Successful, Young, and Muslim: Balance is the key to success

A professional and mature approach pays rich dividends, the third and last part of the SYM generation of Indians, special three-part series by Charu Bahri for

Over-populated and highly competitive it may be, but the Indian information technology (IT) industry is mature and easy to navigate, attests Yusuf Motiwala. During the 14 years spent wringing the most from his masters degree in electrical engineering from IIT Bombay by designing telecom, DSP, multimedia and embedded software for industry leaders like Aricent (then HSS), Lucent Technologies and Texas Instruments, Motiwala never faced bias or discrimination because of his religious background.

Support TwoCircles

Yusuf Motiwala (in white shirt) with his associates

The smooth going encouraged Motiwala to hone his skills in his chosen sphere until two years ago, when he decided it was about time he indulged his passion for product development and branched out on his own., Motiwala’s maiden entrepreneurial venture, is a futuristic global Web-telephony startup offering a host of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services such as enabling voice connectivity in applications, making and receiving calls over any device, and enhancing the ‘voice reachable’ factor of executives on-the-move.

TringMe brings together a niche group of people strategically located in India, USA, UK and Singapore who share Motiwala’s quest for perfection. Their dedication has ensured that in barely eighteen months, TringMe has garnered the attention of tech enthusiasts the world over. Poised as it now is for meteoric expansion, TringMe will soon need an infusion of funds to support its growth to the next level. Will investors also be a mere holler away for this voice-centric company?

“Absolutely…there is a tremendous interest from investors to invest in TringMe in spite of the global recession. However, recession has deeply affected valuations. We recently pulled out of an investment deal solely based on the valuation. While funding and the right investment partner would help significantly, we have one million paying customers and as such, are not solely dependent on external funding. We will choose an appropriate investment partner when the time is right” says an optimistic Motiwala.

Rashid Mohamed of professes the same confidence for his venture – “My personal background is a non-issue. What will draw backers for Planettutor is: the quality of service we are associated with and the caliber of the team we have put together.”

As and when Talent Onions is at the stage when it needs funds, Aadil Bandukwala is equally certain that as its CEO, it will be his business acumen and not his religious inclination that will be evaluated. But until such time, he is concentrating on expanding the client base and basket of industries served by Talent Onions. “We started out with a leading BPO, but now only 5 to 10 percent of our revenues come from this sector. We now count Ambuja Cements, Siemens India Ltd., Renuka Sugars, Biogenex and other leading companies in diverse industries as our clients,” shares Bandukwala.

For all the hours the Talent Onions team spends behind closed doors strategizing to milk the current economic slowdown for all its worth, it is conscious of the need to balance work and play. Balance keeps the spirit alive and the conscious in harmony with life beyond the ensnaring World Wide Web. Face-to-face with the daunting query of why he believes a few Indian Muslim techies are blamed for the terrorism in India, Bandukwala cites balance as a key factor in staying afloat amidst a vortex of hate currents – “It’s possible to get brainwashed and believe wrong is right when you are not rooted in balance. I believe it is important to balance depth with lightness, work with a family life and recreation. If you are not aware of the value of life beyond your inner circle or community, you can end up hurting a greater community – your country or even the world. At the end of it all, you need to be a happy man. Happiness is a heart thing, not a brain thing. If you stop connecting with your heart, consider yourself en route to losing your sense of balance.”

Bandukwala thanks his family for dinning wisdom into him by encouraging his brother and him to create a large network of friends. So alongside learning the values of Islam, the duo also learnt that humanity comes first. Always.

A fact echoed by Mohamed, even as he quotes Mark Twain to emphasize his thoughts – ‘Let us not allow our schooling to interfere with our education.’ “Schooling that is based on a multiplicity of viewpoints,” he explains, “can sometimes cause rifts among communities that are but a microcosm of humanity.” As he furthers the cause of holistic education Mohamed firmly keeps the faith, that sooner rather than later, its recipients will lay a bridge to once and for all, cross over and bid adieu to troubled waters.

But until the message of ‘oneness’ is passed on to sufficiently large numbers so as to usher in a revolutionary change in attitude, ghastly eruptions will continue to incite sentiments. Fingers of accusation will be pointed sometimes correctly, yet often in haste and without any sound basis. And as in the past, such unfair claims may provoke the fragile mental equilibrium of many a young Indian Muslim straddling the fine line between deprivation and attainment. “Call an insecure person a thief again and again, and sooner or later, he will come to believe he is a thief,” opines Motiwala.

Having donned a mantle of responsibility on its broad shoulders, the majority community, if you would call it so, would do well to rein in its reactions in times of grief and ponder on the fact that no one is genetically programmed to be a terrorist. Peace is the nature and quest of every soul, and yet a few misguided and less ‘educated’ youth adopt the path of violence.

Oneness spells success, and integration paves the way forward. All said and done, Bandukwala’s upward progression mirrors a lot more than his education – “Success is also an outcome of believing in your talents. What stops you from being the best? As long as you perceive yourself as second-class citizenry, you restrict yourself to dwelling on islands dotting a sea of opportunities. Sail forth, and you will achieve.”

Just as these entrepreneurs have.