It Has Been A Long Time Since I Was Here

Almost a month and a half it has been and I apologize to have kept all of you waiting. Most part of the time for me was spent in shuttling between Bhubaneswar and Bengaluru. MindTree’s newest facility, MindTree Kalinga, will be kicked off on the Republic Day and the preparations have been hectic, getting the necessary government clearances, the physical land readied – it is a 20-acre land – putting together the event and everything else that go with it.

Whenever we start a new project anywhere, we have the One Earth ceremony, to signal commencement. It starts with consecrating handful of earth brought in from wherever MindTree Minds have gone, to the land where we are to build. So, we have earth from the 17-mile-drive, from Gandhi’s first settlement in South Africa, the Berlin Wall, Mother Teresa’s home in Cochin and from many other places in distant countries. In Bhubaneswar, students of local professional institutions will pour the earth in the presence of the Chief Minister Mr Naveen Patnaik at the base of a rather unusual tree whose botanical name is Ficus krisnae.

Source : Life at Dharwad by Siddeshwar Prasad

It Has Been A Long Time Since I Was Here

Some of you may know, Ficus (Bata/Bara) is a family that has many variants. Among them, the rather rare, Ficus krisnae is native to India. It is unique because of the shape of the leaf that curls up at the base in the shape of a cup; a scooping device if you will. Story has it that Lord Krishna used to dip this leaf into the pots of butter to scoop it out. Hence, the name, Ficus krisnae. It is our tribute to the land of Jagannath, who is a form of Krishna in the ancient land of Kalinga.

MindTree Kalinga is being designed by Prem Chandavarkar. Prem and I go back a long time. He is one of the finest human beings and a scholar before he is an architect. Working with him on this project is a boyishly handsome architect named Vikram. When we set out to conceptualise MindTree Kalinga, we asked Vikram to go study temple design of Odisha that is home to the Jagannath Temple in Puri, the Sun temple in Konark and the Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar. There are of course hundreds others that are sometimes a thousand years old! We found a fascinating commonality in temple design among them all.

As you visit a temple, you do not get to meet the reigning deity straightaway. You go through a set of realms. First is the place for food and offerings for God. This is called the Bhoga Mandap. Then comes the arena where performances are staged for God; this is the Natya Mandira. When you cross that space, you get into the place of congregation (In every religion, the seeking is at once solitary and congregational); it is called the Jagamohana. When you have mingled with fellow-pilgrims, you finally arrive at the GarvaGruha or the Sanctum Sanctorum.

In the temple at Puri, beyond all this, to the right, is the Baikuntha Dwara, the gateway to heaven. This has a garden space where mortal remains of Lord Jagannath are buried as he sheds outer body made of wood, once in every twelve years. This idea of Bhoga Mantap, Natya Mandir,Jagamohana ,GarvaGruha and Baikuntha (space for renewal) has inspired the campus design even as its external façade will be very contemporary.

Amidst all the preparations for MindTree Kalinga, I completed the manuscript for MBA at 16 and now it is in the code-freeze stage with Penguin. From this point, there is no going back. As I look back at the process of writing it, I feel it has been my most loved book so far. I was swept with a sense of affection for the subject, the characters, for the narrative and finally for all the 31 students of the National Public School, right through the creative process. The book is debuting this April. We shot a picture with all the students last weekend. A few of them were not at hand but most of them made it.

It was a great reunion for me; the last I had seen them was a year ago. They all looked a little more grown up but the same infectious enthusiasm, of youth and brightness of minds swept me all over. Friend Mallik Katakol shot a few pictures and here is one for you. Sneak Peek. If you are wondering what the handsome canine is doing out there, you will have to wait until the book arrives!

It Has Been A Long Time Since I Was Here

Last week, I was in Cochin at the invitation of the Kerala Management Association (KMA). I love Cochin. Even as I avoid most public events – they really take away a lot of time – I could not say no to the KMA folks because they have been persisting for a long time. The event was extremely well managed. Along with me for the inaugural evening were PeopleTree Director Martin Sutherland and Chairperson of Thermax, Meher Pudumjee. The three of us spoke on the idea of innovation. Both Martin and Meher were great speakers.

Though I have visited the city a few times before, I never had the chance to see the famous synagogue in the Jew town. It is a great tourist attraction because it is the oldest synagogue in India. But then there are two other attractions around it: the absolutely beautiful shops selling Kerala antiques and handicrafts. You could buy an urli here for Rs 18 lakhs weighing 1800 kilos or a real Kerala regatta boat as large as an aircraft. You could settle for small brass and wooden knick knacks priced as low as Rs 300 apiece. No one hustles you, breathes down your neck or makes it otherwise unpleasant. The place is very clean unlike most tourist spots in the country. The other attraction is a large expanse of water and there are nice, quiet eating places for you to take a break and enjoy the quiet on the other side of the shops surrounding the synagogue.

When my car dropped me at this lovely place, I walked in to a small handicraft store where a friendly young man showed me his ware. I was looking for trinkets and he must have realized quickly enough that I wasn’t going to be a big buyer. But he patiently showed me around, explained the details behind every little artefact that I was curious about. He was very well informed about the background of every temple bell, the different purposes of the various temple lamps. He explained to me the mythological background of many items of worship. I was very impressed and asked him his name.

“Akbar Sir, my name is Akbar”, he replied.

After paying Akbar all of probably a thousand rupees for my purchase, I bade him goodbye. He came up to the door to see me off. I asked him how long he has been doing this. “Six years Sir; before that my father used to manage the business”. We shook hands and I looked up at the small signboard of the store. Akbar Stores.

For where on earth do you get a Muslim selling Hindu temple artefact outside a synagogue in the Jewish quarters! Except of course, in God’s own country!

Source : Life at Dharwad by Siddeshwar Prasad

Comments
Shyam Says
Monday January 23rd 2012

Hi Subroto,

Circa 2009, when I was working with MindTree,I wrote to you asking if you had written a book titled ‘MBA at 16’. I wanted to use this information for a session I was hosting.You replied back saying it was a leak and asked me not to use that information. Nice to hear now that after 3 years,it’s all set to hit the stands. Wish you good luck !

umesh Says
Tuesday January 24th 2012

Really enjoyed reading your blog. And the column “Zen-Garden” – [is synonymous with your style of presentation (rocky gardens with plants native to rocky or alpine environments)].

You are right it happens only in INDIA… a Muslim selling Hindu temple artefact outside a synagogue in the Jewish quarters! and muslim students competing with Krishna’s costume in Gokulasthami/Krishna Janmashtami !

Geetha Says
Tuesday January 24th 2012

Thank you for this enlightening post!

I enjoyed reading about Ficus Krishnae in your post as well as here:

http://www.hindu-blog.com/2010/10/how-ficus-krishnae-tree-or-krishna-fig.html

Ficus Krishnae Tree, or Krishna Fig Tree, is known as Makhan Katori or Krishna Badh in local languages. The leaf of the tree is in the shape of a cup – Krishna’s Butter Cup. There is an interesting story which narrates how the leaves of the tree got the shape of a leaf. It is said that in the beginning, the leaves of Krishna Fig tree were straight and it did not have the cup shape. A naughty episode of Krishna was responsible for the leaves taking cup shape.
Krishna’s love for butter is very famous and equally famous is his notorious ways of stealing it from the houses in Vrindavan.
Once while stealing butter Krishna was caught red-handed by Mata Yashoda. To escape from her punishment, Krishna rolled the butter in a leaf of Ficus Krishnae.
The leaves of Krishna Fig took the shape of a cup after this incident – ever since it remained in the same shape as Krishna had rolled it.
When Mata Yashoda was scolding Krishna for stealing, the butter in his hand melted and started flowing to the ground.
After this episode there is latex – milk colored juice – coming out of the leaf base whenever a leaf is plucked.

Regards,

Geetha

Pradip Kumar Das Says
Tuesday January 24th 2012

Nice to hear about Mindtree Kalinga. Long wait of Mindtree campus at Orissa will finally over. Hope, this will help Orissa to attract more IT compnies to the state.

All the best for the New Campus and it’s success.

Tuesday January 24th 2012

It is a great news for Odisha that finally Mindtree is opening it’s Development center at Odisha. I remember that Mr. Subroto Bagchi was addressing Odisha based Engineering college students at Silicon Institute before couple of years, A reporter asked him that when you are going to start your Office. Mr Bagchi replied Shortly…just Wait….Now no more waiting….
Welcome to Mindtree!!!! We hope Our govt will extend all the support to Mindtree.Best wishes to Mr. Subroto Bagchi & entire Mindtree Team.

Gymnast Says
Tuesday January 24th 2012

Hi Subroto ,

Ever since i read your book “Go kiss the world” , i’ve been an admirer..

So many times , after i’ve joined CnT , i keep wondering if you’d walk through the door someday.

Best wishes for the new campus and waiting for the next book!!

Parag Says
Wednesday January 25th 2012

Reading your post just reminded me of the time when I heard you speak at a public function a few years ago. Because I feel as happy now as I did then. Best wishes.

Lubna Says
Wednesday January 25th 2012

Cute doggie. And he/she seems to love the camera. All the best for the inauguration tomorrow.

Uma Magge Says
Thursday January 26th 2012

Nice to here about MindTree Kalinga with cultural induction in its architecture.

Will be waiting to see the video soon.

I Wish MindTree should grow more and more and open atleast one branch in every state of India

Friday January 27th 2012

Hello Sir,

Congrats & best wishes for commencing the MindTree Kalinga project.

Regards,
Siddeshwar

    Satish Says
    Thursday February 2nd 2012

    Siddax, Nice read I intend to follow this blog in future. Nice pics too, it’s a proud achievement to have your pics used ++++++

Sameet Says
Sunday January 29th 2012

Sir, the pleasure of meeting you and your energetic team will be memorable always.

You have added a lot of motivation to my charecter in those small moments shared.

Memories of organizing an event for MindTree will be always cherished.

I was keenly listening to you while you interacted with the Kalinga Minds, and that added to my learning and pofessional & pesonal rectification.

It would be overwhelming to meet you again(finger’s crossed). :)

Thank you.
Regads always.

Sameet Pattnaik

Prelude Novel Ventures, Bhubaneswar, Odisha

    Tuesday February 7th 2012

    Dear Sameet,

    Prelude is a benchmark of professionalism. I believe your peers in metros have a lot to learn from you. Stay the way you all are even as you become big!

    Subroto

Marella Satish Says
Tuesday January 31st 2012

Dear Mr. Subroto,
I am a Sales Guy aged 32 having experience of 10 years. Happen to read Go Kiss The World with reference of my uncle. I did not close the book till it is complete. I got to learn so much reading the book.

I also happen to be from Odisha and good to see Odisha getting MindTree.

All the best Sir.

Friday February 10th 2012

A formidable share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a little bit analysis on this. And he in actual fact purchased me breakfast as a result of I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! However yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I feel strongly about it and love studying extra on this topic. If attainable, as you become expertise, would you thoughts updating your blog with more particulars? It is highly useful for me. Big thumb up for this blog post!

Ravi Sankar Rao .D Says
Friday February 10th 2012

Sir, I am a proud MindTree Mind from Berhampur (Odisha), graduated in 2011 and scheduled to join MindTree on 27th Feb, 2012 at Bangalore.

It was an immensely happy moment to be able to attend the One Earth Ceremony of MindTree Kalinga at Bhubaneswar. Witnessing something of that kind for a new project, and that too just before joining MindTree was a different feeling. It was a delight to hear you and Partha Sir interacting with the students of various institutes.

MindTree Kalinga is a milestone to the success story of MindTree and to the state of Odisha. Hope the success story of MindTree,one among India’s most admired companies across industries continues as always.

Eagerly waiting to join MindTree.

Thanking You,

With Regards,
Ravi Sankar Rao D.

Shashank Shekhar Says
Friday February 17th 2012

Dear Subroto,

I am still clueless on why do I get an encouraging boost everytime I read any of your posts. Read all three of your books and look up to the kind of ignition you manage to fire among your readers. “Mahadeva” and professionalism are now inseparable. Thanks to you.

I joined MindTree in July ’10 as a Campus MindTree Mind with the same peak of enthusiasm as any of my friends with me. I had read about the kind of environment provided to every “sapling” at MindTree. They were true to my imagination.The atmosphere was positive and had an infectious desire to excel. I believe , there is no other organization where you can share the breakfast table with a role model of yours, with friendly candidness, everyday. Where every day is a new chapter to learn.
I pray this urge to Learn, continues…

Welcoming my future fellow MindTree Minds to come and share the “karma-bhumi”.

Looking forward to “MBA at 16”.

Warm Regards,
Shashank

Pradip Kumar Pradhan Says
Thursday March 1st 2012

dear subroto,

I am your batchmate in BJB . I was in English (Hons)and when u were leading the NCC(Army) I was Leading NCC( Navy). Hope you remeber me. I am really proud of my friend who has now become the Chairman of Mind tree. We all know that you deserve this position . From the day one you were outstanding and you will continue to be outstanding .Congratulation and my best wishes for you. Pradip

Siddharth Gangoli Says
Thursday March 1st 2012

Its great to see Mindtree is setting up operations in smaller towns as well.
In my view its absolutely critical because it creates IT jobs in the smaller towns and does not necessitate job seekers to move to IT centres like Bangalore and Pune. After all, there is only so much that the infrastructure of these cities can take and they are already bursting at their seams!

Sonali Pati Says
Tuesday August 21st 2012

Thanks for the information. Can anyone tell me the odia name of ficus krishnae?

Thank you.

P K PARIDA Says
Wednesday January 9th 2013

HOPE MR. BAGCHI WILL BE A GREAT MENTOR IN MANY LIFE… LIFE OF ORISSA
P K Parida, BHUBANESWAR

    Amulya Patra, New Delhi Says
    Friday March 1st 2013

    MR. BAGCHI WILL BE A GREAT MENTOR IN MANY IT PROFESSIONAL LIFE…ESPECIALLY ALL ODIA OUTSIDE FROM ODISHA……

Shashanka Swain Says
Saturday December 13th 2014

Nice Blog… I am fan of you….Many Many Thanks for the gift to Odisha. Can you please confirm when Mind Tree will start operation in Bhubaneswar…

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