I chanced upon a photo-album in my hard-drive. It had pictures of Gandhi, Richard Bach, Tim Berners Lee and others. At first, I just couldn’t for the life of me remember, why I had created this album and downloaded these pictures. Then it dawned on me. I was creating an an album with pictures of people who had really made a difference to my life. Who had mattered. People who had me look at life in a whole new different way. Usually, coming across them meant an intense and immensely satisfying period of personal growth and learning. I was never the same again after crossing paths with them.

Thought it would be fun to capture this list. So here it goes – in no particular order:

Kalpana desai: 1998 – She was the trainer for a Silva program I attended. She was kind, compassionate, loving and really cared for the audience. She was the first trainer I ever knew.

Sue Knight: 2002 – I attended a two day workshop by Sue called ‘Introduction to NLP’. After relentlessly pursuing NLP on my own for three years – finally getting to learn it from someone as insightful as her was a revelation. She also helped me make some powerful distinctions about myself.

Premchand: I am yet to find a better writer than Premchand. He makes me want to write. His stories and novels literally taught me the beauty of the written word.

Neale Donald Walsche: His book “Conversations with God” helped me create a model of the universe and its meaning – which held good for a very long time. It helped me build some of my core beliefs about the world.

Anthony Robbins: He introduced me to NLP

Sabah Carrim: She introduced me to pure philosophy and conversations with her about philosophy blew my mind. Everything I knew suddenly became a subset of something bigger, more wonderful. The fundamental questions I was asking about life and work changed. The brightest mind I ever came across in person.

Anne Townsend: Taught me how to facilitate. Her kindness and affection with a greenhorn trainer like me allowed me to build confidence in myself. She said one of the most powerful things I have ever heard “We are not different from each other, we’re different like each other”

Mark Wedgwood: Taught me how to facilitate. Anne and Mark were my first models of serious facilitation and I blindly copied (er… modeled 🙂 ) what they did in the first two years after I went solo. I also value his friendship and some amazing conversations we’ve had.

Dale Carnegie: In 9th standard, I read his book “how to win friends and influence people” – the first non-fiction book I ever read. Got me started on non-fiction.

Azam Pasha: Discussions with him about life, love, creativity and philosophy added new dimensions to my thought

Swamini Vimalananda: Attended a Chinmaya Yuva Kendra camp in her guidance when I was about 12 years old. Met her again when I was 24. Her grace, depth and self-effacing humor probably got me interested in personal growth to begin with.

Ayn Rand: Fountainhead seared itself on my mind for years. I came across her in school – while I tend to disagree with some basic tenets of her philosophy, she helped me find my own voice.

Richard Bach: Introduced me to the magical world we live in and a philosophy of life which resonated true. Illusions remains one of my favorite books.

Purushottam Rai: My grandfather – every moment with him makes you want to be a better human being. Can I be like him when I am old, please 🙂

Gandhi: I read his autobiography in a train journey from Ranchi to Chennai. Life changed forever. Some of my fundamental ideas about our world, war, peace and society are derived from Gandhi.

Tim Berners Lee: Thank you for having the courage to give away the www to the world for free. it changed my life in so many ways that I cannot even begin to describe. I couldn’t sleep the night I came to know about the world wide web, in 1997 🙂

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