“He’s my colleague’s son-in-law. You should connect with him, soon as you get to Bangalore.”

I don’t know about you, but as a young man, I usually did not jump on friend recommendations that my father-in-law made. So it was nearly a year after we’d moved to Bangalore that I finally connected with Ramani. And boy was I glad I did – my life – nay our lives – my wife, kids and I would have never been the same if we hadn’t met Ramani and his family. Over the years Ramani has been many things – first a friend, a walking and yoga partner, a teacher, student, at times a project for me and often a sounding board.

Sense of humor Chitra and I can’t help but smile anytime we talk of Ramani. Few people I’ve met is so ready with a smile and laugh as Ramani is. Despite many business challenges he might be facing as an entrepreneur, Ramani is always not just ready to listen but to laugh with us. And even better often laugh at himself. All to often, he’s exactly what the doctor ordered. There are times I suspect I call him just to hear him laugh – it’s a tonic. Sure accounts receivable may be hell, customers may be complaining and cash flow may be a problem, but keeping your sense of humor helps you not only cope with all this but to be there for others.

Community Just after we first met, Ramani invited the family and me to an event organized by a non-profit, Premaanjali Educational Trust (PET Forum) he had co-founded. Even by Indian standards of extended families and communities, the PET forum was an amazing group – mostly first generation entrepreneurs who’d gotten together to make a difference in the community even as they were just getting their businesses rolling. What made this different for me, was the degree to which the families of the entrepreneurs – particularly the kids – were engaged with the cause. The manner in which we were welcomed into the group as Ramani’s friends was overwhelming. Active to this day, Ramani has lived the truth that giving back to community is something you do NOW in the midst of our messy lives. It’s not just something you plan to do one of these days or when you retire.

Power of visualisation To say Ramani is an optimist – then again which entrepreneur isn’t – doesn’t describe him adequately. He’s been an active practitioner (and proponent) of the power of visualisation. When he first spoke of it to me, I’m sure I was skeptical, yet his passion and belief moved me to give it a shot. That and several crisis in my business found me ready to try nearly anything. To this day I’m glad that I listened to him and use this technique to both prepare myself as well as work towards my goals.

Thank you Ramani, for being such a wonderful listener, friend and teacher. I’m truly grateful that you are in our lives and all the difference that you’ve made.

You can read all the posts in my 30 days of gratitude series here.

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