Joseph Kiran Kumar, Head – Information Technology, Eisai Pharmaceuticals India Pvt Ltd, tells us how he revs up his life. By Pooja Paryani
Joseph Kiran Kumar has 20 successful years in IT under his belt and he’s seen as a senior IT executive with strong business acumen. He believes in using strategic interventions to solve business problems, and this is where his leadership qualities come to the fore. Joseph says a lot of what he’s learnt on how to be a good team leader and team player has come from outside the office; specifically from being part of a Royal Enfield biker group. Here he tells us a little more about his passion and how it drives him.
“My passion for riding goes back seven years,” says Joseph. “That’s when I purchased a Royal Enfield Bullet Electra and my friends introduced me to the RE group in Hyderabad. I started going with them on road trips and there’s been no looking back since. Every year there’s a Rider Mania planned, which is the biggest gathering of Royal Enfield rider in the country. A location is selected and riders from all over ride to that place. So I join our group for that as well. It is an amazing experience to be in a group and ride together.”
Bikes in the garage
“Currently I have three bikes—Royal Enfield Bullet Electra, Royal Enfield 1967 model and Royal Enfield Classic 500cc. This year I am planning to buy a high terrain bike, maybe a Kawasaki Versys or Triumph Tiger. These two are good for long distance rides; of these two Kawasaki would be my first priority because of its high mileage and endurance. The bike is fit for any type of terrain.”
“Once I was travelling Chennai to Vizag and developed a mechanical issue. I was unable to ride and being a holiday I couldn’t get it repaired either. I’d patch it together and every hour the electrical wires would come out and my bike would stop. So I’d have to repair it again. I drove around 650 km like this. All my friends were waiting and I had to reach the place!
“Another memorable trip was driving during the winter from Hyderabad to Chandigarh and back. So despite it being very cold we still managed to ride; it was a fun experience. These long rides are usually annual events, but whenever we have a long weekend we always step out for a ride. I also take part in various rides that are conducted for a specific cause, such as helping the less privileged, raising awareness about the importance of education for the girl child and domestic violence.
“I’ve also travelled all over Andhra Pradesh, seen coffee plantations and the beautiful valleys, like Araku Valley, which I visit frequently because of its waterfalls and greenery. I’ve also driven to Bhubaneswar, Puri and other historical sites. I enjoy riding from Vizag to Amalapuram as there are amazing backwaters, fish ponds and coconut plantations.”
“While riding in a group you immediately learn how to adapt and be flexible. You can’t just think of yourself and what you want to do; you have to think about others as well. You need to adjust as per the environment and the group members’ decisions. Sometimes you will live in a tent in the open air and you can’t do anything about that. But the best part is that you are with a group, and living together with all of them is fun even if you sleep on the floor! What matters is the people you are with and not the place. So I’ve now become more open to opinions, challenges and trying new things.
“Also while riding in a group you can’t over speed or go slow, you have to ride at pace with the rest of the group. If there’s a new member you have to be watchful and take care of them. This is the biggest learning that I apply at work as well. How you work together in a group is very important.”
“I would love to ride to Leh-Ladakh. I’ve been planning this trip for a couple of years but due to my office work I have not been able to do so. But I’m determined to go next year! I also wish to travel to the northeast—Meghalaya, Manipur, Assam—and ride till Nagaland and the Myanmar border. From there I’d love to ride to Bangkok as the roads might be opened in 2017. It will be a great opportunity then to ride from India to Bangkok. Myanmar, Malaysia, and Vietnam are also on my to-do list. In Europe, I’d like to take my bike to Italy and ride from the north to the south. It covers a lot of historical places including many coliseums. If I had it my way, I love to ride to all these places on the BMW FX 1200 (which hasn’t as yet been launched in India).”