Corporate, Entrepreneurship, Life, StartUp

I am my own critique.

One day I will write separately to tell you how I got connected with performing art, the Stage, music and the entertainment world. Fortunately, I have many friends who are renowned singers, musicians and poets. One such genius is Shri Babulal Gandharva.

Babulal ji has invented a new musical instrument called “Bela Bahar”. The thought of making this instrument came to him after he felt that there were some shortcomings in the Sarangi which his father used to play. He also felt that the future generation of musicians and listeners would benefit from it and would keep the Indian classical music alive. Bela Bahar is a pure combination of Violin and Sarangi. This instrument was approved by AIR and Doordarshan authorities after many struggles.

One day, Babulal ji invited me to his concert at School for The Blind in Dadar, Mumbai. Majority of the audience was visually challenged. They were enjoying Babulal ji’s Bela Bahar, playing some amazing classical notes. I too was drenched in the enchanting raagas while observing Babulal ji playing his soulful music. As Babulal ji finished his rendition, he received a standing ovation from the listeners. I reached out to congratulate him for his heart-warming performance.

I asked him – “Babulal ji, I was observing you playing and at times I could see a smile on your face, at times disappointment and anger. Why was that?”

He replied with a smile – “ Rajiv Bhai, har achcha kalaakar apne kano me ek shrota bithata hai. Wo shrota usse kaheta hai ki kalaakar achcha baja raha hai ya galati kar raha hai. Mein khush hota tha jab mera shrota meri tareef karata tha, aur mein apne aap pe gussa hota tha jab wo mujhe galat bajane par daant deta tha.”

(Rajiv bhai, every good artist would place a ‘listener’ in his ears. The listener would tell the performer if he was playing well or not. I was feeling nice when my listener was appreciating me and was upset when he was scolding me for my poor performance.)

These reflexive comments by Babulal ji were simple but profound. He so casually taught me the way of institutionalising this important learning of being your own critique and doing continuous self-analysis while executing your task.

By default, I have worked with organisations where I had to build the activities from grass root upwards. Also, I never had my “boss” seating in the next cabin and supervising me. Hence from the very beginning of my professional career, I was sensitive about the fact that I will have to self-monitor my performance and contribution to my organisation. Till date before bedtime I ask myself this basic question. Have I contributed more to my organisation and am I doing justice to the salary I am drawing?. If the answer is positive, I get a good night’s sleep. Or else I know, it’s time for me to WAKE UP!


सा से सा तक सात सुर, सात सुरों में राग,
उतना ही संगीत है जितनी तुझ में आग |
– निदा फ़ाज़ली

Sa` se Sa` tak saat sur, saat suron me raag;
utana hi sangeet hai, jitni tujh me aag.
                                                                – Nida Fazli

All raagas are comprised of seven notes, your music is only equal to your burning desires.

About rajivvaishnav

Rajiv Vaishnav Managing Partner Cornerstone Venture Partners Rajiv is Managing Partner at Cornerstone Venture Partners, a global tech VC fund focused on Consumer business enablers (such as Applied AI) and Enterprise / SME BI solutions (vertical SaaS, AR & VR applications, Blockchain for enterprise, etc.). Cornerstone is a Pre-series A / Series A fund, the first institutional support for promising tech ventures enabling growth and customer access in unique ways. Rajiv brings over 35 years of solid experience in building brands, developing teams, expanding the market share and building organisations from grass root upwards. He was heading the Ecosystem & Partnerships Developmentt at Jio-GenNext Hub, A Reliance Enterprise. In this role, Rajiv is responsible to evangelize the Start-Up ecosystem, identify and connect with the deserving start-ups, academia, government agencies, mentors, angel investors and VC networks globally. Since 2002 till end of 2015, Rajiv was an integral part of NASSCOM’s senior management team. He headed NASSCOM’s first regional office in Mumbai and grown to manage the membership outreach nationally. He initiated many path breaking initiatives at NASSCOM including Cyber Safety initiatives with enforcement agencies, start-up incubators with State Governments under 10K Startup programme, evangelised Animation and Gaming industry and nurtured it, lead the ISO Standards initiative to establish a Global BPO and Product Quality Framework Standards out of India. He helped establish NASSCOM’s emerge forum in its formative days. At NASSCOM, he was enthusiastic about developing new IT destinations in the country, and fostering platforms for Industry-academia interactions as he believed that these were the two most critical requirements for the Indian IT industry to maintain its globally advantageous position. Rajiv was a member of AICTE (WR) and of IQAC of the SNDT Women’s University and Trustee at Dewang Mehta Foundation Trust. With Harish Mehta, the first President of TiE, Mumbai and the first Chairman of NASSCOM, Rajiv co-founded TiE in India. He built the organisation bottoms-up and nurtured the start-up ecosystem in India since early 2000. He got early exposure to work with TiE in Silicon Valley and investors, entrepreneurs and mentors such as Kanwal Rekhi, Suhas Patil, Desh Deshpande, Sridhar Iyengar, Raj Jaswa, Shabir Bhatia, Raj Desai and many others… He has worked with Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC), Franchising Association of India (FAI) and US- Environment Resource Center (US-ERC). In the corporate sector, his experience includes stints with two U.S. Freight Forwarding giants Emery Worldwide and Air Express International in sales & marketing. In 2000, Rajiv was invited by the U.S. Government to participate in their International Visitors programme on US Trade and World Market. Rajiv has administered several outward trade delegations including those to International Franchise Expo ’99, USA, Emerging Companies delegations to CeBIT Australia and Silicon Valley. He has represented NASSCOM in the International Advisors Council to the Mayor of Luwan District in Shanghai, China and E-Sports Symposium in Seoul, Korea. Rajiv is a Science graduate from Mumbai University. He is passionate about music and literature. His blog url:
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6 thoughts on “I am my own critique.

  1. Dear Rajiv,

    Truly inspiring article and food for thought for everyone of us. It is time all did this questioning routine so that we become better human beings and live a purposeful & fulfilling life…rgds srikanth

  2. Fantastic, loved the concept of ” kaan may ek shrota” . It also teaches you that even age old and tested things, in this case a sarangi can have limitations and be made better, this is whqt I call ” evolution of innovation” which must go on.

    Great to read your blogs Sir, always a thing or two to ponder upon.

    Keep them coming.

  3. Very rightly you said Rajiv that one has to analyze himself without any bias and that self assessment would guide you to right direction. Very good article Rajiv.

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