Friday, May 10, 2013

My First lessons in entrepreneurship

I wish to get my story published in Chicken Soup for the Indian Entrepreneurs Soul in association with 

It was during the days when I was pursuing engineering in electronics.It was vacation time for us and I was thinking of building working circuit models that I can later use for inter-collegiate competitions as mini-projects.

I needed electronic supplies, components and guidance for the same as it was something beyond the curriculum. Mr.Murty was the CEO of a small-scale electronics manufacturing unit that produced  specialized communication systems that were used in areas where normal communication systems were not effective. Mr.Murty was a very accomplished person in his field and won laurels across the world for his immense contributions. He started his firm post retirement and showed a great amount of zeal and enthusiasm in his work even at the age of eighty.

My association with Mr.Murty was from my childhood through my Mom, who worked at his firm. Over years, we turned into good family friends. He was a grandfather figure to me. He helped me with my questions on science and got me the most useful gifts ever, when he came to visit us.I heard very highly of him from my parents not only as a boss but also as a wonderful human being. But, I never got an opportunity to interact with him on a technical ground.After many years, it was that day I would be face-to-face with him again and I was very much looking forward to it.

As I walked into his office, a board greeted me that read, "Work is worship and our place of work is our temple". Mr.Murty was a god-fearing man and the words just reminded me once again about his commitment and devotion to work. I went in to the reception lobby and checked-in with the receptionist regarding my appointment who asked me to wait for ten minutes. As I sat there waiting, a sharp, well-dressed man came and greeted me. I could barely recognize him as he smiled and said, " Do you remember me little girl? I am Nagaiah." I was flabbergasted and dumb-struck. Nagaiah was a office-boy at that place, when I knew of him ten years back. He brought cans of water for the staff and carried out other chores at that place. All that I knew was he discontinued his studies after schooling. Before I could say anything, Nagaiah spoke,"I am a Junior design Engineer here now and a part of the research team. Whatever I am today, needless to say, I owe it to Murty Sir. I started helping initially, the team with small technical activities and spotting my interest, Sir asked me to shadow junior engineers. There started my story. I pursued my diploma and later joined a part-time engineering course, which Sir guided me through and sponsored. Above all the academics part, much of the learning happens from here, from all the experts. The lessons that I learn everyday here are invaluable and over years, I could learn the niche skills required for a job from a design perspective. So,here I am today. You must be surprised, I can understand" he said."Amazing and really inspiring, too. It must have been a lot of hard work and perseverance from your side, as well." I spoke as I regained my composure. " Well..Everybody wants to do well, earn good money and have a comfortable life. I am one of that "everybody" too, at that stage. The only thing I did not know was "how" and probably I did not dream this far too. Mr.Murty was the person who gave me a sense of direction and a purpose to my life. He taught me it is first about working on myself and building a place for myself in the society.Then, as much as it is about taking, it is about giving. I learnt give-back is a very crucial part and it is my big dream that I am working on. Some day..some day, for sure." he said in a firm, confident tone. I inquired about the well-being of the other people whom I knew as a kid and we discussed for some time about those days. He suddenly said, "Oh..I forgot to tell you. Do you remember Ramsingh?". " Yes, of course." I replied in affirmation. Ramsingh was a cook at Mr.Murty's house and he made the best of gulab jamuns. His gulab jamuns were to die for and he made a good batch for us whenever we visited Mr.Murty's home. He was barely twenty then, I recollected."He is in Delhi now, settled there with his wife and two children. He has a government job, works for the Central Railways", he said. "Wow, that is great to know."I said. "Murty Sir guided him into doing his bachelors from open university. He studied whenever he got some free time after the cooking. Mr.Murty was always there for his doubts and guided him on the job front, too.He is a happy man now, all thanks to Sir." he continued as we were interrupted by the receptionist who announced that I may now go inside. I bid good-bye to Nagaiah and made my way to Mr.Murty's cabin.

As, I opened the door, I was greeted by his warm smile. He looked old but no where close to the eighty mark that he is. He had a certain charisma to him that doesn't go unnoticed. As we spoke, I explained him the purpose of my visit. He reached out for a magazine on the book rack and flipped through the pages and said, "I did some research on the project when you sent me a email. It is a basic functionality that you are looking to build. Here is something challenging that you could do to make it a little more fun. These are some interesting functions that could be added to your existing model that are a big value-add from a product perspective" he said, as he pointed out to some circuit diagrams in the magazine. He meticulously explained everything in the diagram.As he explained, I could notice the passion that he has towards work and how much the passion drives him to do what he loves. He then called in a person who would help and guide me through my work.I took leave of him and was guided to my work area by my mentor. As I walked through cubicles, I could see a few groups of students who were working on live projects under the guidance of people who are more than eager to help.

As I sat down to start off with my work, I could feel the positive energy of the place. I pondered how much a leader can influence a group of people to not only work with grit and determination but also do their small part by giving at every opportunity they get. Mr. Murty redefined entrepreneurship by not only meaning business, finances, risks and economics but also to include humane elements to it like responsibility, respect towards fellow beings, sharing and giving. I got the components and began to work, saying silently to myself, "Entrepreneurship,someday..definitely someday.."


  1. loved the end.. keep up that spririt

  2. Thanks for your comments Richa..Keep visiting.