Global Chief Information Officer
Born and brought up in Chandigarh, little did I know what life had in store for me ahead. I come from a very loving, forward-thinking family, who taught me from early on that “the only success in life is to do what you want to do”. As a child I destroyed every little toy truck or plane or car or helicopter I had been ever given, only because I would soon rip it open to see where the light was coming from and what made it glow! My folks not only tolerated this but in fact encouraged the highly inquisitive self in me and taught me to explore whatever comes my way, with no fear.
I am told that I was about six years old when I first said I wanted to be a computer engineer, though I am sure I didn’t even know what it meant at that time! When I was 11, my school bought their first set of computers and all I remember is that it was love at first sight… that year I learnt how to code and then never looked back from there. I remember how I would sneak into the computer room at every opportunity possible and spend hours there. It was my secret hiding place. My little haven.
Life is a design of patterns and as you make choices the patterns ahead keeps changing. I remember the year I started my engineering, Electronics was considered to be the best discipline in engineering and everyone was expecting me to opt for that… but I have never been more sure of what I wanted and hence I chose Computers despite the dean of the university trying to convince me for 3 days that Electronics was better. As luck would have it, this made the head of the Computers department really warm up to me and take me as her research assistant for her PhD in Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence (AI). I had a blast those four years doing what I loved and learning all about AI. And lo and behold, the year I graduated, Computers was declared as the top department and AI was the beginning of the future of the new world!
Post graduation, I got picked by a European consultancy and I got a chance to discover that there was so much of the world to see and explore and to learn from – way more than I had ever thought. My work took me to several parts of the world and I got the opportunity to travel across all continents to over 30 countries, learn new languages and cultures and experience life in a way I had never imagined. Having lived in many places from hi-tech Tokyo to the football-crazy Madrid to the fashion capital Paris to the harbor city of Sydney to the Big Apple New York, I believe that each place and each culture has taught me something that will stay with me for life.
While I started my career in Airlines and then moved on to Investment Banking and now Telecom, one thing I learnt is how technology when used correctly can help change the face of the business and give you a true competitive edge in the market. A technologist’s job today is not just about using new technologies but instead it is about developing a deep understanding of the business and having the ability to translate their needs into a product or solution using the best technology available. The best part about IT is that nothing is impossible! The only variables are time and effort. However, in this ever-so-fast-changing world of technology, to be a true partner to the business, you have to invest in keeping yourself current and up-to-date on new technologies. If you don’t, you will end up giving your business solutions of the past and not for the future of the company. And in today’s digital world, looking back I feel I couldn’t have chosen a better profession for myself. My dream is to build a truly digital Airtel. Powered by Technology.
We are all a sum of our experiences and I am no exception. What I am is a sum of what I have learnt from others around me and from my life. An outcome of different cultures and thoughts. A product of human technology. I am Airtel.