Thursday, January 19, 2017

In dialogue with Harimohan Paruvu.

Like I said in the last post about conversations with Harimohan sir, every conversation trails me with train of thoughts. 

It's always a pleasure to talk to him about many things. Our conversations always included anecdotes, past times. This time, I interviewed him to only talk about his life and his memories. 
Harimohan sir at poise receiving the applause.

With myself being one of the terrible interviewers, he was so nice to me, interpreting my questions and intentions very well.
Harimohan sir is an author of fiction novels(The Men Within, If you love someone) and non-fiction(50 Not out), cricketer and an avid learner and curious about life and his existence. He is a leader by responsibility, follower by his priniples.
AR: What is the big dream that you achieved?
(Big to you by your then capabilities?)

Harry: This is not an achievement but more in context of when I went beyond my capabilities. When I was 5 and my brother around 2 and a half we accompanied our dad to the hospital. The doctor gave him a pencilin shot and left. My father had a sudden, severe reaction and his body turned blue, mouth frothing. We were too young to know what's happening. Luckily the doctor returned quickly and took him away to the ICU. We were left there in that room and at that age, being alone with my younger brother there, it struck me that I have to take care of my brother. It became
 firm after a few moments that I had to take care of my brother at that age. I could have sat aside and cried since I was feeling lost but, that didn't happen. I remember taking him by the hand (I am sure we must have been bawling our heads off) and walking along the corridors until luckily someone found us. Those thoughts struck me. That was the moment, I think I achieved beyond my capabilities. Perhaps early on I felt that I could survive, I could handle things.

AR: I'm sure this helped all the way till now.

Harry: I think, that taking up 'responsibility' at that early age helped me. I could gather children to play,
 sometimes even deal with their parents  when they used to complain about me corrupting their children with too much play.

It was easy for me to gather people. To form teams..To lead teams. Sometimes I had to deal with their parents to let them play with me.

AR: What was the dream that scared you the most? The moment you saw yourself there, you couldn't believe.

Harry: The dream of playing Test cricket. I played first-class cricket easily, I earned accolades. People were acknowledging me and I had a fair start to my career. Everything was going well but, I slowly sabotaged my career thinking that I'm not good enough perhaps to play at that level.
 When I look back I can only attribute my career being stunted only to that fear of not being good enough. I gave up even before I started.

AR: What’s the dream that grew on you?

Harry: Writing. 

AR: How did the writing journey start?

Harry: Somewhere at the back of the mind, writing was there. I used to write letters to strangers at a young age. My class teacher was surprised when I wrote him a letter in my 4th class, mentioning my change of school from St. Gabriel’s High School, Kazipet to All Saints High School, Hyderabad and related stuff. My classmates told me later that Richard sir read out my letter in class. I felt thrilled when I heard that.

AR: What's your dream right now?

Harry: Finally, in terms of the big purpose, I want to use all my capabilities to get across any idea that helps people move forward securely. I feel we are mostly paralysed by lack of clarity. I want to fill the gaps that are not filled in the educational system, in society, that helps people be more secure and thereby more compassionate. 

AR: What are the gaps that are not filled in the educational system?

Harry: First thing, that any work can be done by effort and a learning mindset.
  Most believe they are not talented or intelligent enough and give up when all it means is that they have not prepared enough. To prepare enough one needs to put in the effort equivalent to those who are performing at a high level, learn the right process, have the right teachers and the right peer and support group,

Somewhere the educational system treats everyone and their grasp of things as equal. If I miss a class or do not pick up a concept in class, I am left behind and that becomes a gap. It does not mean I am not intelligent or capable – it just means that the gap has to be filled and then I can be equal. But most times they are left to deal with it by themselves which they do not because they do not know the process. Lot of
 such assumptions prevail. 'Whoever is coming to this class knows these lessons,' - but they're not! 90% of them would be clueless. So I would like to help them with my an understanding of the process, of the learning mindset which is very empowering.

AR: What would you like to achieve?

Harry: One of the things is to write. To write Fiction, Non Fiction, And create a big body of work which expresses my thoughts as coherently as possible. To get better at the craft of writing, at understanding myself.

AR: What is the routine you do to achieve this dream??

Harry: I think blogging is helping. Because of blogging, I'm very conscious about what I'm doing, as I record everything there. That has greatly helped in understanding many things. It also gave me a deeper perspective at the way I understand books, movies, events, people.

AR: How has blogging made you more conscious??

Harry: When I'm reading book, I read it consciously to get the essence of it because I've to reflect my thoughts coherently when I blog. I don't want to read casually, unconsciously.
 It helps me choose my topics better.

AR: How much time do you spend on blogging?

Harry: 1-2
  hours a day. But 2 hours are not mere 2 hours in writing. It also involves research, an expansion of that topic and then summarising everything. 

AR: What are your routines??

Harry: I wake up early. I sit for a while scheduling the whole day. Then I go for a jog. And then, if there's any unchanging schedule in my life, then it is dropping Anjali (laughs).

 If I'm on any writing project then that'll take my time. I meet people. Reading takes most of the time. As I'm into corporate assignments, those will take time when I have them.
  Most importantly, spending time with Anjali, listening to music, reading, writing and spending time for myself are few routines which I never miss.

AR: How do you see yourself
 in 5 years?

Harry: For now, I'm thinking about a place
  where we could show the path more clearly to those who may feel the need for it. I want to start an institute where it's all about mindset coaching. It would be a space for making the right connections, following the right principles, for gaining clarity and achieving one’s potential by accessing some experienced, supportive and compassionate coaches and mentors.  I want to do more corporate work because I feel it needs more honest spaces and also do in more schools and colleges. I want to make things simple, If it's goal setting, I want to show the steps.  I do workshops on goal setting, leadership, champion’s mindset etc. I want to put most of the content freely on web. 

AR: Everything is on the plate. From my observations, it seems that everything is at our finger tips. Don't you think that it's them who can make changes in themselves?

Harry: Yes. Finally they have to make the changes themselves. Our job is to motivate them to try and facilitate a secure space. It's not about changing and making great things. If 10% people say, " I'll try." If those people think they can. Then my job is done.

(AR: What inspired you to do this? Achievers or failure?

Achievers also come from being failures.
 Everyone who tries something new will face failure at some point. But that’s not a full stop, it’s a small blip. You need to put that to learning and come back stronger. 
If 10% people say I'll try. If those people think they can. achievers do despite the limitations. This is the way it is.  ) 

 AR: Share few successful memories?

Harry: There's one workshop I did in HCU for MBA students. There was one student who spoke quietly, differently, who was from a humble background. After the 2nd day of the workshop, he came to me and said,
"Sir, till now I never felt equal in life. After these two days, I feel equal."
That moment!  That was success to me.

For the effort and the madness of plunging into a writing career, the first novel coming out is a successful memory.

AR: What do you think you can do at your full potential?

Harry: I feel I can give direction to the young and upcoming leaders and any leader who is willing to seek a perspective. Through influencing leaders right I can convey good things to the world. I can be the change maker by guiding the leaders who will in turn guide their teams.
 I believe more secure leaders will in turn create more secure societies.

AR: What is the one thing that keeps you moving?

Harry: I am curious about how things work. 
 Sometimes I think I try to make things difficult just to see how things work

AR: When was the first moment when you accepted failure and overcome it?

Harry: Not getting back into first class cricket after being dropped was a failure. If I had gone back and tried harder, there's no way that I could have failed because there was intelligence, hard work. But giving up without trying seems like the biggest failure to me.

AR: Define Failure.

Harry: If you give up, then it’s a failure. Until you don't give up you don't fail!

AR: Did you ever think of ending up as engineer when you joined engineering?

Harry: No, that's why I did MBA. I was not a keen engineering student and I did not want to make a profession out of something I did not know or enjoy. The degree was always to remove the fear of being jobless.

AR: Share a few of your childhood memories?

Harry:Playing. Lots and lots of playing with my brother, my friends. Cricket, football, cycling, table tennis. Lots of books – Enid Blyton to the comics  - and music thanks to Dad who enjoyed reading and listening to music. Movies. It was all like a dream until we came to Hyderabad in 1976. Hyderabad was a different culture and it took a while to adjust to it.

AR: The most courageous things you ever did in your life?

Harry: I’d think courage and responsibility go together. Funnily, I always felt some responsibility at the back of my mind. 
 My father's death was not a natural one. He met with an accident. After I returned home watching a movie, a cop was at home and he questioned me about father. I went to the hospital with a friend and by morning he passed away. Just knowing that I had to break the news suddenly grew me from being an irresponsible, carefree teenager to an adult.
Another time we were on a car trip. A whole bunch of friends and us. A drunk suddenly attacked the car while we were standing near it. Everyone was stunned and did not react. There were children who could have got hurt. I realized nobody was moving and something had to be done. I held the guy by his shoulders and hoisted him across the road to a safe distance and left him there. He wandered off in some other direction.
AR: Describe the journey of ending a conventional career and taking up writing as a profession?
Harry: I had a great time doing my previous job.  I had all the comforts I wanted. But I felt like anybody can do it. I thought about what I could do at full potential? When I thought about it deeply I felt it was writing. I decided that I should give it my 100% efforts. I knew well it was a difficult and unconventional choice but I wanted to commit to something fully.
AR: Were you not scared of being financially unstable?

Harry: "Be prepared for it." I was not too materially-oriented to start with – and don’t think I still am. Shobha, my wife, was also not having a conventional career then. We decided to trust ourselves and go for it. We were educated, I believed somehow we'll find a way. Being educated was one point which strengthened me to face any consequence.
Dialogue was paused as I had to head home then suddenly. There's a lot to say about this experience. Will share at the end of the whole dialogue.

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