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'Destiny needs a bit of hand-holding apparently'

Destiny needs a bit of hand-holding apparently

Founder & CEO, organic & real.com Manu Mahdi on finding himself through Vipassana... and his fear of spiders!

Published: Fri 31 Aug 2018, 12:30 AM

Last updated: Fri 31 Aug 2018, 2:30 AM

What is your best childhood memory?
Summer holidays spent back in my ancestral home with cousins! It used to rain non-stop for weeks back in my hometown. At night, the sound of lashing rain on window panes used to make our hearts skip a beat. And the blinding flashes of lightning used to make us feel like the paparazzi were right outside our windows. At dawn, when the downpour retreated, we used to pick the fallen mangoes from under this huge mango tree in the compound. The mangoes I've eaten later in life have never tasted as sweet.
If you could move anywhere in the world, which place would that be?
It would be New Zealand. I love nature and I have fallen in love with this country since I visited it - with its gorgeous landscapes, lakes, mountains, calm demeanour and, the best part of all, lack of huge crowds!
The biggest learning point or experience in your life.
I attended a 10-day meditation programme called Vipassana last year. With no technology, no communication, no words or even thoughts of any sort, spending almost 12 hours a day on meditation was initially one of the most challenging experiences I've had - but those turned out to be positive, life-altering days of my life. You learn so much about yourself, the energy in your body and in the universe, how to control your mind and spirit and, most importantly, get an appreciation of who you truly are and what your purpose in life is.
One super power you would love to have, and why?
Time travel. I am always fascinated to learn about historical events, right from the age of dinosaurs, and I'll admit I am a bit curious to know about the future too.
What advice would you give your younger self, if you could?
To learn the habit of prudence and planning ahead. I used to not care about the future. But as you grow wiser (or older as some people like to call it), we realise that certain things need to be planned and prepared for. We cannot leave everything to destiny - destiny needs a bit of hand-holding apparently!
If you could go back to any era in time or witness any major event in history, which one would it be, and why?
The Pyramids of Giza have always fascinated me. The experience of being at the bottom of one of them is really humbling and I always wondered how human beings could have built something so massive almost 5,000 years ago when science had not progressed to anywhere near where it is now. I always wished I could be there to witness how they built a pyramid.
Your greatest fear.
Spiders! Those 8-legged creatures freak me out and have given me endless sleepless nights during my travels back to India and occasional work trips in Africa. Even the sight of a tarantula in a magazine will have me quivering, much to the amusement of my kids!
If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day, who would it be and why?
Jeff Bezos, of course. That would be the busiest and the most productive day in my life. Gather all the insights and strategies from Amazon and make an action plan to implement it with Organic & Real. One day might be too less though, can I get a few more?
Favourite movie character of all time.
Charlie Chaplin. He could make any audience laugh without uttering a word, ease their stress and forget pain. The whole world is striving for happiness. He is a timeless classic legend.
If you were President of your country, what is the first thing you would do?
Ban all future Presidential elections - but I mean well! Then I will have enough time to get on with saving the world one day at a time. There are way too many things to be corrected to save our planet from self-destruction. I will wait for that day.
- Staff Reporter

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