Subroto Bagchi’s book, The Professional, (his third book) was launched at the Taj Coromandel on the 4th. of December to a packed audience comprising members of MMA and the invitees of Penguin, (it was a joint meeting by the Madras management Association and Penguin the publishers of the book). Ms. Kamini Mahadevan, Consultant Editor, Penguin, while introducing the author and the book, she provided an insight into “The Professional” which acted like an aperitiff before a rich spread and the audience had a taste of what professionalism is when the author read the first chapter from his book. The Q/A that followed pepped up the event with Bagchi coming out with more illustrations from his professional and personal experience. I was reminded of the launch of his second book, “GO, KISS THE WORLD”, which I happened to attend at Landmark, Spencer Plaza not too long ago.
Intrigued by the title of the book and having heard about his highly successful first book, “The High-Performance Entrepreneur” I went well in advance of the scheduled time expecting the venue to be overcrowded. Most of the chairs were filled up and I managed to get a place somewhere in the middle, (later I realized it was a vantage point).
Subroto Bagchi took the centrestage after a brief introduction of him, and immediately discarded the mike and walking towards the audience took his position in the aisle requesting us to turn our chairs so that we could all face him. What struck me about Subroto was that his speech of 35 minutes or so matched his informal appearance throughout. He began with his eary life and education in a small town, Koraput in Orissa. After completing his graduation he took up a government job and was attached to one Kuntia who was called Kuntia Babu. “The only job suitable to my qualification was that of a lower division clerk” he said smilingly and related a few episodes as instances of the bureaucratic behavior of the Babus. He learnt lessons of life at every stage, from people he worked with, his family members and even from the cucumber seller who sits opposite Nallis, he said. He had a stint at Wipro which he left, the reason, “middle life crisis” he mused. “I thought I learnt everything about quality in 10 years. Next thing to learn was innovation, he thought. He describes his job in Bell Labs, as near suicidal as it dawned on him that he was not cut out to work in a multinational. In forties you should know who you are, he emphasized.
Moving on to the central message of the book Subroto affirmed that “ordinary people can do extra ordinary things.” In the question-answer session that followed he reiterated this belief saying by 2020 India will have enough work force as demographic balance is in our favour. Referring to the role of professionals we have a long way to go, he maintained. “My take is we can’t take on the world, we can only serve the world ’’he said.
To a question about our youth who appear to be a confused lot, he denied that they are to be blamed and it is the duty of the parents to place things in the proper perspective in a friendly way. “Today’s kids are intelligent” he observed.
But parents have no time, commented one in the audience.
Let this not turn into a session on parenting, he smiled. “If you find your passion, time will find you” he quipped.
I came back with the feeling that, here is a writer who certainly walks the talk. Subroto is best known for co-founding MindTree and as a chief operating officer for the first eight years of the company, in 2008 he stepped out of this role to become its Gardener tending the top 100 MindTree Minds and serving the organization’s 30 communities of practice.
n.meera raghavendra rao