Who moved my cheese?

Did I tell you that I am back to being an employee (from an entrepreneur)?


Sorry, my bad. But, it’s true.

So after eight long years of entrepreneurship – setting up and helping scale 2 successful technology startups (Semnox, Callystro), I am back to being a white collar worker again. 

From being employee no. 2986 in my first stint at one of the largest IT firms in India, I am now the proud owner of an employee badge that displays a higher order 6 digit number in the same company.  Life had indeed come a full circle, so to speak. Life’s changed big time in the past one year for me. 

And I have to say this: Those eight years I spent being my own boss – those were indeed the most rewarding eight years of my life. Lots of losses and gains, ups and downs, travels, realizations, funny incidents while trying to raise capital, conflicts, meetings with who’s who of the Indian entrepreneurship ecosystem, sharp mood swings and much, much more. I think I have enough material to write a book. That’s my retirement plan. I hope you will buy it and send enough money my way so that I can spend the last years of my life sipping cocktail in Hawaii.

Ok, coming back to the reality, the present – I think I need to fill you in on the past year’s happenings, so here we go:

Post Boracay – The Knee Surgery

So after my Boracay trip with Laughing Buddha and friends (that reminds me, I need to write a post about him soon. Good people like him, who do good deeds to elevate others, need to be written about. He’s been supporting education for under privileged kids, building houses for the poor and doing random acts of kindness, among other things. That, in another post. But it’s OK to reveal his identity now, I feel. So here’s his Facebook profile. Go follow him. I assure you happiness :)), I checked myself into a hospital to get my knee ligament tear repaired through a surgery. I had kept it pending because … let me admit it: I am a person who’s afraid of doctors and hospitals. I thought time would heal my torn ligament, but on the contrary, it actually worsened it.

It came to a point where people could hear me coming before they saw me, thanks to my creaking knees. The pain had started becoming unbearable too. I had no choice but to get the surgery done. Lying on the operation table, paralysed hip down from the anesthesia, with doctors crowding around the table and sawing on my knee bones ranks as one of the top scary, embarrassing moments of my life. I was up and about in a few weeks though, and have since regained my ability to tiptoe into a room without anyone hearing me come in. 

Exit from Callystro

After I recovered from my surgery, I got down to work. Work, here meant easing myself out of Callystro executive operations, and finding a corporate opportunity that could help me put food on the table for my family. I know what you are thinking: “But Sampath, Callystro was doing great. So why did you have to move out of Callystro?”

You are right – Callystro was (and is) indeed doing great. We had developed some amazing learning games products (Mapoosa, Cobels, Financial Literacy), won 4 national awards and got to work with some of the top NGOs and schools imparting education to the under-privileged (Pratham, Parikrma, EkStep et al). But unfortunately, due to various reasons beneficial for the business, we had to arrive at a plan where I had to exit out of the executive role I was playing. (Again, a detailed explanation requires a detailed post in itself; so let’s keep that for later. Or you could buy the book I mentioned I will be writing, and read all about it :)). 

My avatar inside the educational Virtual World ('Mapoosa') I'd conceived and developed while at Callystro.

My avatar inside the educational Virtual World (‘Mapoosa’) I’d conceived and developed while at Callystro.

Back to Corporate Life

Anyways, I found myself in the job market again. Luckily for me, at that very same time, this IT firm that I was working for earlier was looking for a very capable, handsome hunk and fearless leader sort of a fellow to be based in Pune to run a large program. I applied for the position, and got selected. So a few days later, I found myself in their very beautifully landscaped Pune campus, getting ready to attend the orientation session for new joinees. My induction class went well I should say, with me answering all the questions the instructor asked about the company’s history. 

Settling In

I had decided not to move my family to Pune, given sonny boy was in his 9th grade, and I didn’t want to disturb his critical years in school. So I was looking for a decent bachelor sort of accommodation in Pune. Laughing Buddha came to my rescue again. He suggested that I check out a startup website called Nestaway to find quick and easy accommodation. Whet they were doing was taking up apartments, furnishing them with everything needed for a cozy living (from furniture, TV, Washing machines down to spoons and forks in kitchen) and renting out rooms. Since the homes were fully furnished, the initial deposit wasn’t too steep, and moving in/ out was convenient, I signed up for one. Thankfully, my housemates were wonderful people too – it was like reliving my hostel life all over again :). 

Signing up for a Creative Writing Course

So, I tried to make hay while the sun shone. When in Rome, I did what the Romans did. When life gave me lemons, I made lemon juice.

Well, I hope you are getting my point; Since I was anyways in Pune all alone, with no family to go back to in the evenings, I decided to dedicate my evenings to learning something new. I signed up for a creative writing course in Symbiosis. The course itself was interesting and flexible, and I just loved it. In another month, i should be completing it, and will be officially an accredited creative writer :). I am already dreaming of magazine editors queuing up, ready to pay top dollars for my articles. I have a few I want to snub and turn down.

Exploring Pune, Occasional trips to Goa, Kochi and Mangalore

I spent many weekends exploring the very intriguing ‘Peths’ (Peth is a general term, in the Marathi language, for a locality) of Pune. Some weekends I flew back to Mangalore and Kochi to be with family. I landed up in Goa as well on a couple of occasions.

Chicken cafreal from O’ Coqueiro restaurant in Goa

Chicken Cafreal from O’ Coqueiro restaurant in Goa. A close buddy mentioned to me that this is the restaurant from where Charles Sobhraj (the serial killer of the 70s) was arrested.

Life’s Good

So, there you go. Those are the highlights of what happened in the last 1 year of my life. Going forward, I plan to add more regular features to this blog (I’m thinking of adding features on startup ideas, helpful anecdotes from my own entrepreneurship journey, continue featuring friends who are doing inspirational stuff and of course continuing with my travel tales). 

So now tell me, what were you up to last year. And more importantly, did you miss me?  🙂


  1. Shankar June 24, 2017
  2. Sampath Menon July 4, 2017
  3. kevin June 3, 2018

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