India Today - - COVERSTORY -

All of 23 and with a de­gree in fine arts from the Rhode Is­land School of De­sign ( RISD), Bos­ton, USA, Manasi, the only child of her par­ents, is one of the youngest mem­bers of one of In­dia’s old­est busi­ness fam­i­lies. A re­spon­si­bil­ity she wears with the same con­fi­dence that she wields the paint­brush. “I am their only child and I want to take what they have achieved to the next level. I have seen my par­ents strug­gle and work hard to suc­ceed,” re­calls Manasi, who got two whole days of rest be­fore her fa­ther asked her to start work. “I got back with my de­gree on a Thurs­day and my par­ents asked me to join the of­fice and come for a meet­ing on Mon­day.” That was barely a year ago. To­day, as a mem­ber of the Board of Kir­loskar Sys­tems Ltd, she fol­lows a sched­ule as hec­tic as theirs. Just af­ter break­fast, Manasi drives her metal­lic- tan­ger­ine Toy­ota Corolla Altis for over an hour, from her home in Yel­hanka near the air­port, to the reach her of­fice site at Sakra


World Hos­pi­tal in DB Halli, the other side of town. In a city that curses the traf­fic young Manasi seems to love the jour­ney. “It is less bor­ing to drive my­self than be driven around,” she says. But, driven she is, in all other ways as well. “Grow­ing up, I al­ways wanted to be in the of­fice and work. I grew up watch­ing my par­ents work all the time yet they were al­ways there for me,” she says. She re­mem­bers go­ing for her first board meet­ing all ex­cited and think­ing it went great. “Maybe I was naïve at that mo­ment and there­fore not ner­vous,” Manasi also re­mem­bers a “sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity” set­ting in within a month.

With par­ents who are high achiev­ers in aca­demics, sports and busi­ness, Manasi now puts in more el­bow grease than any other em­ployee of Sakra Hos­pi­tal. “Peo­ple trust the Kir­loskar name and I value that. I do not want to dis­ap­point any­body,” she says. The best ad­vice her par­ents gave her? “Work hard, be fo­cussed and don’t give up on your dreams,” a mantra she holds close to her heart.

The Sakra multi- spe­cialty hos­pi­tal is a Kir­loskar joint ven­ture with Toy­ota Tsusho and Ja­pan’s Se­com Hos­pi­tals. Manasi wants to set up Sakra hos­pi­tals across In­dia and the first one in Ban­ga­lore will be op­er­a­tional by Au­gust 2013. “I want to make Sakra the best hos­pi­tal chain in the coun­try, of­fer­ing the high­est level of qual­ity health care. Our tar­get is 20,000 beds in the next 10 years,” says Manasi.

The Sakra Hos­pi­tal Ban­ga­lore,

prides it­self on not seg­re­gat­ing pa­tient care and rooms into VIP or non- VIP cat­e­gories. The se­nior nurs­ing staff has been trained in Ja­pan and the hos­pi­tal man­age­ment has a spe­cific in­fec­tion con­trol plan put in place, even in the daily hos­pi­tal op­er­a­tions.

“We have an el­e­va­tor which only car­ries clean food, and an­other only for used food plates. One el­e­va­tor only car­ries clean linen and an­other el­e­va­tor which only car­ries used linen. Th­ese are the high­est mea­sures of in­fec­tion con­trol,” says Manasi who is at the site of­fice ev­ery day. She sits at a reg­u­la­tion un­adorned desk in an open plan workspace. On site vis­its, a pair of sneak­ers and a hel­met ac­ces­sorise her cot­ton sal­war kurta as she hops over con­struc­tion de­bris, mon­i­tor­ing fi­nal touches. It is an eye for de­tail that Manasi hopes to hone her busi­ness man­age­ment skills with. Some­thing she learnt back at art school. “They al­lowed you to ex­er­cise your minds in a dif­fer­ent way. You an­a­lysed ev­ery­thing, learnt time man­age­ment. They gave you a lot of work and only your work mat­ters. Your sur­name does not mat­ter,” re­calls Manasi who though aware of her lin­eage knows she can­not take it for granted.

“She is very dis­ci­plined and comes for all the meet­ings,” says J. Velu, the deputy man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Sakra Hos­pi­tal of his trainee, “she works hard and is ded­i­cated.” Manasi is in the fi­nal stages of her train­ing at the new hos­pi­tal pro­ject. She has worked in var­i­ous de­part­ments in­clud­ing pro­ject man­age­ment and hu­man re­source. The for­mula at work is, “Be at the lo­ca­tion of the prob­lem to be able to solve it”.

How­ever, Manasi’s artis­tic heart finds most pride and joy in cre­at­ing the brand’s vis­ual tem­plate. “I worked on the de­sign tem­plate and on the in­te­ri­ors with the ar­chi­tects and am also work­ing on the mu­rals re­quired for each floor,” she says, the hap­pi­ness pal­pa­ble when she talks colour.

Sakra Hos­pi­tal has been named af­ter the Ja­panese Sakura flower and Sacrum the hu­man tail bone, and has been de­signed to be aflush with nat­u­ral light. The colour gra­di­ent as seen from the atrium will go from dark to light. This is more than sym­bolic for Manasi, who says the colours help soothe and heal and hand­picked the colour palate of blue, pur­ple, pink and green. “Th­ese are sooth­ing, healthy colours which are vi­brant but mild,” she feels. Manasi tra­versed across town to meet sup­pli­ers elect­ing tiles, paints, and tex­tures and is now work­ing on all the uni­forms and fur­ni­ture. So en­grossed is Manasi at work, that her as­sis­tant Vas­an­tha Mu­ralid­har keeps a re­minder on her phone for tif­fin break. “I have to re­mind Manasi to eat her fruits, as she is a worka­holic and of­ten for­gets,” says a con­cerned Vas­an­tha.

Too much work for one so young? “I don’t think so,” says her mother Gee­tan­jali, “you have to learn how to deal with pres­sure. You do not want to suc­cumb to the pres­sure later on.” Gee­tan­jali says she and her hus­band did throw their only daugh­ter into the deep end to be­gin pre­par­ing her for her work life, but have also made sure life lessons are re­it­er­ated of­ten enough. “You need to do pro­duc­tive things and not while away your time, you need to re­spect other peo­ple’s time and learn how to han­dle re­la­tion­ships,” is some­thing Gee­tan­jali of­ten re­minds Manasi.

“There are so many things I want to do, all my par­ents said was ‘ man­age your time’ and do ev­ery­thing. I am in­spired by my mother; she is avail­able 24 hours to her peo­ple and is al­ways fo­cused. I do not want to be jack of all, I want to be king of all,” says Manasi.

She also re­calls what her great­grand­fa­ther S. L. Kir­loskar taught her. “He said you never stop learn­ing. He learnt how to ski at 70, learnt com­put­ers and how to fly a plane. I think I will

be train­ing all my life.”

She also wants to paint all her life, for now she paints af­ter work, “In our old apart­ment I painted in the bal­cony,” she says. She re­cently do­nated two large works ( ti­tled Main­tain­ing Con­fused and Ex­ca­va­tion, both oil- on- can­vas), at a char­ity auc­tion in New York, the bids be­gan at $ 1,000 each.

“I have no agents, I net­work and sell my paint­ings. At the Mi­ami art fair I went around giv­ing fly­ers to peo­ple. I had never pro­moted my­self so ag­gres­sively,” she re­calls. Manasi’s em­bar­rass­ment paid off when she sold her first paint­ing for $ 800. “I just made up a price on top of my head,” she laughs at the mem­ory.

“My other pas­sion is com­mu­nity ser­vice,” says Manasi who has taught art at Chris­tel House Learn­ing Cen­tre in Ban­ga­lore at 13. “At 16 I taught at govern­ment schools with the Ak­shara Foun­da­tion’s pro­ject,” says Manasi. She has also crafted a course of ac­tiv­i­ties un­der her ‘ Car­ing with Colours’ pro­ject, a name she will soon reg­is­ter. The ob­jec­tive, she says, is to de­velop a child’s an­a­lyt­i­cal skills through art which will help them en­joy learn­ing reg­u­lar sub­jects. In­spired by Ki­ran Mazum­dar Shaw, Azim Premji, and Narayana and Sudha Murthy, Ban­ga­lore’s fore­most names in phi­lan­thropy and busi­ness, Manasi hopes she can make a dif­fer­ence too. “Ki­ran aunty has been an in­spi­ra­tion not just for her work, but also how she main­tains re­la­tion­ships. My mother al­ways says that re­mem­ber­ing the lit­tle things is what makes a per­son great,” says Manasi. “Valu­ing what you have is


ground­ing,” echoes Gee­tan­jali.

Like most of her friends, Manasi loves Hindi movies. “If I catch the first­day- first- show I am the hap­pi­est girl,” says this Sal­man Khan fan who has watched the 1989 block­buster Maine Pyar Kiya, so many times she can’t put a num­ber to it. “I love that he paints and raises money for his char­ity. I love the name Be­ing Hu­man,” she gushes.

Her own vi­sion in­cludes build­ing a health care chain across the coun­try. She even­tu­ally wants to set up a home for un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren. “It will be at­tached to a school and the chil­dren will live in a fam­ily set up, with a ‘ par­ent’ for each group of six. They will go to col­lege and get jobs.”

Even as she con­tin­ues to add to her port­fo­lio, Manasi loves spend­ing her week­ends paint­ing and vis­it­ing her un­cles, aunts, grandaunts, grand­moth­ers and cousins in Ban­ga­lore and Pune. Fam­ily for her also in­cludes her three dogs— Doo­dle, the tem­per­a­men­tal and moody bea­gle, Midget the labrador who dou­bles up as her foot warmer and Gadget the at­ten­tion- loving pug.

Sakra Hos­pi­tal is sched­uled to open this Au­gust and Manasi who will turn 24 then, wants to use any free time earned to teach art to un­der­priv­i­leged stu­dents. She says she will use the in­come from the sale of her own art­work to fi­nance this pro­ject. This, of course, will be in ad­di­tion to her reg­u­lar work at the hos­pi­tal. “I am rest­less, my yoga teacher tells me I need to calm down,” says Manasi adding, “I love swim­ming and will soon get my divers li­cense.”

There is much more to be dis­cov­ered and Manasi Kir­loskar is all geared up for what prom­ises to be an ad­ven­ture.

SHIVANGI KULKA­RNI/ www. in­di­a­to­day­im­ages. com

Manasi with se­nior col­leagues at work

( Left) With her par­ents at her grad­u­a­tion; And on va­ca­tion.

Manasi with her dogs Doo­dle and Midget

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