Letter No 82 - 'mentee-ing' & is India the future?


What is a mentor?

A mentor is a person who provides guidance, advice, and support to another person, typically someone who is less experienced. A mentor can be a teacher, coach, advisor, or role model who shares their expertise and experience with the mentee. They help their mentee to help them develop new skills, improve their performance, and achieve their goals. Mentors can support their mentees in various fields and industries, including education, business, sports, and the arts. A good mentor is someone who is knowledgeable, experienced, patient, empathetic, and committed to helping their mentee succeed.

But where do I find a mentor?

For the last few years here's what I think - there is no such thing as a mentor. Being a mentor is not an occupation, just like being a lover is not an occupation, or being an explorer isn't. Being a mentor is an attitude, and a commitment. Being a coach can be a profession, but not being a mentor. Also, I believe that each one of us is a mentor in 'potential'. Some of us have actualised it and some not yet. All of us must actualise it to experience the joys, challenges, growth and deep fulfilment it brings to us as human beings.

But what makes any of us actualise the mentor within us? What converts this potential energy into kinetic energy, from possibility to action?

The interesting thing about mentoring is that even if you are a great mentor, you are nothing without a great mentee - absolutely nothing.

Sudha Murthy is an inspiring author, and only is a great mentor because she found a great mentee in Rashmi Bansal.

Ratan Tata is a great leader, but only is a great mentor because he found a great mentor in N. Chandrasekaran.

Warren Buffet is a great investor, but only is a great mentor because he found a great mentee in Bill Gates.

A great mentor is nothing (as a mentor) without a great mentee.


Lately, I have been a less than average mentee to some of my mentors.

  1. I haven't kept in touch and reported back on my progress
  2. I have avoided them because I know they will push me outside my comfort zone
  3. I have not asked myself 'what would my mentor do in this situation' to myself

I do feel bad about it. But I'm being cautious not to let myself wallow in guilt and remorse for too long. Not being in touch with my mentors and allowing myself to stay in my comfort zone (in some aspects of my life) has also given me a few interesting gifts.

One, it has given me an empathetic understanding of how it feels when one is avoiding getting out of one's comfort zones. As a mentor and coach, I used to push people, I used to even judge them a little for not pushing themselves. Sometimes I was harsh on them. Being in that state myself makes me much more sensitive to what it actually feels like.

Two, I've been able to understand the power of the statement - the teacher will appear when the student is ready. The student has to become ready, and a great teacher must learn to be patient until the student is ready. An honest admission - in my hurry to be a great teacher, I have certainly damaged a few students by pushing them too hard. I regret these experiences. But I also accept them as a part of the journey - my journey and also the concerned student's journey.

Am I ready to be a great mentee once again?

Yes, but in a different way. In way where I see my mentor as a source of light, and not a lighthouse. The difference is that a lighthouse tells you where to go, but a source of light helps you see more clearly.

We must all learn to think more clearly and find our own path.


One of my mentee's is a young lady who I have known for the past almost 10 years now. She is super smart, super ambitious, very grounded, and very caring. I am learning how to be a great mentee from her. She is now my mentor on 'how to be a great mentee'!

She is doing her masters overseas. Before leaving, she decided that every month she will call me and update me on all that she's being doing. And, she been doing a lot, much much more than any average masters student. Last two months I was not able to make time to have a chat with her. So, last week, she wrote me a long email updating me about all that she has been upto. And she didn't just leave it at that. She kept pursuing me for a call. Today we finally spoke, and this time I told her that I want to also update her about my progress in each of our calls. I want her to be my accountability partner too.

The line between mentor and mentee merges when there is a great mentee in the equation.


On another note, here is what she wrote to me:

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time in India. I tried to go down to Pappa's office as often as possible. I also used his office like a co-working space that I visited when my to-do list was overflowing. I enjoyed having conversations with his staff and trying to identify problems they face on a day to day basis. Before I returned, I sat with my father and uncle and pitched them some ideas and reforms I think they could implement given their resources and available opportunities.I invested some time in having conversations getting to know different industries and the stories behind some individuals who have become symbols of success. I would take an appointment asking for an interview. Some interviews became debates, some discussions and some were purely one sided conversations.

I tried to soak it all up and gave myself ample time to think and reflect on the new perspectives. I wish I could share all my takeaways here, but I will mention the one thing that stood out the most to me (maybe I am a little biased) : India is the future. The market, the talent, the youth population, the mindsets, the education, the resources, everything points towards India. I am filled with excitement to see what the next 10 years look like🙂"

India is the future.

Or rather, there is tremendous future in India.


I asked Chat GPT this "who are the global business leaders who have spoken about the potential of india"

There are many global business leaders who have spoken about the potential of India, given its large population, growing middle class, and favorable demographics. Here are some examples:

  1. Jeff Bezos: The founder and former CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, has spoken about the potential of India's e-commerce market and has invested heavily in the country through Amazon India.
  2. Elon Musk: The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, has spoken about the potential of India as a market for electric vehicles and has announced plans to launch Tesla in India.
  3. Sundar Pichai: The CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, has spoken about India's potential as a hub for innovation and has announced several initiatives to support the country's digital economy.
  4. Satya Nadella: The CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, has spoken about India's potential as a source of talent and innovation and has announced plans to invest in the country's cloud computing market.
  5. Mark Zuckerberg: The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has spoken about the potential of India's digital economy and has announced several initiatives to increase internet connectivity and promote digital literacy in the country.
  6. Tim Cook: The CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, has spoken about the potential of India as a market for Apple products and has announced plans to expand Apple's presence in the country.

These are just a few examples, as many other global business leaders have also recognized the potential of India's growing economy and have invested in the country's various sectors.

Who are we to argue? (that's me, not chatGPT ;-)


Encouraged by the answer, I asked this "what is the significance of india to the global economy and society and culture in the next 50 years?". Here is the response:

India is likely to play an increasingly significant role in the global economy, society, and culture in the next 50 years. Here are some potential reasons why:

  1. Economic growth: India is one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world, and its growth is expected to continue in the coming years. By 2050, India is projected to become the world's second-largest economy, after China. This economic growth will have ripple effects on the global economy, as India becomes an even more important player in international trade and investment.
  2. Demographics: India has a young population, with a median age of 28 years. This means that the country will have a large and growing workforce in the coming years, which will be important for its economic growth and competitiveness.
  3. Technology and innovation: India is home to a growing tech industry, with companies such as Infosys, TCS, and Wipro becoming global players in the sector. Additionally, India has a large pool of skilled tech workers and engineers, which will be important for its continued growth in these areas.
  4. Cultural influence: India is a diverse and culturally rich country, with a long history of artistic and intellectual achievements. Indian films, music, and literature are already popular around the world, and this cultural influence is likely to continue in the coming years.
  5. Geopolitical significance: India is strategically located between Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, making it an important player in global politics. Its growing economy and military strength will give it greater influence on the world stage.

Overall, India's significance to the global economy and society and culture is likely to continue growing in the next 50 years, as it becomes a major economic and cultural power in the world.


We know these things. But we need to take time to allow it to sink deeply inside us.

Yes we must travel all over the world, meet and work with the best. But we must also seriously consider seeking opportunities in India to shape and build the future. For young people (and their parents), these are times of immense potential.

Yes there are challenges. I don't know if India is THE future. But India is certainly going to have a BIG role to play in how the future evolves. And it is up to each of us to find how we can contribute and make our little dent, and in that process find ourselves too.

And while you are at it... have you ever had a great mentor? What worked well for you as a mentee? Or they other way, have you ever had a great mentee? What made them a great mentee? A good question to reflect on, and share with me your thoughts if you feel like🙂

In fratitude (friendship and gratitude)