1.8 Voyaging towards excellence – Activity 5

Read the extract & complete the activities given below. [12]

The first thing I did was to start reading English newspapers and English novels. I studied etymology and phonetics and studied the roots of the words and how to pronounce them. I used to stand in front of the mirror and practice speaking, realising my mistakes and correcting them myself all the time and improvising and improving day by day. It took about 9-10 months by which time I started feeling quite confident about speaking in English at length with anybody. My fear had vanished and I started feeling at home in my hostel. In my future career, out of 32 years in Information Technology field, I was the Chief Executive or Managing Director or head of Software Company with thousands of software engineers worldwide. During that period I had to give several presentations or negotiate many contracts with the CEOs, Directors or VPs in the US, UK or Australia. I was absolutely at ease at that time. It is only due to the efforts at IIT that I could sign contracts worth millions of dollars worldwide and also run large global software companies.

At IIT I got fairly good marks in my first 2 years. However, a very important thing happened while I was in my 3rd year. I came in contact with about 15-20 extremely brilliant students/researchers/professors  from IIT, TIFR and BARC. They included top ranking visiting professors in American. I was instantaneously attracted to this group. This friendship had a lasting impact on my life. Until that time I used to consider myself somewhat intelligent. However, after I met my friends in our group, I came to know what real brilliance meant and I realised where I stood. I was actually also very lucky that I came in contact with great people on the global scale early in my life. Later in my life when Mr. Narayan Murthy left Patni to start Infosys, I started heading Patni’s software division occupying the same chair. My Head Office was in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, very near Boston. It was in fact the adjacent building to MIT in America. I had to visit the US every few months in those days. I used to visit MIT during lunch time to meet my friends. There, one could see a couple of Nobel Laureates at the dining table. If you walked for an hour from there, you could reach Harvard Square near Harvard University. I used to visit both of these universities and could talk to a number of Nobel Laureates. During these years I travelled a lot to US, Europe, Japan and Australia and could meet a number of great thinkers and management gurus such as AlvinToffler, Peter Drucker, C. K. Prahlad, Tom Peters or great technologists such as Vincent Cerf, (who designed TCP/IP which is the basic protocol of Internet). All these discussions with these greats broadened my horizon, and my aims and worldview became global. It taught me humility and made me realise that I had to achieve a lot in life. The lesson in humility and hard work as well as passion for excellence was going to play a very important and vital role in my life.

A1] Global Understanding- [2]

Complete –

  1. The narrator’s efforts at IIT helped him ….
  2. The changes the narrator undergo after acquiring English speaking skills were …

A2] Complex factual – [2]

What steps did the narrator follow to improve his English-speaking skill?

A3] Analysis/ Interpretation – [2]

Explain how the discussions with great people benefitted the narrator.

A4] Personal Response – [2]

In your opinion,  what is the significance of friends & friendship in life?

A5] Language Study [2]

Do as directed:

  • I realized where I stood. [Frame a wh- question to get the underlined part as the answer.]
  • My aims & world view became global. [Change into present perfect tense]

A6] Vocabulary – [2]

Match the pairs –

A                                                    B

1.Study of correct               a) negotiate


2.Study of the roots            b) at ease

of the words

3.Discussion to                    c) etymology

reach an argument

4.comfortable                      d) phonetics


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