- “There’re no alternatives to hard work, discipline and professional ethics”
- "I dream of a completely integrated concept-to-packaged-silicon flow for both digital and mixed-signal ICs"
- "The goal is not to blindly follow the herd and copy ideas"
- "We dream of creating a special company ...where 'we' is always more important than 'me'
- "And miles to go before I sleep"
- "Information technology would be a key enabler for us"
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Atul Arora, president, commercial operations, ARM Embedded Technologies Pvt Ltd, India, looks back on his life and shares some experience with us.
I was born in Delhi, taken as a baby to Calcutta and lived there for five years. We then moved to Mumbai, where I did technical schooling, studying science and engineering subjects as well. I was a naughty child and recollect various childhood incidents that could be termed ‘cutely’ mischievous.
Childhood lessons in pride and self-reliance
My father had influenced me a lot right from childhood. His dedication to work, his ethics and his openness towards people were amazing. Once, when we were travelling in a train, a little boy came and polished my father’s shoes. After doing his work, he proudly showed those shining shoes to my father. My father gave him one rupee, which was a big amount at that time. When I asked him why, he smiled and told me, “Look, this boy is of your age. Would you ever like to go and polish shoes? And he is taking pride in the work he is doing.” That day I realised that one should take pride in whatever one does. I also learned to empathise with my fellow human beings.
I was, in fact, a very sensitive child. I remember the days when there was a drought and we used to stand in queue for our rations. The rotis we made were dark and dry, because the wheat (which was a gift from the US) was actually said to be cattle feed. But people were more than happy to have something to eat. That made a huge impact on me. Even today, if I am invited to a party, I never stand in queue for buffet meals. I would rather miss the food than stand in the queue. I believe that you should be self-sufficient for food and should not need to queue up for it. It is sad that even today there are people who have to wait in queue to get a kilo or two of rice just to be able to feed their family.
Dreams lost, fortunes made
My father’s family was in the business of manufacturing steel pipes. My father, however, wanted me to study medicine. I would have got into medicine with a donation of 40 thousand rupees - my father was ready to pay the money. But I asked him what would happen if I became a bad doctor. I might not then be able to earn that much money in my entire life. Apart from that, the very thought of dissecting animals was a nightmare for me, as we were strict vegetarians!
So I decided not to go for medicine and opted for a BSc in chemistry. After completing my degree, my father asked me to join his business but I wanted to go for an MTech in electronics. That was a bit of a disappointment for my father. The feeling that I had let my father down made me want to do something on my own, and I decided not to ask my parents for money henceforth. I went to Germany and did an MTech in electronics and communication. At that time Germany was offering free education-students needed to meet their living costs but there was no tuition fee. After that I got a work permit and managed to complete some other courses by doing part-time jobs.