Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My Icebreaker speech at Toastmasters

This town has holy places like Vemulawada, Dharmapuri and Kaleshwaram. Kaleshwaram is the meeting point of river Godavari and Pranahita. Do you know which town from AP I am talking about?

I will give you a clue: Do you know where PV Narsimha Rao is from?

It also has an NTPC which is considered one of the best thermal power stations in India.

Well. I am talking about my hometown, Karimnagar which is 165 Kilometers from Hyderabad.

I was born in a middle class family. My dad is a Bank officer and Mom a teacher. I am the eldest of the 3 brothers. I did my schooling in Karimnagar till Xth. I never realized when I got to finish the school and went on to college. My best days at school were in 9th and 10th standard when I used to bunk all post lunch sessions on Thursday to watch movies. Whenever there was a cricket match, I used to team with my Best friend and device innovative plans to bunk school. Be it onions to increase our body temperature or giving birth to crazy household functions. We used to call Sundays as S Square (Sensational Sundays). Sundays used to be time for playing cricket, trips to nearby forts, long rides on bicycles, slow cycling competitions. My inspiration from my childhood has been my younger brother, who is a genius at anything he does and knew what exactly he wants from life. He used to participate in many competitions and we used to enjoy getting up early morning to discuss on the same.

I did my management course from BITS Pilani. My graduation at BITS has been wonderful experience. BITS was a cosmopolitan place with a mix of different cultures. BITS had extreme weather conditions. In summer, going out in sun literally burns your skin. And winter used to be so cold that our 8 AM tests had us rubbing hands together to hold the pen. It was amazing to be there with thousands of students spending so much time with each other. With attendance not being compulsory, it used to be absolute fun spending all the time watching TV, playing cricket or playing carom. I was lucky to have known Anand, my classmate at BITS who with his exceptional leadership & inter personal skills has been a source of inspiration till date. I used to be in awe of his visionary thoughts. I could improve myself a lot with his company.

As it is said all good things had to come to an end and I had to start working. Eventhough, I still am pretty thankful for the experience I received at CTS but after a year I was craving for doing and trying something different. At such time, Anand, my BITSian friend rang me up one morning and sounded me off about starting our own company. Frankly, I was scared of leaving my cushy, well paying job with loads of onsite opportunities and starting something which needed huge amount of responsibility and loads of commitment. I had thought about this for weeks, discussed with my family and other close friends. It took about a month to make up my mind and take the decision. I decided to work for myself and work with friends. I was also fortunate that my Parents and my Brother were very supportive of this endeavor.

Though I am not one to read lot of books, a very good friend of mine gifted me “The Alchemist” by Paul Cohelo when I was about to start the company. I loved the book and the message in that book to follow dreams. It made things easier for me during the initial days of our company. I always keep this book in my desk.
Thus we started our entrepreneurial venture, PennyWise Solutions in 2003. As Bootstrappers, we had our teething problems. I can never forget the times when we used to clean the hired computers on a daily basis, have food at Greenlands at 2 AM after 2 continuous night outs. I can still feel the pain when our important resources we had trained for months together left us during project delivery. But what maybe favored our setup was the inherent bonding all of us had. From being a programmer in CTS, to being Vice President of a company looking after its operations, interacting with the clients and executing the projects, it has been learning all the way. I believe wouldn’t have got this kind of exposure and experience anywhere.

There have been difficult times in these years, times of joy and moments of pain. It was difficult to venture into this and even more difficult to continue with this when all our friends were making handsome money and driving in cars while we were slogging in our office. Sometimes it was so difficult that some of us at different points have even thought about quitting. But then we got together and stuck ourselves well. Now we are in a good position. I remember this saying my brother used to say “Courage is not absence of fear. It is resistance to fear”. I could not agree with him more.

All through these years, I changed a lot in many aspects. The only thing that remained with me was my passion for movies and music. While O2 is elixir of life for all, its M2 (Movies & Music) for me. In school, I used to bunk classes to watch movies on the first day. In +1 and +2, I used to jump the fence (ours was a residential college) to watch movies and at work, I used to take permission to go watch movies. From 2004 Jan to 2006 July, I watched almost all the telugu movies First Day First Show. Roja is one music album I would remember through out my life. Before I heard music of Roja, I used to be a music lover and Roja made me passionate about music. In 4 yrs of my BITSian life, I had hardly missed buying a single movie album released during that period. My other passions are dance, riding bike and Tae-kwon-do.

As Robert Frost says, Two roads diverged in a wood, and I... I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. I hope to make this difference not only in my lives, but at least few other lives.


Anonymous said...

Very well wriitten. Congrats from Dean Nattu

Pavan Pochu said...

Thank you sir.

Seetha said...

Pardon me if I appear rude or ignorant, but why did you use the second to last paragraph? Any specific reason for it? It sounds out of place to me in a this-is-my-life-story sort of speech.

Pavan Pochu said...

Hi seetha

I used the second to last para to say that there were many things about me that changed over the years. But music and movies is the one thats there always.

Does that answer your query?

Seetha said...

Yes it does. Thank you. The intent wasn't as clear. But you're learning, so won't pick on you.

Anshuman Dimri said...

Mosquito Alert!

Your blog is stagnating. DUDE POST!!!

Anonymous said...

Whatever your brother said about Courage is very true. In fact, one of my all time favorite quotes is "Confidence never comes from knowing all the answers, but comes from being open to all the questions." Good to see your progress through TM!