Musings for a responsible society

Amidst the dark and grey shades increasingly engulfing, invading and piercing deeper and deeper, let me try to enjoy the little smiles, genuine greens, and the gentle breeze. Oh! Creator! If you don't exist, my vain!
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A Chartered Accountant with a difference

We hear a lot about extraordinary people and their extra ordinary accomplishments and lifestyle. History books, biographies, and the best sellers dealing with self-improvement, leadership, and success give anecdotes, stories and experiences of these achievers to inspire people. Many times we perceive these iconic or historical personalities as people who had certain innate qualities which ordinary people do not have. Thus there is a mental block in emulating them and to consider them as source of inspiration.
Cyber Diary occasionally presents before the readers a few ordinary persons who make an extraordinary presence in this world through their unique views, lifestyles, and achievements. (Link to some of the earlier articles are given at the end)
In this post, I would like to introduce to you, Mr Anil Kulkarni, a Chartered Accountant, who works with a Multinational Company in Dubai.

I noticed this gentleman, while he was working as the Chief Financial Controller of a large Infrastructure Company in India. A very enthusiastic and ever smiling person. When many others in his profession and those who worked in similar high status jobs travelled in high-end luxury cars, he travelled in public transport buses for all the local travel. He carried his files, laptop, and other papers in his shoulder bag and not in any impressive briefcase. He always prepared the subject thoroughly before every meeting with senior officers in the government, financial institutions, and the regulatory bodies. He was always on time. His presentations and arguments were honest and clear and he always ensured that the organization he represented followed the straight path and not short cuts. He was always ready to admit the faults if any committed by the company he represented.  He spent his free time taking lectures for students, reading academic books, participating in seminars etc. With all these engagements, he always made it a point to reach home in the evening hours and be with the family.

Recently, he met me at my office as he was on a short holiday from Dubai. As usual, he came in a public transport bus. We discussed various topics ranging from International politics to domestic economic situation.

I would like to introduce him to the readers of Cyber Diary. Hence this interview:

Me:  You worked as financial controller for many large companies in India and abroad. It is a fact that one needs to make minor 'compromises'  for the larger commercial interests of the company, even if it slightly violated any regulations or ethical principles?
Anil: Life is full of compromises! Since most of us devote major part of our life for earning our bread and butter, compromises need to be made for achieving personal goals in life. However, ethics and principles should take priority in professional life. A successful human being is the one who balances the personal and professional goals.

Me:  How do you maintain your simplicity in spite of several opportunities to indulge in luxurious and flamboyant lifestyle?
Anil: I always ask myself, how much do I want and what am I going to do with it, before I do anything for myself. My wants over all these years have remained more or less the same and I thank the almighty for that. It keeps me focused. I don’t give too much importance to material possessions.

Me:  What is your daily routine?
Anil: I wake up at 5 am (without exception, even on holidays). I regularly perform yoga / light exercises to start the day, have bath, chant prayers, have a light breakfast and am in the office almost an hour or two before the official time. Most days, I am at the office around 7.30 am. I have lunch on time between 12-12.30 and am home by 6 pm. I help out my wife in the kitchen when needed. We have dinner promptly between 7.30 - 8 pm. and go to bed before 9 pm.

Me:  What are the qualities of a successful manager?
Anil: Of course success is quite interpretative and also subjective. My definition of a successful manager is one who manages his team efficiently (cultivate all-round abilities), motivates the members (get them on board to meet the purpose), be in personal touch with the team members (have informal gatherings, fun), understands their needs (listen, provide the possible help) and gets the best out of the group (put the team's objective ahead of individual performance) to achieve the organization's goal.

Me: Tell more about your childhood and education
Anil: I was born in a Hindu Brahmin family. The family gave first priority for high quality education and the development of personality to become a good human being.  We were a closely knit family. My grandfather, a veterinarian by profession, moved to Mumbai in the 50's and initially we all stayed in one big apartment in Matunga. On festive occasions, we used to have a large gathering of around 100 people at home and all of us used to have meal on a banana leaf in a perfect Hindu tradition.  We would play lot of games, study under the supervision of the elders, travel together and had a solid foundation through guidance from the elders. The family values have played a big role in making me what I am today.

Me:   Dubai - is it still a destination for success for people and companies across the world?
Anil: Dubai is a dreamland for many people. It has grabbed all the opportunities that the globalized world has offered. It is now not only the regional hub for the MENA (Middle East, North Africa) region, but is also a central attraction to the western world. Thanks to liberal policies combined with the leader's commitment to upgrade the infrastructure and provide a comfortable lifestyle to its residents, Dubai is the most sought after place for people to visit, be it for business or for pleasure.

Me: What ails Indian Industry and businesses? What are your suggestions to make Indian businesses globally competitive?
Anil: I will put the reason in one simple sentence: Promise more and deliver less or nothing at times. To change this, we have to bring in discipline in all parts of the society. Those who are in charge of governance have to be made responsible and accountable for their actions. They should also be adequately rewarded for their achievements. Good corporate governance practices can bring enduring success.

Me:  What are your future plans: Professionally and personally
Anil: Having spent more than 30 years in the profession, I would like to devote more time in studying and teaching in the next phase. It could be anything, not necessarily connected to my qualifications.

Me: What is your advice for the youth?
Anil: Remain healthy both in body and mind, work hard, be ambitious and focus your actions towards your objectives, maintain discipline, cultivate empathy towards not so fortunate as you are in life and help them and ultimately be remembered for your good deeds.

Me: What are the challenges CAs face in the globalized world?
Anil: Global scenario is changing rapidly. The laws and regulations are accordingly being amended from time to time. Indian CAs are intelligent but tend to be bookish in the modern world. They need to be more practical to face real challenges faced by the industry. For this, one needs more than academic knowledge to find solutions for the issues before them. Our curriculum should get modified to factor in more real time scenarios (such as project work etc.) in different fields.

Concluding note

People like Anil are ordinary persons. They may not be perfect role models or those with superhuman qualities and achievements. But there are a few things one can learn from them. Such real life stories can provide much needed motivation. When we see unique qualities and viewpoints among people around us, prudent persons would try to assimilate some of those to their personality to make life more meaningful and successful. In fact, living heroes are more convincing than the saints of yesterdays.

                                                                       Sibichen K Mathew

Click below to read about other stories of ordinary persons with extraordinary lives

Ordinary person; Extraordinary life: A simple real life story for aspiring managers

Walmart beware! There are many Davids to challenge you in the globalized world

For inspiration don't always look up: Look down too

Towering bosses

Eat well to lose weight: Tips from an enlightened foodie


  1. Sir, the post a engaging reading and understanding of human nature. It offers a vision of how we can change the existing way of life. The method of leading a simple life look easy. But it never is easy. Ever. Present Y generation think that any think that being simple will be boring. Flovourless and colourless products are hard to swallow than the coloured and sweetened ones.

  2. You are right dear Ashok. Going by the mainstream way is easy. Taking a different route is commendable, especially when it is a superior one.

  3. Sir, it definitely pays to take the road less travelled especially when it is superior one as you say .. The question is how to change the mindset of of the persons who say wow at the thought and when it comes practice say oh...hhhh !

  4. Sir, Anil's story is inspiring. Let me hope I can emulate simple living


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