Friday, October 23, 2009

A tribute to Naweed

My cousin Naweed lost his battle with cancer this week.

Naweed must have been four or five years old when I first moved to the United States in 1986. Their home was my first home in this country. Ever since that time, I have had a very special relationship with Naweed, his parents and his brother. I watched him grow up to be a smart, intelligent and sensitive young man. I was shocked when I heard that he had cancer about two years ago. The first time I met him after that was when he had just finished an intense course of chemo at UCLA. The treatment had taken it's toll on him. He had become weak, he couldn't eat and was unable to walk.

But Naweed fought back and fought back hard. Within a few months, he was on his feet, back at work, following his favorite sports teams and driving a new car. The cancer would not let go but he fought with determination and a can-do attitude. He researched his condition, explored new treatment options and debated them with his doctors. Throughout his ordeal, he maintained a positive attitude and never gave up his fight. He started writing a blog, became active in his community and became an inspiration for all.

Naweed has taught me many valuable life lessons - never look back, move forward, fight the odds and maintain a positive attitude. He never felt sorry for himself. He realized that he had been dealt a poor hand of cards but figured out a way to play with what he had.

He has lost his battle with cancer but remains a champion for me. He will live in our memories and his story will remain an inspiration for his family and friends for years to come.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Entrepreneurship is alive!

I spent a couple of days last week in Delhi attending the TiECon - the annual TiE summit for the Delhi chapter. For those who are not familiar with this organization, TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) is the largest organization of its kind with a mission to grow and foster entrepreneurship. It was an exciting and intellectually stimulating event. Speakers at the conference included India's home minister, Chidambaram, UK Consul General Richard Staggs, CEO of GenPact Pramod Bhasin and many others. There were nearly a thousand delegates including potential and successful entrepreneurs, investors, students and media.

It was heartening to see so many young and budding entrepreneurs with great ideas for solving real world problems, creating wealth and changing the world. There was unbounded excitement even in these tough economic times. In fact, the general theme at the conference was starting and running new ventures during difficult times. The current global crisis has not dampened the enthusiasm of these young business professionals in this part of the world. On the contrary, it is giving birth to smarter startups that will learn resilience and tenacity and some may grow up to be the next HP or Google.

Another exciting trend was the growth in social entrepreunership. There seems to be a complete eco-system that is coming up to fuel the rise of companies that will solve the problems of the poor and underprivileged around the world. Solutions include innovative and low-cost lighting, clothing and healthcare for those who cannot afford access.

Very energizing two days and I am looking forward to the next summit!