A CEO’s Guide To Failure, Loss, Grief & Death
Country Head & SVP at Cvent
Anupam Arun is the Country Head & SVP at Cvent. He has a strong and diverse background in Banking & Financial Services (BFSI) covering Voice & Non-Voice Back Office Operations and Shared Services Operations & Controls. Currently, he is a part of the global leadership of SAS market leader in enterprise event management
In his career, he has led multiple lines of business, successfully executing objectives and managing multiple stakeholders in diverse geographies in a matrix environment
Take home these learnings:
1. Why is acceptance of life situations important?
2. What are some examples of acceptance?
3. How can you add more acceptance to your life?
4. How acceptance helps you overcome failure, grief, and hurt?
2. What are some examples of acceptance?
3. How can you add more acceptance to your life?
4. How acceptance helps you overcome failure, grief, and hurt?
Intro: Welcome ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the podcast the xMonks Drive. I am your host Gaurav Arora and our today’s guest is Mr. Anupam Arun If there is one conversation you have to listen around life and death, I would say- That’s it. Ladies and gentleman, if you have not yet subscribed to this podcast, please do that. Please leave a review and rating at the end of the conversation and do share this episode with those who might be going through some kind of loss, grief in their lives. This episode is about Loss, grief, failure…in totality. Life and death. Mr. Anupam Arun is a very dear friend, and is currently the country head and Senior Vice President with Cvent. I have had the honor of knowing him for last 6-8 years now and in all these years our bond has grown many folds. I can talk about his accomplishment for hrs. together and I would choose not to do that. I would rather just welcome Anupam and listen to the pearls of wisdom from him. Thank you Anupam for accepting our invitation to be on this podcast with us today. Outro: What a profound conversation it was. Hey…I am still pondering and reflecting on the episode… What’s your key take away... reflections…what are you willing to let go of…. Do share this with us ..leave a rating..leave a review… And I look forward to meeting you next week with yet another interesting conversation. Till then stay blessed and stay tuned 00:00 02:05 Pleasure, Gaurav, thank you so much for having me, I always look forward to this opportunity, as much of a learning opportunity as sharing openly from the heart. Whatever our journey has been, together as individuals and our collective learning as a as mankind right, and we grow with each other, we learn with each other. So fantastic being here. Great privilege. Thank you. 02:26 Shukran. You know, there are common threads that when you meet people, there are common threads that run in your life. And one such is I think, Anupam’s ability to surrender to the universal powers. You may call it God, you may call it, Baba. That's how he defines it. You may call it the universe, I think, Anupam’s ability to surrender to what is, is something which is worth noticing, and appreciating and to learn from. And today we are going to drill deeper into acceptance of life situations, be it failure, be it grief, or be it hurt, be it fear be it guilt, or be it the going through the sense of regret that we hold for ourselves. Now before we jump into that, we are going to dwell deeper into few questions around why is acceptance of life situations important? How to accept situations when the going gets tough? How to handle situations where there's a lot of grief involved them? And what is the true essence of life? Now, we'll try and manoeuvre this conversation from the practical application to share a few of the life instances that Anupam has gone through. Before we dwell deeper into that, let me just check with Anupam. Anupam What is acceptance? And what do you think? Why is that important to you? 03:55 Yeah, it's interesting, you know, this, this single word acceptance now is preparing to come and speak here gave me an opportunity to understand the immense impact and potential the word has, its linked to surrender, its linked to some of the stuff you already spoke. So to me, acceptance is an acknowledgement that something has happened, something has occurred, and it cannot be changed. Right. So some of us may feel when you hear this, that it's a very fatalistic, very defeated defeatist definition. You know, it's happened cannot be changed. So then why are we talking about it? But as you, you will look at this acknowledgement, it leads to a second very beautiful and natural part. We ask that if we cannot change it, then what can we change? Right? And let’s hold on to that thought. And let me take a quick minute because I am a lover of history. I believe, HISTORY PREDICTS THE FUTURE. So if you go back, we back to the ancient man. Right when we were Neanderthals, they were meandering around the Earth, they were hunters-gatherers, you know, They had no control and they were exposed to the vagaries of nature to the elements, the rain, the sun, sometimes they would get a prey, sometimes they won't. And this exposure, this, you know, fact, was accepted by mankind in his early nascent stages. And all they could do they knew was to change the reaction. So what did they do? Mankind started building arms to hunt better, they started building dams to get the flow of water, when it rained, they started building dwellings and caves, so that they could protect themselves from the elements. So you know, when you cannot change it, whatever that might be a life event, or tragedy, or trauma or past deeds, past karma, you know, you cannot change that. But we can certainly change ourselves today, through accountability, and through a vigorous participation in a journey called life. That's the way I look at acceptance. And it's, and it's sort of impact through life. 05:59 And I'm still being with the word that you emphasized on that, if you cannot change ‘it’, what can you change, some still lingering around with it. And in that, in that moment, when you said, if you cannot change ‘it’, I experienced as a part of me, God dissociated with me. So something that I was holding on to that A, this has happened to me, and that's me. And I was experiencing a space of that somebody has amputated my hand, right? Without realizing that the hand has not been amputated. It's a connection in my mind that I was associating with that I was identifying with, unless I break that I will not be able to experience freedom. So in that moment Anupam, I experienced freedom. And then you mentioned, if you cannot change it, what can you change, and that's where a sense of ownership came into me. 07:00 Brilliant. Brilliant. 07:04 Now, I can relate to that. And I would love to dwell, I would love to dig deeper into some personal losses that both of us have gone through in the past, it was not a coincidence that Anupam both of us experienced a very similar loss in the span of around 30 days. So there are some connections that I have always believed that I have some connection with you. And it was just a validation for that. Now, before we dig deeper into that would love to understand, in your corporate career, how has the philosophy that you have lived with supported you, because as you, as you mentioned, that does acceptance means that you should not be doing anything to upgrade yourself. But then beautifully, you gave an example of history, you said, because we cannot do anything about the animals, and they are going to eat away our children. And that's where there was an invention of there was an invention of arms and weapons and wheel. So how has this philosophy that I cannot handle, I cannot change ‘it’, is something that I can change. How has this philosophy helped you in your corporate career? And how have you been able to accomplish so much with this philosophy? If you may? 08:27 It's a great question, Gaurav, thank you and look, you, when you get to a particular point in age and stage in life, you realize that actually simplification is the key sometimes, and we'll talk hopefully about the barriers to acceptance. But sometimes it is because we complicate stuff too much. You talked about essence of life, one of that essence is simplicity. Right? So when you simplify into what you want to focus on what you control and what you don't, then the accountability that you said, that becomes very clear. So let me give you a couple of examples. Since we mentioned the corporate career, you know, I had set up a company called Venture Isaacs, Founder CEO in 2005 in India, and we had the plan to hire 3000 people. We took a six storey building in Pune, and I was the first employee very excited, first CEO job, very young leader. And we started the journey and you know, we, you know, Ego comes in and you're like, you know, look at what I've achieved. Look at this brand new setup. I was the first employee now we have 500 people, we are on track to get to 3000 Everything looks great, right? And that is the journey of mankind, because everything is cyclical, eventually, as luck would have it, this was in 2005. And as some of us may remember, in 2008, the global financial crisis came out of nowhere, like most of these disasters and crisises and you know, the bulk of the VUCA world we are used to living in it came from nowhere. And lo and behold, for two years, all contracts went on hold transactions went on hold. It was almost like somebody had frozen us at that 500 600 People mark. When in my mind, in my ego I had already journey to be the youngest most successful CEO Going to 3000 people. And it was a moment of, of as they say, getting in touch with your inner self, it was a moment of realizing this point that I mentioned that you have to learn to accept that you cannot change it. It took me a while I almost went into depression. I had to fight it out in my own mind to say, Look, you control your karma. Look at this moment in time and think, what is it that your karma demands? My karma demanded that I take care of my people, and we don't lose any heads. My karma demanded that, you know, the leaders who had joined me from very established companies and brands, because they trusted in me, they don't suffer. So over that period of two years, you know, we learned the meaning of patience or saburi as it is called sabr. Right. And, and as a leadership group, most of people at particular level, we decided that we were not going to take our full salaries for a period of time so that we can protect and make sure that not a single person in the organization has to get to the point where they without their salaries. So for us, it was a reduction. For them, it was the ability to run their household, lo and behold, 15 years down the line, you know, you have COVID, and Cvent as an event management organization, which was probably the most impacted along with travel. And you get into a similar situation, we're in a cyclical, right, you went to big growth, all tech companies the bubble, as we called it, you know, the mega trends and big tech world shakers and movers came COVID. You know, and again, in a similar situation of leadership, similar dilemma, what do we do, and it started, as you will remember, in India, and in February and March. And we were one of the first organizations in Gurgaon, to say, we cannot risk the same philosophy, same helplessness to the external force. And you know, what a giant force it was from even a country, country like us, ours, there were empty roads, you know, animals were out wild animals are out human memory short, because we tend to and I'll talk about that, you know, we tend to put these in our subconscious. But let's remember those days, right? Today, it's hard to believe because you have your back cyclical. But we took that call, when we had never ever worked from home, and see when it was a 2000 people organization. So to take a risk, and to figure out how we're going to do it. That is your karma, you focus on that, could have backfired, yes, because most of the companies have not done it, we will run the first, right. But that is what you focus on when you put all your energy in that karma. Not so worried about the outcome, right. And that comes with experience that comes with the process of acceptance that comes to the process of what I call a few simple facts that you anchor your life on anchored statements. One of them to me is you focus on the karma and not the outcome, you learn and they get validated, and you just make it to second habit. And then as luck would have it, or whatever you will call it success has a habit of following this kind of a simple process. 12:48 Thank you for bringing that what I just picked up here is the two examples that you shared, whether the recession of 2008, or the pandemic that we all experienced in the year 2020. There's something which is common, and what I'm picking up right now. So as long as you're not taking yourself seriously, there's nothing called failure because anyways, you are focusing on your karma. And you're not associating yourself with the identity that it's me who's making this happen, right. I've already shared this story with you several times, Anupam. And the lesson that I've learned from my mother, where she says, at any point in time, I should not feel that this curd is becoming curd because of my efforts. It's happening through me and that's the reason she always shares shukrana shukrana and shukrana, you know what I'm also picking up, you also use the word ego the moment I start to feel that it's happening because of me. That's where the ego is going to show its ugly face to me, pardon me for my language, it's not going to face its face right or showing to show her face to me. And that's where I'll start to associate a situation as a failure. Now, just taking one step forward here. Pandemic has especially talking about the pandemic because that's really recent, and it has shown all sorts of colors and shapes and forms. Different people responded and reacted to that in a different ways. As you were saying that during the pandemic, you ensure that the senior leadership team, get the salary cut so that the other team members can get their salaries in time. Now, just after pandemic, in the last six months time, I've realized in the last six to eight months time, I've realized there's several people in my organization they have left. And one of those reasons the one of the threads that I've been able to see is 14:37 the salary hikes. In my mind, I'm wondering, 14:43 was it a mistake to take care of the entire team members for the last two years when the business was not there? There was no income, and we ensured that we stay loyal to our team members, I hate to use the word employees in my company, right? So that's the reason I'm saying team members. And when you're left with that situation where people are hopping from one job to another one, for a salary hike of 10%, 20%, 30%. 15:17 And that leaves 15:20 a founder or leader, or business engine, the person who's leading the team, with a sense of hurt, and why am I bringing that because these are the three elements that we are going to dabble into the failures, the grief and the hurt. And I'll come back to grief in a while. So what's your take on that? How to handle that part of it? And where does ego play a role in when you feel hurt? 15:43 Yeah, wonderful question. As always Gaurav, here's the point, that leader that founder, the person at some point in time, starts believing while you were called them team members, or colleagues or employees that he or she owns it. He or she, like I said in my earlier journey, and venture have another first 500 people and I was being featured as one of the young CEOs I thought I have to do to deserve the success I am the one I'm the driver was back to the ego right? When the ego comes in hurt will naturally follow. By the way I want to talk about her again. It's a very, very powerful sentiment. And I just do think that we are underprepared to deal with it as mankind, especially in the modern generation. But coming back to that that leader feeling that these people are leaving, while the leader may rationalize the calm as a reason first, the individual has multitudes of reasons we know today, there's something called the Great resignation, there's something called life situation people are looking at work life, they're looking at what do they want to do in life, they may be leaving for many reasons. So they may say to you a particular reason, which may not always be as you know, when human beings are in there like that iceberg, right? What you see on top is 20% 80%, you can't see only they can, we are complex beings. So again, it's the same thing if you believe that they're leaving you if they believe that I did my karma the moment you say I did my karma, the ego is back. When you were doing the karma, how did you feel yourself? Or how did I feel? We felt really great because we were not doing it for the employees. We weren't doing it because that is our value system that is what gave us emotional satisfaction. That is what allows us so we got to be clear. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. You cannot do the right thing and then have a problem if you have a traffic Challan, you stop and you pay the Challan right, and you learn and that is evolution, right? That's that's the way the cookie crumbles. We never should in the first place believe the people who work with us today because look, nothing. And then other learning the second sort of pillar in my life learning nothing, and no one is permanent. nothing or no one is permanent. So that letting go for all we know, in your teams in your organization's when that happens. It is in a way preparing you for the inevitable that's going to happen in life, what happens, this is an easier example, to pin the blame on the external and feel hurt that, hey, I did the right things. What happens like we said, I don't want to mix grief, but what happens when you lose a loved one in life? Right? So many of us have lost someone or the other or the past two, three years, the hurt is the same. But in this case, again, you may find factors here. Did I do the medical help at the right time? Could did I do everything? It's again a lot of it is centered around I. So that's something that journey teaches you we have to be prepared because we are as you know, a mere speck of existence, Einstein said it best when he said one of the most sort of celebrated brains said that I am but a small grain and just playing with a grain speck on the on the you know sat on the beach right on the sand. So knowledge right. So, in a universal immense, whatever power you want to call it, what role you assigned yourself is where you set yourself for it also, this modern pressure of social media lead ideal lives where only happy pictures everybody is in a state of nirvana. Everybody's just having the best lives of their you know, not even not even described in movies right, that prepares us for this, that that prepares us for this disaster, why? You know, hurt and joy and like light and darkness, one cannot be experienced without the other. And you know, in a in a civilization as as old as ours, we are always prepared. We were you know, our two three generations ago, they would never celebrate because they would be like you know what? 19:22 Grief is gonna follow. So, let me remain balanced, right, they will be very careful about you know, displaying wealth, you know, displaying people who are very rich, even today in some parts of the country, they follow a very simple lifestyle. When you are prepared in your mind, that light and darkness, hurt and joy, hurt and grief are going to come in equal measures, then you are equanimous when both of them happen when you are being led by this unrealistic modern pressure. Hey, I got to avoid sorrow and hurt at all cost. I should not be true to my emotions. I should not be seen crying. I should be seen as having this amazingly emotionally fulfilled and materialistically successful life. Guess what you You You are priming yourself up for a disaster because it's bound to follow. It's the part, you know, one of the things you mentioned about essence of life, and I'll keep, sorry, moving from one to the other, one of the essences of life is, like you said, not to take yourself too seriously. You know, our existence on earth is a classroom, it is here to teach us something. And every school, every classroom has a playground. And that was the best time of school if you remember, you know, remember what happened in the class, but you remember the fun you had in the playground. And that is the lightness with which one has to approach life. And when one does that what is equally prepared you to fall down, get up dust, your uniform, run back into the class happy used to get punished in class, right, and you're not you'd hide it from your parents. So look, ultimately, that that preparation, if you know, that's the way I've reminded myself that, again, if I have done my karma, to your point, about my CEO role, I'm also a blessed father to two daughters, you know, you don't control the outcome, life teaches you that. And as long as then you are back to the fundamental that I felt good doing my karma from my head and my heart. If the outcome is hurt, I embraced it. Same surrender, same acceptance, because you have to go with the flow. You cannot you have to prepare to let go. You know, whether it's your own child, whether it's a family member, or the employee, you know, what's the difference, the process is the same nature. Every flower turns into a wither flower next morning, and is followed by a fruit and the journey and the life cycle continues. It is just our interpretation, right? 21:29 What I'm listening is the few words which are resonating with me right now is the 21:35 is the word impermanence? 21:36 Sure. Another thing which is coming to me is the choiceless choices. Now, interestingly, we are talking about the losses and taking a dive into the grief part of it, you know, at times, you ask yourself, why did it happen to me? Right. And consciously, I'm playing this role Anupam, because I want to extract the wisdom that I've always admired and respected in you. How do you handle those situations, and you have recently gone through one of those griefs in your life, 22:11 yeah, I'm open to sharing. So I lost my mother, about three months back and Gaurav and I, the loss happened to each of us within 30 days, and we connected to discuss it and talk about it. So let me give two or three quick, you know, things that really went through, and you know, you mentioned, you know, spiritual masters, I have been fortunate to get inspired to try and get some learning some essence in life from them. So one of the spiritual masters had a had a, you know, sort of adopted family in the village. And when he was abandoned by everyone, when he was young, the mother of the family, she had her own son adopted him as her son. And long story short, he always treated his mother. And you know, life moved on. And as the woman aged, she, one day in the village, the master was there, but he was somewhere else. And the mom passed away to her born son came running to the master and said, you know, mom's passed away. You know, people in the village are telling me she's dead. To the master just calmly looked at him. And he got very much infuriated. He said, You always called her mother and you are a spiritual master. And you know, you have the powers vested in you by the angels, and my mother can die. But how can your mother die? So you must come in, you know, make her alive again, right? 23:45 And the master again, smiled at him and said, Yes, he obviously went, because he treated her as his mother. And he said, Yes, I will. In this house, where she is in your house, I will perform that miracle, and I will bring her back to life. I just had one request. He said, Yes, tell me. He said in this village, there are 150 houses, take me to any one house that hasn't lost someone, physically. Take me to one house, if you can show me one house, I will make sure that she's back to life. So that that that sort of story. And I have these little stories in life that have sort of stayed with me, in a certain way stayed with me, this was much earlier I heard this very long time back but much before then, let's talk about that, again, acceptance and linking it back to COVID, which is very contextual for us. And as a professional, my mom never spent much time with us. As as most of us you know, she was a professor in organic chemistry. She was teaching in the university in Allahabad, which small city I belong. I'm a small town guy. And I was running my corporate career in all different cities across India, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Delhi. So it was always like you would go home on diwali, or They would come home for a week, and so on and so forth. As luck would have it just before COVID started, and this is again, where people believe that, oh, everything is a plan, everything is a coincidence. You know, I want to tell you that that acceptance that leads to that belief and that surrender how that works. And then you might take it as a, nothing short of a miracle in my story. My elder daughter, their eldest grandchild is studying in the University of Waterloo, in Canada, and she was coming to India to do an internship, she came in December, and my parents said, we are going to come and spend some time with her. So they came to Delhi. And after that, the pandemic broke out, right. And then from 2019, or 2020, January, till 2022, March, they stayed with us, and my daughter couldn't go back. So she stayed with us for seven months in our third year of college, which, you know, should have been gone in either since never have come for more than a week, she stayed for seven months to do her internship, and then remote login. And we all spend that quality time for which I'm eternally grateful, which was not my entitlement, you know, the price to pay for a successful corporate career where you are constantly getting transferred, constantly moving and addressing these, you know, sort of, you know, success factors comes at a cost, right. And then the cost normally would have been that, you know, she had gone without my getting that opportunity and I have COVID to thank, though maybe its COVID that could have taken it? Who knows, but that's the same if you clubbed the two messages that is there a household that hasn't lost her mother, and am I blessed that I got to spend that quality time because guess what it was COVID, we were eating meals together, I was working from home, we were cleaning the house together, there were no maids in those two lives. I it was two years, I lived a happiness of a lifetime. So those are some of the things and I don't know if others can relate to it, Gaurav. But maybe you can, because I know a mom lived with you. And I know the story there. But but that's the way I sort of dealt with that. Get that with that grief and hurt. And again, you know, it's the biggest barrier to acceptance from that lens is letting go. And that was my point that, that letting go process is the life has its own teachers, right? However much we might go through these theoritical discussions. It doesn't register till it happens. But when it happens, that's why I said life is a classroom where a presence on Earth is the classroom. All these life events come from teachers, and you you you hurt you grieve, you grieve. But as Rumi said, light enters from where you are broken. And I feel very blessed and you know, as always have immense gratitude for what was, just to finish here, you know, my my grandfather passed away. My father and I and we as a family, we were in South America in 1980. And that is an economist and he got an assignment we were in a country called Suriname, which was on the other side of the map in India in 1980. There were no phones, there was nothing. When when my father lost his father, we had been outside India for two years, He's the eldest was very attached to him. And there was nothing that he could do even in terms of, you know, there was no technology, there was no way he could come back in time for the flight. He came back home after 12 to 18 months of his father passing away. So, right out there, you have enough reasons to have gratitude. Should you choose acceptance and surrender? And should you choose? You know, some of those barriers? And which you spoke about, you know, the fear, hurt, guilt, grief, and and not go through the process? You know, you can be you can be broken? 28:28 Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And those are, those are some seminal moments in our lives. Especially Anupam you spoke about let go, I was wondering what is it that I need to let go of, and when you go through this,life changing life transforming situations in your life, what happens? For me in the spur of the moment, the fear of losing someone moved out of my life. Absolutely. That's what I share. neither before nor after that, I may actually experience any kind of fear. It was only during that phase, when I would get a call from my brother. And I would say bhaiya Bhaisaab calling. And the first three seconds is going to determine what I would be, what space I would be holding, for the for the further conversation and the space, if the sound from the other end is calm, then everything is taken care of. And Gaurav and I would just sit at the edge of the chair. 29:33 You know, let me just go back four months back. 29:40 And if you would have said the same things to me. I said, I do understand that what you're saying at the cognitive level, I do understand that. And incidentally, so many people on this call may not have by God's grace may never have experienced what we are talking about right now. So we do understand that what kind of practices should we have to imbibe in a sense of impermanence in life, a sense of equanimity in life that might help us to get prepared for those life changing life transforming moments? That's one second, because I think that these moments make you more humane. So what do you think what kind of practices that one can imbibe. And 30:31 if I say that might sound a little cheesy, but it's very important to have someone in life, who can be your sounding board who can be your anchor, because the best of us in these moments get rocked? Right, your your life just gets shattered you whoever imagines losing a loved one, who has built a scenario, okay? So, A, it's very important to have someone in life that could be anyone, it could be a coach, it could be a partner, it could be someone that is your mentor, that you go to someone your trust your elder brother, and it is not driven by relationship, it is driven by your comfort and your ability to see them as people who can be that anchor, it's determined by characteristic, it could be your kid, for all you know, right. But you need to have someone in life that can hold that space for you exactly. Someone who can hold it, that's very well put, because that's what you need. At that moment. There's so many people they're calling you, they're giving you advice, they're telling you like, in my mom's case, you are in Allahabad, very close to home. My whole organization, my whole leadership team was like, You got to get her to Medanta you being stupid, you know, get into the air ambulance, and we were one kilometer away from our, our ancestral house in Allahabad, then my mom's words to me always were and look at your destiny. And if you believe in again, I said, I believe that there are no coincidences. I went and dropped them to Allahabad, about three weeks before she passed away, because she wanted to renovate the house. And she had been there with me here in gurgaon for three years. She was like, look, the house is falling apart, we need to go into it. And that took it back to Allahabad. But if I had in her lifetime, asked her, because you know, and coincidently, you will be amazed. We actually had this discussion. Now we're talking about death, we lost a dear one in family and I want to talk about death. Because I think that's another topic. I want to I want to share, since you have, you know, gone into that deep space, I do want to share some thoughts, and I hope it'll help. And maybe I'll get to learn something from from the questions as well, because it's still a journey. I can't say that, you know, it's done. But I had that conversation with her, you know, about death. And I'll tell you the story that, you know, I shared with her at that point in time. But if I had asked her, or if I asked you or myself, hey, there is going to be a moment where we are going to be leaving Earth. Right? What is it and that's something we never ever want to plan for. We never ever, especially in our world, in this modern world want to write a will we never ever want to mention, how should our last hours be my mom was very clear. She told me as and when her words in Hindi were “Main chalte firte jana chahti hu”, I want to leave the face of earth, on my feet, if possible, I don't want to be on a hospital bed. I don't want to be on a ventilator. when my time comes, I've lived my life. I'd like to leave it with grace. You know, and I don't want to leave it. The ways that she wanted to be in Allahabad, she spent her whole life in Allahabad, she taught there. So if I look at it from her perspective, and again, if I take away the ego, of being a CEO, son, of being a whatever, you know, with all the means and my life, and all those means are of no use when the time comes, you got to be prepared for final journey from her perspective. So could she have asked for anything else? No, the reality of the matter, it's, it's a painful memory. But, you know, we learned to, like I said earlier, be equanimous in that hurt, you know, in a week, she had completely recovered almost, but the disease was such that her recovery period after that would have taken a lot of years, she would be bedridden, her sub cognitive abilities would have been impacted. But physically she had recovered. So to the point that I called my global CEO and said, I'm gonna be working from Monday. And when Monday every morning, I used to go there at 9:30am to give her the coconut water and whatever liquid feed. And I went in there, long story short, and it was almost as if she was waiting on the Friday before they celebrated their 51st Marriage anniversary. On the Sunday, everything on the tests looked great on the Monday but I went there at 9:30am Everything was fine, right? And I normally would go and you know, tilt her up so that could be given the what I did that she took two short breaths, and right there in my arms, I could see the soul depart. It is the prerogative of the soul. The relationships we have are driven by body I don't want to get too deep in philosophy. But when you experience something like that, it's the same feeling I had when I held my newborn daughter when she was born in my hands. I was like, wow, they're really small. I still number two is in a green towel government hospital kind of a towel. So it's the same feeling of life coming in of life passing. Right, the Preparedness is nothing additional Gaurav, a lot of the preparedness is when those life events are happening, How are we internally reacting to them? Because in one, we want that happiness to be there forever. The same daughter when she was 17 years old, not even a major I had to board a flight from here all the way to Canada to drop her because she was very clear she wants to study outside India. And and then on a lighter note, the first call I got after about, you know, when she was she had settled down and all was that, you know, Canada has legalized cannabis. That was the first call my daughter called she didn't tell me about how our academics was going, what grades she was getting. It was Dad Did you read the news? That's like, no, what is it? Well, Canada has legalized cannabis. Imagine being a father of 17, and your nine month old daughter, who is saying, well, it's gonna be freely available, and laughing away to glory. These moments teach you, you don't control anything, all you control is your karma as a father, whatever values you have to give, you have given the bird will leave the nest, it is something that we have artificially built around us. And we need to bring those walls down to allow acceptance to come in acceptance to the natural process. 36:04 You know, you mentioned you mentioned something so beautiful, you said we have created all these artificial walls around us for the sake of bond. 36:14 Because you know, it gives you such a high when somebody tells me Oh, your daughter is studying in university of waterloo. Wow. You know, I'm like, it's nothing to do with me. I'm a caretaker. It's her journey. It's her life. She got the grades, she made the cut. You know, as a father, I did my you know, my do not, again, the same event I have had, I'm not judging myself and saying I'm great. I've seen a lot of parents today, as some of us might be on call young parents derive their sense of existence, from how quickly their child speaks, how many different activities a child does? Let's be clear, we don't own our children. Yeah, you know, we're caretakers, we're gonna leave them just as my mom left me to deal with my journey. Right? Of course, they'll contribute there. It is just the ego that creates all of this and all the things he spoke about letting go. What prevents letting go the ego? 37:05 Yeah, yeah. Yeah, as you said, threaten sense of insecurity, a sense of safety, right? A sense of, if I don't have this, who am I instead, if I don't have my child sitting and studying in Canada, who am I, if my child is not speaking, and she has not learned how to color? Who am I, if I don't have this or that designations and accomplishments? Who am I and that is the reason when I was talking to you I genuinely genuinely wanted to get get deeper into who Anupam is. So one of the questions that I'm asking people is, what is the true essence of life? I'll come back to this question in a while. However, what we're talking about is life beyond life. And I'm not even using the word death. Because what I've realized is, whatever we call death, is where a person transit from the world, recall this three dimensional world, transit from one world to another world? And nobody has actually informed us what happens in that world? 38:10 What is the true essence of death for you? 38:13 What a great question, Gaurav. And, you know, I'm going to take a little longer to just answer to these are very deep question. And again, by no means, am I an authority on any of these, I'm just as much as a sharing soul as all of us who are listening or as you're asking the questions. Look, death is a topic that if ever, I had to do something in life after, I want to explore it, I want to write it, I want to, you know, talk about it. Right? And there's a little story I want to tell you. And this is a story that my mom and I discussed when we were talking right, but before that, let's be clear. You know, whatever the barriers, you spoke about fear, guilt, hurt. These are all very primal emotions with negative connotations ,very primal. The human psyche of pursuit of happiness pushes these down in our subconscious. Like if I even right now ask myself what were the various activities even though it's just fresh three months, it's already been put down in my buried in my subconscious, right. The you know, the opposite of acceptance is denial. Right? And that's another reason why when you said it's ego, and it's also how socially and how we are conditioned to live in denial, right and we have to break through that conditioning which is that you need help you need support, it is not a natural process, natural process is to do what society says and does, which is build denial, so that you can be artificially in that world reality you have created in this artificial happiness. So 39:37 would you call would you call it a natural process or would you call it a strategy to feel accepted in the society that we have given a lot of importance to 39:50 conformance exactly conformance if you look at all this feature masters will get all the people that are philosophers society and have never accepted them. So you know, crucify them. And Socrates I just want to talk what is one of my favorites. But here's the point. The biggest fear for mankind is death, there is no fear bigger than death, because you don't know when it will come. But it is the only reality is the only truth. It is a taboo to talk about death, anybody on this call and the next party when you go to start saying, hey, you know what, I'm going to talk about death, to see how quickly the crowd disperses. And people are like, get him or her to drink. You know? How morbid, right? So we've, as a social process, if you look at the process of when somebody passes over to your point in the other dimension, it is a process that makes it a quickly buried event, pun intended, you know, we just pick about it, let's just move on, you know. And it's fair, because you know, on one side, we talk about letting go. And that's a natural process. But if that doesn't happen, with acceptance, if it doesn't happen with that, awareness that this is nature, this is reality, you want to be natural, that comes from nature, then that Moving on is without healing, it is superficial, it will not lead to closure, it will damage the psyche of a person for a very long period of time. And the kind of side effects that has, it's not worth it. So we must spend time healing through the process. And again, in the West, there's a lot more work that has been done as compared to us. We have not equipped our next generation, the current tradition to deal with this. We just haven't. Right. And that's the worry. That's why I wanted to talk about it. Because Socrates, the reason I mentioned that, you know, very briefly, as some of us may know, ahead of his times came out of the philosophy, the town council said, leave the philosophy and that's against we met to the essence of life and life purpose, that was his life purpose at that time, or drink a cup of poison, leave your philosophy because the spoiling the youth, all so many others, like Galileo, all of them right? Or drink a cup of poison. Obviously, Socrates said, I'll take the poison. Now, the jailer, who was supposed to administer the poison, was very fond of Socrates. He thought whatever Socrates said, was making a lot of sense. So every time that date for giving that cup of poison came, he deferred it, for some reason or the other, as Socrates got to know of it. So one day, Socrates said, I want to talk to his jailer, the jailer came, and Socrates was very upset with him. And the jailer was like, but I thought, I'm, I'm being good to you. He said, No, you're delaying my journey. Give me the cup, I'm ready to move to better. 42:20 And the jury was shocked. So, awareness, 42:26 what life is what life's purpose is, some people get it, some people are way ahead on the journey. But it is still universal. The impact of it is universal, the need the need for it is universal. And that awareness that somebody like Socrates had, or some of these great philosophers had, leading to that acceptance that this is transitionary, I want to move to something better, right? A cup of poison. And also not giving up on life purpose, we keep asking about what is the essence of life, it is to live your purpose. And if you're not loyal to a purpose, then is it truly life? Because look at some of these examples. Look at your freedom fighters. Chandra Shekhar Azad, shot himself in the brain than surrender, his life purpose was, I will never be captured again by the British. I want to establish that lack of fear that you said. And the moment somebody like Socrates made that connection of awareness and acceptance, there was no fear of death. And to your point, if there is no fear of death, I think anything else, you're going to be fear, you're going to be fearful of recession, interest rate, what job what? All pale in insignificance, right? So this is the this is the real taboo in our society. And I don't want us to talk openly about it and look at how many books have been written about death. Everybody talks about how can you reach How can you live a more fulfilling life? How can you really live a Win Friends Influence? Nobody says how can people for dying? I don't want to make it morbid. But look, it's from the heart. Right? And this is everybody's reality, and COVID has brought it home. COVID has brought it home. Very hard. 43:55 Right? Yeah. Thank you, you know, reminds me of one of the statements that I often share in my programs is you have to kill a part of your own self to give birth to a new self. And have just heard you what is coming to me is that you have to release yourself, to give birth to another self with capital, and what that capital is I have to define for myself, be it merging into my life, or merging into so called Life Beyond life. Just one last question. I'll just keep it very, very brief. Anupam thank you for sharing your insights and your reflections. If that is what the essence of death is, to release the fear and to embrace a life beyond life, whether the examples of the martyrs that you have shared or the socrates is that your shared what is the true essence of life for you? 44:55 Yeah, it is. I'll be very brief and the answer it is living the moment If right now I'm with you here. This is life. If you are fortunate to live many years, it should be a collection of many such moments that you can look back and say that you have had a fulfilled life. You know, they say, I had a life changing moment I read this way of it, it was a life changing moment. So, the moment does have a power to change your life. Why are we not finding those moments? And if you just have enough of those moments, aren't we living a fulfilled and blessed existence? So can you find a moment that can encompass your life and then you will stop looking for the meaning of life? That That has been my experience. And I just, I love the word acceptance, I said to you, I just want to before I hand it over for any other questions to say, look, you know, in the, our mythology there’s something called Sudarshan chakra,right? So Vishnu has this right? mythological figure, and acceptance that sudarshan chakra, you spoke about cutting the bondage, you spoke about cutting yourself free, it is the sudarshan chakra of positivity, you know, when it gets released. And when we also learned because you've spoken about a lot of negative stuff, I do want to leave the audience with that thought. When you also link, the acceptance of positivity, the acknowledgement of all good that is happening, the fortune of the fact that you and I were spared when many others weren't. And that we are here alive and breathing during this conversation. When we open our hearts to that we experience gratitude and shukran. So I just want to do I do want to leave. And it's something that I had read. And it's not my original concept, but to maybe accept what we cannot change, and maybe have the courage to change what we can and the wisdom to know the difference. That's what I signed off it. 46:43 Thank you so much for sharing Anupam, and I would not dilute the taste that you're leaving us with shukran shukran Shukran.
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