this one and the encouragements and simply, running with a ‘known face’ kept me going. Towards the end, I ran with Rekha – Shes a mom of 2 and used hit 81 kgs on the scales 3 years ago. Currently, she is possibly one of the fittest women one would meet . Despite the hot conditions, she was pushing herself and we finished the run together.

About the run,


  • Great participation - it was a nice feeling to see so many runners on the road
  • Closed roads - the roads were closed for vehicle traffic for over 3 hours
  • Organisers didn't have a clue on conducting this race - From the BIB distribution, water points, route planning, volunteer involvement and many many more
  • Poor crowd participation ( except for a few sections ) - Run the Mumbai run, to experience the crowd participation
  • It was sad to see the water bottles / polythene covers strewn all over the roads and 'kid' ragpickers going after those - afterall, a lot of us were running to raise money for those kids..
It was clear that the Chennai Marathon has miles to go, before it can hold a world-class , runner-friendly marathon. NOBODY cared about the runners - they are the focus of the running events. The focus was on ' getting the attention' than ' doing the job '.

P.S Thanks to Karthik at chennairunners for the photos.