Overall, I just wanted to thank you

Yesterday was not particularly a good day. Still recovering from a bout of seasonal flu, and was feeling quite low in the day. Late at night, was not feeling like sleeping and was browsing the net, chatting with friends. When suddenly an email popped up. A reply to a mail written 2 years back! Wow! This changed the total 'feel low' mood. I am a firm believer of Karma, and this coming up makes me an even bigger believer.

Sumit was an intern in Symantec, and on the time of completing his internship came up to me to ask for advice. He was in a different team - but still wanted some advice from me. It was probably cause I was more approachable than other managers. The conversation and the reply are below with kind permission from Sumit.

Firstup the mail I had sent out on 2008.

from    Vibhu Rishi
to    Sumit Agarwal

date    Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 3:38 PM
subject    Best of luck in future endeavors
hi Sumit,

My interaction with you was very brief. But here are a maelstrom of thoughts that I have i wanted to share with you but never seem to get the time to say them :) . They are in random order, so maybe difficult to read the mail at one go ;)

I see great potential in you. Go forth and conquer.

Great men are not born. They are made. From time immemorial, even with kings, its not always someone who is born in a great family that becomes great, but people who think different that they reach heights others did not even dream off.

As Steve Jobs (one of my icon figures) says : Stay Hungry Stay Foolish .

some criticism and helpful ( in my opinion which may be totally wrong ;) ) tips
- Dressing is important. make sure you dress for what you want to become and not what you are. I should probably not be giving this advice as I myself don't dress appropriate, but then I do not know what I want to become ;) .
- Keep your body language positive. Most people will have good looks, wear good clothes, but not know how to keep their body language positive. Walk with purpose. Look with intent. You already have some of it, just keep it in mind , and you will develop a 'presence'
- Your interaction here has been with some individuals who are ... umm.. hyper. This may give you an impression that maybe that is the way to go, yelling and getting the things done. On the short term it works well, but if you plan to have your own company, you get better loyalty out of people in other ways. I know people in pretty high positions  ( govt service and private firms) who are the most humble people - but the people who follow them are loyal to the hilt. Its your choice which path you take.
- You stammer a bit. I notice that it hampers your communication abilities. This is normal. I had it in school ( 11th class ) . it happens when your thoughts outrace you, and your words cannot keep up with your thoughts. The way we mostly try to cope up with it is to try and talk fast. But sometimes, to go fast , you have to go slow. Slow down your vocal speed. Think through what you are going to say, and say it slowly, deliberately. You will get out of this habit of rushstammer.

You want to become someone great. Know that you cannot have everything in life. there will be setbacks in life - most of which are out of your control, some , because you messed up. Don't be hard on yourself. Give yourself room. One learns to run by falling repeatedly. You can't blame yourself for falling. Just get back upright and go ahead. Rough roads lead to smooth ones with time .

In fact I believe rough times are not that bad as everyone makes out them to be.

Develop a few role models. I find it helps me. If I am in a particular situation where I am not getting answers, or do now know how to proceed, I think what my role models will do. That gives you the answers.

Baki, enjoy life. There is much more in life than work and making money. Take care of your health - no amount of money can give you back  your health after you have lost it. Live life to the fullest - the time does not ever come back. Make time for doing things that you want to do. My philosophy is to sit aside sometime, and think - what are the things i would think of and say 'oh shit ! i did not do this' , if it was the last day of my life. That gives me a list to work with.

chalo. enough of gyan. :)

Have Fun.
Ride Safe.


The reply I got yesterday out of the blue. Thanks Sumit :)

from    sumit agarwal
to    Vibhu Rishi
date    Sun, Mar 27, 2011 at 11:11 PM
Hi Vibhu,

This might feel weird as i am replying to 2.5 years old mail, but your mail became younger day by day through all this time. The thoughts are coming randomly as am typing, please bear with that.

After my internship at Symantec, I got a PPO as gautam had pushed my CV. But as I had already shared this with many of our team mates and may be with yo also that I didn't like tech much and wanted to pursue a career in finance or do a start-up.

So after college, I declined the offer from Symantec and started my company in Gurgaon. We ran it profitably and professionally till Jan-2011 and then arrived at decision to exit. The whole start-up experience (1.5 years) was great and may be can share it some other day :). This was the period when I got to see the world closely and learn from it.

After exiting from the biz, I applied to number of finance companies, but got call from just one company and that was JP Morgan. After multiple rounds of grilling, they hired me in Investment Banking division.

Tomorrow is my first day at JPM, Mumbai and I would like to thank you first. May be we didn't spend much time during my stay at Symantec, but I have been following you continuously since then. Reading about your bike trip from Pune-Hyderabad-Nagpur-Bhopal-Jaipur-Delhi-Dehradun..... was quite a experience and definitely some day I wanna pull something like that.

I wanted to attend the recent bike nomads meet in goa but couldn't because of biz commitments and exploring my options. Now I feel that I can think straight and can afford to do more things I always wanted to ( Riding long is one of them).

I plan to purchase a bike in next couple of months, hence will need your expert advice.

Overall, I just wanted to thank you.

See you soon.


  1. Really superb piece of writing shared by you.

    I also remember one advice given by you to me while you were leaving Aricent, "work hard to have a sound technical base".

    I have cracked Gate this year and if things go well i might go for higher studies in near future.

    Also taking another feedback from this post - I should not be afraid of accepting areas where i lack and got to work harder to expand my knowledge base, mere talks and planning dont help much.


  2. Great post!
    Really liked this line of yours:
    " Rough roads lead to smooth ones with time ."