“LESS IS MORE ” , Lt Cmdr Abhilash Tomy at WeSchool

May 11, 2013 | Posted by admin in Campus Corner   No Comments »

A different kind of a Management Guru had walked in the WeSchool campus the other day to share his experiences and knowledge with the eager audience packed to the capacity in the auditorium. The young man wearing a simple T-shirt and a pair of jeans was accompanied by his bearded Mentor similarly dressed, both displaying similar traits of humility, simplicity, risk taking ability and the spirit of seeking the unknown .The young man was Lt. Cmdr Abhilash Tomy, the intrepid Dornier pilot from the Indian Navy, who has earned the distinction of being the first Indian, second Asian and seventy-ninth in the world to circumnavigate the world, solo, non-stop in a home-built sailboat named after the sea-goddess ‘Mhadei’. And with him was his Mentor, Cmdr Dilip Donde who had done a similar feat in 2009. when the idea of another  Indian naval officer repeating Cmdr Donde’s feat, this time non-stop, was mooted in 2011 , the mantle naturally fell on Abhilash’s young shoulders, as he was not only raring to go but knew the challenge well having joined Cmdr Donde to repair and maintain the weather-beaten ‘Mhadei’ at every port where he had stopped during his voyage in 2009. And after many hours of gruelling training through some real rough waters, the day dawned when ‘Mhadei’ was handed over to him and he was told, “All yours …” .Mhadei belonged to him and he was Mhadei’s.

And it was all that he had. With the limitations of  space in the sailboat ,his  resources were few .He was the captain, the chief engineer, first mate and the second, the cadet and also the chef , Which meant waking every 30 minutes… tracking the weather, checking the boat, reading, doing the chores and then sleeping again for exactly 30 minutes, before waking up again and going through that same routine over and over again – like clockwork for 150 days .  The Mhadei set sail from the Gateway in November 2012, it travelled  through miles of vast expanses of seas and oceans, traits and gulfs , went round all the capes with only the occasional birds, whales and sharks as visitors. Sometimes, Abhilash would wake up to winds blowing at 130 kmph and waves topping 30 feet which would make him  forget everything and concentrate on the job at hand – coaxing  the Mhadei to safety through fiercely turbulent waves and frighteningly calm seas with nerves of steel. With just a couple of hours sleep, he was always watchful for the pirates who fortunately never showed up! With the wind, waves and sun guiding him, he went on relentlessly, all by himself, with no ‘real’ person to have a conversation with; communicating the story of his adventurous and perilous journey to the world thru his cell phone, thru his diary, his blog on the internet and the radio. Mhadei belonged to him and he was Mhadei’s.

When he landed back on shore, his feet were trembling. He had got so used to living on the deck of the boat that he couldn’t even take a few steps on the terra ferma. But, he doesn’t mind taking another round, because as soon as he landed, Abhilash asked his commander, “Sir, can I go for one more round, please? ”

”The waves were angry, they were playful, they were calm, the winds egged us on, the sun warmed us .They respected us; they were our friends whom we met on the way. We bring back no trophies; we bring back a lesson .Earth provides us with all our needs but not for our greeds. It tell us “All yours…”   and we need to the learn that “Less is more”, said Abhilash, in conclusion.

Needless to mention, he got a standing ovation. All of us at WeSchool, including Prof Dr Uday Salunkhe, our Group Director, an adventure enthusiast himself, rose to our feet to salute the bravehearts that made every Indian proud and brought our Commander-In-Chief, Hon’ble  Pranabkumar Mukerjee, President of India to felicitate the hero of Sagarparikrama II at the Gateway of India in April 2013. For Welingkarites , Abhilash’s message had a special meaning. For a B School that believes in mentoring the Global citizen leaders that will have the strength to override the challenges thrown by the turbulent times, escape the narrow confines of personal ambitions and goals to work for societal good , experiential learning has always been a part of our pedagogy. Apart from numerous corporate honchos starting with Indira Nooyi, thespians like the BIG B, philosophers Like Swami Parthsarthy, legendary adventurer-environmentalists like Apa Sherpa and Robert Swan, filmmakers like Prakash Jha and many other leaders from different walks of life, have shared their words of wisdom with the young mangers-to-be at WeSchool to help them change their lenses and refocus on career and life anew. Outdoor stints and expeditions help individuals to not only build confidence, trust and empathy, but generate understanding and transfer knowledge in a manner different from the traditional method of teaching where teachers simply transfer knowledge upon their students. Experiential learning allows WeSchool students to engage their own experiences and reflect upon them to further synthesize /analyze information and develop skills that are vital for the twenty-first century.  It also helps to emphasize the value of working for the common good of diverse stakeholders across geographical and ethno-cultural borders; these collaborative efforts foster a deep sense of equality while fostering a deeper appreciation of one another’s diversity. Prof Charuhas Joshi, an adventure expert and seasoned mountaineer, is a faculty on board at WeSchool and is always devising newer ways to impart management education through adventurous outbound modules. With the ‘Triple A’ concept firmly in place and with a ‘Learning By Doing’ atmosphere, individuals can strengthen their skills in a meaningful way that helps to promote life-long learners .In a collaborative environment team players not only learn more about themselves and their communication skills, but those of others as well, thereby creating a stronger sense of togetherness and belonging. Adventure creates the space for them  to learn more about both their personal behaviour and contributions as well as the group’s, and take the wisdom back to their everyday lives and routines to create positive change.

Young mangers that have learnt the technical outdoor skills, also acquire leadership, and environmental ethics. The world needs positive thinking and ethical leaders that will change not just the greediness prevailing in the corridors of economic powers but take great risks to work beyond realms of geo-political authorities and with creativity and innovation mindsets that they possess, influence the course of the world.

The lesson was  indeed well learnt…LESS IS MORE !


“Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand” – Confucius, circa 450 BC





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