Prasad from Prasad

Prasad’s book is an eclectic collection of short essays. Each one is based on an encounter with someone interesting and unusual, from professional acquaintances to people in public life.

TGC Prasad is an outstanding professional.  Those of you who have read “Go Kiss the World”, he appears in it as the young man I had met during my Wipro days, an HR rookie who had impressed me so much that even after many years, even as he no longer was doing HR, I had sought him out and requested that he set up MindTree’ People Function. At that time, we were less than a fifteen member team. Prasad did that for us and took us to become the world’s youngest company to be assessed at PCMM Level 5. Then Prasad changed roles, went on to set up a business unit for us and eventually moved on. A few assignments later, today, he is a much sought after strategy consultant who advises many young and not so young companies. But in the span of the last few years, Prasad has blossomed as an author and already has three books to his credit, including a work of fiction. As I write this blog for you, his book, “Unusual People Do Things Differently” is making its debut as a Penguin Portfolio publication on Saturday the 27th at 630 PM at Reliance Timeout, Bangalore. I wish I was there but for my itinerant work schedule. Prasad did come by to deliver an advance copy of the book and I quite loved reading it.


Prasad’s book is an eclectic collection of short essays. Each one is based on an encounter with someone interesting and unusual, from professional acquaintances to people in public life. Prasad has a photographic memory and an uncanny ability to suck in details from sometimes a fleeting encounter.  In this easy-read, he graciously gives away life lessons. I loved many of the stories he narrates for their simplicity and relevance. So, if you get a chance, make friends with Prasad.

I am still my Mother’s little boy

My mother has been an abiding influence on my outlook towards things. As a small boy, I had the advantage of hanging around her for much longer because, as some of you may know, I was her last born and home-schooled until the age of 8. Living in small places, I would scamper away and spend hours by myself, scavenging the neighbourhood. Sometimes I would return with a small plant and seek her approval, a flowering marigold, sometimes a chilly or gourd or a beanstalk. After her examination and approval, we would dig a little bit of dirt and planted these and some of them grew  so bountiful that we gave away bagful of vegetables to friends. Whenever I brought her a sapling and asked that we take care of it, she would appreciatively tell me, “Jake Rakho, Sei Rakhe’.

Whoever and whatever you may care for, and keep, would one day care for you, and keep you.

That applies to a sapling of what may look like a useful plant, to a piece of old cloth or a garage tool that has done the tour of duty and you think is no longer good for the original purpose for which you got it. You just don’t know.

The other day, I found a small pumpkin creeper growing outside our house, between the fence and the public road. It looked vulnerable and fragile. Someone could simply trample on it and there would go the little wonder with a few leaves, a tendril looking for support and a couple of flowers.The child in me said, take her home. But uprooting the plant wasn’t going to work. So, I gently let it come over our fence and then grow and lo and behold, she started growing all over and fruiting and fruiting like what? Look at this more than 10 kilogram fruit, we had one before this one and few more in the making. How I wish mother was here to approve. I am sure she is seeing from somewhere up there!

Music of the Flute

Finally, before signing off, thought I would share a lovely realisation that dawned on me some time ago while watching a flutist perform. I found myself asking, what does it take to be a flute? It was a fascinating thought.

Flutes are made out of bamboo. Young bamboo. Imagine you are a young bamboo, wanting to grow big; wanting to soar into the sky, wanting to flower some day and then, without asking, someone comes and cuts you. Then he makes a few holes into it. Dries it. It changes hands and someone sells and someone buys the bamboo shoot turned flute, it goes wherever life takes it.  Finally, it is with a musician.

Every time the musician raises it to the lips and breathes air into it, the flute just comes alive and performs. After a great performance, the musician keeps it away, packed in a box and the flute stays in the darkness, waits patiently, in silence, to be taken out again to perform and enthral thousands of people. After every performance, as the audience stands in ovation and the musician is dutifully introduced and felicitated; I have never seen the flute being introduced and felicitated.

But it bears no grudge; it is simply happy to team up and play along, not for a moment ruing what it has left behind; what it could have been!

Beena Says
Saturday August 27th 2011

Dear Subroto,

I am going to go look for the Prasad’s book in the bookstore now. Thanks for the recommendation. It seems like an interesting book.

“Jake Rakho, Sei Rakhe’ are such powerful words.I love it. Thank you.

The Flute story is nice and it reminded me of teachings of a buddhist monk, Ajahn Sumedho who says we must learn to welcome life as it is…..

“Even though there is a lot in life that we can’t change, we can change our attitude towards it. That’s what so much of meditation is really about — Changing our attitude from a self-centered, “get rid of this or get more of that” to one of welcoming life as it is.

Welcoming the opportunity to eat food that we don’t like. Welcoming discomfort, feeling fed up, wanting to run away. This way of welcoming life reflects a deeper understanding.

Life is like this. Sometimes it’s very nice, sometimes it’s horrible, and much of the time it’s neither one way nor the other. Life is like this.”

Subroto, I look forward to your next post. Love your writing style and I think you are a brilliant and kind teacher who teaches with examples from his life. I know they call you the ‘Gardener’ but for me you are my teacher. :)

Thank you.

Best wishes,

Praveen Says
Saturday August 27th 2011

Hello Sir,
I liked this blog but the last paragraph “Music of the Flute” left me thinking. To become like a flute we need to shed our ego and never expect the recognition for our action. But I dont think it shud become an exemplar to Humans because I believe that ego and desire to be recognised drives growth in humans. After all we are not machines to just perform when asked and go back to idle mode when turned off. We are something more than that. We are humans :-)

PS: I am not sure if i have conveyed my point of view with my poor english. I hope I have done it.

Saturday August 27th 2011

Sir you remind me of the legendar tamil chola king Pari (9CE).

It was told that he gave his golden chariot when he saw a wild jasmine creeper in a forest entwined around his wheels and he had to break the tendril if he had to move his chariot out.

He actually gave his golden chariot to the creeper and walked back to his place and later gave away all the riches he inherited. He was later known for his philanthropy and his love for nature.

Your great story of pumpkin reminds me of your love toward the ppl. and the whole world. Its what we give to the world we get back.

A wonderful parable ‘music of the flute’. I had often wondered how veena plays so wanting a music when played by a master. But as ur parable also implies its the masters who shape them to be an ace instrument than iteslf. Though a man possesses great qualities like a stone it takes an artists magic touch to shape it to become a idol worshiped by thousands. Very insightful and deep thoughts.

I’ve read all ur works and am an ardent follower of ur blog. Every time I get your post quite often so late in office after a days work, i find it makes my day.

Thanks for your intensely thoughtful, humane and delightful journey through your life. I’d love to hear back from you which i guess would be like a souvenir for my bookshelf as i proudly posses all ur works.

Wonderful read.

M.S.Sunil Says
Saturday August 27th 2011

Dear sir,
Thanks for writing about me in the previous blog.
Loved the last part of this blog. The story about flute is touching. Since we are talking about musical instruments here, i would like to tell you something interesting about a percussion instrument called Mizhavu. This is made out of copper . This is played during a kutiyattam performance (Kutiyattam is a 2000 year old form of art and has been declared by UNESCO as “Masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity”).
Mizahvu drums can only be played by highly trained and disciplined individuals. Knowledge of sanskrit and yoga is a precondition for playing this drum. What is more interesting about the instrument is that the drum is treated as a human being. The drum has a birth. It undergoes all samskaras like Namakarana (Naming ceremony), Annaprashana (First feeding of rice), Aksharabyasa (Learning to write), Upanayana (Thread ceremony) and finally shava samskara (cremation). During the performance, the drum is first invoked , prayed and played for a certain length of time and only after the customary sounding of this amazing drum, the actual performance starts. This drum is an integral part of the performance and throughout the performance, this drum is played in the background.

Vinod Says
Monday August 29th 2011

Beautiful thoughts. Thank you for sharing.

Akash Mohapatra Says
Monday August 29th 2011

“I am still my Mother’s little boy” really a wonderful pracrtical lesson & carries lots of value with it. Whenever, I read your blog I feel as if this has happened to me. So, much originality with a down to earth personality. Your keen observations are superb. Hope your little lessons for us will make a big change within ourselves. Thanking you,

Akash Mohapatra,
Rajgangpur, Orissa.

Thursday September 1st 2011

hello sir,
i have recently read your book “Go,kiss the world”. it is really very inspiring for all the people especially for people like me. after reading the book i have got motivated by many of the inspiring thoughts you have mentioned in your book.

sir i loved reading about your life and very much interested to join your company. i have become a very big fan of yours.

Dharini Says
Friday September 2nd 2011

Th flute things is very imagination.

Nithin Says
Friday September 2nd 2011

I like your thought about the flute. It really means a lot. I think this was said in the Gita as “Whatever that has happened, happening or will happen, is always for the good”. We can see that not grudging the present condition and working towards improvement with a positive attitude will always work wonders. nice thought as always!

Neha Says
Sunday September 11th 2011

Speaking of flutes and being cut down and so forth:

    Geetha Chandar Says
    Wednesday September 21st 2011

    Neha, How do I thank thee for sharing this beautiful poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning? Let me count the ways….

Wednesday September 14th 2011

Subroto, it was great to meet you at Best Buddies. I would be pleased to share the video we recorded with the two questions “what keeps you awake at night” and “how do you create a win win”. The entire Team SVB and Best Buddies appreciates your support and participation in this weekends events. We look forward to your joining us next year with more Mindtree Partners! All the best, Aaron

Bimal Says
Wednesday October 5th 2011

I am still my Mother’s little boy…..
Inspirations drawn from mother stay forever, it helps you when the world seems dark… when you seem to be lost. And mothers always teach lessons which not only helps you to lead life in a better way bu also making others life better. Mothers nurture and build an attitude to nurture. The emotions within us might not made us a good human being if they would not have been the love of the mother.

Ravi Sankar Rao .D Says
Friday February 10th 2012

“I am still my Mother’s little boy” has really something to take it from.

It reminded me of one of my friends brother. During childhood once i visited his hostel, and in his room there was a line of ants preying on some sweets. When I asked him if i can clean it, his reply was “Let it be like that. The ants will leave after the source is over”

With Regards,
Ravi Sankar

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