The featured STAR in my Blog-o-Rendezvous series is MEETA GANGRADE…
For those who know Meeta (personally or professionally) will agree that this is a tough one. Where to start, How to proceed and Where to end?
What can I write about somebody I’ve known for close to 20 years of my life – Is one of my oldest, closest and dearest friends! Someone who is passionate about a gazillion things under the sun, is always full of energy and positivity, always amazes me (especially with how she can survive with no sleep for days in a row), inspires so many and always lives life to the fullest…………
So I decided to begin and build along the way – Meeta is a profound thinker, is very well read (almost a walking encyclopedia) and is an exceptionally creative individual, a gadget geek, a technology expert (Enterprise Architecture, BPM [Business Process Management] & SOA [Service Oriented Architecture]). She’s travelled 20+ countries & has friends all over the world – Yes! Anywhere she goes from Norway to Australia to Americas – She’ll always be welcome..
She loves music & has an amazing collection of music. She plays the following musical instruments – Piano, Percussion (Drums, Tabla, Bongo or anything that beats as she says), Harmonium and her latest passion is the Guitar. She’s also a good singer & has a music room in her artistically decorated home with the best-in-class music equipment. She loves running, cycling, swimming and plays several sports really well – Table Tennis, Tennis, Badminton, etc. to name a few. She also enjoys photography, travelling and experiencing different cultures. In addition, she is a fantastic painter & has interesting self-made art and craft work all over her house. She is a voracious reader with a marvelous collection of books, is a talented writer and poet & is also a superb cook. And if you don’t believe me, she’s won laurels in several of these. To name a few, she was selected for Nationals in Table Tennis for 2 years in a row, she won the Rashtrapati award for Scouts and Guides, won the 1st place for vocals at the school level, etc. etc. etc.
She is also an active member of the Melton Foundation founded by Bill Melton. She has also headed the Melton Foundation Board and was instrumental in their strategic planning exercise which has paved a complete new paradigm for the organization.
Ooops! I almost forgot to mention what she does for a living – She is currently the ETS (Enterprise Transformation Services) Head of Delivery and Solutions in Europe for HCL Technologies. In HCL, she’s been honored with the CEO Oxygen award (O2) 4 times in a row for outstanding performance and excellence in work contributions.
And if you’re thinking, she is unique, gifted and exceptional – I’d agree with YOU!
I spent a lot of time mulling over what I should cover in this rendezvous. I could ask her views about several things from technology to the future of IT to music to her advice to youth… Honestly, I could not ZERO- IN on the right topic to focus on. So instead of me deciding, I asked her “Meeta – Let’s say you have ONLY 5 minutes, what message would you give to the WORLD?”…
Her reply was instant “To live life to the fullest…”
And she was accommodative enough to have this rendezvous with me en route to Norway… In this blog, I will ask Meeta for her view on how to live LIFE to the FULLEST…
Nischala: Hey Meeta! Thanks for your time… So just how do you manage to do all that you do?
Meeta: Hmm… Well I strongly believe that if you want to do something, you will always find the time and means to do it. I think my mantra is this – Every morning when I wake up, I ask myself “If today was my last day alive, would you be happy about how your life has been this far?”… And that gives me the required fuel to keep going… I want to be able to wake up every morning and think I have already lived and nothing is left undone.
Nischala: Where do you get the energy to keep you going?
Meeta: My biggest motivation for anything and everything in life is a zealous need to experience LIFE – The Good, Bad and Ugly!
Nischala: What would be your advice to anyone who wants to live life to the FULLEST?
Meeta: My definition of LIVING LIFE to the FULLEST is to see the small joys of life – LOVE, EXPERIENCE, BE HAPPY.
Also, I believe it’s important to be open to learning, keep learning & enjoy learning in the journey of life. And to learn you have to observe – Keep your eyes ears and mind open.
I’ve also realized that if you keep yourself busy, you figure out how to do time management better. And if you’re passionate about something, you’ll always find the time…
Also, I honestly believe you should never make a profession of the things you TRULY LOVE!
Nischala: Why do you say one should not make a profession of what you LOVE?
Meeta: Fundamentally everyone needs money to survive – pay bills, pay loans, have a lifestyle, etc. And most people expect their professions to fetch money. Let’s take the example of a singer – You start singing because you love it. But once you make singing your profession, you are forced to bend it in ways that you probably don’t want to just to earn money & that makes you lose the essence of the art. I’ve seen it with many of my friends – People who quit their well-paying profession to write a book out of sheer love for writing. And today they HATE writing simply because they need to write to SELL – in line with what readers expect.
To me doing things I love and am passionate about should eventually be about ME. As self-centric as these sounds, I should enjoy the process, the journey and the end-result. The end objective is to enjoy and connect with yourself – if that means I skip a meal or sleep – Then that’s fine by me!
Nischala: How do you manage with so little sleep and yet be so active, energetic all the time?
Meeta: For a long time, I honestly believed that sleep was a waste of time. And I always have one or many things which I’d prefer over slumber. Also, I can’t sleep peacefully if I don’t tick a few things off my To-Do list for the day. For e.g.: Today playing the guitar relaxes me and I enjoy it. And it has become a necessity for me to end my day
But with age, I’ve realized that sleep and rest are vital for an active mind and body – So do ensure that I get adequate rest!
Nischala: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Meeta: Inspiration is from people. I am most inspired by people. Not really famous people – But people who are a part of my life – whom I interact with, whom I observe – It could be a random stranger cycling on the road or my oldest friend or family…
Inspiration is also from LOVE – Rather my feelings for people which gives me the energy and drive to keep going.
And lastly, inspiration is from a burning desire to leave a legacy which changes the world in some way – something that defines / re-defines society’s evolution… Something creative, something which is my creation, something which is my OWN
Nischala: Why is creativity important for anyone in life?
Meeta: I honestly believe that creativity distinguishes a living man from a dead… In today’s day and age, that’s probably the key element that will distinguish you from a machine. I believe that many people live life very uni-dimensionally and are contained & constrained by the boundaries they set for themselves.
Nischala: Can you explain this more?
Meeta: Every time you make a choice in life, one tends to pick the one that they are surer off – And this is usually based on your past experiences and pre-conceived notions about yourself and life.
One is usually afraid to try, to experiment, to tread on an unknown path – especially after a particular age. Hence, by natural selection / elimination of boundaries / constraints, you limit yourself by selecting choices which you are comfortable with. And these choices end up in you having similar life experiences… – which make life uni-dimensional in some sense
Few things in life you should try – You may decide it’s not for YOU and give up, but it was worth trying. OR You may simply enjoy or REALLY EXCEL. I don’t think that I was naturally gifted in music. But I was keen on learning – So I observed, picked up by practice & guidance from many learned souls and along the way I enjoyed it.
Philosophically for many people it’s the experience or the end. For me, it’s the experience which counts
Nischala: So what do you want to do in life? Anything left? ;)
Meeta: Well lots of things! Experience cultures of the world – Not really as a traveller, But as a resident in the place. Looking back, I believe that the biggest driver to change my perspective in my life is all the global travel I’ve done extensively in the last 15+ years.
I also want to climb Machu Pichu & the Himalayas, spend a year without any connection at the physical level but only at a meta-physical level, create an enterprise, probably also consider Indian politics as I believe I have some great ideas for the betterment of the country!
If there’s ever a dearth of software jobs in India, I surely do have other options
Nischala: Wow! That’s a long list. I do hope all your wishes come true.. Thanks again for this wonderful rendezvous
Meeta: Thanks… And Bye for now!
How did you like this rendezvous?
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