A Spartans epilogue – a talk by Chetan Tolia


“And then there was tyrant, an abysmal faith

Of while the worlds fought with an unaccustomed pride

A piece of land, beans of grains, sometimes for love and equally hate

Men fight their battles, O Spartans of Sparta

Men fight their soul and a dignified pain”

The evening was pleasant as the cool breeze of this city down south blew past the tower of reflection as Spartans from Great Lakes batch of 2012 sat willfully watching their Conclave at its finish line, just when the master of ceremony stood behind a commotion speaking to his colleague trying for a mono-act explaining that the guest has arrived. The branding team all set, events team ready on a go, the placecom vigil and alert as one of the most awaited guests for the evening came walking with a smile, and as one could see him with a group of dignitaries you hear,

“Please welcome the Director, Tata Management Training Center, Mr. Chetan Tolia.”

A thunderous applause astounds the walls of Lake Mansarovar and Veeranam as he took chair of the event.  From the mark of a start every single student sitting inside the hallowed rooms of this institution was ready to imbibe like a seed which has been seeped in water for the first time.

After an introduction and exchange of pleasantries, the floor was open for talk of the evening by Mr.  Tolia and never would you have seen such energy levels of an auditorium where 300 would sit straight, minds razor sharp, one shot of fire and you could actually feel sparks flying. All in the enlivening atmosphere one would call paused to enthusiasm, Chetan Tolia greets with a chuckle and a rhyme.

For a second amidst such preparations all were taken aback “is he really so cool?” and could hardly return his greetings. Another try and the affirmative assurance “yes, he is cool” normalcy derives and the batch of 2012 cheers with a boisterous greeting to the speaker.

“Your generation has tremendous responsibility and you have the opportunity galore to explore that responsibility”

While most of us were ready to take notes, pointers and quotes as usually from an inspiring talk. One would be amazed to see how easily a speaker par excellence would mold a high intensity discussion into a smooth flowing platform for dialogue, where learning multiplies by levels without diminishing an inch of its intensity.

“Today I would talk about three themes nurturing, innovation and thinking.”

Spreading insights over how leadership germinates when a nurtured and nourished mind meets a challenging opportunity one would wonder on what various aspects of life will a simulation of real time problems would be given, a prototype where one would always have a dry run as to how can one grab an opportunity right when its lying affront and equally one would be dismayed that It will happen hardly and most of the times it would be we chasing behind opportunities and strike at the right one at the right time. With an effervescent aura he continues,

“Your only chance to do anything with the knowledge is when you explore the challenging opportunities, whether you succeed or not it doesn’t matter.”

A true leadership, where one is often misinterpreted to showcase performance based results as the only way to succeed. While all you would ever need is a will to innovate, patience to explore opportunities and a skill to implement 

He further proceeded to his second theme as seamlessly as one could imagine over the discussion on Innovation,

“Few years from now, innovation would be the key differentiating factor across the value of an organization. The chances of innovation increase at the confluence of more than one domain. Get out of your comfort zones, go and learn more”

Certainly the daily rigmarole is not something that any student of masters would wishfully think of when all that he has believed of himself is to be unique, creative and extraordinary. Mr. Tolia focusing over the importance of innovation led the so called thinkers from the batch of Spartans ponder as to how well one could strike a balance in between growth, power and innovation. In this labyrinth of opportunities, one is usually busy looking at the closed doors of missed chances when all the while one fails to identify the open door marked by the path of innovation. Chetan Tolia after a brief suggestion over the importance of innovation in an organization delves into the last and the final theme, of that being “The Thinker”

“One thing that cannot be outsourced is the ability to think. Don’t outsource it to your boss, to your friends and colleagues; don’t outsource it to anybody”

Leveraging once potential can be measured by the various techniques that can be identified with, one of them is the immense power that every human holds in the power of thinking. All one needs to know is to question “why?” and not settle for any half hearted information that one desires for.

Before I could rest my pen for the day, I could see those faces of wonder mixed with satisfaction which one experiences after a best in class talks. Mr. Chetan Tolia in the paramount of the time and amidst an experiential conversation paved the path to success by just three stepping stones.

“I would like to leave you with these three key words to reflect on Nurturing, innovation and thinking.”

And right after the post conclave candid discussion with students sitting on the stairs of amphitheatre, one would marvel how can there be such a remarkable amalgamation of simplicity with power, of intelligence and understanding. One need not be a rocket scientist to cherish an over the coffee conversation but one surely needs to be a Spartan to realize such an experience amidst one of the largest events at the Great Lakes Institute of Management.

“Stay where you work, develop domain expertise and innovate. There is no better way to reach for the top”

There comes a moment when you relate to the meaning of being in your Alma mater, such an experience for us was this talk on a surreal evening. Where every Spartan believed and felt their true reason to learn, imbibe and explore under the institution regarded for its values. The event came to a closure with a clouded sky and a mild rain as Spartans took course for rest of the day with a volley match and assignments galore, with deep eminence from an unforgettable talk.

As thunder poured, Bistro Anna ready with his steaming pot of milk assuming the stream of hostlers who invariably would jump in… the night leisurely delved in few cups of coffee, exams, discussions over the event, laughter, music and poetry…

“Delusionary vision, you might hardly care

Of while you defy, those doors of Satan divide

A path for truth, few good men, sometimes for poor a merciful disdain

Men fight their battles, O Spartans of Sparta

Men fight courageous, indefinably insane

And then you would see, the cloudless thunder

When 300 would join for the end of a game

Those rebel for the kill some bleeding to death

Men fight their battles, where few would arise

O Spartans of Sparta and win thy name”



Debashree Chatterjee

About Debashree

Great Lakes Blogger from Spartans Batch 2012.
This entry was posted in Events, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Spartans epilogue – a talk by Chetan Tolia

  1. Good one…..nicely complied….!!!

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