Marvelous Men

When You Maintain Equanimity and Faith in a Higher Power ~ A Principal COM At Indian Railways and An Author Shares His Journey

 Roy T. Bennett, said,

“Believe in your infinite potential. Your only limitations are those you set upon yourself.”

In our #MondayMotivation blog focusing on the #MarvelousMen segment, we are proud to present someone with years of wisdom and knowledge in multiple fields. Meet, Ravi Valluri, who is a Principal Chief Operations Manager in the Indian Railway Traffic Service, a Faculty at Art of Living and an author of multiple books. How did he get into such varied fields of work and how does he manage time between them all? Let’s find out in his own words.

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“I hail from Andhra Pradesh but was born in Kanpur. My maternal grandfather worked for LIC and was posted at Kanpur and my mother had her confinement at this town.  I was brought up in Delhi and studied at St Xavier’s School, Delhi, followed by doing B. Com (Hons) from Delhi University and did my most graduation in M.A.  (Business Economics) Delhi University. Thereafter while preparing for the Civil Services Examination, I worked with a consultant of World Bank, at FICCI, Asian Partnership for Human Development and  then at Cement Manufacturers Association. 

Finally, I cracked the Civil Services Examination and was selected for the Indian Police Service. I was excited to join the force but could not withstand pressure of relatives and my father and some of his colleagues to not join the IPS and joined the Indian Railway Traffic Service instead. I did regret the decision as I missed the action, power, and pelf. I am currently posted as the Principal Chief Operations Manager, North Central Railway, Prayagraj.

In 1989 I stepped into the hallowed portals of what was then known as Railway Staff College, Baroda to join the Indian Railway Traffic Service. The decision of not joining IPS rankled me.  Incidentally, my heart lay in pursuing theatre, writing, music and debating. I could not fuel my passion, and this was the pre-globalization era and I felt strangulated at times. But once I joined the service, I gave my 100% and started enjoying running of freight and passenger services. It was a 24*7 job which was and is still quite exacting and demanding.

My first posting was at Ambala Division of Northern Railway, when terrorism was at its peak and we spent hours together in the control office monitoring trains during exacting times. Occasionally, I would write amateur plays which were staged at Railway functions and this gave me a high.  Talking of high, I soon got addicted to heavy smoking and binge drinking and over a period of time became an alcoholic.

Meanwhile early in my career, I lost out on four excellent openings which could have shaped my career in a different manner. First, I was shortlisted for a program jointly sponsored by Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Railways and the World Bank to undergo training at University of Columbia in the US and work for a short while in the World Bank and Ministry of Finance.  Some years later, I was empanelled to work in the prestigious Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation (APGENCO), Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and to work as the Divisional Railway Manager (a coveted post in the railway set-up) but lost out on all opportunities as more influential colleagues could pull the strings effectively, whilst I remained a greenhorn in this area.

Then out of my own foolishness, I did not accept the post of Managing Director of Hassan Mangalore Rail Development Corporation. I wonder, had these opportunities been grabbed, how my portfolio would have shaped.

Heavy drinking, alcoholism and my mind clouded with tenebrosity had impacted my mind seriously.  Let me clarify, some of the missed opportunities were offered to me prior to my dalliance with alcohol and others after me attaining sobriety, sort of continuing my bad luck in that respect! Some well-wishers blamed my misfortune to planetary configuration; impact of Sade Sati, malefic impact of Ketu Mahadasha. I do not know astrology, but definitely I was in a cesspool of antipathetic thoughts and spiraling down in life, human relationships, family obligations and relationships.

It was then my wife enrolled me for the Art of Living workshop, which was then called the Part 1 programme at Jaipur. In a state of stupor, I undertook the course in November 2003. But I had yet to stage a recovery. This happened on December 9th, 2006, when I stopped drinking and over the years have been able to extricate myself from the morass. So much so in 2009, I became a faculty the Art of Living. This is nothing but the grace of H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the prayers and patience of my grandmother, mother, and my wife.  The three kept reading three sacred texts – with fervour and devotion – Hanuman Chalisa, Sundara Kanda and Vayu Stuti for my well-being.

As per Maslow’s motivational theory – Self Actualization is at the summit. Well, by becoming a faculty of Art of Living and conducting the Happiness Programme and teaching participants Yoga, Pranayama, meditation, and the unique breathing technique of Sudarshan Kriya, my life has been transformed. It was special when I conducted the courses for alcoholics and drug addicts as I could empathise with their pain and agony.

And soon I began writing about my experiences in form of blogs in the Life Positive E- Magazine.  Then Guruji asked me to keep writing and soon three books were published. The Matter of the Mind (translated in Telugu as Manomoolamidham), Make the Mind Mt Kailasa, The Infinite Mind (co-authored with Ankush Garg, NaMo 303 Words to Victory, Indian  Stories: Images and Thoughts  and Heartbreak at Coffee Shop. There are other books in the pipeline. Besides I have my own blog site S2S, and blog for the WordPress and Speaking Tree. I also write for the Free Press, Journal Mumbai.

On the professional front, I have been decorated with the Chief Of Army Staff Commendation Award  while working  in MILRAIL (Military Rail – in Army headquarters ) and was appreciated  for mobilising the troops movement during Operation Parakram and recently for running  specials for pilgrims during the Kumbh Mela in 2019 and more recently, migrant labour specials  during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Life is not hunky dory. It is full of peaks and valleys and vicissitudes; it is to be grasped. The grace of H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, my eschewing alcohol, becoming a faculty of Art of Living, being feted with the awards and writing all these books, blogs and articles over the last seven years has been  an extremely rewarding experience . 

I envision conducting courses of Art of Living, keep writing, setting up a rehabilitation Centre for alcoholics and drug addicts and finally enter a larger space in the realm of spirituality and public life.

My learning has been to maintain equanimity and faith in a higher power, always, and especially during adversity. Then to practice Art of Gratefulness (my wife who edits my works and also my mother, grandmother and wife who extricated me from the cesspool of alcoholism), absorb the Law of Attraction (positive thoughts magnify and bring enormous blessings to achieve greater things in life). One should be grateful and have faith in your parents (they are your first teachers), in your ancestors (because of whom one is on planet earth), Mother Earth which nourishes and sustains us, the Sun God, which provides us with the vital prana and energy). Thus a person should practice Sun Salutations daily and bow down to all the Masters of the past and the future and have faith in your Guru. If one does the work of the Guru, the Master – magic happens and miracles occur.

Potentate or ordinary people have all been affected by the Novel Corona virus. In such a situation, it is essential that humans realize to respect nature and simultaneously take care of their health and bolster immunity.   In this direction people should maintain social distance, work from home, stay away from white sugar (honestly, I have not given up!) and gizmos. Instead spend time by exercising, practicing yoga, pranayama and meditating.  

Humans should learn Sudarshan Kriya (the unique rhythmic breathing technique as gifted to humanity by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) to take care of their bodies and other mindful breathing techniques.  We need to eschew negative thoughts and focus on positivity.  There has been a spate of suicides during this period which indicates the vulnerability of human mind. One should definitely plan an alternate hobby, passion and work for the society. A person should become an achiever and not a quitter or a loser.  It would be fruitful to read books of inspirational leaders, cultivate a hobby and given the constraints spread positivity. “

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To drop in a message to Ravi, know more him and his works or to check out and buy his many authored books, follow the links below:

Personal and professional social media accounts:

Features and mentions:

Buying details of books:

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