ChapterGo Kiss The World

The chapter “Go Kiss The World” is a speech given by Mr Subroto Bagchi at IIM Bangalore, in 2006. He was the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of MindTree Ltd.

Meet the Speaker

  • Subroto Bagchi is an Indian entrepreneur and business leader.
  • Born: 31 May 1957
  • Place of Birth: Orissa
  • Known for: He is one of the co-founders of Mindtree Limited, a global IT services and consulting company based in India. Bagchi has played a significant role in the growth and development of Mindtree
Subroto Bagchi, Speaker
Subroto Bagchi, Speaker - Photo from Wikimedia

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Summary of the Chapter

The chapter “Go Kiss The World” is a speech given by Mr Subroto Bagchi at IIM Bangalore, in 2006. He was the Chief Operating Officer of MindTree Ltd at the time.

This is an autobiographical narrative about his life and its journey with the advice from his parents. Let us now look at the chapter in smaller points:

1. Family Background

  • Youngest son in the family, had 4 elder brothers. A total of 5 children at home.
  • Father - District Employment Officer in Koraput, Orissa.
  • Mother - Born in (current) Bangladesh then, East Bengal. She came to India as a refugee. She had completed her matriculation.
  • They did not have electricity, running water or a primary school in Koraput. He was home-schooled in the initial years.

2. Father and Job

  • His father was very keen to utilize his job to the utmost sincerity.
  • Even though he had a government jeep he would walk to the office everyday and only use the jeep for official purposes. This taught Bagchi how to be a responsible citizen and worker.
  • The driver of the jeep was treated with dignity. There was no class or caste differentiation in this household. “The jeep driver was treated with respect due to any other member of my father’s office.”

3. Morning Routine

  • The five brothers will gather around mother’s chulha every morning.
  • They used to read out loud the editorial page of The Statesman's Muffosil.
  • This helped them understand that there was a world outside of their small village.
  • Even the English that he is able to speak now is due to this practice.
  • After reading the newspaper they were taught to leave it the way they wanted to find it. This was a good lesson that he learned from his father. “You should leave newspaper and toilet the way you expect to find it.”

4. Defining Success and Overcoming Materialism

  • There used to be ads in the local newspaper about radios at that time. As kids they used to ask their father to get one.
  • Dad used to deny this request by stating that he already had 5 radios, indicating the 5 children.
  • They also did not own a house at that time, the kids used to enquire when they would live in their own house. The father would reply that he has 5 houses already.
  • Through these instances he was teaching his children that success does not come from material possessions. “...we learned that it is important not to measure personal success and the sense of well-being through material possessions.”

5. Garden

  • The family used to live in government houses. They did not come with fences.
  • Hence, the narrator and his mother used to build the fences and create a garden around the house.
  • But soon, his father got a transfer and had to leave this place. But his mother still took care of the garden.
  • Then the neighbors asked her why she was putting in time to mend the garden while she will not be here to see them bloom.
  • His mother replied, “I must create a bloom in a desert, and whenever I am given a new place, I must leave it more beautiful than what I inherited.”
  • This was his first lesson in success: It is not about what you create for yourself but what you leave behind for others. This defines success.

6. Bhubaneswar

  • The narrator along with his mother moved to Bhubaneswar as his elder brother got a teaching job.
  • By that time his mother developed cataracts. Her eyesight was slowly deteriorating.
  • This was the first time he saw a house with electricity and running water. It expanded his horizon and opened up a new world to explore and understand.
  • Since his mother could not read Oriya script it was the narrator's responsibility every morning to read the newspaper from beginning to end and to help her out in the household chores. “That created in me a sense of connectedness with the larger world.”

7. War and Imagination

  • It was the time when India went to war with Pakistan in 1965.
  • He knew about the war and its details as he read the newspaper. Lal Bahadur Shastri, then PM, coined the term “Jai Jawan Jai Kissan’ to instill patriotism in the people.
  • He did not know how to contribute to the ongoing war. So after reading the newspaper he landed near the university’s water tank that was used by the community.
  • He would imagine how he would capture the spies that would come to poison the water and the next day being featured in the newspaper for the brave act.
  • This opened up the world of imagination and its power to him. “If we can imagine a future, we can create it. If we can create that future, others will live in it. That is the essence of success.”

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8. Mother and Her Life Lessons

  • mother’s vision reduced significantly. Then she underwent the operation for cataract.
  • But within weeks she developed ‘corneal ulcer’ leaving her completely blind. This happened in 1969 and she died in 2002.
  • Even though she lived with blindness for 32 years she never complained. She did her morning yoga, took care of her room and was independent.
  • When he asked her about whether she sees darkness she replied, “I only see light even with my eyes closed.”
  • There are two things he learned from his mother: independence and choosing to see the light. This became his idea of success.

9. His Career and Father’s Death

  • He was first a clerk at a govt office. Then he became a management trainee.
  • He found the calling for his life when he was introduced to fourth generation computers in India in the year 1981.
  • In 1992, he was in the USA when his father suffered a severe burn injury. He flew down to see his father.
  • His father was admitted in an inhuman hospital that was infested with cockroaches.
  • When he found that the blood bottle was empty he was afraid if air would enter the blood vessel. He alerted the nurse but she was rude and asked him to do it by himself. He was frustrated and angry at the hospital staff.
  • When the nurse came to fix it, his father asked her why she had not gone home yet. The stoic nature of the father surprised him.
  • He realized that there is no limit to being kind to others. Success is when you can overcome and rise above the current state of mind.

10. Opposing Ideas In a House

  • Father was a strong believer of the British Raj. While his mother was a follower of Subhash Chandra Bose.
  • When Bose quit the Indian National Congress and went to Dhakka, she welcomed him with a garland.
  • During that time she learned to spin khadi and joined the underground movement that trained her to use a dagger.
  • With these two opposing ideas in the same house the narrator and his brothers understood the power of disagreement and saw diversity.
  • They understood the power of living with diversity in thinking.

11. Go Kiss the World

  • At the age of 82 his mother had a paralytic stroke. She was in the hospital for a long time. He flew down from the US to see her but there was no improvement in her situation.
  • Eventually he had to bid her farewell as he had to go back to work. He went to her and kissed her. Then she replied, "Why are you kissing me, go kiss the world”.
  • His mother who came to India as a refugee and then married an anonymous government servant whose last salary was 300 rupees and lived more than 30 years blindly was asking him to ‘go kiss the world’.
  • His Mother on her deathbed was asking him to go and explore the world, do what you have to do. The world is your canvas and go kiss it with all your abilities and dreams.

12. What is Success?

  • Vision
  • Imagination
  • Sensitivity to small people
  • Connectedness to the larger world
  • Giving back more than you have taken
  • Creating extraordinary success with ordinary lives.

In short, the speech consists of anecdotes from the speaker's life and what he has learned through his career.

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Go Kiss The World Questions and Answers

Below are a few questions that you can look out for your examinations and class tests. Stand out with perfectly written answers with help of Aneetta Class.

The presence of conflicting ideologies in the narrator's house, with the father supporting the British Raj and the mother backing Subhash Chandra Bose, exposed the children to the power of disagreement and diversity in thinking. This dynamic environment taught them valuable lessons about navigating differences, appreciating diverse perspectives, and understanding the complexities of historical and political contexts.

Her poignant response, ”Why are you kissing me, go kiss the world,” reflected her resilience and life philosophy. As a woman who started as a refugee in India, married a modest government servant, and faced life's challenges with unwavering strength for over 30 years, she encouraged her son to embrace the world fearlessly. In urging him to explore, fulfill his dreams, and paint his own canvas, she imparted a profound message of embracing life's opportunities and making the most of one's abilities and aspirations.

Through anecdotes from his life and career, the speaker emphasizes that success is not merely about personal achievement but involves a holistic approach. It involves having a clear vision, fostering imagination, being attuned to the needs of ordinary individuals, establishing connections with the broader world, and, importantly, contributing positively to society by giving back more than what one has received. The narrator's definition of success goes beyond individual accomplishments, emphasizing a broader impact on both small-scale relationships and the larger global context.