The Voyager Series

An evening with an unusual traveller

Ramesh Jude Thomas
President & CKO, EQUiTOR Consulting

What is the VOYAGER series really about? Hearing another set of achievements which we all are very familiar with or another public figure who is easy on the ear and sometimes the eye. So why waste a perfectly good Friday evening?
About a year ago, my son and I went to Crossword and picked a children's biography series by Lucent called "Heroes and Villains". In Martin Luther King's biography, the foreword provides a very interesting and inspiring definition of a Hero. He says " a Hero is someone who put his (or her) conviction ahead of his(or her) existence. EVERY TIME.
God knows we are starved of heroes, outside the Bollywood Pantheon. But , I assure you the VOYAGER is neither about heroes nor heroics.
It is about the conviction bit.
Conviction almost always means the road less traveled, which is why its often at loggerheads with comfort and conformity. That is when it all starts to go wrong. And we hate things going wrong.
So we teach our children, our employees and our communities not to take chances and minimize risks. And we end up as a nation of fixed depositors. Then we wonder why we have so little innovation (even compared with our low cost manufacturing obsessed neighbour)
If we really want to break new ground, build enduring institutions and create thought leadership, embrace fragility and failure. JK Rowling in her 2008 Harvard address argues articulately for the virtues of failure:
"Rock bottom was the solid foundation upon which I rebuilt my shattered dreams."
So when we first spoke about the VOYAGER series, Ramesh Ramanathan asked "this is a very unusual brief. How do you visualise the talk?"
I responded that the picture was in 3 parts: as a base camp, the journey and the peak of his life with Janaagraha so far. The base camp is known to many. The peak has been written about, spoken about, admired and advocated.
But the climb? Now thats the better guarded secret. Because nobody really wants to hear about the weight of the rucksacks, the temper of the sherpas, the lost climbers, the frostbite, the fatigue and the loneliness.
Ramesh has shared with us his loneliest most fatigued moments. His midnight hours of despair. His trials and tribulations. And what made him stick in spite of it all.
Because this character is what constitutes the better part of any worthwhile journey. This is what determines whether we will complete the climb. This is what we want to take back to those whom we lead and guide at our workplaces, our homes and our communities.

Look out for the video on the session.