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“Midnight drives are the way I keep myself sane”

Titus Gunaseelan, Executive Director and Head-IT, JM Financial Services Ltd, talks about his love for driving which makes even 23-hour road trips a breeze. By Satyaki Ghosh

Over the last 23 years, Titus Gunaseelan has focussed on enhancing his expertise in the BFSI sector with stints at Bluechip Corporate Investment Center, India Infoline, Anand Rathi Securities, and now JM Financial Services Ltd. From handling all aspects of IT to mission critical infrastructure, online trading, as well as application development, Titus’s role is diverse. It requires attention to detail, quick thinking, and remaining calm under pressure. In the hustle and bustle of his busy life, it’s his love for driving that serves as a respite and source of relaxation.

Great way to de-stress
For Titus, driving is more than just a way to transport himself. Out on the open roads, driving with the windows down, with his favourite music playing is how he de-stresses and lets the worries of the world wash away. When asked if he is a fan of cars, however, Titus says, “It’s not so much of a love for cars, but rather a passion for travelling that drives my love of driving. It’s a way to find my bearings. There’s no better means of letting off steam than an impromptu road trip with my friends, in the middle of the night. Some days I just like to take my car and go out for a drive late at night, exploring the interiors of Maharashtra; especially during a full moon, when the roads are bathed in silvery light.

“Anyone who loves driving knows how difficult it is to enjoy the ride when driving in a metro, with congested roads, nerve-wracking traffic, and blaring noise. That’s yet another reason that I like to drive at night, when everything’s peaceful and serene, and the roads are your own. The stretch between Kolhapur and Bangalore is my favourite road to drive on, via NH48; especially the drive from Kolhapur to Belgaum. The hilly landscape engulfed in fog that creeps up in December in December makes it one of the most beautiful places to drive through. I typically start my journey early, at dawn, in the diffused sunlight of the early morning, and the well maintained roads in front of me making it a journey that completely rejuvenates all my senses. The clean air fills up my lungs, and invigorating greenery all around makes me feel completely refreshed and in great spirits.”

Teaches you life lessons
“In most cases driving is a great way to reduce travelling time, but it also has quite a few life lessons to teach us as well. It teaches you to have patience in the most infuriating circumstances, when you have to wait for eons for the signal to change, or for the car in front of you to drive faster. It teaches you to relax, and stay calm, as a panicked driver is not only a danger to himself, but to others around him too. It also teaches you to be aware and alert of your surroundings, while dealing with difficult situations. There are all skills that are useful on the road as well as work. A leader needs to keep his cool in difficult situations, and patiently work out a solution.”

Memorable experiences
“Once I was travelling from Mumbai to my hometown in Kanyakumari. We decided to drive there, and with a distance of 1,655 km to cover, we had a long journey ahead of us. It ended up being a day-long trip, with me behind the wheel for 23 hours at a stretch. However, contrary to what you hear, the long journey was in no way uncomfortable or daunting for me. The journey, in fact, was one of the best memories I have. My mind was completely at ease, driving through varied landscapes, cracking jokes with my friend, with the wide open road ahead of us. The other experience that I have especially fond memories of was of a family road trip. Once again it was me behind the wheel, and we got to do a lot that I loved and more. In 12 days we covered as many as five states—Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka! It was a wonderful trip and we created memories that will last a lifetime.

“And as Erol Ozan said, ‘Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.’” 

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