April, 1985 and we were driving away from civilization towards the untamed, natural and beautiful; wearied of chaos, dangers and blood-spills of our own rioted country â€“ an aftermath of post Indira Gandhi era. My father was driving his 1969 model Fiat until we were right in the middle of an Adivasi congregation, wondering to see what this four wheeled object was. I was in class two then. Initially I was ashamed to watch the near naked fellow boys, only to grow-up and be a little shyer to watch near â€“ naked adults too. Leaving Calcutta, then, was the key leading me into this real world and marks the beginning of my career itself.
I was put into a local school run by Christian Missionaries, on UNESCO aids & grants from various local mining organizations, a network socially so active there, without which probably I would not have been what I am today. In the next ten years I grew up with my bones & muscles toned up really very strong, correlating to the wild surroundings cast upon me. Incredibly close to my Adivasi friends, along with some well-off children of other educated families in our cluster, I completed my schooling from the Orissa Mining & Metallurgical zone and much to the astonishment of my father; I turned out to be really ambitious by adolescence.
I appeared for the Joint Entrance Exam of India, a gateway into the most prestigious & powerful engineering schools in our country â€“ The Indian Institutes of Technology IIT. IIT was the next best thing that happened to me. Out of the literally wild & just manageable lifestyle, I bumped straight into the most cutting & extremely technological frontier of our country â€“ a college deemed as Institute of National Importance.
Of course the rigor of the competition tested every nerve in me and also set a bridge for me to adjust into my new surroundings having all kinds of boys & girls â€“ really smart – from various parts of India and quite many Non Resident Indians also. The four graduating years at IIT were, by far, the most grueling & influencing years of my life. Being pitted against the best of the nation, especially from cities & far-flung countries exposed even the most deeply hidden of my qualities right in front of me â€“ not just academics but also extra curricular swung open like the gates el dorado.
Thanks to the natural feel & sheer instinct, I would easily fit into any game or sport at college and would necessarily come out with some or other result adding points to our hostel’s overall performance. So tight & stultifying was the initial schedule & degree of difficulty that my first & second year passed like two strokes of lightening. I barely managed to give time to the many more attractions at college â€“ dramatics, literary events, fine arts, choreography, modeling etc. as such all these forums are in general not available to every child in India until college.
All so addictive all so absorbing, that I would cherish having tried all of them all my life! However, late in my second year, I was mesmerized with this six-string instrument â€“ the guitar. I would drown in its tacitly emotional phonetics and would simply be in bliss in its & its players’ company. I learnt the guitar then. Primarily by hit-and-trial method, trying out as many riffs & bridges as possible, I would constantly insist my seniors to put me on stage as soon as possible.
My exposure to western music increased exponentially and from desi classical compositions I moved onto the high-end hard rock onslaughts of America. From Bryan Adams to Celine Dione, Steve Vai to Joe Satriani, Pink Floyd to Dream Theatre; I played everything and rose as a lead guitarist at institute level by my final year – 2002. Even today I could boast of having a hard rock band in India named UFO’s but its more or less dormant now. We don’t get time anymore; let alone the distances between our band-members. We are all employed in different organizations.
I am employed with Central Govt. of India undertaking â€“ Gail India Ltd. â€“ a natural gas & petrochemicals company. It’s been three years since my absorption in Gail. This period has been a very learning experience. Having joined a petrochemicals plant that was only about 1Â½ years old, I could see a turn-around in the income curve of our unit that not only did throw the many of our die-hard skeptics in the Government overboard, but also elevated us to focus from smaller diurnal problems of plant-tripping, stock-surplus situations etc. o the more important areas like feedback-based production, sales planning, long-term contracts with business partner/suppliers and also fine inventory.
I italicized the two functions in my earlier sentence to reflect only those as my key performance areas. Proudly, I can say that from inventory at USD 10-12 million in 2002-03, I could sharply cut down to a stable level of USD ~2 million today. Since confirmation, I have had the responsibility of importing chemicals, catalysts & solvents from only the short-listed overseas sources â€“ a profile with natural virtues of great difficulty, great costs & high criticality.
The chemical properties of these hazardous, explosive in nature items, under the norms of International Trade Code for imports, present a daunting task to manage. It closely knits with the fundamentals of optimum inventory, material planning, forecasting, and also Chemistry. Intelligence of others in business, Global product-flow & price-trend analysis e. g. using Platt’s Publications for variable pricing contracts etc. especially in seller’s market type of products add up further spice in my profession.
However, I know, learning does not stop here. I look forward for a change in career now. That would aptly compliment my international exposure & also my career goals. I feel quite ambitious to even look up to the ideas I have in my mind – especially when I think about my humble origins around the Simlipal Wildlife Sanctuary in Orissa. Surely, an inspiration as my personal experience, just as yours to you, has a lot in store for me.