Alumni Author: Finding My Citadel of Joy – Hari Bhaskaran, PGP 1976
A person like Mr. Hari Bhaskaran doesnt need any introduction. An alumnus from the first batch of the institute, their batch are the true blue IIMBians. It is people like Mr. Hari who has laid the foundation stone of legacy that is IIMB. Humble, Brilliant, and full of life, his treasure of wisdom has something to offer everyone.
He has had an astounding corporate career of 35 years, where he held many senior and leadership roles. A Life Coach, Mentor and Author, he is now busy with pursuits of health, happiness and well-being. From undertaking a 4000 km cycling expedition or writing a book under 30 days, he clearly setting an example for people to start looking at ageing in a different light.
Talking about his latest book – Finding My Citadel of Joy and more..
Please tell us something about yourself.
I am an active ageing ambassador at the age of 73, and continue to lead a life of challenge and adventure. Retirement for me has been a time to set fresh goals and aspirations and joyfully fulfill them.
I am an alumnus of College of Engineering, Guindy, Chennai and the very first batch of IIMB, the PGP batch of ‘76. My tenure at IIMB was one of the finest periods of my life, which set the platform for the successes I achieved in my career.
Please tell us about your latest book, “Finding My Citadel of Joy.”
My latest book, Finding My Citadel of Joy, is a candid and honest assessment of my life and career. I have showcased my attitude in the face of trials and tribulations. I was unsure of my self and a deep bout of depression in my teens and a few setbacks early in my career, left a dent to my self-esteem and confidence. The testing times early in my career taught me the value of perseverance, the determination to keep going and the willingness to keep learning every day. I wrote about the learnings at key stage of my life so that it can serve as a valuable guide for young leaders at any stage of life.
The coming about of your latest book is nothing short of unique. Can you tell us about it?
I wrote this book in response to a Kindle book writing contest, and chose the voice-to-text feature on my mobile phone to compose the book in less than a month. It flows straight from my heart. Feedback from several readers is that this open and honest narrative touched them. Those who knew me well as a team leader felt closer to me and more mindful of the years of learning we had together.
I still find challenges a great draw and couldn’t help jumping into it. The process was a learning experience for me and I feel inclined to write many more short books of around 10k words each. These could be valuable guides from a person who has lived every piece of advice he offers.
It won’t be wrong to call you a serial author. What keeps you inspired to write?
I love writing. From my earliest days, I maintained diaries that are still my treasured possessions. Later I started a blog, which, for long was personal and not open to anyone else. It is now open to anyone to read. (click here to access the Blog link)
I have written several books including a delightful one on the Anglo-Indian community, These Bloomin’ Anglos, and one on Celebrating Active Ageing. With my active lifestyle of cycling, trekking, writing and spiritual pursuits, I live true to every piece of advice I offer in the book.
Writing a book, getting it published and then marketing it is an extremely interesting journey. Among other things, I have greatly expanded my circle of friends and social engagement. This is one of the most rewarding features of my book writing.
Is there another book in the pipeline and what is it about?
I am writing another book on active ageing which I hope to publish before the end of this year. It’s a sequel of sorts to the first book and has been expanded based on feedback from readers of the first book. I am also making this more inspirational so that people of all age groups will be drawn to live wisely and can lead happy lives up to 80 and beyond retaining a youthful spirit of challenge and adventure.
You were part of the HelpAge Project Silver Cyclothon in 2019. Can you tell us about it?
At the age of 70, I cycled from Chennai to New Delhi, a distance of approximately 3000 kilometers, to celebrate active ageing and to draw attention to the critical needs of care for the elderly. This cyclothon was in partnership with HelpAge India.
It was an extremely successful and rewarding adventure. Besides cycling every day for about 60 to 70 km, I visited several old age homes, schools for visually challenged children, homes for the terminally ill abandoned elders, and several other moving experiences. As much as a cycling endeavour it was an inner journey that was a spiritual experience.
You are an IIMB alumnus from the very first graduating class. Please share with us your experiences.
Our classes were held on the temporary campus on Langsford Road and our hostel was at Jaynagar. It was a wonderful experience. There were just 50 students and about the same number of faculty members. The curriculum was quite flexible and tailored to meet our needs. Exceptionally high-caliber faculty made it a very rewarding experience. We were exposed to unusual learning opportunities which helped us in later life to adapt to what we learnt to real-life situations.
As I said earlier IIMB was a high point in my life. I owe a lot to the faculty and my batchmates for that wonderful phase of my life and for the skills and all-round abilities we imbibed.
You are a mentor and life coach as well. What guidance would you give the young alumni?
My advice to young alums is to take the twists and turns of life in their stride; to be determined and tenacious to win in all aspects of life. At 40, you may be just at the halfway mark in life. Live so that you can lead a life of good health, purposefulness and challenge, till the very end.