Morning stars | Self-talk, walking, and a quick breakfastPage Visited: 10
Birlasoft CEO Dharmender Kapoor starts his day with some me-time, and on a rare occasion allows himself parathas at Murthal dhaba
Note to readers: Morning Stars is a series of interviews with achievers across fields about their morning routine and how they get ready for the day ahead. Mornings bring optimism and a fresh start. And how we spend them sets the tone for the day.
A conundrum of current times is that while it is very easy to contact people, we rarely are in touch with ourselves.
Dharmender Kapoor, therefore, does a spot of self-talking in the mornings. The Delhi-based Chief Executive Officer of IT firm Birlasoft then has a quick breakfast to save time and beat traffic. Once in office, he likes to start his work day with a meeting or discussion that involves solving problems.
“It’s generally a good way to feel engaged,” Kapoor says. An occasional and sinful team activity is driving to Murthal for parathas at a dhaba.
Excerpts from an interaction with Kapoor:
What time do you get up on working days? What do you like about mornings?
Normally, I get up by 6 am. I love the quietness that surrounds you in the morning. I am a self-talk person, and I need some time for myself, and mornings are the best setting that one can ask for.
How many hours of sleep do you need?
About six hours of sleep is good for me, although I miss getting as much when I am travelling.
Where did you study? What would mornings be like during college days? Can you share a funny anecdote?
I studied at Kurukshetra University. My college days used to be hectic. It was those days when computers and software were unknown entities to most people, and I remember so many people asking funny questions about it. Many times I struggled to explain what a programming language was.
The irony of those times was that there were not enough teachers. We used to do a lot of self-study, help each other and play the teacher’s role for juniors.
While it was hectic, it was also an exciting time. Nothing was presented on a platter, and we used to struggle to get access to even the simplest of content that is available today at a click of button.
It was tough, but it taught us to be self-reliant.
Do you reach for your phone for news/ messages right away, or do you stay offline for a while?
The phone has become an inseparable part of my mind and body. I am not a news buff, but messages are always on, especially on WhatsApp. It makes me easily approachable. I have tried my best to keep my phone down, but it has become difficult as the line between personal and work life has blurred. However, I have given up on most social apps for more than a year now and I do not follow many popular apps, except LinkedIn.
What are the two or three things you do in the morning that are important for you to start the day on a right note?
I prefer having a discussion or meeting that involves problem-solving. It generally is a good way to feel engaged. Crafting a solution or any creative activity can help pump adrenaline in my mind and that can power me the whole day. Having a team activity in the morning is another way to feel engaged and involved.
What kind of exercises and/or meditation do you do in the morning?
I prefer taking a long walk in the morning. It helps me have self-talk and time away from the mad rush that surrounds us.
What is your regular news source in the morning?
As I mentioned earlier, I am not a news buff. I don’t watch news channels. I do check business newspapers, but I am a headlines person. I mostly check important and interesting headlines/news on my phone as I have configured it to receive certain type of news according to my interests. And it is always while I am sipping my morning tea.
What’s a must-have component/nutrient in your breakfast?
Anything that doesn’t need me to sit and have a long breakfast. I prefer a quick breakfast on my way to office. That helps me save a few minutes and a lot of traffic on the roads. My breakfast mostly has fruits, oatmeal and/or eggs. However, once in a week I love to dip my fingers in paratha with curd.
Occasionally, I love travelling to Murthal in Haryana with my team. They serve some of the best parathas in roadside dhabas.
What are the two or three cities that you have worked in and know well, and what do you like about mornings in those places?
I travel extensively so I have become comfortable with many cultures. What I love about European and American cities is that they start their day early and that goes very well with my preferences. I have spent a long time in Singapore and Munich, and I love both places. European and Indian cities serve some of the best breakfasts in hotels, and I prefer that to any other meal of the day.
How do you decide what to wear at work? Is there anything you are particular about with regards to your attire?
Anything that is comfortable and formal is good. I personally like wearing a necktie. In fact, I used to have a collection that I was very proud of. But the tie is slowly disappearing from business attire.