Aspiring Hundred’s Through Accomplishments

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”- Maya Angelou

The General Thimayya Memorial Lecture is an annual event at Cottons in honor of a sparkling alumnus, General KodanderaSubayyaThimayya, a Padma Bhushan awardee who served as the most successful Chief of Army Staff from 1957 to 1961. The 9th General Thimayya Memorial Lecture was held on 16th November, 2013 in the Cottons Auditorium. It recognizes the achievements of various old Cottonians in their contribution to society.

The event started off with the school song, followed by a tribute to air marshal Trevor Osman. This was soon followed up by the announcement of the winner of the Thimayya medal. The awardee was Herbert Mohan Spratt, an Old Cottonian who served as Director General of Haryana Police during 1998. Mr. Spratt enthralled thelisteners with his vivid recollections of his life at Cottons and the punishment Warden Canon Elphick used to give himand how he used the same punishment on a group of miscreants during the Khalistan Movement when he was DGP of Haryana.General Thimmaya - Ramesh Vungal

Principal John Zachariah came on stage to give an introduction to the speaker for the day Mr. Ramesh Vangal who was an ex-Cottonian of the batch of 1970. He was also President of PepsiCo Asia-Pacific and is currently Chairman of the Katra Group.  Ramesh Vangal started off his address by describing how he overcame the fear he had for principals. He immediately delved into the topic for the lecture- “Beyond Boundaries: Karma, Innovation and India’s Economic Story”.

Mr. Vangal began by describing the fall of India’s economy over the centuries. The graph he presented, showing how India was an economic superpower a few centuries ago, enumerated the fact that India had potential, but it was not being used. He then emphasized on a phrase, ‘Big changes to big things causes transformation’ and explained to the audience about how to bring about change for the better. Mr. Vangal proceeded todescribe his experiences at PepsiCo and the challenges he faced in bringing ‘Lehar Pepsi’ into the Indian market as Pepsi wasn’t a known brand at all in India at the time and the measures taken byCoca-Colamade it all the more difficult. He then showed the gathering a slew of marketing campaigns implemented by PepsiCo, the initial few of which were unsuccessful, until he fused Indian and Western cultures together. The advertisements were indeed amusing which held the onlookers in mirth as they broke into laughter.

Mr. Vangal expressed how he had discovered the power of Ayurveda about ten years ago. While allopathic medicine was important in emergency situations, Mr. Vangal believed that its curing ability was incomparable to that of Ayurvedic medicine. His company was trying to prove the efficiency of Ayurvedic medicine with science and trying to get it approved by the FDA to help spread Ayurveda in the US.Throwing light upon the percentage of Indians working in different professions in America, Mr. Vangal enforced that it was in our genes to be productive. He then ended his speech by urging the younger generation to work for their county andpreserve the rich traditions,  heritage and culture. He also next gracefully answered questions ranging from queries on how to make a change and adapt to the famous Indian techniques when we are dipped completely into westernization, chasing ones owns dreams without worrying too much on its futility and criticisms by the society and how students could become successful by making the right choices.

The event concluded with the Vote of Thanks, followed by the national anthem. Overall, it was asensational and marvelous speech and one that inspired everyone, irrespective of age.