Table of Contents
This is an autobiographical sketch by Achyut Godbole. He records his journey as an IT professional and then as a successful writer. His journey, with its ups and downs, is inspiring. Godbole also lists many qualities that he believes are essential for one to excel in any field of life.
The writer recalls that there was a scarcity of money and his family did not have some of the most basic amenities at home during his childhood. But he says that he was fortunate to have a culturally rich environment at home. His family hosted many artists at his home. Poets like Vinda Karandikar, Mangesh Padgaonkar and Vasant Bapat visited his home often.
As a child, the writer keenly listened to the discussions that went on for hours between these artists. Their conversations ranged from discussions about literature to music and even paintings. The writer grew curious about the world of knowledge that those people inhabited. Their conversations about both Marathi as well as English writers like Keshavsut, Mardhekar, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy greatly impressed him.
There were discussions about the paintings of artists and sculptors like Van Gogh, Mozart and Michaelangelo. Among the many visitors were also the great musicians of his time, including Pt. Kumar Gandharv, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi and Pt. Jasraj. These visits and the conversations had a lasting impression on the writer and served as his initiation into the world of arts and humanities.
Interest in Science and Mathematics
Despite such a love for the arts, the writer also excelled in subjects of Science and Mathematics. He believes that it was the pleasure he derived from studying these subjects that made him perform well academically. He says that scoring more marks was never the motivation behind his interest in these subjects.
He studied Newton’s law of motion and the Pythagorean Theorem for their beauty and elegance. Thus, Science and Mathematics appealed to him not as academic subjects but as subjects that aroused his curiosity. This curiosity gave birth to an attitude of looking beyond the academic value of these subjects.
The writer thus developed an aptitude for problem-solving which helped him to clear his entrance exam and secure a place for himself in the esteemed IIT Mumbai. This was how a middle-class boy from Solapur made his way to IIT.
Struggle with English
The writer had been educated in Marathi. Therefore, he found himself incapable of conversing in English, unlike other people at IIT who spoke fluent English. An inferiority complex began to take hold on his mind and he even felt an urge to run away. An incident that took place in the hostel mess made him further anxious.
A senior student humiliated the writer for not knowing English. The writer felt utterly insulted but he also knew his worth. Thus, he resolved to learn English. Over a course of ten months, he taught himself English. He achieved this by consistent practice sessions in front of mirror and read newspapers and English novels. This filled him with a renewed sense of self-worth and confidence. This also proved greatly useful in future when he had to deal with international clients and negotiate contracts worth millions.
A Lesson in Humility
During the third year at IIT, the writer became a part of a group of intellectuals including IIT students and visiting professors in American universities. This exposed him to the vast sea of knowledge that he had not yet explored. He also understood that there were many people who possessed far more knowledge than he did.
This made him more humble. Then his encounters with some great thinkers and management gurus like Alvin Toffler, Peter Drucker, C. K. Prahlad and Tom Peters, further broadened the horizons of his thought process. His friend circle at IIT was also a group of curious young students who had not confined themselves to their professional fields only.
They took interest in other fields like Science, Technology, Sociology, Psychology, Economics, Philosophy, Anthropology, Archaeology, Political Science etc. This is how he delved into fields which were not part of his IIT curriculum but seemed important for what Godbole calls, the ‘examination of life’. His time in IIT taught him the value of curiosity, humility, humanity, team work and equality.
Achyut Godbole had a 32 year long career in Information Technology, during which he occupied significant positions in many multinational companies. He then turned to what he calls his “first love” of reading and writing. This marked the beginning of his writing career. He has authored about 34 books in Marathi language and all of them have received favourable reception.
His books on subjects as diverse as psychology, science, management, mathematics, Indian and western music, literature and films have proved life changing to many readers. He believes that it is not the number of copies sold or the profits earned but the love and admiration of his readers that is primarily important to him.
Godbole’s journey concludes that scoring marks or earning more money should not be the only motivations for one to work hard. Knowledge should be considered important for knowledge’s sake. One should not be deterred by inferiority complexes but be determined to change them. A willingness to learn throughout one’s life is immensely important in one’s journey towards excellence.