In our Backbeat column this week, Sunny Nagpal, Managing Director, Httpool India talks of his childhood dream to ride the clouds drifting across the sky to reach fairyland. Later in life, he learnt how to fly, albeit an aircraft, and derived valuable lessons from it
BY SUNNY NAGPAL
Managing Director, Httpool India
It was my childhood dream to ride the clouds drifting across the sky to reach fairyland. I used to envy birds for their ability to fly. After swimming in water and having walked on earth, flying in the sky remained the only challenge of nature that prompted me to want to fly an aircraft. I accepted the challenge gratefully and made up my mind to fly to explore the skies.
But soon, I realized that it was no child’s play and entirely different from flying a kite! I turned entrepreneur at age 27 and the past few years have been full of challenges and learnings. There were mistakes and thus lessons learnt. However, flying an aircraft posed a different proposition altogether. Here, you don’t get a chance to regret your mistakes nor can you repair an aircraft while flying it. It requires foresight for careful planning, complete knowledge about flying, preparations like finances, lots of practice in addition to alertness and the determination to succeed. But I knew that success lies hidden just behind fears.
I embarked on my mission after due diligence and enrolled myself at The Bombay Flying Club. After months of weekend theory preparations, I managed to pass the exam for a Learner’s Pilot license. It was soon time for my first sortie in a Cessna 172R. I was nervous and excited at the same time, a feeling I had grown familiar with over the past years of entrepreneurial life. This time, fortune favoured the brave, as usual. Starting from a levelled runway and moving the plane at full throttle, I took off into the skies only to realize that the sky was not the limit but just the beginning for my ventures. After that, I flew again and again to achieve perfection, every effort taking me to a new height. Looking down from the top of the world, I could understand why a lark is happy. This gave me a feeling of immense satisfaction and flying became my passion.
Inspired by this, I was convinced that I could fly to any destination that I dream of. My other big dream is the vision for my business. Fuelled by my determination and strong will to succeed, there too I followed a similar approach - more structured, planned, prepared and organized in all business decisions. The other key learnings from learning to fly were: No roads. No signboards. The first thing you realize when in the air is that there are no roads and no signboards. You must know your direction and just head towards it. There is a path, though, that they call flight path, which you can estimate in advance along with weather conditions. However, it isn’t a set path.
Co-pilot and co-passengers. You need a co-pilot. Potentially someone who is more experienced than you are. I was fortunate enough to have one all through in Amit who was my business partner, and co-incidentally my co-pilot/trainer on my first flight was also Captain Amit. My wife agreed to be on the first flight and thereafter on all flights with me. You need courageous, encouraging and supporting co-passengers, and not scared ones, for the ride can get bumpy and scary.
Thresholds. There are limits and thresholds of everything and everyone. My Cessna 172R could achieve a maximum altitude of 15,000 feet. To go higher, I had to upgrade. While it’s good to push your team to maximize results, you should know when to stop and invest in upgraded versions.
Bad weather clears out. You are advised not to fly when the weather is bad. You should take that advice. When it is murky and unclear, it is always wise to take a break and sip a cup of tea to clear your thoughts. The weather will clear out eventually and you can fly again!
Category: Backbeat Volume No: 13 Issue No: 51
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