Cancer Survivor!

Cancer Survivor? Maybe Cancer Beater?

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This is a term used to describe cancer patients who did not die though they had cancer. To me this a very derogatory term. I have undergone cancer treatment 5 years back. I came out the illness successfully. Why call such a person a survivor? The patient has undergone a major treatment, faced it bravely, lived with dignity, how can the patient be called a survivor?

The word “Survivor” has following definitions which I am trying to understand.

These definitions give a different flavour to the experience of going through cancer treatment. About 50 to 70 years back, C-word was a scary word and anyone who had cancer, it was assumed that the result will be death. Hence the term survivor came in use. Due to early detection, improved treatments, family and friends’ support, these days not every body detected with cancer, dies within a short duration. In fact % of people recovering the condition has gone up, drastically. Following points have jointly changed cancer scenario so much that I do not like being called cancer survivor. Why not a heart attack survivor? Why not a stroke survivor? Why not a nephritis survivor?

I will share with you the information that I gathered while I was undergoing the treatment.

In recent times there have been major changes in cancer management due to

1. Early detection

With awareness, with improved diagnostic tools people do go to their doctors early. It is definitely proven that early detection definitely improves the chances of getting cured like any other disease.

2. Advanced imaging technologies have created sophisticated diagnostics.

In olden days the only way to look inside the body was an x-ray or by surgery. With CAT scans, MRI’s doctors can really “see” inside and can even understand the different types, by looking at images.

3. Improvements in chemotherapy and its side effects

You will be surprised to know that in developed country England, first Oncology department was established as late as in 1970. The word chemotherapy brought out pictures of a patient losing hair on the scalp, patients having terrible side effects like diarrhea. But so much progress has taken place in this science that these symptoms are not seen in some patients. Instead of intravenous chemotherapy, now chemo tablets are available. The cost of the treatment has also gone down substantially.

4. The advent of treatments like Immuno therapy which has a couple types

  • Stimulating your own immune system to work harder or smarter to attack cancer cells
  • Giving you immune system components, such as man-made immune system proteins
  • This treatment is still costly but very effective in the certain type of cancers.
  • Sometimes this is given in place of chemotherapy
  • I was treated with Immuno therapy instead of Chemotherapy and had reasonably less side effect with no hair loss at all and minor weight loss.

5. Progress in surgical techniques which allows lesser and lesser removal of tissues.

In olden days, surgeries used to be drastic and a lot of body tissues were cut away. When I was in school, one of my father’s friend had cancer in the facial area. His left side including the left nostril, was simply removed! In my case, luckily, the only surgery that was needed, was for biopsy purpose!

Now with improving surgical techniques where surgeons use probes, many times surgery is not drastic.

6. Radiation treatment

  • There have been tremendous changes in radiation therapy. It appears that Radiation therapy will be the cancer treatment of the 21st century. There two major new methods have been proven and are used extensively
  • Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) is the use of imaging during radiation therapy to improve the precision and accuracy of treatment delivery. IGRT is used to treat tumours in areas of the body that move, such as the lungs.
  • Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) uses linear accelerators to safely and painlessly deliver precise radiation doses to a tumour while minimizing the dose to surrounding normal tissue.
  • The radiation oncologist will speak with you to determine whether IMRT is the most appropriate treatment for you. If so, your doctor will perform a physical exam and use CT scanning to conduct a treatment simulation session. Other imaging procedures may be used to help determine the exact shape and location of your tumour, and a special device may be created to help you maintain the same exact position during each treatment. Your doctor will give you specific instructions based on the type of exam being performed. I was treated with IGRT.

7. Progress in awareness

  • Perhaps the biggest change of the past 60 years has been in our attitudes. It’s no longer a disease to be mentioned in hushed tones, and increasing survival rates mean that more and more people are alive to share their story of beating cancer.
  • People no longer have to hide a diagnosis of cancer for fear of what others might think, and numerous celebrities have gone public with their personal stories. Fundraising events for cancer charities are commonplace, generating vital money for research, advocacy and support.
  • But, more importantly, we’ve also seen a big change in public awareness about the things that can cause cancer and the warning signs to look out for. Many organizations are working hard to improve early diagnosis of cancer by raising awareness of symptoms amongst public and health professionals.
  • But sadly, one thing has not changed. Some people still believe in alternate medicines. These treatments rarely cure patients in large numbers. These people finally go for treatments discussed above, but many times its too late!

8. Progress in preventing cancer

The reason why someone gets cancer are many

  • Scientists have slowly understood that it can be caused by some viruses too!
  • Smoking is definitely the number one reason for cancer
  • But some cancers also show hereditary links, out of which obesity is one of the main reasons

Friends, I have tried to explain the progress in the management of cancer. Deaths due to cancer are decreasing year by year but the number of cases is increasing. The reason is our life expectancy has gone up and the possibility of cancer increases with age. Another cause is smoking control; smoking  is controlled world over in public areas. This is another reason for the decrease.

I am sure now you have understood why I am unhappy with the term cancer survivor. Now it is no more a dreaded C word. Any person undergoing a major health issue is nervous, tense and uneasy till the cure is achieved. Some achieve it some don’t! Heart attack deaths are even more in numbers than cancer deaths but people somehow accept heart attack event more easily. One good thing is now people openly talk about cancer! Public figures like Manisha Koirala, Sonali Bendre, Cyclist Armstrong are some names. On personal level, I was moving around for three months with feeding tube inserted in my nose. A friend asked me why I did not  cover my face with a scarf to hide the tube, when I went in public? I asked him, “Why should I do it? I am undergoing a treatment and the tube is my major support device? There is nothing to be ashamed of to hide it!” Help cancer patients to remain more dignified by treating their disease as any other major disease by NOT using word Cancer Survivor!

Brave Art!

If you are passionate, follow your passion!

Sometime back I read an article, in two parts, by Manasi Sagar of Nasik. She is a trained painter and took passion to paint nudes. We have generally read about nudes being painted by male painters, with females as models. Society treats nudity in a different angle. Human body, especially female body, is an art work which only He could create. The way Manasi had explained the path she took and how she managed to follow her passion, is something to be read to be believed. From the articles she had written, I felt that she came from a normal Maharashtrian middle class family. Such families have certain ethos of bringing up children in which girl child is always told to take care of her modesty. This probably starts at the age of around five and the child would always listen to statements from her mother, “Don’t do this, don’t do that! Sit “properly”! Be careful when men are around and so on!” There are historical reasons for this, some justified but when a Manasi blooms like a Lotus amidst such orthodoxy, it’s a pleasant surprise! To her family it must have been a shock, at least in the beginning!

I had discussed about the article by Manasi, with my friend Sudhakar, from Nasik. Sudhakar is a painter by heart but a builder by profession. Yesterday he met Manasi. I had told Sudhakar to tell Manasi, when he meets her, that I am honoured to know about such a brave artist. Incidentally, I came across a poem by Kedarnath Singhji, when I received a message from Sudhakar today, that he met Manasi! Various thoughts came to my mind which I am sharing with you.

Why is female nudity so beautiful? What pleasures can you get by looking at such paintings? Kedarnath Singhji  poem बारिश में स्त्री in Hindi, A Woman in the Rains, is par excellence. I know that I will never be able to come close to the way he has written the poem, the lyrics, the expressions and the refinement. Nowhere in the poem we feel that he is talking of something vulgar! (Yes, in our society nudity is talked about in hushed tones) It’s sheer poetry, pun intended!

The poet says that he saw a woman who was getting drenched in the rains! It was as if a new book was being opened where the existing written words were getting washed away and were lost in the mist! Rain drops were dripping on her breasts, her shoulders and her chin! It felt as if a new script was getting created, a poem was being written! It was as if her body was giving birth to new Alphabet! It was as if the body was creating its own ink and printing the words, rat, tat, tat. The whole body was slowly getting converted into an Epic! The poet felt that the frog in him, forgot to utter its famous “ribit ribit”, when it enjoys the rains! The frog was simply dumb struck looking at this smooth transition into work of art!

What a way to look at the beauty created by nature, by Him! Concept of vulgarity, exposure, are recent phenomena, in the history of human race. I always feel that the threshold for certain good and bad things started when the concept of “ownership” started in human history. Till this phase in the history, humans lived in flocks like other species. Like in other species, males and females were created by nature for procreation, to take the race forward. The concept of nudity hardly existed as everybody was nude! With concept of ownership, the ownership of females started and with that started the first known modern dress, fig leaf, from Adam and Eve’s times!

Manasi went against this trend in her paintings. She wanted to paint nudes but who would be the model? It is not so common in India to be a female nude model and in a city like Nasik it was almost impossible. Solution? Simple. She decided that she will be her own model. She started sitting in front of a mirror at home, late in the night, when everybody went to sleep. The concept itself was taboo! She would have a tough time “hiding” these paintings during creation phase. What if my parents see? How will I explain? She somehow managed to complete a few paintings, and entered an art competition! When she won the coveted prize, she got a communication from the organizers. She was thrilled about it, at the same time she was worried about her parent’s reactions. Ultimately art won over orthodoxy! She could come out in open! She still had some problems initially, even after this event, as she could not get models! But she convinced some women and hopefully now she will also be able to paint nudes along with her other paintings!

What is it that Manasi’s of the world have in them? Do they eat differently? Where do they get the strength from? Where does the passion come from? When you are doing something unconventional, when your path is not so well trodden, things can be tough. In olden days, such people were castrated by society, some were even killed. When people are ahead of times, they face various difficulties. We know what happened to Aristotle for talking against flat earth concept. Manasi has done something similar in the field of art! Will she succeed commercially? Will she become an international name? Will she be known as one of the better artists? Only time can tell. Kudos to you Manasi! Way to go!

Sridevi Meri Chandani!

Sridevi, a natural, who just clicked on when she came in front of a Camera!

24th Feb 2018 was a shocking date for all us film lovers when Hawa Hawaein lady Sridevi passed! It looks like HE likes all beautiful people and decides to take them away early. Sridevi was just 54, very young by today’s standards when she died. She had just started her second innings. Madhubala died at the age of 39 and Marilyn Monroe at the age of 36! In case of Madhubala at least her health issue was known to the close ones, Marilyn was veering towards her death but in case of Sridevi there were no known issues; her sudden passing was all the more shocking to everybody!

She started acting in the film industry at the tender age of 4; so, she was in the industry for 50 years! That is a very long time to be in any field and I am sure that she must have been doing her work on auto pilot! She was a beauty, she was a fantastic dancer in classical mold and a terrific actor. People always talk of her dancing prowess but I feel that her acting prowess was even better! The classic example of this, is the film Sadma. In this movie, she is a modern young lady who loses her memory due to retrograde amnesia, following an accident. Her mental age becomes 6 or 7. She goes through a horrible phase in her life as she is pushed into prostitution. Kamal Hassan meets her in a brothel and realizes that she has been cheated to go into prostitution. He takes her away and nurtures her back to life; a doctor finally is able to cure her and she becomes original modern girl. After this change she simply does not remember Hassan, as her amnesia is cured! Life goes on! Her acting in this movie is seen to be believed. Behaving like a 6/7-year-old girl is not easy when you are a normal person! She was nominated for film fare best actress award. She won a lot of critical acclaim for her role! This gem of a song, from the movie Sadma, “Ae Zindagi” is to me the best song picturized on her, ever! Suresh Wadkar, the singer, is also at his best in the song! Did she enjoy her childhood in this song, as she may have missed the real one?

Public life has it pluses while going is good, but when things turn up differently it is really nasty, what with our TV shows, newspapers, WhatsApp and FB! People in general and reporters and commentators in particular forget that the celebrity is normal human being like you and me. They have their family, husband or wife, children like all human beings have. When stupid and nasty things are mentioned, poor jokes are circulated, they forget that they are troubling a family and a group of friends; it was a heart wrenching experience to see this tamasha. When celebrities are alive they can ignore, smile and sometimes rebut! But when Sridevi died it was pointless to discuss everything threadbare. There was that unfortunate change in the reason for death, found in autopsy. This took the rumour mongering to crescendo! Naturally, I do not want to go into details but I have the usual questions why, why and why? Why get into this mode? Why discuss threadbare unnecessary details? Why not let the family be, in their sorrow? Everybody simply forgot that someone had died.

Sreedevi Boney Kapoor Ayyapan was born in a Tamil orthodox family. She started working at the age of 4! When you start working at that age, I am sure that you never have a normal childhood; again, I am not going into details. According to Ram Gopal Varma, she became penniless when her father, who looked after her finances, died because he trusted wrong people with money. Later her mother made wrong investments and she became penniless the second time. When her mother died, Sridevi’s own sister cheated and looted her money! She finally got her solace in Boney Kapoor! I am sure that also must have been a tough call for her because she became his second wife. How much can a person take in a life time, I really don’t know. Even he her death, there was no peace but a great turmoil for her family!

We only look at the glamorous side amongst lovely people, beautiful dresses, going to exotic locations, traveling all over the world. According to Ram Gopal Varma she had a fantastic ability to switchover, once she was in front of the camera. Probably films was the only thing that gave her peace!  She turned into a different persona! Her eyes would sparkle and feet would start dancing to rhythm and what rhythm she had, what expressions she had, what flexibility she had! She had a tough time when she moved from South to Hindi movies because at that time she was not at all proficient in both Hindi and English. It was not rose petals all the way in Mumbai but she came up with sheer talent, hard work and brilliance of her performances! She became the first lady super star of Hindi movies.

Who would want to die at prime and a young age of 54! At this stage now people start new companies, new projects! Sridevi had started he second innings with a fantastic performance in a movie called English Winglish! She looked so natural all through the movie, it felt as if the role was written specifically, for her! She had kept herself perfectly fit in real life by way of exercise and diet. There are murmurs going around that she had gone through many surgeries; this beautification is probably need of the profession, and people do like to look beautiful and young all the time. People dye their hair suitably, they follow various anti-aging regimens which include procedures and surgeries, some of them can be risky. But Sridevi’s death was not because of this; she somehow fainted and died!

There is a turmoil going on in my mind, after I read about her cremation; but I will be a little selfish and say that my last memories of her will always be beautiful, bubbly Chandani! How can Madhubala and Monroe and  Sridevi be 80! Who knows she could look beautiful even at 80 but I will surely not be around! In our younger age we had Waheeda Rahaman, Sharmila Tagore who have kept themselves very graceful at their current ages 80 and 71 respectively. But not all manage this!

So what is my favourite memory of Sridevi? There are so many dances, performances, expressions, it is impossible to choose! I will give her 9 on 10 for everything or maybe 9.5 but I will give HIM 10 on 10 for his decision to take her away! What a selfish decision. He made a surprise move to have her back with Him! Perfect 10 on 10, bhagwan! Tusi great ho! Teri Lila agadh hai!

With moist eyes, and heavy heart! Alvida Sridevi!

Shashi Kapoor! The British Punjabi!

Shashi Kapoor the sophisticated odd man out from film industry!

 

 

 

Shashi3Balbir Prithviraj Kapoor aka Shashi Kapoor was born in THE Kapoor clan which had greats like his father Prithviraj, brothers Raj and Shammi. The father had a towering personality both physically and by reputation! Raj Kapoor proved to be the showman par excellence and proved his mettle through his career. Shammi was Shammi who was years ahead of time, his flamboyance was ahead of many international stars! To shine amongst such personalities in the family is what shows how Shashi Kapoor was different! Shashi Kapoor was the debonair, handsome person with a personality not matching the film industry. In those days the filmy guys hardly completed school but Shashi had picked elegance, sophistication and elan to match the international stars.

Since Shashi Kapoor was a film personality, I am pushing videos of a couple of songs from his movies, though they are irrelevant, as is done in any movie!

Here is one song from the movie Jab Jab Phool Khile!

Shashi as a human being was people’s person. I had an opportunity to see him from about 10 feet distance a couple of times; once during the shooting of the film Chor Machaye Shor and another time when he was the chief guest for musical competition in Pune while I was in college. Both the times he never appeared to have airs of the film hero that he was! He appeared to be easily chatting and doing gapshap with people around.

I have seen Devanand, Waheeda Rehman, Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Dutt and Rakesh Roshan from close quarters. But the smartness and elegance Shashi displayed probably only Waheeda came near to him! My friend and actor Dr. Mohan Agashe said, “The films did not and could not really capture the real handsome that Shashi Kapoor was!” I am sure that when you see or meet someone in person energy oozes out of some persons. If a person is really a good person, there is some aura created; especially in case Shashi this happened as he was very good looking too! The slightly crooked teeth he had added to his personality!

In the decade of 40’s and 50’s the film actors did not have much education nor did they get opportunities for education. In spite of that Shashi had great sophistication and was a natural. Especially in foreign locale, his savoir faire (the ability to act or speak appropriately in social situations) was to be seen to be believed. According his costar Simi Garewal, she was always astonished to see Shashi at great ease in foreign countries. She has shared one story. They were in Italy in a restaurant for dinner. One lady saw them; she just left her husband in his seat and ran towards Shashi. It was a very embarrassing situation as husband came and there was a big shouting match between husband and wife. Shashi somehow was all sophistication personified and resolved the issue very smoothly. Still the wife gave him a flying kiss while going away! Shashi just chuckled!

One song from his movie Pyar Kiye Ja!

Shashi married Jennifer Kendal and she became his life’s anchor! They had a great marriage and had three children. Jennifer’s father and Jennifer were from Shakespeare drama school and Shashi could do things to his liking in their company. He did some of his semi art movies 36 Chauranghi Lane, Siddharth, Junoon during that phase. None of them of course made much money. He started Prithvi theater which he thought was his life’s greatest achievement.

To make money he worked in typical Hindi films. He had a great partnership and camaraderie with Amitabh Bacchan. They did so many movies together that it was jokingly said that Amitabh had Shashi’s power of attorney with him! मेरे पास मेरी  मा  है! This is the famous dialogue by Shashi from the movie Deewar! In commercial films this was during Shashi’s peak.  He did many films, danced and sang many songs but I am not sure that his heart was really in it! This is the commercial reality of his life. He looked a bit awkward while dancing and running around the trees.

Shashi also had humane side which was not known to many. Journalist Khalid Mohmad has shared a few gems. He would go for breakfast to Shashi’s home, a typical British Breakfast courtesy Jennifer! Shashi made sure that guests preferences were perfectly managed, and bacon was never included! Khalid in his initial phase would be short of funds like everyone else. Shashi brought him a box full of socks from Harrods on his next trip to London! Shashi’s driver’s daughter got married in Nashik; due to prior shooting commitments Shashi could not attend it. Shashi arranged a reception for the married couple in Mumbai later at a suitable date!

What will Shashi Kapoor be remembered for? His handsome looks, his sophistication, his humane nature? Or he will be remembered for his bright smile, fresh face? Or his persistence in running Prithvi theatre? Only time will tell!

Adios Shashi, my friend! (Somehow, I always felt that he was a friend) I know you lost the zeal to live life after Jennifer died; she was your anchor and maybe you felt rudderless! Now that you two are joined together again, show HIM the Shakespeare walla! One question you never answered. Were your British or you were a Punjabi?

Let me say al vida to you with a heavy heart and moist eyes!

Shashi2

 

 

Age with an open mind

As we grow in age, we age! We tend to make mistakes in basic things as we age, we forget things. This is the natural aging process. I thought I should write my experience of communications I had received from various friends, during coordination for the Alumni association celebration, recently. I am just sharing these communications as an experience and the aim is not to criticize anybody or not is it to ridicule anybody. I will also share how I try to overcome errors that I make and methods that can be adopted.

Firstly, I will start with myself. I had requested everybody to pay the contribution by bank transfer etc. My mistake was that I added one additional zero in the account number. During first transfer itself, there was an error message received by a friend. I checked and informed everybody of my error. Of course since this was a public event I needed to correct myself but same things can happen in your private transactions too. Last week, I transferred money against a credit card bill; inadvertently I transferred a rather large sum of money. The moment I did it, I realized my mistake. First thing I did was to share my error with my wife and then I started the process of getting the money back. In a weeks’ time the reversal took place.  First lesson is to accept your error. Then the chances of improving are more. How to avoid such errors in future? Some suggestions about bank transactions.

1. Try and connect payments to ECS where possible

2. I have been using bank transfer method for quite some time, but after this error now I write down the amounts to be transferred on a piece of paper; when the amount to be transferred is punched, I recheck with the amount noted on the paper, make a tick mark if correct and then proceed. I hope this method will work.

3 Another way of avoiding errors in bank transfers, is to start from the app which shows your bill; through that app try to access your bank account directly. For payment the exact bill amount will be selected and error will not happen. My bank unfortunately does not allow this, hence the error.

Now about my friends

I must have sent at least ten communications on email/whatsapp group, sharing the same details and giving updates. Here are some samples of communications.

Pramod when is the celebration? I always give the details again.

Pramod how much should I pay? Details were all there in the communication but I have always communicated the individual figures when asked.

In the communication I had clearly written not to deposit cash as banks charge cash handling charges these days. One person still paid cash.

Another friend jokingly told me that somebody will write and ask you, “What is my name?”

Somebody asked me the directions though I had shared them a few times but I shared the details again.

Is it just laziness or the slip of mind? These are some of the very small pointers but they indicate some slippage taking place due to aging. My suggestion is for those who have retired fully, they should try and ensure that such issues don’t crop up or at least try to delay them. Keeping ones brain sharp is going to be the key to better quality of life, in this phase of our lives.

My suggestion is to try and analyze why certain slippages occur. It’s a simple thing like not putting the lights off when you go to another room. Or it could be, not shutting the drawers or cupboard doors completely. These small issues do not really make any difference in life but they can be indicative of beginning of aging process. The more we analyze them and correct them (first thing of course is to accept our error!) we may be able to delay the aging process and improve quality of life. Please realize that once we start slipping in mind then we may forget our credit cards, cheque books, passports somewhere. This can really lead to some major troubles in life. Another thing I have realized is that when I meet friends, I tend to get excited. Nothing wrong in that but with a little slippage already round the corner, I tend to forget some things in excitement.

One suggestion for those who travel regularly by flights. There is a sequence of things from checking in, to immigration (during international travel) to security – putting your cell phone/laptops in the right place, removing jackets, keeping passports and tickets back in place, to putting cabin baggage in place. Do not attempt to do things at the pace, that you were following say fifteen years back. These things do matter because of aging. Our facilities slow down a bit, so there could be confusion in handling the sequence.

Life is a little more complex than it was 25 years back. Though you may have retired, there could be many “to do” things. Use technology to keep track. Cell phone calendar, is the best way of keeping track. In olden days, I remember that my grand-father would go to sleep at 7.30 pm in summer and 7 pm or earlier in winter. That was in the period when we were in college in 60’s. Now a days we go out of the house after these timings to meet friends, to have dinner, for marriages, birthdays and so on.  There are chances that we might forget things on flights, buses, taxis and so on. We have to create our own individual method to ensure that these things don’t happen

Friends if we become a little more practical, a little more open in accepting our errors due to aging, we can really enjoy this golden period of our lives. Be a little realistic and age with least possible stress! Age beautifully like Waheeda Rehman!

Waheeda Rehman (1)

 

Only Paranoid Survive- Andy Grove

Born András István Gróf on (1936-09-02) September 2, 1936 in Budapest Hungary, Andy Grove was an enigma. He died on 21st March 2016. For records purpose Andy retired as Chairman of Intel in 2002. His book Only Paranoids Survive is a land mark book. I have read the book sometime back and I am sure going to read it again.

AndyGrove_edited

I have always thought that when He creates people, you and I are created in assembly line process but Groves of this world are created in a designer studio meant for special people. I am writing this piece to understand Grove’s thinking and how it can be applied to life in general.

Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore founded Intel in 1968 and Grove was the first employee to join though he was not a founder. Till 1985 Intel was a DRAM (Dynamic Memory Chips) manufacturer. But since late 70’s Japanese started winning the business from all and dumping their products at a very low price in US market. This was a big problem for Intel.

There are many quotes attributed to Grove and some are real Gems; quotes tell us the thought process in creating Silicon Valley and its unique culture. It is said that “Probably no person has had greater influence in shaping Intel, Silicon Valley and all we think about today in technology world than Andy Grove.” Some of Andy’s quotes can also be applied to our personal lives.

He first used the term Point of Inflection to describe how industries change. Inflection Point is defined mathematically as “a point of a curve at which a change in the direction of curvature occurs.” In business “it is a time of significant change in situation or turning point”.  The smooth bend in curve is the inflection point.

PointOfInflection

Intel the DRAM manufacturer was ahead of the pack in technology terms in 70’s. But Japanese competitors were good at manufacturing processes and efficiencies and this is where Intel was lacking. Advantages of new technology are available for a small period but what sustains business is manufacturing. In this race Japanese started catching up with Intel and a stage reached where Intel was pushed to the corner. Intel market share had gone down from 80% to 10 % in a few years. This was the point of inflection. At this stage Andy Grove guided Intel to shift from DRAMS to Microprocessors. They not only shifted but just stopped making DRAMs. Rest as they say is history!

This was the point of inflection which Andy caught perfectly. He visualized the change in direction where business was moving. He managed to minimize all the errors that Intel had made in DRAM business. From open technology he moved towards patented technology. He made sure that Intel had top class manufacturing facilities and efficiencies. This helped Intel in keeping competitors at bay! He also made sure that Intel had a long term contracts with first IBM and then Compaq for supplying Intel Microprocessors to manufacture PC’s. There was so called error in Pentium chip. This was deftly handled by Intel and they replaced all the chips whoever wanted them to be replaced, no questions asked! This so called error would not have affected regular users of PC. This business savyyness helped Intel. Then the famous partnership of Windows and Intel called Wintel happened in the market. But Intel were open to Linux, when it was required later.

Many of us have this inflection point in our lives. Sometimes it is opportunity to go into business, moving to a different country, changing your line all together. On personal front it can be meeting the right spouse, making new friends, opportunity to go for great education, and meeting a great mentor! How many of really know that an inflection point is looming around? I think not many of us have the vision to know what is happening around us. If we knew there would been large number of success stories. Inflection Points can make you or break you!

In Indian context, a commercial vehicle manufacturer took a decision to get into car business. Was it the inflection point for this company? This decision is dragging the company over a period and now with all international players around, the drag is going to be heavier and heavier! Almost at the same time another Indian company manufacturing two wheelers took a decision to stay out of car market! (Though they were attempting to enter) Second company probably understood the inflection point better and stayed its course. But this company also missed inflection point! They thought that scooter market in India is declining fast hence they withdrew from scooter market. But there was big market demand for fancy scooters with no gears. Currently half a million scooters are made every month!

Then there is Nokia. They missed the inflection point indicated by Smart Phones! From number one to number no one was a very fast downward journey for them.

Paranoia is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by fear and anxiety. Andy’s book Only Paranoids Survive is a thought process created due to his experience during Intel’s DRAM manufacturing phase. It is possible that the anxiety and fear of getting wiped out of business by the competition created Paranoia in Andy. He was probably always thinking what he should do next, so that he could  remain ahead of others. This thought and correct application of technology took Intel, to today’s pinnacle position.

But we must understand that we cannot apply the same thought process of paranoia in our personal lives. Personal life is not about profits, competition and money. It is much more. I am sure Andy was not paranoid in his personal life. His simple and frugal life style indicated that he was a normal human. He had no fascination for big houses, big cars and all such so called success indicators. How many real successful persons can stay away from this the glamour of success?

“In technology whatever can be done will be done” is another of his famous quotes. Many things which we probably imagined in childhood are actually available today. 50 years back the world as we know was “biiiiiiig”, with technology it has become a village. Support services and functions are handled by persons sitting in any part of the world, thanks to technology. As late as early 80’s getting telephone line in India was a big deal. Now there are 800 million subscribers of phone companies in India, again thanks to technology. To purchase things one had to go to shops or super markets, now we can do these things sitting at home.

I am sure till his death Andy had “Intel Inside” him. But I am sure that “Person Inside” was far different than the thought process of “Intel Inside”! There is an incident that shows the real Andy. During 1995 launch of an Intel product, the launch opened with Intel bunny people; at the end of the dance people expected Andy to come on stage and start the proceedings. To every body’s surprise, one of the bunnies removed the face mask and behind the mask was Andy! Who would have thought that the CEO of the largest company in the world would swing hips with Broadway dancers? That probably was real Andy!

Andy this is my salute to you! I am sure you are planning next tech revolution along with Steve Jobs over there!