Founders with Purpose: Manosh ‘Sputnique’ Sengupta

by Manosh 'Sputnique' Sengupta

I never get bored. Honest.

My fertile sense of fantasy keeps me enthralled and this serves me well, since I’d rather be alone than with wrong company.

Am also politically incorrect. For example,  amongst other things, am vocally curious about people’s origin, ethnicity and orientation. Often, being greeted with a chastising look… apparently, in today’s environment, that’s ‘not-done’.

But I don’t learn.

Diversity fascinates me and people from different backgrounds add interesting flavours to my life – food & music being the more innocent ones.

Hence, am prone to offend the morally righteous.

My life’s interests are eclectic and I value my journeys more than the goal… thus it’s always been the happiness of my pursuits, instead of the much-touted, pursuit of happiness.

I enjoy role-play. The 1st conscious realization of this came at an early age when I forged my Dad’s signature on my report card and later, managed to convince him that it was actually his (it’s another story that, much later it dawned on me that Dad knew and let it pass… he was much cooler than I).

The notion of being able to convince someone, made me conscious of 2 great powers – 1) make-believe: I enjoy creating scenarios and, 2) self-belief:  you need to be convinced in your own story, before sharing it with others.

These 2 forces – make-believe & self-belief – form the crux of who I and & what I do – fantasize & enact
– Fantasize… develop scenarios; Strategize
– Enact… give a form & structure to my imaginations; Engagement Programs
Combination of which, influence & (hopefully) alter Stake-holder attitudes.

Professionally, am a domain-specialist on culture & its branded dissemination. With nearly 30 years of parenting & nurturing iconic brands; first, with leading Agencies and Blue-chip MNCs, am now an independent Advisor, also doubling up as a Master-class facilitator and Mentor for MSMEs & NGOs (I refrain from  mentioning specific Brands/Organisations, which I’ve been associated with. Such info is readily available, at the click of an online button).

I also do a bit of amateur (re)acting, on the side. Am drawn towards the live stage, more than films.

Planning the war strategy… a dramatic moment from Girish’s Karnad’s last play, ‘Crossing to Talikota’

Additionally, food, music, travel and people-watching are some of the indulgences that propel my favorite pastime of fantasizing. However, when asked, “what do you do”; I respond – “I live; play & work”. I refuse to be defined, merely, by my profession.

I realize, am a borderline Outlier, ironically, with a strong sense of roots… the 3 deepest influences in my life (in no particular order) being: my Family – a typical Bengali middle-class joint family; my school – St. Xavier’s Collegiate School; my birth City – Kolkata.

Some insights about my Family.

It was a typical Bengali middle-class joint family. Highly matriarchal, my Grandma, commonly referred to as “Ma”, ruled the roost. The cardinal rule of our house was that, there were no Uncles & Aunts… all were ‘Baba’ (Father) & ‘Ma’ (Mother)

This led to some hilarious situations, as outsiders could never understand when I’d proudly announce that I had 5 Fathers! of course, my Mother had to face the brunt of this boast of mine.

The Clan, originated in Bangladesh (then undivided Bengal), moved to Myanmar (where my Father was born), finally settling in Kolkata. I think, this instilled the Family with a deep cosmopolitan attitude, and a highly progressive outlook.

Though over time, this joint-family has become dis-jointed, with most settling across the globe, we share a special bond, even today.

My current home is Bengaluru, where I met my wife (a Zorastrian-Parsi). Far more accomplished than I, she fulfills my quest for diversity.

Having laid the context of my genetic-roots, I shall now dwell on my DNA

The Section title, under which this write-up is scheduled to appear, is – ‘Founders with Purpose’. Since I do not see myself as a ‘Founder’, in the typical sense, am not sure how I qualify for this Authorship. So, for me, the key-word here is ‘Purpose’

The last decade’s seen lot of chatter around the word, ‘Purpose’. During my various interactions with various levels of Organizations (MNCs; MSMEs; NGOs; Founders), I realized that most were struggling with, how to relate Business interests to their Purpose statement

In fact, whenever asked as to why they do, what they do, the inevitable response was – “Oh, am passionate about it”. But when queried on, what drives this passion. They seemed flummoxed

Purpose & Passion are the dual complimentary forces that propel an individual’s sense of identity. Passion, by itself, is not adequate, for as the saying goes –  “No wind blows in favor ofship without direction”. Direction being your Purpose & the wind, your Passion.

As a result of such interactions, I have evolved a model, which I refer to as ‘5Ps – the Purpose to Profit Pathway‘. It attempts to underscore the importance of Purpose and its relationship with the other 4Ps, leading to Profit.

The below graphic depicts the Ps and their interconnectedness:

I am kinda hoping that this visualization is lucid enough, not to warrant further explanation. If, however, the Reader wishes to discuss, am happy to engage in samvad.

Between each stage, there exists a crevasse, which may swallow the Purpose as your journey progresses. And once, down that hatch, your efforts are doomed.

The only defense, against this crevasse, in mountaineering parlance, is the ‘Rope’. When Climbers move across dangerous terrains, they tie themselves to each other using a long rope. So, even if one were to fall into the deep, the others could pull him out.

The ‘Rope’ in this case is the combination of ‘Purpose’ & ‘Value’. Where the former is your sense of destiny – Dharma; the latter determines the principles that guide your acts – Karma.

In quest of my spirituality – Ganga-sagar, sometime around mid- ’80s, with 2 of my colleagues. Can the Reader spot me?

So, to paraphrase, my life’s quest has been to look at established norms and re-construct them from an individualistic lens. E.g. – we shout, ‘save the mother-earth’. I say, ‘let mother-earth save us’. This ‘savior’ complex is most dangerous! it translates into – I know what is best for you.

Whereas, when we let mother-earth to guide us, we take our cues from nature and harmonize our lives to her rhythm.

Ok. Enough’s been said. Time to wrap up with the 3 battles which, I live thru’ on a daily basis.

  1. Seeker vs Believer: Be a ‘seeker’ instead of a ‘believer‘. The latter stops your journey. The former takes you towards enrichment.
  2. Nature vs Nurture: both needs to exist in harmonious balance. Unfortunately, our desire to ‘fit-in’ often subdues our natural instincts. Nature is ‘who we are’; Nurture is ‘how Society expects me to exist’. Striking a balance between the 2, is a daily battle
  3. ‘Personality’ ‘Persona’: the former – the way I see myself; the latter – the way others see me. One major – if not the major – life’s challenge is, how to align these two. The key task of any communication process

Do you face similar dilemmas? I hope you do! That’s what makes our journey so interesting.

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