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Issue of October 2006 

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The visionary

His vision to succeed in life and to ensure the excellence of information technology in the organisation he works in is what drives Meheriar Patel, DGM and Head of IT at Globus India. Rishiraj Verma finds out what makes him tick

Instead of the stereotypical blazer-clad member of the top management, a man dressed in a floral shirt and corduroy trousers offers you a handshake while he carries his laptop in the other hand. This is Meheriar Patel for you.

In the beginning

Patel did his schooling at St Sebastian’s in Chembur, Mumbai, and passed out in 1982. He believes that anyone, if you put the question to them, will say that the thing they miss most about their youth are the fun days spent in school. “It was fun for me as well,” he smiles.

He didn’t have to go through the average Mumbaikar’s routine of travelling to college early in the morning in a crowded train and then attending classes because he did a correspondence course from Mumbai University. “I completed my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology.” A two-year full-time Diploma in Computers from the Informatics Computer Institute followed. The crowning moment came when he acquired an MBA in IT, which paved the way for his present position at Globus India.

An impressive resume

So how did IT happen? Says Patel, “After a full-time computer course and an MBA in IT it was obvious that I should go in for an IT-related job.”

He says that his career in the IT field started with a few minor projects. He worked for three years, took a break, and then returned to IT once again. “My first real opportunity was with J P Morgan / ICICI Securities in 1994.” This, he opines, was his ‘favourite’ work experience simply because it was the one that brought him back to what he did best—provide IT to an organisation.

Various other projects followed. One of them, which he vividly remembers, is setting up the complete infrastructure for JetAir. Here he worked for about five and half years. Patel considers the stint a challenge because “I had to literally start from zero.” He says that he led the team which set up the company’s data centre, and put policies and procedures in place. He also says that he was responsible for JetAir’s VPN roll-out across 115 locations in India.

Patel says that he is planning to implement CRM, BI, RFID and e-commerce solutions at Globus. “They haven’t been set up yet, so they may be considered implementations for the future. However, I consider them projects in the present because I want them tomorrow…maybe even today.”

Time for himself

So what does he like to do when he has a little time for himself? Read, write, travel.

“Give me any book by Abdul Kalam and I’ll make sure
I read it cover-to-cover.”

“I love putting my thoughts down on paper.” He says that he wants to write a few books related to his vision on humanity and the like. From his ability to write emerges the need to read. He reveals that A P J Abdul Kalam is his favourite author. “Give me any book by him and I’ll make sure I read it cover-to-cover.”

He laughs heartily as he speaks about his liking for soccer and cricket. “School was the time for it,” he notes sadly as he has no time for sports anymore. He now likes to play what he calls ‘mind games.’ According to him, these games challenge the mental ability of a human being and force him to think of things that he hasn’t thought of before. This, he asserts, is good training for thinking out of the box.

There is also a homely side to this man. “I like spending time with my family, especially my wife and daughter.”

Birth date : October 10
Age : 40
Place of birth : Mumbai
Sun sign : Libra
Father : Retired officer from Tata Electricals
Mother : Housewife
Wife : Insurance adviser
Son : Seven years old
Sister : Married with one daughter

Inspired by the President

His favourite author also happens to be his mentor in life. “Kalam brims over with positivism, and I would like to follow his vision,” he declares as he explains why he puts the President of the country on his mentor list. Patel points out that Kalam manages to do the one thing that most of us do not—he makes you ask yourself what you have done for the country and not what the country has given you.

He connects this thought with everyday life and says, “I need to ask myself what I can do for my organisation instead of what the company can give me.” He also likes the President’s philosophy of stopping blame-games if the nation as a whole has to succeed.

Different people follow different schools of thought, and Patel is more of a self-believer. “I am still a God-fearing person,” he says. He believes in the ideology that if ever there is something that can change a man’s destiny it is himself. “If you plan well, you can achieve anything in the world.” The word impossible does not exist in his vocabulary.

When it comes to his beliefs related to his work, he thinks that IT shouldn’t be considered merely as a tool to help businesses. Rather, it needs to become an integral part of the business itself. “I think it is slowly happening.” He however adds that there are certain pieces still needed to complete this puzzle.

When it comes to superstition he says that in matters of life he’d call himself cautious rather than superstitious. “The era of the ‘cat-cutting-your-road’ is over. We won’t develop if we keep believing in those notions.”


Patel feels that his MBA in IT and the implementation of infrastructure at JetAir are his biggest professional achievements till date. Personally, he says he will consider his ambitions achieved when he realises his dream of becoming a Group CIO .

Rapid Fire
  • Retirement plans: Nothing yet. As a matter of fact, I plan to never retire. I’d rather go on being a consultant or writing books on IT than be called a retired CTO.
  • Film: Lord of the Rings. I like all the films in this series. Then there is Superman. The film which I can remember from my childhood is The Bible. It was highly influential.
  • Book and author: Ignited Minds: Unleashing the power within India, and India 2020: A vision of the new millennium, both by my favourite author, President A P J Abdul Kalam.
  • Wish the most in life: I wish to be a good human being more than anything else. I also want the nation to progress and secure a good future through IT.
  • Miss the most in life: Nothing. I like what I do and enjoy it as well, so I’m very happy. There are no regrets with the decisions that I’ve made in life because I’ve come to realise that, at the end of the day, IT is the life of any organisation. In a way, I make organisations come alive!
  • Love about self: I am confident but not overtly so. I am also a good team-player.
  • Hate about self: I tend to go very quickly in some things. I’d like to pace myself.
  • The ideal vacation: Going to Rajasthan, visiting the beaches of Goa, and spending time in the Kerala monsoon. Abroad, I’d like to visit Europe, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore with my family.
  • Most cherished memory: My school days. I want those days back. There were no worries and life was simple.
  • Special talents: I have good people-management skills, and I think I am a good HR person. If I wasn’t in IT I’m sure I would have been an HR head somewhere.
  • Other likes: TV programmes, especially those about travel. The theme tends to relax me.
  • Message to fellow IT heads: The key to success is innovation—and innovation alone. Business needs to drive IT, and not the other way around. We need to implement good processes and policies.
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