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Friday, September 18, 2009

Hampi – The Rocks with a Thousand Tales

Hotel Mayura on a warm afternoon sipping on beer and having lunch, the alcohol only moistened the parched throat and failed to give me a high. The very location that I was in was making me think hard. One of my oft repeated quotes, “While in the midst of nature, keep your eyes, ears and most importantly soul open” was slowly being modified, more so the first half of the quote. I tried to shut my eyes and ears, figuratively that is, and tried opening the soul. Well the location was not Mayura that made me think, but the 25 sq km or so around the hotel. I was at Hampi, which at its peak was the crown jewel of Indian splendor and wealth.

As much as I hate taking a guided tour, this place was one where you are absolutely lost without one. Four centuries of architectural evolution of buildings, temples and palaces lies in sight of wherever the human myopic eye can cast a view. The human ear deafened by noise pollution of all sorts can only perceive the sounds that are played by the guide on the carvings at the Vijay Vitthal temple complex. People come back from Hampi with either a sense of awe or anger or a mix of both. I for some strange reason did not feel both. My soul opened and took me centuries back to what the place was centuries ago; the place that was described and praised at length by foreign travelers of that time.

The Akka-Thangi (sister) rocks leaning against each other with the elder sister supporting the younger one who is about to fall. A significance of how people try to build a link between nature and human emotions. At the restored market place you can actually hear the merchants shout out the price of their goods; imagine being in a market that sells gold and precious stones in heaps like peanuts; the epitome of human wealth. Tenali Rama’s mantap (vi-ka-ta-ka-vi; his nick name spells the same when spelt either way), at the top of a hill, visible from most of Hampi, signifies the extent to which the human mind can think through a problem. Moving towards the king’s palace, you can see the Dasara procession. The elephants, camels, horses, performers and lot more in a demonstration of the grandeur and splendor of human celebration.

The rocks at Hampi brought out to me the emotions that Gods went through as well. The mind’s eye sailed into the time of serial mutilation, burning and destruction of Hampi. Lord Ganesh who ensures that there is no bhinna (obstruction) to your work stood helpless when His idol was destroyed. Lord Ugra Narasimha, the half-man half-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu, had come down to earth to destroy the demon tormentor - Hiranya Kashyap. He had managed to slay the demon with his bare claws. He helplessly sat there with anger in His face when His better half, Goddess Lakshmi, who was sitting on His lap, was being destroyed to pebbles. He watched with muted anger when the very people who worshipped him were looted and their homes burnt and demolished. This was the sad depiction of the extent to which humans can go to demonstrate their greed for wealth and factionalism. Even the Gods couldn’t do anything about it.

As the sun was setting, I moved on to the Raja Marga (King’s path) on which Sri Krishna Deva Raya walked to offer salutations to Lord Rama. I felt like a courtier who stood there demonstrating loyalty and respect to the great king who ruled over the land in the peak of its splendor.

If you want to know more about what I am describing above, please make a trip to the beautiful rocks of Hampi; they indeed have a thousand tales to tell. The only thing they ask from you to visualize and hear these tales is the soul’s eyes and ears.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Saying goodbye doesn't mean anything. It's the time we spent together that matters, not how we left it.

- Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park, Tweek vs. Craig, 1999

This was the last mail I sent out at PharmARC Analytic Solutions to few colleagues with whom I had either worked on projects with or folks who were close to the heart. Yes, it was that time I hate most when someone changes jobs; the time to say GOODBYE!

I had known and heard of this place a long while ago, actually since its inception in 2004. Sreeni had told me about the company when we met. I was a GP in a non-descript suburb of Bangalore at that point of time.

I moved on to a scientific content management company and later started my own company with a couple of friends. One fine day, I decided to call it quits due to personal issues and called Sreeni. I asked him to refer my candidature to any place he knew. He was worried and told me that I might find it difficult to work for someone after being an entrepreneur. But what was in store in PharmARC was nothing short of an entrepreneurial role. A company that gave enough freedom of thought and action, this place helped me grow in confidence and add skill sets that were alien to me.

Some pleasant memories come back to me about the various people whom I met and interacted in PharmARC.

Amit – our fearless leader; a man with a crazy idea of Pharmaceutical sales and marketing analytics firm based in Bangalore telling clients how to run their business better.
Siraj – I have never seen a more objective person than him.
Malthesh – my friend and guide; a humble being who gave me work life’s most important lesson, no task is mundane and demeaning.
Sreeni – my younger brother of sorts
Anjan – the resource who taught me the nuances of Epidemiology
Rohit – the epitome of integrity
Raghu – the epitome of flexibility
Nisha and Cyril – the best resources a manager can ever have (I had once told Rohit that they are like Ekalavya)
Raj – a lot of my exposure to clients would be due to his confidence in my ability
Senthil – the CI guru
Varsha – spread happiness like the first rain
Krishna – our Kroogle Gyani
Ashish – my formal mentor
Rajkumar – my informal mentor
Vijay – the John in our Abhi-John pair
The HR angels, my cab mates, the finance folks, the facilities guys, the admin staff, the people I met and interacted on my onshore trips, the BD team, the other functional teams at PharmARC, my Epidemiology team, the entire lot of Pharmacians… every one of these will stay etched in my memory for a long way to go and some for a lifetime.

But the most painful part of the separation will definitely be saying bye to ‘MY TEAM’; the medical services team. There was a mutual love and respect that the team and I shared. As they say, “A manager is as good as the team he works with”. I had “THE BEST TEAM” in the world to support me. Each one of them (though I am not taking names here) will be part of my nostalgic thoughts of PharmARC.

Long after I am gone, I hope people still remember me as I will remember them. I know for sure that my cubicle mates will not let anyone take my desk for quiet some time.

Amit believes that an ordinary resource can do extraordinary work if provided with the right kind of atmosphere and support. Though I did not achieve anything extraordinary, I am an example of what an ordinary resource can achieve in a company like PharmARC. I wish everyone in PharmARC success in work and life and hope they continue their journey to make PharmARC the leading company in the world for sales and marketing analytics support.

And yes… I will miss the next PharmARC offsite, wherever it is that the Pharmacians will go next.