I bought the monks ferra.., p.1

I Bought The Monk's Ferrari, page 1


I Bought The Monk's Ferrari

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I Bought The Monk's Ferrari

  I Bought the

  Monk's Ferrari

  I Bought the

  Monk's Ferrari

  Ravi Subramanian

  First published in 2007 by

  Rupa Publications India Pvt. Ltd.

  7/16, Ansari Road, Daryaganj

  New Delhi 110002

  Sales centres:

  Allahabad Bengaluru Chennai

  Hyderabad Jaipur Kathmandu

  Kolkata Mumbai

  Copyright © Ravi Subramanian 2007

  Cover design: [email protected]

  The views and opinions expressed in this book are the author’s own and the facts are as reported by him/her which have been verified to the extent possible, and the publishers are not in any way liable for the same.

  This digital edition published in 2012

  Ravi Subramanian asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

  e-ISBN: 978-81-291-2191-2

  Digital edition prepared by Ninestars Information Technologies Ltd.

  All rights reserved.

  This e-book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated, without the publisher’s prior consent, in any form or cover other than that in which it is published. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in a retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic, mechanical, print reproduction, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher. Any unauthorized distribution of this e-book may be considered a direct infringement of copyright and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

  Dedicated to all those:

  Who are not astronauts, but reach out to the stars Who are not pole vaulters, but leap above the bars Who are not in Fl, but drive in the fast lane and for whom anything but a Ferrari, will be a big shame.




  The Journey Begins

  1. The Journey Begins

  2. The Sighting

  3. It Gets Closer

  4. The Changing Face of Time

  5. I Want My Ferrari

  Ten Commandments

  6. Aspire High

  7. Stay Positive

  8. Be a Winner, Not a Wimp

  9. Be Honest to Yourself

  10. Value Time

  11. Strive for Perfection

  12. Befriend Achievers

  13. Share the Success

  14. Watch Out on Health

  15. Build a Mind-boggling Profile

  What Is The Ferrari?

  16. The Ferrari Unwrapped



  To the Fiat Motor Company, for the Ferrari they have created.

  To my wife, Dharini, for all the compromises she made; her support, when I was writing this book will never fade from my memories.

  To my daughter, Anusha, who is proud of me—the author, forgetting conveniently that I have better accomplishments as a banker.

  To all the readers of my first book, which became a bestseller in the very first month of its release.

  Thank you all.


  There was a young boy, who belonged to a typical middle-class family—which, like all other middle-class families, ran only on two wheels. His parents, a college professor and a school teacher, struggled to educate him and his brother. Even though they had to go beyond their means to do this, they did not compromise on quality. They gave their children the best they could with their limited means. The only time this young boy saw a four-wheeler was when he and his brother would furiously pedal to school, their bicycle wheels leaving behind a trail of dust. The first time he saw his parents progress in life was when his father bought a scooter when the boy was ten years old. But that was it. He aspired for a four-wheeler, which was never to be. He would see in magazines, movies and be taken in by the fancy cars that presented themselves in full gloss. As he grew up, a dream started brewing in him. He, who had pedalled a bicycle all his life, wanted more. And, when he decided to reach out for more, he aspired for the best. Not only did he aspire for a car, he aspired for the king of the cars ... the Ferrari.

  Ferrari ... when most people come across this word, they think of two things—speed and sport. It is one of the most sought after cars in the automobile history. On the race circuit, it has set the track on fire, winning more races than any other car. Not only does it have a tough and furious demeanour, it is also as much a graceful and delicate car.

  Since the first one came to existence around seven decades ago, Ferrari has been a panache incarnate—it defines not only Italian style, but global style, as well. Ferraris have been referred to as the ultimate status symbol, a rich man's toy, an answer to a mid-life crisis, a proof of piles of stock money—and if that was not enough, as the finest of cars in the world. Depending on whether one is speaking out of envy, disdain or admiration, a Ferrari is all of those and more. A Ferrari is not about individual spec sheet of an automobile. It is a dream.

  As with all dreams, a Ferrari takes a while to come true. The assembly line produces a mere twenty-seven cars a day— a little over five thousand a year. With the exception of the engine, each one is handcrafted and is unique.

  Ferrari founder, Enzo Ferrari (1898-1988), built the first car in 1940. However, it was not till after the Second World War that Ferrari started making cars bearing his name, founding today's Ferrari S.P.A. in 1945. However, the present Ferraris are more sleek and futuristic, compared to the past models. Over the last few decades, their price has raced ahead like the racing cars themselves, with the price being over $1,50,000 per car.

  For the young boy, this racing car was a dream, an aspiration, his vision of success, and the awaited destination at the end of his long winding journey.

  His dream car, Ferrari, took its real shape when he happened to glimpse it for the first time, from the aeroplane window, while embarking on his maiden journey in the pursuit of a career in Delhi. True, he was far, far away from the Ferrari but the sight of it only strengthened his resolve to ride in it.

  The second sighting was when he chanced upon one from close quarters. He ogled at it, chased it, and then pledged to acquire it. He was within breathing distance of someone else's Ferrari and realised that this could be his, one day. The thought of owning a Ferrari, made him feel happy, feel elated, feel elevated. The dream could become a reality, after all.

  And then he took a ride in a Ferrari. The first time he got behind the steering ... and felt the pulse, the exhilaration and the adrenalin ... he felt the Ferrari. That was when he realised that he could control the levers. The drivers which were required for him to successfully acquire a Ferrari were in his own hands. It was entirely upon him to be successful, to be a winner. The Ferrari could be his if he did the right things required for it.

  The first section of this book marks the beginning of his pilgrimage, during which he faced monstrous hurdles and adversities, but he learnt lessons that led him towards making his dream real. Then come the Ten Commandments, not from God to Moses, but from life itself to all those who dare to aspire. They are the traits and characteristics of all those who have earned their Ferrari and that which the readers need to imbibe and demonstrate to get closer to it. And, the last section of the book, details as to what a Ferrari actually is, and why it is so important for each and every individual to aspire for a Ferrari.

  Enzo Ferrari had once said: The greatest thing a race car driver could do, would be to die behind the wheels of my car.

  He could not have got closer to reality than this. Not only every sports car driver, but every individual in thi
s world, wants to acquire the car that he built, the car with the prancing black horse in a yellow background on its boot. This car epitomises success, achievements, happiness and all that a person seeks in life.

  Through this book, that young lad, i.e. me, shares with you his rendezvous with the Ferrari and the Ten Commandments he learnt in the process, which will in turn, guide the readers in their journey to the destination—the elusive Ferrari.

  The Journey Begins

  • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


  * * *

  The Journey Begins

  May 1993

  'Passengers travelling to Delhi by IC 812 please pass through the security check and wait for your boarding call.'

  When I heard this announcement on the public address system at the HAL Military Airport, Bangalore, I hastily put down the newspaper and stood up from my chair. A few drops of sweat broke onto my forehead. My hand instantaneously went into the front pocket of my trousers, pulled out a neat white handkerchief, and wiped the sweat off my brow.

  You don't have to be great to start,

  but you have to start to be great.


  Just about thirty minutes back, my mother and my cousin Mani had dropped me at the airport. Now it seemed like ages since that had happened. I had not slept the whole of last night. I was anxious ... a touché, worried. I did not know what to expect.

  Five days back, on last Friday, I was in a classroom, not too far from the airport, in Golden Enclave, a posh residential-commercial building. It was the last day of the month-long induction programme for the latest batch of MBAs at Tata-IBM. Naren Aiyer, the head of the PC division and Dick Richards, the training head for the company were in the room with thirty-one MBA passouts, who had newly joined the company.

  'Friends, we have now come to our last session. I am sure that all of you are eager to know your postings.' There was pin-drop silence in the classroom. No one spoke. On the day they had come in for their induction, they had been asked for their location and functional preferences and everyone had given in their first three choices. Now on this fateful day, every soul in the room, was waiting to hear if he or she had been allotted the preferred location.

  It was 1993 and IBM was returning to India after fifteen years of hibernation, after being thrown out of India along with the Coca Cola Company, by the Janata Government in 1978, because they refused to dilute their ownership of hundred percent of their subsidiaries in India. It was a coveted company and had got the 'Day One' position in all management institutions—a position, every MBA would know, is only given to the crème de la crème among the recruiters.

  There were thirty-one freshers in that room, thrilled to have got an offer from IBM. All of them knew that irrespective of their posting allocations they would stick to the company.

  Gajananam, bhuta ganathi sevitham,

  Kapitha Jambuphala, sarabhashitham...

  A small prayer escaped my lips. Secret prayers were being chanted by all, to their own private gods.... So, I prayed even harder.

  Dick went on, 'Naren, will you please pass me the list?' The wait was unbearable.

  'OK, here we go...'

  All the anxious thirty-one faces eagerly leaned forward and rested the elbows on the desks in front. The backs of the seats were gloriously divorced from their occupants.

  'Sridhar Rajagopal ... AS/400 Product Team, Mumbai.'

  'Priya Mathew, Sales, Mumbai ...' and then another frustrating pause.

  Dick stopped, pulled out his slim-framed glasses ... they were, in fact, rimless spectacles ... for the first time those minuscule ones made their presence felt in India and glanced at everyone in the room.

  'I wanted to tell you all that in these allocations, we have given priority to the location preferences of women and to those who want to join the sales department.'

  'Vijay Krishnan ... RS/6000, Delhi.'

  He was sitting next to me.

  'Shit!!!' Exclaimed Vijay. 'I am ... Sooo ... oorry,' he said out loud when he realised that everyone in the room including Dick and Naren were staring at him. He wanted to be in Bangalore.

  'Mukul Mathur ... Delhi.'

  'Sudarshan Chakravarthy ... Chennai, PC Sales.'

  'Sapna Agarwal ... Training, Bangalore.'

  'Ravi Subramanian ... System Sales, New Delhi.'

  My heart sank. Dick went on for another ten minutes, but I did not hear a word.

  I did not want to go to Delhi. The preferences I had given were, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai, in that order. And now, I would have to go to Delhi. Though I had relatives in the city, I had never stayed there and the metropolis scared me. But I did not have a choice.

  This was how I ended up at the Bangalore airport, waiting for the boarding call for the Indian Airlines flight to Delhi. But why would anyone perspire the way I was? In the cool Bangalore weather, inside an air-conditioned airport, my shirt was almost drenched with sweat. I was going to a new city, an alien city, but that was not the reason. The reason was completely different and had no connection whatsoever with Delhi....

  This was the first time I was going to travel by air. Yes, this was my first flight. I was excited and nervous. Worried, too. What if the aeroplane crashed? What if I felt dizzy at over thirty thousand feet above the ground? Earlier in the morning, after we had reached the airport, putting on a brave front I sent back my mom and cousin. But here I was, nervous like hell.

  'Passengers travelling to Delhi are requested to complete their security check, identify their baggage and proceed toward the aircraft through Gate No. 2.' I ran towards the gate the moment I heard this. Unaware of how the process worked, I was apprehensive that in case I was late the flight might take off without me. However, I learnt only later, that once the boarding pass is issued, the flight normally does not take off without the passenger.

  After the security check, I walked towards Gate No.2. It took me some time to find it, as I was not familiar with the airport. Walking out of the gate, as I approached the aircraft, I stood wonderstruck at the sight of the colossal machine before me. On its both sides, written in large fonts, was the name ... Indian Airlines. I had always seen these aircraft in the sky. This was the first time I was seeing one from such close quarters.

  I chanted a small prayer as I climbed up the iron stairs with a jeep beneath, something which people call a mechanical ladder.

  As I stepped into the aircraft, a matronly lady greeted, 'Welcome to Indian Airlines,' and I smiled back. My chest swelled with pride. I was entering an aeroplane for the first time in my life! No one from my family had even ventured close to an airport, leave alone travelling by air.

  Ahead of me, I saw two rows of seats with a passage in between. I was thoroughly baffled.

  'May I help you?' The lost look on my face was too obvious, and it made an air hostess come to my rescue. She took the boarding pass from my hand, glanced at it and said, 'Seventeen Alpha ... sensing my blank look she continued, Seventeen A, Sir ... further down, on your right.' I walked down the aisle and ultimately found the seat. It was a window seat. In fact, all seats with suffix 'A' are window seats in all aircraft, but I did not know it then. I hadn't asked at the check-in counter for it would make my ignorance too obvious.

  I took my seat and belted myself... then carefully watched all the instructions and demonstrations given by the air hostess. Everything was new to me, so much so that when the air hostess said that in case of an emergency landing on water the seat cushions can be used as a flotation device, my hands automatically went below the seat trying to figure out as to how the seat could be removed and used. When I could not figure it out, I raised my hand to ask for a clarification. No one noticed. Embarrassed, I pulled my hand down. The demonstration ended, the equipments were carted off to the overhead bins, the air hostess disappeared somewhere ... where? I had no clue. It took me a good fifty minutes to realise that all you are required to do is to press the button above your head, an
d someone would attend to you. If only I knew....

  The aircraft taxied on the runway and stopped. A minute later, it started jogging, then galloping, then sprinting till it finally flew. I looked out the window like a small child as the ground ran in the opposite direction and slowly as it went into a free fall below the aircraft. As the flight started gaining altitude, before large buildings started turning into small insect-like objects and everything on the ground started fading away.. .something caught my attention.

  Cruising on the road below, fading fast from my vision, leaving a puff of dust as it sped on an early morning empty highway, shining exquisitely in the morning sun was a bright red car ... then the plane hit a cloud ... a thick cloud and everything disappeared from my sight. A mammoth, thick white blanket stood between the plane and the earth below ... between me and the immaculate, bright red FERRARI.

  My flight of life had begun.... And, it was some kind of a divine intervention that just as the aircraft soared above the clouds, for an instant, I caught the glimpse of a Ferrari.... A car I had always dreamt of, I had aspired for, I had promised myself to own one day.

  I was twenty-three then, and a month out of IIM-Bangalore.


  * * *

  The Sighting

  May 2006

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