Abhishek Gupta

We Are Entitled To Nothing

We Are Entitled To Nothing

Abhishek Gupta

CFO at Myntra

Abhishek Gupta

Abhishek Gupta, currently serving as the CFO at Myntra, is a seasoned Chartered Accountant with over 18 years of rich experience in the FMCG and Consumer Tech sectors. With Myntra being a leading fashion e-commerce platform, Abhishek plays a pivotal role in driving financial excellence and strategic decision-making for the organization.

Throughout his career, Abhishek has showcased his expertise in finance lead roles, partnering with functions such as Sales, Marketing, Supply Chain, Categories, and commercial operations for Manufacturing and Retail Business. His strong business acumen and keen understanding of the industry have contributed to Myntra’s success and growth in the highly competitive market.

Abhishek’s extensive experience spans across core finance and commercial areas, including Risk Management and Internal Controls, Procure to Pay, Record to Report, Performance Management, and Global Shared Services. He brings a data-driven and analytical approach to decision making, prioritizing process optimization and efficiency.

Known for his exceptional business partnering abilities, Abhishek combines thought leadership with execution rigour, enabling the setup of scalable business models. He possesses strong interpersonal skills and is adept at effective stakeholder management.

Integrity and Ownership are the pillars of Abhishek’s professional ethos. He embraces an inclusive leadership style, prioritizing the growth and well-being of his team members. Abhishek strongly believes in a “People First” approach, fostering a collaborative and nurturing work environment.

Prior to his role at Myntra, Abhishek has held leadership positions at renowned organizations such as ITC Ltd, Unilever, and Flipkart. His extensive experience and track record of successfully leading large teams make him a highly respected professional in the industry.

With his deep industry knowledge and exceptional financial expertise, Abhishek Gupta continues to drive Myntra’s financial success and contribute to its position as a leader in the fashion e-commerce space.

Take home these learnings:

1. Learn to appreciate the blessings in life before they are gone.
2. Embrace the uncertainty and develop resilience to navigate through it.
3. Acknowledge our own mortality and confront our deepest fears.
4. Develop a mindset of appreciation, adaptability, and inner strength.
5. How executives can be helped by coaching

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Episode Transcript:

life will always be a roller coaster ride, the tide will not last long. In fact, if the good times are lasting long, they are an early warning signal that the bad times will come soon, I lost my dad to a road accident when I was three years old. my mother who has influenced me the most in my life. And as I think about her today, she has truly been an epitope of what I call as MA Durga. 26:33 Life is very, very fragile. And My wife Rashmi suffered a near fatal brain haemorrhage. And how were you looking at life? Didn't you question yourself that? Why do I need to go through all this? This Time on xMonks Drive Abhishek Gupta CFO, Myntra it was a phase when my seven year old son was teaching his own mother ABCD. He became the guardian for his own mother. Second, he became a friend to his own mother. And third, he also was expecting medulla. Right? Which was difficult for him to get, which I was trying to fill in. My son was in the, you know, the middle of a lot of trauma himself. Right. And actually, with my CFOs advice, Mr. Peavey Balaji back then, he was the CFO of Hindustan Unilever, he actually told me that your son needs to, you know, express his emotions. And he has gone into a shell. [Add photos] At times we tend to take life for granted. Everything is as if we are entitled to the good lifestyle we are entitled for all the good things in our life. without realising that we are here just for a very short span of time and nothing is we are not at all entitled to anything not at all. Even though you have the awareness that the soul is ever eternal, pure and blissful, however, you have been given this wonderful opportunity to come to this planet. How do you want to leave a positive impact? 00:02 Here we seek. So finally you're here. Thank you so much for accepting my invitation and be here on the podcast. Such a pleasure having you here. 00:11 I got up. Thank you for having me on your podcast. I have been following this series. And I've been truly impressed and learned a lot from you and your distinguished guests about life in general. So I really look forward to this conversation. 00:24 Yes. And we're catching up after what, three years, four years? 00:29 Yes, that's right. 00:30 Yeah, time flies, time flies. And that was the pandemic, when we caught up at your Flipkart office. And those conversations, still linger around. They continue to inspire me today, as well appreciate thank you for being who you are. Thank you, thank you. So much subject for our listeners, right? If you can just take us to a memory lane. Something that you still remember from your childhood, the traits that you picked up from there that you continue to leverage today as 01:12 well. Golub, I grew up in a joint family in Calcutta. And I lost my dad to a road accident when I was three years old. My family business, and it's a very, very famous name in Calcutta and and that part of East India fits into food confectionery, sweets, and savouries. And it's about more than a century old now. And my father was a man who was a true visionary. And he built a business, which was much ahead of its time, in terms of service in terms of experience in terms of quality and customer hospitality. Now, you know, imagine a boy three years old, who lost his father to a tragic road accident. You know, my upbringing was, as you will now foresee, in your head, what could have been painful and all of that, to the contrary, it was not. I grew up in a very, very big house, on Polygon Circular Road, this bungalow at about two floors, and a terrace with seven rooms, that house three of my uncles with their families, my grandparents, my aunt, and us is my mother, myself, and two siblings. I'm the youngest of the three. So imagine a house with about that about 20 family members in one roof, four to five servants and the staff quarters. And the advantage of this big house was that you know, and it was inside the lane, not on the main road. And typical to the Calcutta spirit of Adar. Those days, I'm sure it needs to exist, we had at least 30 children in the colony of the same age group and zest for life. So hence, you know, despite the fact that you and I was as a young child who lost his father, to a car accident very early in his life, the company of my cousin's, alongside the local neighbourhood friends, made life exemplary, extremely fun. And we're looking forward to every single minute. Yeah, very early on in life. I had learned the lesson, which we call today in Sanskrit ma Punisher. Vasudev Akutan become, which is, you know, the world is one family. And this one trait has been with me ever since. 03:38 Yeah, I think that's what you would have learned by being in a joint family. Yes. But what is it? What is it for a three year old? To lose his father? Do you remember any any such memories from that space? 03:56 See, to be honest, I hardly remember him. Right? I have very, very faint memories of my father. But when I am a father myself, and when I was growing up, because we were in a joint family, I used to look up to the, to my cousins and kind of fatherly love that they used to get. There was a bit of uneasiness, a bit of a vacuum, which was there, in terms of, you know, things that could have happened differently had my father been alive. Now, very small instances. For example, you know, at the beginning of an academic session, when you purchase your books and school textbooks for the new academic year, yeah, totally every year. In my case, you know, there used to be a delay. It was not because the intention of my uncles or my or my grandparents was not there to get educated it was just because it was not being prioritised. There were too many things in our family. There were too many, you know, relationships. Everyone was busy with their own family within that joint house. However, there are these moments, which today as I reflect upon, are a bit of a vacuum. Right. But to be fair to my uncles, and to my grandfather, in particular, all of this, although small, did not come in the way of my education or my upbringing or my culture. So, I am very, very grateful to my extended family, to help me, my elder brother, my older sister, and my mother, and not feel the large vacuum of losing a dad. And today, you know, as I'm sure you are also, father, and many of us in our age group, some of these things are non negotiables, you know, you will not just get the textbooks and the academic stuff for your children ahead of time, but you will ensure that they have the best of things in life, you know, which when they're not asking for. So, I think that is what is a little bit of a gap for me. But beyond that, I would like to take the positive aspect of the joint family back then. And, and, and the nature of the lesson, which I just reflected upon, which is the world is a family, if you look around you there are too many people to fill that vacuum, or gap in life, whether it is in the shape of cousins in the shape of friends or, or extended family members and uncles and Auntie's the kind of birthday parties we used to celebrate then unimaginable today, new families to call in guests at home and you are hassled right. So yeah, I would like to rather look upon the positive side of that rather than, you know, upon it as as 06:47 sufficient today, when you look back, what are those initial beliefs that you picked up, then that continue to drive you today as well. So one is that this whole universe is one big family, that's what you just mentioned, what are the other beliefs that you picked up, it could be the connection that you develop for yourself, with yourself with others, with life with world with cousins with relatives. 07:15 See what I picked up, if I look deeply back then and you're taking me back to my childhood days, you know, I will reflect upon my mother who has influenced me the most in my life. And as I think about her today, she has truly been an epitope of what I call as MA Durga. You know, during those times to stay in a joint family, which was traditionally very patriarchal, my desire, design and upbringing. And for a woman who was not financially independent, raise three children all alone, my mother had to learn multiple hats from a disciplined eldest daughter in law, to take care of in laws, health and medicines, to the person in charge of a huge kitchen. You know, I remember, close to 100 patties used to be cooked every single meal, right, to managing servants, groceries, vegetables, and in the middle of all of that, to also play the role of an adoring and loving mother. And despite all the hardships because she lost her husband, when I think she was just 32 years of age, so sorry, right, all the hardships and with a very tight extra money she used to get, she managed to get me formally trained in arts, drama, tabla, swimming, and, and many more. And she was very, very conscious of the fact that you know, there has to be a right equilibrium between the left brain and the right brain, and the right brain has to be equally nurtured. So imagine the vision, the sacrifice, the selfless sacrifice of my mother. And I think that has taught me an invaluable lesson, which has stayed with me ever since then, that life will always be a roller coaster ride, the tide will not last long. In fact, if the good times are lasting long, they are an early warning signal that the bad times will come soon, right. So if we can maintain an equilibrium of moods, sentiments, being in the knowledge, right actions and maintaining relevant right relationships, basically, good karma, which is devoid of expectation of results. And if you can do this, when the times are good, and equally, when the times are bad, right? Most of us do it when the times are bad. Right? We have to come back quickly but when you can do it when the times are good as well. Then I think you have truly lived a life and the precious gem of learning here for me is, how are you able to always remain in the present moment? Right? 10:07 Just out of curiosity, Abhishek, you mentioned something so profound that continue to invest on your in your car miles and devoid of any results, and being in the present moment, what led you to come up with this belief and follow these principles in your life? 10:28 Again, it's a it's a question where, you know, all of us in our lifetimes will face challenges, right. And I truly believe that how you overcome the challenge is a reflection of not what you do differently during that challenge, or not what you, you know, incrementally add on to your value systems or belief systems, or, or actions, it is about you. Being aware that that challenge is a part of life, right, you have been sent to the world, and you have been given this body to face challenges. And with the belief that you are capable of dealing with that challenge, I firmly believe that if a challenge was thrown upon me, in my life, so far, whether in a personal capacity, or in a professional capacity, I firmly believed that, you know, whoever through that challenge to me and my belief is God. He was very well aware that I had the capability, the competency, the willpower, dedication and motivation to overcome that challenge. And therefore, that challenge came my way. Yeah. And if you are living live with that belief system, that somebody is taking care of taking care of you. I think, you know, living in the present moment, will help you overcome it, rather than doing things differently or doing things additionally. 11:58 Yeah, yeah. In the morning, I was reflecting on one hand, we can operate from a space of that act to control everything. Or I can live from a space of surrender. You either I can live from a space that I am the creator of my own life, or the whole universe is one big family and I'm playing my own role. I'm playing one my son playing my own part, the two different ways to live your life. I wish I could understand from somebody who lost his father very early in his life to where you are today, you are one of the most celebrated professionals in the startup world. What were those defining moments that helped you to draw this trajectory and be where you are today? 12:48 Well, I will go to pick up two defining moments. The first will be a professional one and the second is more a personal one or a professional one first, right? I think the first defining moment for me in my life was my decision to pick up a job with Hindustan Unilever limited at Lucknow. And then I had done decent finance roles and jobs at ITC and upward with a very core to the finance fraternity right very, very audit accounting, controls taxation and so on and so forth. But the Unilever job opened up an entirely new dimension to me and the world, you know, true finance, business partnering, working with sales and marketing teams being out there in the markets with the distributors and the retailers to drive profitable growth for the company. And this was a time when Mr. Sanjeev Mehta, the current outgoing CEO of virtual had brilliantly conceptualised women, which is you know, winning and many India's his thought and dream was that you know, India is not just one India there is India in every state and there is a broader trend you know, we need to go and look at central India especially, which has been ignored for a very long time and I was chosen to become the first finance head of that sales branch. Now, you know, why this decision was a difficult one a you know, when it comes to decision to relocate to Lucknow from a Mumbai or Bangalore, it is not easy when you're when your spouse is a company secretary and a lawyer, right. Extremely tough decision, but I chose to move ahead with it with the promise to my wife that she can relocate with my son only if she finds a suitable job only if I am able to, you know find a suitable job for her at Lucknow. And that ultimately did happen although with a gap of around six to seven months. But this decision you know, change my corporate career for good in under 15 months of me becoming the US sales finance head of central branch. I was permitted to become the finance head for three out of the five branches for interest On lever, which is central branch, North Branch and West Branch, working with three regional leadership teams to actually spur the FMCG consumption penetration in every household of MDF product. And ever since then I have always done only business finance facing roles. And I have enjoyed being in the driver's seat at business. So 15:28 just out of curiosity, just picking up the trade from here on Gabby shake. What led you to make that decision that was not an easy decision right? One jeweller located to a different place, and that to unlock now. Second is you have your wife and your staff, asking them to come to relocate to another place, what led you to take that decision? 15:50 Look, to my mind. There were two things playing one, where do I see myself five years from now? Do I want to be a specialist in a finance job, which is like a control I'm not I'm not saying you know, these roles are not good. It's just my aspiration to do something, whether you know, this opportunity is aligned to that aspiration. So, you know, I always aspired to be a generalist, a business person, and become a business facing finance head, which is helping drive growth and profitability. And not just look into, you know, accounts and controls and risk. And again, I repeat, I'm not saying none of these roles are interesting, or they have their own merits. But the opportunity very early on in my career, and that too, for a company like Hulu, which defines the FMCG consumption pattern in India. And for a CEO who was personally invested in that plant, right, Mr. Sun, a visionary, and I'm sure you have read and heard about him. So all of these things were the first reason wherever I said, let me just get into it and take the plunge because, and for the business, also, you know, to have a sales finance head, who is invested in growth, and who is truly doing business partnering, because back then a lot of these traditional organisations did speak about business partnering, but very few actually knew how to enable that, or how to unblock it or how to actually implement it. So it was an industry first move, and it was in industry first move for a company of its scale and size, with the promise and backing from the CEOs office. So that was extremely, extremely interesting and exciting. And the second reason, big reason personal reason I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. I I was excelling in what I was doing, right, whether it was accounts payable, accounts receivable record to report, order to cash make to deliver, I knew it all. However, I had never worked with sales, I had never been in the market, I had never interacted with distributors, I did not know what is selling and why I did not know what selling and why. Right. I had no clue in terms of what it means to look at growth. And and and, you know, become the reason for growth in the branch. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. So yeah, these are the two main reasons why I did so 18:25 what I'm listening is rather I heard three reasons. The first one is the person who's driving that change, right. In this case, Mr. Mehta was driving that. And the visionary that he was, I was willing to as you were willing to be a part of that initiative, right. And the two things, as you mentioned, is alignment with where you would like to be as an individual and willingness to come out of your comfort zone and do things that you have not done in the past is my understanding, right? Yes, absolutely. So that has been one of the defining moments. And then you said that something in your personal life as well, that define this view. 19:02 So the personal life story is a Yeah, it's a really traumatic one. You know, every time I go back to those days mentally, I am reminded of what it takes for us to understand the real meaning of life. Life is very, very fragile. What does it mean to live it fully? Right. So the personal, you know, on public forums, I've never spoken about this story. So you're the first person I'm talking about it to. This is, you know, on the fifth of July 2017, my life fell apart. And my wife Rashmi suffered a near fatal brain haemorrhage. Right and for a person who has been very, very healthy all her life, she has never had to visit hospital other than my child's birth, right. So and the kind of brain haemorrhage that it was in the middle of the night 12 midnight, a very A very rare phenomenon that affects just about 0.0 to 5% of population. And for people who undergo this kind of haemorrhage, only 20% survive, right. And for those who are lucky to survive, it takes a minimum of three years for a semblance of slight recovery, which means that you are reborn, you will have to learn again, how to walk, talk, eat, spell, right, all of it. But in the case of Rashmi, she was back under nine months. This is truly truly miraculous. And we were under the guidance of the country's top neurosurgeons in Bombay. And they admitted that this is really miraculous for her to come back so soon, right. So you know, I learned two defining life lessons. One is resilience and willpower, which my wife Rashmi demonstrated a very, very strong resilience and willpower to come back strongly. And, you know, it was a phase when my seven year old son was teaching his own mother ABCD. So you can imagine, right, and the second life lesson is the positivity or, or the Yes, attitude, that plays an essential role in producing what I call, you know, positive neuropeptides. Now, if you don't have a positive attitude, it will never help cleanse your consciousness, it will never help control your thoughts. It will not, it is not good enough to manage your mind and incorporate positive changes in your lifestyle. And, you know, post that incident, our entire family has been a very, very different family. Not just my immediate family, but the extended family. And we have been living a very, very holistic lifestyle, which is a very good balance between physical, mental and spiritual growth. So that's been my second defining moment in life. And, you know, post that moment, I have noticed that everything has been sky has been launched like a rocket pack, right, whether it is the spiritual aspect of understanding life, or whether it is the professional corporate aspect of promotions and growth. Or it is, you know, the way my wife Rashmi has come back again. And and today, she runs a holistic lifestyle store. And she cures people through healing therapies, and is bringing back that traditional knowledge of Ayurveda, natural beauty, and a lot of these hidden Indian traditional gems to cure people. So, I think that has been a politically defining moment. And we are living a very different life now. 23:06 I'm checking understand, you said that your seven year old son was teaching his mother a, b, c, d, how was it for you? How was it for a father to look at his son teaching ABC to his mother, what is it that you are going through as an individual? 23:31 See the my son, my son was in the, you know, the middle of a lot of trauma himself. Right. And actually, with my CFOs advice, Mr. Peavey Balaji back then, he was the CFO of Hindustan Unilever, he actually told me that your son needs to, you know, express his emotions. And he has gone into a shell. And I think there is a requirement for you to take him to a, you know, psychologist or child psychologist and help them open up. You know, those were the times when there were so many family members who had come from every part of the country to Bombay to help us. I used to be with my wife, in Bombay hospital. And we used to live in hiranandani. And my son was being taken care of by my mother. 24:29 And Rashmi is mother. So he didn't he didn't have his parents by sight, right. So during those times when I got my mother back when I got rushed me back home, he had he had actually become the guardian 24:51 of his own mother. Yeah. So whether it was in the form of teaching her the basics of ABCD 1234. Or helping her eat with a spoon without spilling food or playing simple games with her. I think he did it all. So he, he was playing three roles. If you ask me one, he became the guardian for his own mother. Second, he became a friend to his own mother. And third, he also was expecting medulla. Right? Which was difficult for him to get, which I was trying to fill in. 25:38 And what were you going through? 25:40 So I had with them I had become, you know, both mom and dad, for him, I took a break from work, I took a sabbatical for four to five months. My office was extremely, extremely supportive, right, even during those days and post a sabbatical. And, you know, I remember there were WhatsApp groups, where students mothers were there, and I was the only dad in that Whatsapp group. And I used to attend all his, you know, meetings, parent teacher meetings and, and take care of him like a mother and a dad. So I was doubling up. And I took a break from work, and I was just helping my family and myself come back. So that was my role. 26:33 And how were you looking at life? Didn't you question yourself that? Why do I need to go through all this? I went through something similar. When I was three. And I'm going through again, to the world through the eyes of my Son, why didn't you ask this question? 26:54 No, I didn't ask this question. I was just grateful that you know, Rashmi was back in a very miraculous manner. And given the doctors the top neurosurgeons in the country had admitted that the way she has come back, not just coming back to life, but you know, coming back to A or near semblance of a three haemorrhage version in under nine months. Now, that was extremely miraculous, right. So more than anything else, more than you know, complaining or, or questioning, why me, I just looked at it in a manner to suggest that there has to be some reason the universe has conspired for Rashmi to come back. Right. And there has to be a reason and the universe will ensure that you know, Rashmi creates positive impact to the society at large and then you have tar, which is by the way currently doing and I just wanted to go with the flow and be with her when she needed me. And the two aspects of resilience, which I spoke about, and the yes attitude, I think, that was a learning opportunity, very rarely in your life, you know, because, when I was three and I lost my dad, I hardly remembered it, I hardly missed him. But here I was, you know, with only one son and a wife and a very happy family, a healthy family, to undergo all of this, then you actually feel the pain right? However, when you reflect upon it, in life, very few opportunities, you will get to demonstrate resilience of this nature. When people talk about resilience, it is it is about okay, I missed my month number, I have to be patient and come back. But when you when you think deeply in terms of coming back to life, starting life afresh, and giving life an entirely new meaning and dimension that is what is resilience for me. I just looked at it in a very positive way to grab hold of that opportunity and learn from it. 29:04 You know, at times we tend to take life for granted. Everything is as if we are entitled to the good lifestyle we are entitled for all the good things in our life without realising that we are here just for a very short span of time and nothing is we are not at all entitled to anything not at all. So obviously you're from a world where you saw so much happening in your personal life to now you're where you're working with startups what kind of mindset shift do you need to bring in yourself on day to day basis so that you continue to stay grounded operate from a space of chakra and being grateful and yet adapt to the culture of what we call us hustling culture. How does that transition happen for you? 30:03 So it's a very good question. And to be honest, you know, when I joined Flipkart, the first six months, I didn't know what was happening, right. I was not used to that kind of a culture. So I think, you know, the primary drivers that people should be aware of when working in startups, and what is the kind of mindset shift that you need to not just be aware of, but but actually demonstrate, one is, you know, you have to be wedded to the vision of your organisation. Thankfully, you know, back then, when we were studying, the perception towards entrepreneurship was not very positive, right? We one parent, in fact, wanted a safety net, where the child has a good academic track record, and you will get into an MNC. And your life is secured. I think, the today's generation, thankfully, right, has got this very different vision and positive perception towards entrepreneurship. So A, you have to be really wedded to the vision of your organisation. And you, you have to, in your mind, treat yourself as the entrepreneur, you know, there are these rare breed of very brave, courageous, extremely passionate entrepreneurs, who are today interested in answering a market demand, or solving a problem through very innovative ways. So how are you, in your mind also working like an entrepreneur, that's the first trade. The second is innovation, right? If you if you are very hungry, to, you know, solve a problem in a manner, where innovation is the core of the solution. And innovation is not just thinking but doing right innovation is not just a follow through, but the commercialization of a good idea, then actually hook up to a to a startup and join it. Most days, you know, the the third is the customer first approach, you know, large organisations assume that what they will produce is what the customer wants, but a startup will never do that. Right. And the last, and the most important trait is risk taking, and embracing challenges head on. You know, the today's generation wants to become a part of a team very early on in their careers, where they can create positive disruption for the society. So I think that's the mindset shift that people need to be aware of, if they want to join a startup. 32:38 So what I heard you think, is innovation customer first and risk taking ability and embracing challenges to disrupt the status quo? Yes. And how was it for you to transition from Hulu and getting into Flipkart? How was it for you? And especially when there's so much happening in your personal life as well? 33:00 It was not easy. See at Unilever things, things have a process of a way a structured way of doing it. Yeah. It may take time. However, in a startup world, when especially Flipkart, there is a lot of agility we we openly advocate risk taking. There is a lot of customer centricity I'm not seeing you deliver doesn't have customer centricity and the speed with which decisions are taken with the you know, aspect of fail fast, learn fast, and move on quickly. The the aspiration or the urge to launch something for the first time in India, right. I think these are the key differentiators for organisation like Flipkart. And I think to be honest, it took me about four or five months to get into the ground. And from there on, yeah, as you will know, there was nothing that I did not miss or did not like, 34:03 stopping you as well. Yes, yes. Yeah. So out of curiosity, was there anything that you were expecting, that you would get once you get to a CXO position, these are the byproducts that I wouldn't be getting, that you did not receive? 34:23 Well, in my, in the time of my career journey spent as CFO thus far, I have experienced joys of success, I have also experienced collective might to come back strongly post a relatively poor month, I have experienced the tension and uneasiness, of agility and risk taking when it comes to you know taking resource allocation decisions, which is generally not the case in a structured organisation because your plans are quite robust. However, here, if you have to be agile, and you have to operate from mind set, have very high agility on resource allocations, to always ensure, you know, we are ahead of the game when it comes to customer when it comes to innovation when it comes to demand when it comes to whitespaces, on growth, and so on and so forth. Right. So that experience and added a little bit of tension to undo what you have just decided two days back, I have experienced that. I also felt the euphoria of success, almost emanating the inner bliss of a founder, or an entrepreneur. So, all in all, to my mind, I don't think there is anything which I was expecting, and I have not experienced yet. In fact, on the contrary, I have experienced much more than what I could have imagined. So it's been a really, really fruitful journey so far. [Midro] 35:58 Yeah, that's so that's so nice of you to be grateful for that. No, but I don't think that there's anything that I was expecting it, I'm not missing out on the country, as you said, there are certain things that you will not even expecting and that came your way. Yeah, you know, Abishek during a conversation, you use the word launching pad, you mentioned that all the things that happen to us, they become a launching pad for us. Just curious, do you today, when you look back, be it losing your father, way early in your life or having gone through this journey, where your wife had to go through this difficult life threatening challenge. Do you see a connection between what you went through and what you are going to today and the way you show up in difficult situations, the way you deal with your day to day challenges in the organisation, do you see any challenge any connection there 36:58 huge connection, huge connection, I have completely changed as a person see, the magnitude or the or the definition of challenge itself in my mind has seen a sea change when when you face such personal life, episodes of death, near death, understanding life closely understanding true meaning of life Life is fragile, how is spirituality helping you? Right? What do you want to do with holistically living, right, which is a combination of physical mental spiritual growth. After all of this, the problems themselves when it comes to work life or when it comes to you know, mundane challenges like a traffic in Bangalore, or we missing our growth numbers, attrition or you know, anything to do with a relatively poor performance, etc, etc. They become very small, right, typically very small. And when and therefore, what happens is when you want to tackle them, relatively operating out of a mind pay mind space, which is peaceful, which is calm, which is not stressed, a mind free from confusion, a mind free from stress. Right? You're not traumatic. And I can tell you, and I'm sure most of your guests would have told you the best decisions or the best quality decisions are made when the mind is peaceful. Right. So the the quality of the decision making to solve that problem, therefore gets enhanced, right? Firstly, there are not real problems, right when you compare to these things that I've already experienced. So you're very calm and composed. And secondly, in that state of being calm and composed, the quality of your decision making to solve that seemingly big problem for someone is far higher. 39:03 Yeah, and what kind of practices do you have to heal those traumatic experiences in your life, because I know of people, they have gone through something similar in their lives, and they continue to operate from that space of fear, insecurities, all the people that I love, they will be taken away from me and thus they find it extremely difficult to trust this universe, trust life, trust people. And on the contrary here is appreciate who's operating from a space of being grateful, who's operating from a space is being positive. What kind of practices have helped you? 39:44 Well, see there are there are three or four practices that have helped me. One is currently meditation. Right? Every morning I wake up and I meditate. And meditation actually helps me bring about a more i in which is free from stress. And it helps me you know just go into a space which is hollow and empty. The second practice which I do every single morning is something which is called as Sudarshan Kriya which is a breathing technique, right. Which is advocated by The Art of Living. One reason for by the way for me to relocate to Bangalore was also because of the fact that art of living has an international centre in Bangalore. Yeah, we have our own Guru Dave Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who we follow. So, that is the second practice the Sudarshan Kriya, it is truly magical. And I have been to the ashram multiple times, at least, you know, twice a year, I make it a point to go to the ashram to attend advanced silence programmes, where you have to be in silence for three to four days. And silence is not just verbal silence, it is written silence, it is, you know, any form of communication given through eye contact, and your phones are taken away, right? Can you imagine a world where you are living away, living away from your phone for three long days and, and only within yourself. So, it's extremely, extremely profound. And it helps you get deep into yourself, and introspect. And it is like, you know, you you recharge your phone every single morning, your soul needs recharging twice a year, minimum, it's food for the soul. So that's, that's the, that's the other way that, you know, I look at some of these techniques to stay within this frame of mind. And the last is, you know, just knowledge just be in the knowledge, just reflect upon it and implement it. It's very easy to be knowledgeable, but true wisdom, is implementation of that knowledge. Yeah. So 41:54 yeah. And what I'm listening is the common thread between meditation, mindfulness, or being in silence or putting your knowledge into practice, I think one of the common threads is connection with your own self. So it's like coming back home, you go out wander the world, look at all the glittering episodes of this world. You look at the numbers, you look at which startup is doing really well where to invest those skyscrapers. And then you say, now it's time to come back home. What's happening to this mansion, what's happening to this land? What's happening to me as an individual? Now coming back to the CFO role that you are playing Abishek just curious, having walked this path now. Now there are two parallel paths that I see you walking on. One is the path of connecting with your own self, having your own mindfulness meditation practices. And on the contrary, you're also walking on the path of being a CXO. What kind of myths that people tend to carry for CXOs, or for the CXO roles that are absolutely not true. at your level? 43:12 Well, the first myth, Rob is according to me, at this level, people think that we know it all. That is not true. I look up to advice, guidance and and suggestions from everyone, including a fresher in my team. Right. And innovation comes with not just experience but with novelty. So that's the first myth. I don't think we have all the answers, we can look at the problems differently, we can forecast a problem that you know, this can be a real threat. However, when it comes to solutioning, I think we will have to not just look within but look out for help. We don't know at all. I think that's the first myth. The second myth is you know, when it comes to the kind of role that a CFO has to play, when it comes to solutioning right, the second myth is most problems, the solution of the problem can be data led, right. And, as a CFO, I am naturally inclined to go with data trends and analytics to base all my resource allocation decisions. However, when it comes to, you know, experimenting, or when it comes to innovation, or when it comes to trying something new, even the CFO will have to go with a gut and an intuition on some aspects of critical decision making. So not everything will be data based. And the third I think, will be to get out of your comfort zone. I would say the safety net Centrum, right. There is a myth that you know, in typically large organisations, not startups There is a safety net net against competition, there is a safety net against regulation. There is a safety nets against digital disruption. The risk actually lies when you know the CSOs of fairly large organisations tend to believe that they are indispensable. And everything else in the ecosystem will actually come together to continue to let them grow unhindered. I think competitive intensity, regulatory frameworks, and digital first thinking, always can help CXOs to stay ahead of the curve. And they will be asked to plan and design for it. So I think the three top things that come to my mind, God, 45:48 yeah, and I just love it when you said that, at times, we need to look out at times you need to let go of the safety net at times, you need to look at what else could be done at this point in time. And, you know, in fact, something that struck me during our leadership development journey that we were on to appreciate three and a half years back, that your willingness to ask for help, was so visible. And at any point in time in all our interactions, and never, you never came across as if you're operating from a space of that I know it all. How do you continue to stay grounded and operate from this curious mindset from this mindset that? I don't know it all? And how do you continue to remind you of this? 46:41 So it's a very, very good question. And I, you know, I am brought back to my coaching journey. And, and thank you, once again, God for being a wonderful coach during that those sessions that you conducted for us back then at Flipkart. You know, I think if as leaders, we are cognizant of the fact that every individual has an immense potential, right. And coaching is a journey, which can actually help us reach our full potential. As leaders, I don't think we should shy away from the fact that you know, there are these internal barriers or limitations, which are ingrained within us, right, which have become thick bones for us, right, very difficult to change. However, if you embrace coaching, and if you are willing to change, then it is a very, very scientific manner, in which, you know, the coach will help you identify your own inner beliefs, patterns, behaviours, which are limiting your own growth, whether it is professional growth, personal growth, or spiritual growth. And I think a good coach works like a mirror. A good coach will help you go deep within yourself to introspect and come back. And this journey can be life transforming, you know, I have I have had the pleasure to work with you. But I also had the pleasure to work with another coach, Mr. Ahmed, before I became a CFO, and very recently, Mr. Srinivasan, after I became a CFO, right. So I think it has been a profound, profound journey. If you are willing to change, if you have the determination, and belief and self confidence, please first admit the need to change. Then align your actions which are needed to change, finally, monitor those actions without any prejudice and with full honesty. And I think it can be a life transforming journey. 48:40 And I would say Michigan, your life, there have been two more people who have been your coaches, and really inspired by Rashmi and your son, nothing for as long as they are on your side. Even sky's not the limit for you. 48:57 That's very kind of God. 48:59 And so today, having walked this path Abishek those ups and downs of life, personal life as well as professional life, what do you know for sure, 100% certainty. 49:12 Wow, what are questions? See what I know with 100% certainty I can give you, I can start off with a very philosophy answer, which is about the fundamental belief that I have about the soul or the spirit, which is ever you're an eternal, even after death. Right. And the other thing that I know with 100% Certainty is whilst you're living a life in this physical form, and shape, you have been blessed to be born as a human being. How do you want to live that life? How do you want to make use of bliss? How do you want to make use of this blissful opportunity? And how do you want to create a difference? One positive impact to this planet. There can be a very interesting aspect to it. You know, most people very young in their lives want to chase wealth and, and compromise their health. But by the time and you know, during COVID, as well, post COVID, also very recently, we are hearing and seeing a lot of tragic cases and news about young people in their mid 40s, late 40s, early 50s, who are having, you know, serious illnesses, some of them are life threatening. So the point is, when you're when you're young, you're chasing wealth compromising health, by the time you are in your mid 40s, your wealth will not be good enough to get back. Your lost health, right? Yeah. So fundamentally, what I'm 100% certain about is to get back to your question, how, what is the fundamental belief that you have, in terms of how you want to lead this life, physical well being which is a disease free body, we spoke about it earlier. mental well being which is, you know, a confusion and stress free mind and spiritual well being, which is when you feel one with everybody, right? When the whole world is your family, I think these are the key essentials to lead a blissful life. So even though you have the awareness that the soul is ever eternal, pure and blissful, however, you have been given this wonderful opportunity to come to this planet. How do you want to leave a positive impact? 51:45 Or a powerful question to leave our audience with? How would you like to live your life? Thank you so much, Miss shake for this wonderful, wonderful, profound question. And thank you for being such a wonderful guest. And sharing and pouring your heart out. 52:07 Thank you, Bob. It has been a really, really interesting conversation. And yeah, another opportunity to introspect and yeah, beyond the bath. Thank you so much.

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