New Delhi Diary – December 2020

Winter brings its own charm

Life in winter has its own unique charm. No doubt, the winter months, even in the city, has its little challenges, particularly for the elderly and children. But then, there are also many good aspects to the winter that outweigh the challenges. The best thing of winter is that one can visit places with ease without having to worry about challenges experienced in other seasons such as extreme heat and heavy rain.

Come winter and people start going out for picnics and spend the whole day in beautiful parks of which the city has several hundreds. There are sunny days for most of the winter months. And there is nothing like ‘doing or undoing’ something in the warm, winter sun.

Coldest October and November

Surprisingly, the city has already experienced some wintery days in the month of October. According to the weatherman, 2020 was the coldest October in 58 years with the minimum temperatures plummeting to 17.2 degree Celsius. The coldest temperature for October was 16.9 degree Celsius, which was recorded in 1962.

And, on 19 November 2020, the city experienced its coldest day in 14 years when the minimum temperature nosedived to 7.5 degree Celsius. Delhi’s coldest day in November was recorded on 28, November, 1938 when the temperature went down to 3.9 degree Celsius.

One wonders whether all this could be a precursor to a cold and harsh winter in the city. Who cares! Even in the coldest weather, most days in the city are sunny and benign, and there is nothing more enjoyable than basking in the sun.

A ‘rags to riches’ story

Here is a ‘rags to riches story’. Jyoti Bansal, a small town boy from Ajmer in Rajasthan, migrated to the USA in 2000 with big dreams. Recently, he sold his company, AppDynamics, to the American technology giant, Cisco, for USD3.7 billion (INR 25,150 crore).

He had nothing but his dreams, confidence and a degree from IIT, Delhi, when he left for the USA. He had to face various challenges before he found work with a start-up there. He worked with them for a couple of years but could not see his dreams coming true. He left them and started his own start-up in 2008, which he named AppDynamics. He faced many challenges in this venture before he was able to attract investors.

His efforts to attract venture capitalists met with 20 rejections. However, he never gave up. Finally, he received his first funding of USD 5 million (INR 369,750,000). This helped his project take off. Once it gathered some momentum, he managed to attract investments of USD 350 million (INR 25,882,500,000), which catapulted the company into the big league.

The company was built on Bansal’s vision to develop ‘application intelligence’ that could help modern enterprises achieve digital transformation. So, he developed a software platform to help computers monitor their mobile apps and websites for various bugs.

Before the sale, Bansal headed the company as its Chairman and the firm employed around 1,200 people. When asked what he will do now, Bansal responded, “I am not done yet. I will keep creating companies and solving problems.”

The quest for moral compass

An important part of a good life is the ability to read interesting books. My daughter recently gifted me a book called The Quest for Moral Compass by British author Kenan Malik. This book gave me several days of great reading and enjoyment. The book is about the history of moral thoughts over three millennia from Homer’s Greece to Mao’s China, and from ancient India to modern America. The book scrutinises the ideas and thoughts of various philosophers and thinkers. The question of god is discussed too but there is no sight of a definitive answer of God’s existence!

Tailpiece:

American: Do you also call your wife ‘Honey’ in India?

Indian: No, we call her ‘bee-bee’ because she stings twice as hard!

By P.P. Wangchuk

P.P. Wangchuk is a New Delhi-based editor-at-large, columnist and professional speaker

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