Monday, January 05, 2015

Jan 4th College of Engineering Global Alumni Meet - CEGAM2

Got back from an exhilarating trip to Chennai.

I was filled with nostalgia - partly because of the campus, partly my old friends - and laughed my heart out like good old days.

However there were times when was discussing the not so happy moments. Will eat the frog first and get it out of the way.

Old Age and Cancer

We are all peeking into middle age, and our parents are peeking into old age. With it brings its own challenges. We are still building our careers and with both husband and wife working nowadays  it is difficult to provide round the clock care to our parents who need total care. A few of us are going through this phase now.

For San and I - after having relocated to Mumbai - we have no family / friend support system like we had in Bangalore - it is quite a challenge. Luckily there is a Startup in this area - Portea Medicals and they supply trained nursing attendants to come home and look after the patient. This might sound as a plug for Portea, but truth is - I am really thankful for this startup for their service - and also I am doing what I recommend  my Customers to do more ( -  on Customers - Trust us, Refer Us )

The next thing we discussed was cancer. It has become as common as Heart Attack or Diabetes. A friend and his brother, a Pancreatic Cancer Specialist himself, were presented with a choice for their mother suspected of a cancerous growth and they together decided to skip surgery.  Thankfully the diagnose turned out to be negative. Also heard of stories where the battle was won.

Surgery is expensive, and it leaves the human body in tatters - and does not guarantee non occurrence. Not only that - the drugs they inject are expensive, and zero research happens in India - these drugs were tested on Western Patients - are they even suitable for our Gene Pool?

It is a tough choice and I dread to make a decision like this for my near and dear.

For myself I know what I want if such a day comes and I have to decide for myself - it will be love,whiskey wine and morphine - after this little inspiring article I read in ET recently.

So with this my friends, having eaten the frog - lets move on to the other fun stuff!


One of my friends - a final year Project mate of mine - is dabbling in short films and wants to direct a full featured film - there was a session on Passion - and I believe it would have fanned the flame in his heart. Go for it boss - the journey is what matters! #weRcheering4U

And the session was a riot - moderated by a "colourful" Super senior of us from 1984/85 batch - his CEG achievement - he was suspended for 6 months for having involved in a messy fight - when he stood up for his batch mates against ragging by seniors!

Madhan Karky, an ex-CEGian and also an ex-Professor of CompSci Dept was in the panel. He happens to be the son of the famous lyricist Vairamuthu. He explained how hard it is for him to make a mark in the film industry - under the shadow of a giant. He also said how he is mixing his passion ( writing lyrics ) with his CompSci background ( he writes code to mine rhymes ). #impressed


A good friend of mine has started up in Silicon Valley - by my calculation it will be the 9th Startup to come out of 1998 EEE batch. Some day I will be able to write a full book on this prodigy batch of CEG!

One of my batchmates has now grown his Startup to a 200 employee company and is planning to take it to 500. #hellyeah

Another - a second generation entrepreneur has turned around a business, and is setting sights on the global market. Another has put his current one on cruise control, and is starting a new one. Some are in between jobs and twiddling their thumbs whether to start up.

Also I bumped into a 1960s pass out golden senior! He had recommended our startup to his community in the early days and even arranged for a demo with the management committee. I was so happy to see him .

Had lot of learnings on hiring, marketing, scaling.. With friends you can be open and candid - wish I had more time to chat. Was just like old days - when we used to study for exam and exchange notes - felt the same camaraderie still.

The biggest take away for me was to plan my work life and home life better. Right now it is tilted way too much towards work. One of my batch mates is single handedly managing both the company and home. #respect #inspired

The Trichy Story

One has relocated to Trichy from Bangalore and was heavily marketing the city - like how Narendra Modi campaigns for Gujarat - on how the BPO industry works, how it is super easy to get a CA for a song, how the rate is set for all skill sets ( pst..pst.. cartel  ) - something you never get to see in a magazine or TV expose!

And my friend is planning to run for an election here. Hats off buddy.. be the change. We are with you in this. #yeswecan

Make in India

I missed all the morning sessions ( long story - not important ). Post lunch attended sessions - one was on Make in India. It was about Manufacturing Industry. The challenges are different. Like poor quality vendor suppliers or lack of quality labour or BE students who do not know any of the technical jargon - having come out of a Tamil Medium. And what these industry stalwarts are doing to change things. #hatsoff

Also there was a heavy dose of advise for the students to take industry internships seriously and not just go there to hang out - but get on the shop floor and learn all they can during that time. It left me squirming in my seat - once I had an opportunity to spend the semester vacation in an Electrical company in Coimbatore but I choose to spend time at Orissa with my parents. Sitting there, 18 years later I realised I missed a great experience.  #waterhasflown


A few of us have a healthy paunch! While it is a sign of prosperity - it is also a warning sign. Whenever discussion meandered into the belly girth, I suggested Standing Desk. Sit only for 1 to 1 meetings or to take phone calls, but when you are working - stand. Also try to have standing meetings - meetings are short, people speak less, are attentive and it is healthy.

Remember the new slogan - Sitting is the new Smoking!

Run, Cycle to work, Take Stairs, Standing desk - so many things one can mix in a daily routine. Yes I do it all! Was telling someone - I lost my dad to high BP and heart attack. My mother has diabetes - and I am not letting genetics decide my end game. #togoodhealthforall

So thats all folks.

May CEG and its tribe shine brighter & forever!