Nasik to Pune
I had just completed ICSE in 1978. I was in Nasik then and the place did not have much scope for higher education. So my parents decided that I should move to Pune, a city with good colleges. My grand-dad lived there.
The second turning point of my life was also at the same time, when I came to stay with my grandfather, a man who was and continues to remain a source of great inspiration. He was a fauji who fought in the Second World War. He taught me a very simple and basic value, albeit an incredibly important one. He said, "Respect should be commanded and not demanded!" And this is one singular lesson that has had a profound effect on me. I still believe that designations are volatile and cannot forcefully command respect. Rather, designations become a burden on the person - you realise that people don't talk to you; they talk to your designation.
Another thing that I learnt from both my father and grandfather was the value and joy of language. Language is not an axe, which you can use to hack a meaning; rather you use it to sculpt.
My next defining moment was the decision to study management. I took the Common Admission Test. IIM Bangalore rejected me, while IIM Calcutta put me on the waiting list, and I got through IIM Ahmedabad. It's here that I made my life-long friends - people who continue to be very important in my life.
Not to forget, together, we fought the establishment there. We were into music and theatre, and did it incessantly. Because we were difficult, Sameer Barua, the director of IIM-A, still remembers me!
My first job
I think I was lucky. I got into Richardson Hindustan (now Procter & Gamble India). Those days, you could not Google a person to know what his interests were. So, you could not prepare for an interview. My final interview was with Gurucharan Das, chief executive officer of the company and I had no clue about this man. As the interview got over, I told him that I do not read marketing books. He told me, "You know Paritosh, there is more human insight in one well written book than in a shelf full of marketing texts. Keep reading." I do not read management books till date. Overall, my P&G experience says that it was and is a very collegial place that has a tremendous sense of belonging.