Coffee & Conversations with Rahul Kishore: Week #3: Nisha Narayanan

13 Apr,2015

Coffee & Conversations normally appears on a Friday. We missed two weeks – the first since Good Friday was a holiday and in the last week as we had a connectivity hitch in Goa where he had shifted base for Goafest.  We are carrying one today and will henceforth appear on Fridays. Thanks – Ed


Nisha Narayanan is easily the most glamorous COO I have had the pleasure of meeting. Ever-smiling, tough, balanced and easy-to-get-along-with are some of the things I know about her. I met her in 2009 and she continues to be a good friend till this day and some one I greatly admire.


I began by asking her:


Do you consider yourself lucky?

Yes, of course, she says. Opportunities come, you have to grab them and learn. I was an RJ in AIR about 20 years back. Was taking a break from Economics,  and listening to music, when I heard an advert for RJs. I applied and got the job. From there till here is all about a lot of hard work. I don’t come from a media family. My bosses were supportive and gave me space to perform.And I did.


Difficult being a woman in a man’s world?

The challenge is to be taken seriously whether you are a man or a woman, she feels. Initially, the possibility of being taken lightly is higher, being a woman. Once they know you mean business, it goes away. I was travelling 28 days a month for almost the first four years of my job. Sometimes I would come home just to change my suitcase. I got taken seriously pretty soon. I feel for me its business as usual.


Do you intimidate men?

No, not at all. I am accessible to all and pretty open with all my colleagues. I like wearing sarees to work, which is rare, but I wear them just because I like them.There is no rule for office attire, is there? Ultimately it’s your work that talks, not what you wear to work! People do speak to me very formally and with grace, maybe because of this. I dont think I intimidate anyone


How do you destress?

I travel a lot on work and this helps me destress as well. Work for me is everything and I love my job. I am learning music nowadays. I know Carnatic music, am learning Hindustani classical these days.


If a movie were made on your life, who would play you and why?

Nandita Sen is the instant answer. She is grounded, simple and level-headed. What Nisha forgot, is that Nandita too, like Nisha, has lovely hair! She supports causes and has a social consciousness that’s essential in today’s age.


Nisha’s dream job would be?

I will focus on radio only. Right now radio does not reach villages and small towns which is the real I ndia.I want to drive this when the government allows it and help in educating and empowering people via this medium. This is a dream of mine. This wil happen once the regulations are easier for the broadcasters. I will lead this movement once am allowed to.


Three things most important to you?


Freedom to do what I believe in

Honesty and hard work


How much time do you spend on yourself?

Currently I have no work-life balance. Work, for me, is religion. I have no time for myself, and I don’t feel the pinch either. I do a bit of yoga now and then and some exercise when I find some time


One word that describes you?



Favourite animal?

Horse. Because it’s strong, has speed, is regal, and powerful. Also has a great mane (that’s my addition!)


Lastly one CEO you admire?

Narayan Murthy for his vision, simplicity and for being so humble. Inspiring leader, hands-on guy , leads by example, grounded. Built a huge empire with practically nothing, willing to take risks and maintaining great standards of integrity. In a corporate world which is in the grips of scandals and scams, he set himself high standards of corporate excellence and transparency. And a man with a huge social conscience


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