Pursuit of Happiness

The Corporate Wordsmith

Even with a very high-pressure day job, poetry is a passion that Zensar Technologies' CEO continues to pursue 

As a Class VI student in Patna, Sandeep Kishore penned a short poem on Charlie Chaplin, called Charlie Chaplin Ko Samarpit. This was after he read a book on the actor and was struck by his persona on screen. Chaplin was extremely comical, but he had endured a lot of pain in his private life. “His acting concealed the sadness in his personal life,” says Kishore, CEO, Zensar Technologies. With his poem on Charlie Chaplin, began his journey in the world of poetry, far removed from what he does for a day job.

Today, he has published two books - Your Shadow Wants to Walk Alone (two years ago) and Old Seeds of a New Tree, recently. Both are a compilation of about 40 poems and are bilingual (Hindi and English). The onus of maintaining the essence in both the languages rests with Kishore. Till Class X, he studied in a Hindi medium school and the comfort with the language is evident as he recites lines from his poems quite effortlessly. “When I joined IIT in 1983, I could hardly speak English,” he says in a matter of fact way. Being the editor of a Hindi monthly magazine, during his college years, made him a disciplined writer and helped strengthen his Hindi language skills. “It was the phase of black and white, and everything had to be handwritten before it went into print,” he recalls with a smile.

Of the 36 poems in the first book, half were written during his student days and the rest took almost three decades. “I observe a lot and most of my inspiration to write comes from that,” believes the 51-year-old. Some of the various themes he has written about include nostalgia, a funny twist to technology, social media and the feeling of turning fifty.

Kishore describes himself as very intense person and likes to push himself at work and while writing poetry. “It helps me get the best out of myself,” he says. The confidence of the first book resulted in the second, which took about 18 months to complete. With a high-pressure job involving at least a fortnight of travel each month, where does he find the time to write? “There is no better place, to write, than the long flights. That is really my time to get into the zone,” explains Kishore. Much of his time is spent in San Jose, California and a long international flight is where the poet in him, takes over. “Even today, I write the poems on paper before typing it on to the phone. In that sense, not much has changed.”

Switching off from work in the IT industry to donning the hat of a poet is hard to imagine. Kishore plays it down and says both require different levels of understanding and application. “If you are passionate about what you do, it’s not that difficult,” he signs off.