Tarun Katial's Karmic Connection

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There's a great hustle bustle of activity at the Sony office while it's raining cats and dogs outside. It looks like it's been a day of hectic meetings, creative brainstorming sessions for Tarun Katial, Business Head Sony. As I enter his cabin, his cell phone keeps beeping incessantly; as Katial is busying sending off that `one last mail for the day.'

Yet, there's not a hint of being stressed out at the end of the day; in fact he looks pretty calm, composed and totally in charge of himself.

"Television is as stressful as any other profession really," he declares nonchalantly. "And what keeps me through the day is that I take a very detached attitude towards life in general."

That perhaps sets the whole tone of the conversation, as we settle down for a tete-e-tete. And during the course of the conversation Katial reveals a rather spiritual side to his personality.

He reveals, "I did a course in Vipassana, an ancient form of meditation a few years ago which sort of transformed my life in very many ways. Now, I not only practice it everyday but recommend it to many people within the television industry."

For those uninitiated, Vipassana is an ancient technique of meditation and helps in self transformation through self observation.

Though slightly reluctant to talk further, but after much convincing he expounds his spiritual journey which began when his chips were down.

So, here goes Tarun Katial on Life, Success and Karma.

Vipassana filled a certain vacuum in my life.

It was about two years ago, that Katial discovered his moment of truth He says, " I got into Vipassana a few years ago when I was actually unemployed, so-to-speak or lets say in-between jobs (read between Star & Sony). That was a pretty depressing period of my life which lasted for about five months. I felt totally out of touch with the world and did not meet too many people. There was a certain vacuum in my life. It's like suddenly I realized that without a job or a position you're a nobody.

"But then, it's like life always offers you an opportunity. I used the vacuum as an opportunity to do something new and get on with life. One of my family members actually recommended the course in Igatpuri to me. It sounded like a good retreat from the regular mundane life and I started to get the things I decided to go for it. What I learned from the course, has sort of stayed with me forever.

For those uninitiated, Vipassana is one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered by Gautam Buddha more than 2500 years ago and was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal ill. Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation.

Recalling the experience

Having decided to take the plunge, Katial was off to Igatpuri, all equipped with the basic stuff ( a torch, an umbrella a bed etc) to take on a ten day hibernation.

"There are many who shirk from doing this course since it demands a very high level of discipline. But since it promised inner peace I was all prepared for it. We had to be up early in the morning and meditate for the major part of the day. Another important thing being that one is not allowed to communicate to people around.

It's during the silence is when I began the process of self-evaluation -to differentiate between the good-bad and the ugly. I sort of felt my life going past me from mychildhood. Normally, the wrong things that we do in life are pushed under the carpet but it does manifest in the form of prejudices at a later stage in life. Now my working day begins mostly with Vipassana.

I religiously practice this form of meditation each working day. It sort of sets the tone for the day and leaves me rejuvenated for the day. I've now learned to take life at its face value and leave out the insignificant things in life.

My success is the result of my good karma

I am honestly not too ambitious but just a product of being at the right time and place. Also, I believe my success is really the result of my good karma. I am not really scared of the future or losing it all, since nothing is really permanent in life. It's like a sensation that you feel which will go away after a point of time. I never get too excited with success or get too depressed with failure. So, this attitude sort of keeps me rooted.

On climbing up the corporate ladder

When I ask him but don't you want to be the CEO of a company one day. He says, "no, not really. I would rather retire early and do something like teach at a media school or run an NGO.

I don't claim to read Jack Welsh

I don't claim to read great books. Forget Jack Welsh or any such author. I just stick to simple inspirational books on Buddhism, like the one I am reading now is called, ` The way it is by Ajahn Sumdha and there's another one by Swami Chimayananda - on the Art of living.

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