ASK – I see that you also have a lot of fascination towards temples. So what is the one favorite temple you visited and one which is on your wishlist?
3M – So favorite temple hands down is Tirupati Balaji, I have been visiting since I have been a child. My dad is visiting every year since 25-30 years and I have been lucky to accompany him around 10-15 times. And the most amazing or surreal experience in this temple is listening to the Venkateshwara Suprabhatam.
The one on my wishlist is Mansarovar as it is one of the places which takes you back in time. Another one is Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, which came into limelight due to its wealth and other conspiracy theories. So that makes it an interesting temple to visit as well.
But having said that, I am not a religious fanatic or very irrational when it comes to my beliefs. I would consider myself more spiritual than religious. You can see it from the books I read. For instance, I read the ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ and it changed my life. Steve Jobs is someone I looked up to and admired and he used to read this book every year of his life.
ASK – That’s very interesting. Very few people venture into Spiritual/Philosophical books. Why do you say it’s a life-changing book and how did the book help you in other areas of life?
3M – The biggest takeaway from this book was that spirituality is about connectedness with the world in both the external and the internal world. And the more you connect with yourself as a person, the more you understand and make sense of the outside world. The world is not just outside, it is as much inside as it is outside and you are just a conductor/wire that connects the outside and the inside. There is a lot to the World than you and I can perceive. If you understand this, you come to know that there are a lot of things you cannot control and then you shift your focus to things you can control such as your focus, energy, and attention.
When the Gita says “Karmanye Vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kada Chana” (Literal meaning: You are entitled to do your duty and action, but never to the results of your actions.), it basically says that what happens is not in your hand and knowing this brings you at ultimate peace.
In investing as well, after reading and analyzing if I think, this is a good buy and if it keeps going up, I may believe that because I said Buy it keeps going up and as Sacred Games says “Kabhi Kabhar lagta hain apunich Bhagwaan hain” and this is the biggest fallacy. You just control the input and not the output. You should focus on reading, focusing and analyzing. If it goes you are plain lucky and if it goes down you are plain unlucky and you may need to understand the reason behind it. So spirituality basically teaches you things you can and cannot control.
ASK – So let’s come to Mumbai. What do you like the most about this city?
3M – Everything yaar. So Mumbai is like Stockholm syndrome (a condition which causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors during captivity). It has got all the wrong things – terrible traffic, a lot of people and haywire planning.
But Mumbai as a city has got ‘Current’ and it is a city of synergy. It is said that “People make a place and the place makes the person”. You know how there are synergies in mergers & Acquisitions, the same way Mumbai is that synergy as you bring a lot more to Mumbai (compared to what you would have brought to another city) and Mumbai as well brings a lot to you. And I believe this city makes a person work more and be a little more. I have been fortunate enough to be brought up in the southern part of the city as this part has witnessed amazing corporate stories.
ASK – True that. Growing up as well, I have always appreciated a good corporate story and looked up to Business leaders as my stars.
3M – So, I am a sucker for good corporate stories. To me, that is as good as any history story that took place. My favorite history book is not any World war books but rather the story of Goldman Sachs, Nike, McDonald’s and so on. For me to walk down the lane of Ballard Pier is something I love doing – I see the first Reliance Building and it feels like going back in history. I also like seeing the registered offices of L&T, Balmer & Lawrie.
There is a non-descript place in that area which houses the Old Air India building with the Old Air India logo which shows a centaur. I like to visit this building as well.
Here is the logo.
ASK – So let’s talk about the history of Bombay since you have grown up here. What are some stories you like?
3M – So there is a very interesting story about Russi Mody from the Tatas who was once driving down this street and he was driving very fast. And one of the cops stopped him for rash driving. The cop naturally says “Aise Kaise Chala Raha hai, there baap ka road hain kya?” (How the hell are you driving? Is this your dad’s road?) And Russi Mody gets out, looks around and he points towards a signboard showing the street name. And guess what the street name was? It was Homi Mody Street, and it was actually a street named after his father! So yeah this is a very cool story and one of the folklore of the Tata Group!
ASK – Let’s talk about Food! Are you a vegetarian? And what are some places you like to eat in Bombay?
3M – So I am a teetotaller and I don’t eat big. My food choices are quite boring I would say, but that doesn’t stop me from reading and tasting new types of food. So my favorite ones are Americano (opened recently) for European/American food mainly for their use of fresh ingredients. I love Umame, as I have a very sweet tooth. I love Kala Ghoda café. A guilty pleasure would be a good pizza from Dominos.
ASK – I see that there is a contrast in your food choices because you seem to like Gourmet food and even Dominos!
3M – So yeah, as much as I like American food, I am a sucker for a McDonalds Burger such as Aloo Tikki and Mcveggie.
ASK – Those 2 names are very nostalgic because I have practically grown up eating these burgers during School! What about Indian Food?
3M – So yeah, exactly. Now coming to Indian Food, I am a sucker for ITC’s Dal. So at any wedding I go to or any restaurant in ITC, if there is Indian food, I will just have dal like soup and that’s all I have and it may be blasphemous to your readers but I love Paneer Biryani.
ASK – I think a lot of readers are going to say that there is never a veg biryani, its Pulao!
3M – So yeah the debate keeps going on between Pulao v/s Biryani. I have read a lot on both of these food items. Anything that Vir Sanghvi writes about food is phenomenal. So a shout out to him.
ASK – What would be the one thing you would do better if you could go back in time?
3M –Most definitely focus on fitness and reading much earlier in my life. Basically, whatever I do right now, I wish I did that much earlier. So this is the beauty of growing up, every time you learn something new, you go back and you wish you knew this earlier and as long as this happens, it means you are growing.
If you think whatever you did in the past was much better, it automatically means that you are satisfied and you should not be. Challenging and pushing yourself towards greater goals will help you grow more and advance in life!
ASK – What is the one thing you would avoid if you could go back in time?
3M – Definitely not do the squats! Yes! I wish I would have practiced music a lot more.
ASK – So tell me about your relation with Music? I know that you play a few instruments and follow the Music Scene closely.
3M – So I have been fortunate enough to play a few instruments, something inculcated/taught by my Mom and a lot of my music knowledge has been attained organically and it has been god gifted. I have never visited any serious music classes. I wish that I should have attended a serious class to appreciate music more than I do right now.
ASK – So what instruments do you play?
3M – I can play most of the percussion instruments, any sort of rhythm instruments, all the keys and some bit of Drums, Dhol and Kartal. I love playing the keyboard and the piano whenever I have access to it. I have a Yamaha Tyros 3(All the Yamaha Guys, shout-out to you!). I play harmonium as well and in family gatherings, I play it with them.
Anytime I find a new instrument, I try to buy it and try to learn it myself. I love the journey of learning a new instrument as it is very challenging yet cool at the same time.
ASK – Well, I aspire to learn an instrument myself but haven’t been able to do it.
3M – You definitely should as this teaches you so much more in life. So when I talk about fitness, reading, music and when I talk about all these things, everyone will speak about the physical part of these activities, no one talks about the mental part. Playing music soothes your mind and research shows that Musicians usually have a slightly larger brain. So I think one can see patterns which could not have existed hadn’t you been a musician.
ASK – So this is very intriguing to me because I never thought you could draw patterns to your life or say investing from Music field. So like you mentioned patterns, can you help me decode this with an example?
3M – So a simple example, the words I use, I think very sonically. The words I use have to be sonically correct, so if I say that massive market selloff, I use a lot of alterations because sonically it sounds good. I say a simple example as it rhymes. Music does this to a person – it helps one to formulate words and sentences which are sonically intuitive and pleasing and this does not happen consciously but rather sub-consciously.
ASK – Wow! I mean I always thought Fitness and Investing could draw parallels from each other, but Music is also one aspect of the spectrum from where parallels/teachings can be drawn!
3M – Once you are inclined in any sort of art, you thoroughly start enjoying it and you start thinking of things beyond the obvious. Only when you start thinking beyond the obvious, the returns will be extra-ordinary. I mean these are smaller things but it may have a good impact.
Historically speaking, the world has seen Albert Einstein who played the violin, a lot of RBI governors who played Carnatic Music and then Steve Jobs who was a big fan of Bob Dylan and was also into poetry. Some of the smartest people on earth were also musicians.
So, in the end, I would just like to say that as a Marwari that you have a left and right side of Brain and fully utilize it yaar – Pura paisa wasool Karo. And when you meet God finally, and when you are asked if you achieved a lot, you can proudly say “Achieve ka pata nahi, but Jitna Diya full utilize Kiya” (Don’t know about achievements but utilized what was given to me fully!). This is most important – full paisa vasool.
ASK – One message to your fans and people who look up to you?
3M – Fans? And people who look up to me? Never knew I had them but if I had to, it would be “Just be”. And to add value to my fans, I strive to learn more and share more, because there is no blind fandom. Only when I add value that this looking up of people is justified, so I guess I am under pressure now to justify everyone’s expectations. So a shout out to people who appreciate my work and the readers of this blog!
End of the Interview.
I would like to thank Mangalam Sir for taking his time out to get interviewed by me. Not only that, he was kind enough to lighten the mood, offer me advice on the questions itself and feed me Maggi (#FCMGisLife). This conversation helped me learn much more from him than I normally do on a typical day and it has also helped me reflect on a few things. I hope the readers like this article. Stay tuned as many more articles like this are planned, so keep reading and keep sharing 🙂