This is a guest-post by Ganapathy Subramanian.
My dad Mr.Sundaram turns 75 this month and what a glorious life it was. If there is one quote that comes to my mind when I think of his life, it is – Count your blessings.
My dad was born in a small village in south India. He was a well built charming young man and could swim across the Tamaraparni river when in full flow. His family migrated to Chennai when he was in high school when his dad died suddenly. His elder brothers had finished education and his younger brothers were later educated with family support. My dad had to go to a job and miss the ‘school bus’ to support the family. But he never complained and in fact counts it as a blessing. He not even realizes how intelligent he is. Only we feel that if he had had formal higher education he would have gone places. But going places was never his idea of a good life. He instead found company of vedic pundits in Chennai and learnt Yajur veda (veda is the religious lore on Hindus).
He took a government job and very sincerely discharged his duties. Indian government has a reservation policy where promotions are based on caste system. My father retired as a head clerk after 35 years of service. But he counted that also as a blessing. He found more time with family. Within his meager savings he has taken us (We are 4 children, 2 brothers and 2 sisters) on tours and pilgrimages all around India. He cared about our education. He spent his spare time in religious activities with like-minded friends. He cared about our education. Because he was an inspiration for me, today I have founded Management Scholars Academy to provide mentoring for budding project managers.
He never earned a lot of money. He retired with a salary of something less than 100$ a month. But it was again a blessing for him. He lived a Spartan life. He kept only a few sets of veshti (long towel worn around the waists) and uthariiyam (towel worn around the shoulders). He used a bicycle to go to work. He lived in rented houses. He never spent money or time on entertainment or restaurants. He instead would spend the time in helping relatives with organizing marriages in their household, attending funerals and consoling the bereaved family etc. Because he is my role-model, when things suddenly changed for me in the career front last year, after the company I worked for 11 years was taken over by an MNC, I was not perturbed. I changed gears and accelerated my journey from good to great, even if it means a financial setback in short term.
His real blessing to keep up his cheer and chin up during the whole journey was my mom Mrs.Meenakshi. I cannot write about her in one post. I will have to write a whole book.
Ganapathy Subramanian keeps a blog at where he shares useful articles on management and leadership.