|Q1- What’s your ideal holiday destination?
Thank you for asking this question. Infact, this question brings back a lot of memories.
For over 40 years of my life, before I assumed executive office, I was involved in Organisational work due to which I got the opportunity to travel across the length and breadth of India. Every place has been special, it brings a new experience to be cherished.
|Q2- Which book changed your life?
There are many aspects of life. Merely one aspect changing cannot transform lives. The journey of life is a process of evolution, more than being revolutionary in nature.
In our culture, we are taught to imbibe the best thoughts from all sides, to learn from a very wide range of texts, scriptures, from respected seers, saints and other knowledgeable men and women. I am fortunate to have experienced that, hearing diverse thoughts and ideas from people. I am also an avid reader. I find positive and innovative thoughts as well as inspiring messages strike a chord with my mind.
|Q3- How do you unwind?
A task completed in time and in its entirety – there is nothing that gives me greater relaxation.
I know that one common means of unwinding is to try and change one’s surroundings – to take a break from work, or change the work environment. Many people like doing that as well.
From experience, I believe in
Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam - Excellence in work is Yoga. Imbibing this ethos brings satisfaction to me. Work brings satisfaction and this satisfaction is very comforting.
|Q4- Can you cook?
Yes! For the most part, I have led a somewhat austere life, always on the move and living on my own. This meant I had to learn cooking and subsequently it became a habit.
By nature, I like to do a thing well, and I tried the same while attempting to cook! But it has been 15-20 years now. Nevertheless, I did it once
when I was the Chief Minister of my home state.
|Q5- What would you say are your main qualities?
In our culture, and according to our sacred texts, it is believed that while one can explore and discover the world external to oneself easily, it is relatively difficult to discover and know one’s own self. And once a person has found that self, he or she has nothing more left to learn, nor does he or she find it necessary to boast about what he or she has learnt in the process.
Even today, I am trying to discover myself and I keep discovering myself through the help of my friends and well-wishers.
|Q6- Do you have any hobbies?
I love meeting people, infact, meeting a wide range of people and learning about their experiences. I also like to spend time reflecting in solitude.
|Q7- What’s your favourite place in India?
|Q8- Which politician do you admire the most?
For his efforts to unify and integrate India, I deeply admire Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
I admire people like Bhagat Singh for their valour, sacrifice and martyrdom for the nation, that too at a remarkably young age.
Mahatma Gandhi for igniting the consciousness of the masses and integrating them in the struggle for freedom.
There are several other great men and women whose lives have left a deep impact on my mind. We must learn from them in our quest to make this world a better place.
|Q9- What is your earliest memory?
I have memories of growing up in a small town in my home state at a time when my country had just attained Independence. I do not belong to a very wealthy family so one does remember the hardships one faced while growing up. Among other things I remember the time when I would sell tea at my father’s tea stall at the local railway station. I recall the time when I served tea to the soldiers in transit when our country was fighting a war. Another memory is when my friends and I set up a food stall and donated the proceeds for flood relief to those affected by a local flood.
|Q10 What would your super power be?
Should I ponder about super power or the Supreme Power?! I believe we are all under the benign gaze of the Supreme One. What is that Supreme One… neither do I know nor I can describe it to you.
|Q11- What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
From my hardships, a heart that works and hands that deliver.
|Q12- What is your greatest fear?
The journey of my life has been such that fear doesn’t have much space in my life.
But, I do always have it at the back of my mind that I should not become a burden for anybody till my very last breath. I dread that prospect (of becoming a burden on anybody.)
|Q 13- What annoys you the most about people?
By nature I do not get angry. It is not in my style to do that. But yes, as I said earlier I do not like it when a person does not give it his or her best. Do not worry about failure just do your efforts.
I also do not like it when people have double standards. It is very important to be what one is.
|Q14- What did you dream of becoming when you were growing up?
I was born, and grew up, in a milieu in which even dreams were not affordable for the poor. At the same time, I used to feel an inner tug that one should not live only for oneself but for others. However, I wasn't sure about the path forward to realize my inner urgings. I used to go along whatever path fate nudged me on at any given time. One thing, however, that remained constant was to live life in the service of others.
|Q15- What’s your favourite film? Why?
I am generally not inclined towards movies. But I used to watch them in my youth, out of that curiosity which only youth brings. Even then, it was never my temperament to watch movies just for entertainment. Instead, it was in my habit to search for lessons for life in the stories those movies told. I recall that, once, I went with some of my teachers and friends to watch the famous Hindi movie
Guide that was based on a novel by R.K. Narayan. And, after the movie, I got into an intense debate with my friends. My argument was that the central idea in the movie was that, ultimately, everyone gets guided by his or her inner soul. But since I was too young, my friends did not take me seriously!
|Q16- In the film of your life, who would you choose to play you?
Every life has its own philosophy. Why should we have an urge that people should remember me after I am gone? If at all they have to remember, it should be our work, our contribution in the service of others. And, if your life work has been worthy, anybody who can carry it forward would be playing the role of my life as well as the role of his life!
|Q17- If you could go back in time, where would you go?
It is a very old question. Everyone recalls childhood very fondly; that innocence, that carefree life, playing in the street, diving into the pond!
|Q18- If your House was on fire, what’s the one possession you would save?
My instinctive reaction will be to see that the fire does spread to anything in the vicinity. If I am able to do that, a lot would get saved automatically.
|Q19- If you could invite three people, dead or alive, to dinner, who would they be?
By nature, I am a person given to fasting for spiritual purposes. Therefore, in that journey, if I meet someone similarly inclined, they would be my first choice; such as personalities like Swami Vivekananda, Ramkrishna Paramhans and Maharishi Raman. These are highly elevated souls who do not need a dinner!
|Q20: Your favourite quote?