SOSG(I) - 'Sprouting of a School Girl'


A google techie to an I-Manager, an enigmatic transition is what people call the past four years of Mrs.Elvia Reddy the Managing Director of I-Associates group. BT's Thoorika Markandeya caught up with her for an exclusive interaction.

In less than four years ‘The I-Associates’ has been enlisted in NSE. The assets you manage have crossed the 1 billion rupees mark. To what do you attribute this growth to?

Firstly, this is a direct result of Shantanu’s ambitious or I should say restless nature. When people consider running is fast, he considers flying is slow. The other major factor is the sort of good people and opportunities we had come across. The right kind of core team of investment analysts like our CIO Mr.Hari Vasudev and chief analyst Mr.Praveen Kumar, who let Shantanu pull them to his pace. An ideal mix of determination, dedication, team effort and divine will.

How did an investment and fund management company diversify into IT? Is it something that you took up to satiate your techie ambitions?

After my brief stint in Google I gave up my job to join the IT dept. of I-Associates. Shantanu was profoundly unhappy about this move of mine. He always considered I deserve to be in a better place than an IT dept that had less than a dozen staff. It’s at this juncture Kiran our good friend and our college senior expressed his intention to be free of the ‘employee’ tag. These intentions and motives of us brought us together into I-IT services.

It’s said that you are closer to Mrs.Anusuya Kiran, but why is that she joined I-IT services recently a good year later than Mr.Kiran?

Shantanu was not game for Anu to leave Mic. He was just as reluctant as he felt for me leaving Google. He argued that it would be safe if there is one wage earning member in Anu’s household. Moreover, Kiran was with Symantec for more than 2 years and had a better exposure and experience in IT products and services. So Anu waited for a year until we stabilized and when we had a surge in orders we had to call Anu in.

An IT dept changing into a full fledged IT company is not a new concept, but I-Health?

(laughs) It’s an irony that wealth is unhealthy. In this era the upper middle class encounter a lot of health problems. Matter of factly a good chunk of our clients fall in this category. As a customer based and hence customer friendly organization we started off with health tips to our customers, and our client relations executives kept track of our client’s health as a valued added service. These services are received well. Like our IT we realized our potential to start a health management service, and now we have I-Health. We have MOUs with ambitious small players in medical insurance companies and good hospitals that are not chains, and hence making a mutually beneficial partnership.

Initially you were part of the IT core team under Mr.Kiran and now you have become the MD of the group. Is it because you are the wife of the chairman and hence the most trust worthy person for the job?

It so appears that way to the outside world, but the truth is that most of our board members are as young as I am and they specialize in their fields. When Shantanu got an admit into the school of his dreams there wasn’t anyone who was ready to take up his place. The core members of both the investment management and IT aspects of the group were already over loaded and they are still involved in the technical aspects of the functioning of their business rather than full time managers. Without Hari and Praveen the fund management analysis would be paralyzed and Kiran is still a full time programmer despite being the head of our IT business.

That had left me in the position to take up the job, temporarily, till Shantanu is back from Harvard. The senior people manage their respective businesses. My job is mainly to co-ordinate the finances and client aspects of both the businesses, with guidance from Shantanu. Though he is at the other end of the globe, his thoughts are all focused on the group. Half the time, I just execute instructions from him. Regarding the trust aspect, our organization is not build on money or just people; it’s built on trust amongst our people. Trust not just in the core level. Our trust runs till the root, to a fresher customer relation executive to a programmer everyone is autonomous and works on their free will, bound by the responsibility of their position in this organization.

Regarding the new I-H-cafes, it is said that it was entirely your initiative?

Well in all these years with Shantanu, the least I could do was to think of a restaurant initiative as part of I-health services.

When is IH-cafes expected to be operational and what exactly is an IH-café?

It’s more like a cause and effect thing. Lack of proper diet is a major reason for most of our common health troubles..

(just when she was talking, a cute little figure storms into her room with a loud calling, ‘mummieee’. An apologetic PA stood anxiously at the door step for letting her bosses meeting interrupted.
She dismisses him with a wave and continues talking as if the interruption never happened. The young Ms.Shantanu sits on her mother’s lap silently and starts listening to the conversation attentively)

So, as I was saying for a good health you need a healthy-balanced diet. IH-café would specialize on healthy food with best possible taste. We would operate more like a home delivery, as we don’t expect our clients to drop by our outlet day in and day out. We also would encourage home-makers to cook healthy food by supplying them with the raw items or the semi-prepared mixes. This is more like not for profit organization, wherein one mother helps her fellows keep their family healthy.

Would you mind us sharing a bit of your personal life?

(Smiles) That depends on the part of it that interests you..

I heard that you fell in love with Mr.Reddy when in college… and initially there were a lot of troubles in your marriage. On a personal note out of my curiosity would you mind if I ask the story of your marriage?

An attempt on a sequel for a non-existent novel :p Waiting for ur comments...

A world of my own

Reviewed by Padu

"It's her wish. This is what she wants. This is the life she chose.", shouted an energetic young guy in his early 20s.

"I just don't give a damn about her choice. I am the one who choose what's good for her, for all these days, and I now know what is good." yelled an elderly man of age around 55. His outfit and foible typical of a south indian politician.

I saw the scene a couple of decades back, the scene when my dad and grand dad met.


When I opened my eyes, I could sense that I was on a bed. It took sometime to register, that I was on a hospital bed. I could hear heated arguments. The arguments were not from my dream, but were the ones that were being shouted, in reality. Matter of factly they were the ones that woke me up.

There were people trying to abate the bashing. I could hear my dad and my grand dad clearly even through the closed glass doors.

"You are trying to avenge for me marrying your daughter. You fail to realize that you are ruining your own grand daughter's life."

"I failed to recognize the beautiful life that my daughter choose, that lead to the loss of a lot of good days in my life. I lost the childhood days of my grand daughter. I don't want you to repeat my mistake."

The argument continued. I could feel my head throb. I was lost for all emotions. I was neither sad nor worried. I could only feel a void, an utterly blank void. I felt like I was a spirit.

Night fell by. There was silence everywhere. Finally somehow someone managed to put off the arguments, or at least in my vicinity.

I still have no idea whether there were people around. I just closed my eyes, trying to loose myself in the void. I continued to be on bed for a few days. I rarely spoke.

Mom tried to make conversation. "How are you feeling now?" "Fine."

"Are you hungry?" "No"

"But you hardly have anything. Please for your health's sake, have this."


Tired of my one word responses, even mom stopped talking much. I think I was hurt by the fall due to fainting. I didn't know what was wrong or what hurt.

One fine morning I was discharged back to our home. There was the same grave silence. Despite my insistence Anu stayed with me. I didn't speak to her much either.

My Google joining date was due a week. Dad arranged a flat for the 2 of us. Thankfully Anu was also in Microsoft Bangalore. Though I didn't speak much, she was my only soothing support.

Mom and dad bid adieu, getting only a blank face as response. Without risking to try my resolve they just left with exasperation.

Anu tried for the nth time, "What your parents say is right. You should get rid of it. You don't even have Shantanu by your side now."


"Oh come on. He just gave you up for his own aspirations."

"Don't.. just don't..." I stormed off from the room.

That night I was contemplating on my life. Planning what I will do about my uncertain future. But not even once I thought of stepping back. Finally sleep overcame my thought mesh.

The next day, I stepped into google's Bangalore campus. There was a chilling surge of an exotic feel. I gave a reassuring touch to my belly...

Hiya frnds,

I have started writing again. I am lost for reviewers. I don't know how many of my good old frnds are available now. If u can help me, pls mark your presence.

Ur own Elvi

CoCG's Sequel

I 'm thinking of writing Confessions of a College Gal's sequel, 'War of a Woman Entrepreneur'. What say you?!??

OK relax guys. Sorry for disappearing sooooo long. But I now really need your help. Kindly enlighten me with your esteemed suggestions.


Review Request

Dear Friends,
I feel that I should have all the chapters properly reviewed before I go for writing the EPILOGUE. Kindly help me review them. Find as many mistakes as you can, and bombard me with critiques.

With your help I will be able to finish of with the lingual mistakes.

If you are kind enough to review for me,
1. Copy paste the chapter and it's title(with the chapter no) into word.
2. Highlight the mistakes with Ctrl+B.
3. Suggest replacement.

Thank you,

The P Predicament, Shantanu and (XCIV)

He gave the microphone to Dinesh, the junior guy who was coordinating. He put his hands into his pocket, and retrieved something within his clasped hands. He kneeled down on one knee and opened his hands. Dinesh kept the microphone near Shantanu’s lips.

“Elvia will you marry me?” his voice echoed in the auditorium and reverberated in every cell of my body. The dot sized diamond on the cute platinum ring reflected the dim lights of the dais brightly, but it was no match to the glitter in his eyes.

To add to my embarrassment Vandhana was reading my novice poems,

"...I know I was mad
I wanted you to know
I was madly mad of you
But I was too mad to tell you
I wanted to feel ..."

You are a greatest boon
Whom I got not very soon
Every-time I see the moon
I wish it be the noon
To see you my loon
Love is a sensitive cocoon
Nothing funny like a cartoon
I turn all maroon
When you burst my heart balloon
Kindly save my crown
From love sinking it to drown..."

I was not even conscious enough to wonder from where she got all those poems from.

Dinesh was holding the microphone near me non-verbally asking me for an answer. Looking at my puzzled expression Shantanu whispered “I liquidated Reliance Industries from my demat.”

It took much longer for me to understand what he meant, and I was in no mood for an explanation anyway. I understood the meaning of being ‘frozen’. The only part of my body that had any signs of life was the heavy thumping of my arteries.

Shantanu ventured again “Elvia will you marry me?” I had stopped breathing just like the rest of crowd. I meekly replied “yes” I would have fainted if not for the earth shaking roar from the crowd. Shantanu showed the ring, but I was not conscious enough to lift my hands.

Shantanu helped himself, and put on the ring on my left ring finger. Till date I have no memory of what happened next. I spent most of the time during the following days admiring the ring.

With the uncertainty of future and fear of opening up our love to my parents I completed the last of our semester exams. I was praying God hopelessly ‘Let my college life not end’.

I was wondering how to manage the ring. I felt too sentimental to remove the ring from my fingers. Finally my analytical mind found a solution.

Before leaving for home I asked dad for money stating that my friends and I had planned to buy identical rings in the memory of our college life. I could sense dad frowning even over phone. Finally with mom’s support dad consented.

With that money I bought a similar ring to Anu, and we both headed to our home. Anu was protesting that she will have no part in facing my dad, when I would tell him about Shantanu. Somehow I managed to drag her along to our home, to stay with me for a few days.

I know I hadn’t the luxury of waiting for the right moment. I also knew for sure our wedding couldn’t be postponed any the later.

A week past since we arrived at our home. I called up Shantanu, “Hey what’s wrong with you?”

He meekly replied, “Wrong with me!!!”

“Ya you hadn’t called for the past couple of days.”

“Hmmm.. well you know work pressure. I couldn’t wait to get things done.”

“So how is the progress? Any leads in getting a proper site for the Chennai office?”

“Not yet.”

“Ok dear take care don’t bug your-self too much.”

“Ya ok”

“Love you”


I mused ‘What’s wrong with him?’ ‘Could work stress change things that are embedded in the subconscious?’ He sounded like he was someone else.

I ignored the matter. There was something more pressing that I had to deal with. It was high time I opened up the matter. Things couldn’t wait any longer.

It was a Sunday morning. Dad was at home. I had my shower reciting the dialogues I would use in persuading dad. The very thought of it was bone-chilling, but I was in a ‘Now or Never’ predicament.

I made the decision. I dressed up in my dad’s favorite blue color. With a conservative make-up, I walked down the stairs into the drawing room.

Dad was sitting on the sofa with ‘The Hindu’ in his hands and a cup of steaming coffee on the Coffee Table. Mom was seated in the couch opposite to that of dad’s flipping through some magazine.

As I entered the room no one showed any signs of recognition. I took a seat midway besides mom’s couch. I could hear every systole clearly. I broke the silence of the morning.

“Dad..” He continued looking into the newspaper.

I ventured again, “Dad, I want to talk to you”

He gave a slight nod stating that he heard me. I took a deep breath. “Dad I want to speak to you about Shantanu, a budding entrepreneur…” In these first few words I knew I had botched it up. All my numerous practice sessions with Anu were of no avail. I knew I had made it an extempore.

Dad cut me short, “Sanjay and his parents Mr. and Mrs Iyer your long lost uncle and aunt are joining us for lunch today. Go back to your room and get ready for lunch.”

“But dad I..”

“Sanjay has finished his IAS training last month and had been the 2nd best in his batch. He had been appointed joint secretary for Industrial affairs. You are going to be engaged with him in the next auspicious day.”

My pulse rate shot up. I stood up from my seat. Gathered all my strength and said, “Dad I love Shantanu. I want to marry him and spend the rest of my life with him.”

Dad remained seated but his visage grew sterner, “Your destiny is with Sanjay. Forget all about Shantanu and just do what has been told.”

I looked at mom helplessly, but she was hopelessly pretending to be so engrossed with the magazine, and to make it worse she stood up and walked into the kitchen. I knew I was all alone in this battle with my loving dad.

“Dad but Shantanu is really a nice guy. He is intellectual and smart you must talk to him. You must….”

“I spoke to him day before yesterday. I gave him an option to choose between you and his non-existent company, and as you know the all ambitious Shantanu choose his company.”

The whole world came crashing down on me. Everything whirled around me. I couldn’t even imagine what had happened. I didn’t believe it ‘No it can never be the case’.

“No, Shantanu would have never said that. Dad, please give him a chance. Please talk to him. I beg you please…”

“He really is a smart guy. He knew making the later choice would be of no avail. I didn’t have to persuade him any longer. I promised him all legal help, and he readily budged” a villainy smile replaced the hardened expression on his visage.

“That really can’t be possible. Dad you really don’t know what…”


‘Everything’ he stressed on the word. ‘What does everything mean?’ ‘Does he really know everything?’ ‘Is he ok with whatever happened?’ ‘Doesn’t my present state mean anything to him?’

I felt my heart would explode. I could feel the blood flow through the veins across my temples. My head felt like it would blast. My clenched fist grew tighter that my nails dug deep into my palms. A drop of blood started trickling down my palm, and that was the last thing I remembered before fainting.

P.S. If at all the Epilogue is published it will be published only in print. Kindly don't get disappointed looking for the Epilogue here. Anyway I ll continue writing in this blog. Thank you for your support.

Delay Notice

Due to unavoidable reasons I may take more than a month for the next post. Kindly bear with me.

Thank u,

Farewell & Our Faculty (XCIII)

Reviewed by Shahaan

The weekend was full of thanking people. I was too bored of hearing ‘Congrats’, ‘Good Luck’, ‘All the best’ etc etc. By Sunday night I explained for the nth time about the rounds in Google recruitment. I was also bored of telling people I had no idea about contacting CII or applying for a business loan.

I was amazed by the number of girls who were aspired by the thought of being entrepreneurs. None in my friends circle had any idea of starting their own ventures. All they cared about was settling soon.

I had heard girls talking about CAT and MBA, but even most of them talked about average salary in the placements of good B-schools. Only then I realized the entrepreneur zeal had spread well amongst girls. I mused whether the era of equality has bloomed, where people wouldn’t stop a girl from something just because ‘She is a Girl.’

With Google and the excitement that followed I had almost forgotten our FYP. We had our final review that week, and our final semester exams the week after. I was least bothered about the semester exams, but the half finished FYP was bone chilling.

That was not the case with Shantanu. His software was the highlight of his CII presentation. He helped us out with our project. He hated such purely academic projects. He repeated “Engineering is the art of the application of science, and not to do something for the heck of it.”

But it was obvious that projects that were done 'for the heck of it' were only valued as great by our panel rather than the ones that were innovative application oriented. I do believe only such academic research oriented projects are good for a renowned technological institute like ours.

On the day of the review our project didn’t work as expected, but it did do something proving that the 100s of lines of our code does have life. We explained with jargons with presentation charms and created a scene like we have invented something big.

The panel seemed to understand the efforts we had taken, and they nodded their agreement. They pointed out that if our project really worked perfectly well we would have got an ‘S’. Just as they had said later in the notice board we had an ‘A’ next to our names.

Shantanu right from the beginning had a bad time managing Dr.Sekar without much support from Prof.AP and Prof.Rani. He kept saying, “They can’t fail me. I would at least get an ‘E’ and that’s good enough for me. I know mine is worth a loan of 25Laks.”

But to everyone’s surprise he got an ‘A’. In the review Dr.Sekar had commented his project as ‘people’s project’, and felt sorry that they couldn’t award an ‘S’ as it was not a research oriented project. The panel congratulated him on his loan, and promised all help in patenting his software, and any future help they could do with his venture.

People were bugging me asking for ‘treat’, and a really big one. I badly wished I treat them in Barbique Nation as I felt very crest fallen the other day when Microsoft people treated there. But people were bored of that restaurant, and they couldn’t afford to cut classes in the afternoon for lunch in the last few working days of college.

Finally we zeroed in on a Chettinad Restaurant. People enjoyed themselves as barbarians. Shantanu was counting the number of species he had. I was enjoying the site of people feasting. I just had some noodles, and had ice creams over and over again just for the sake of not sitting idle.

Shantanu and Anu sitting opposite to me were teasing me, teaching animal anatomy with every dish. Till that day I only knew Chinese people had so many species to eat. That day I was enlightened to the fact that South Indians had more than a dozen different vertebrates in their menu, and had dozens of ways to cook them.

We had the entire first floor booked for us with not less than 50 people. Preparing the guest list in itself had been as hectic as preparing our 0th review project proposal. Finally every guest followed Anu and Drank for the colorful future of the hosts Thanu, Shantanu and I.

We were done with our FYPs and the only thing that was left with college was our 8th semester exams. We had less than 2 weeks of college left. We enjoyed ourselves, and slam books were flying across the classroom. People wrote essays for each other, as many people preferred blank slam books to pre-formatted ones.

On the evening of our last working day we had our farewell, and thanks giving to our faculty. Our juniors had arranged a smaller auditorium in our campus for the event. They were enthusiastic about the event, and gave cues that we have surprises.

On the evening of the farewell, we were all enthusiastically assembled in the hall. A few members of the faculty were early and occupied the front seats. In sometime almost every teacher from our dept who handled classes for us assembled in the hall. It really would have been bit of a scary thing, but we felt something the opposite, though we had 4 more exams, and as always our fates still in their hands.

Initially we had a few cultural events by our juniors. A few professors whistled at a dance performance by junior girls like they were in a cinema theater. In course of time we had mingled ourselves with the faculty.

A few gutful 4th years had called for events for Faculty participation. The first one was Anthakshari where there were two teams both fully comprised of professors and lecturers. We never knew our teachers could sing so well.

The next one was a bit more than just fantasy, when a few professors danced on stage including our HOD. It was a blissful site. The most feared and respected Prof.AP did take a few steps for her part.

It was time for the last event of the day arranged by our juniors. They called the names of popular pairs in the 4th years. First one was Krishna and Sundari. Sundari hid herself amongst the girls, but could not keep herself hidden when professors themselves called her on stage.

Both of them blushed wide and Krishna “We were just good friends nothing more”. At least he said that, while Sundari was lost for words. Finally she managed to call Krishna as “bro” with a big ‘O’ response from everyone.

Next one was Preethi and Vijay followed by Raja and Revathi. They too blushed and managed a few fuzzy words. I was now practically shivering because there was no doubt the next one would be us. I was wondering whether Shantanu could be found at least in a 100meters range of the auditorium.

But to my great surprise he walked confidently to the stage when our names were called. The MC commented as “The best pair in the history of our college.” I was in a dilemma whether to walk up the dais or to run away.

Adding to my nervousness they played the song ‘Teri Ore’ in the background. I was suspicious whether Shantanu had a part in that plot. Amidst all my classmates, juniors and faculty I walked up the stage throwing sideways glances at Shantanu reading his expressions.

I was shivering. Shantanu briskly got hold of the cordless microphone. “I am happy that all of you are here to witness this important moment of my life.”

I always stayed cool when someone stared at us when we walked together. But this was entirely different. Every word of him echoed inside my empty heart as all blood was drained out of it.
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