Hi friends & readers,

Our guest writer this week is my dashing young friend Venkat Kulkarni. It was Venkat’s choice of a profession that inspired me big-time. Especially because it was way off the beaten track as he dared to do what he loved best – sports,

Venkat

swimming, watermanship and a spirit of adventure. Reminding us of the famous quote – “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” – Confucius. So now its over to Venkat.

How it all began

“I  have always excelled in water be it swimming or free diving so much so that I went on to become a life guard. During my school years i always chose swimming as my sport and had also represented my alma mater in many swimming events, during these years I chose to attend a Scuba diving camp organised by the Indian Navy. Here we were taught diving using various Scuba systems and were also taken to Lakshadweep to try out our skills t. It was here that I learned about this very alien profession of a deep sea diver.

My choice of a profession based on what I was passionate about

This idea hung on to me while I was pursuing my further studies in B.com from Pune. By the end of my course I had made up my mind on becoming a deep sea diver. I surfed the net and checked out various avenues through which I can pursue my interests. I learned that there are very few institutions around the world which offer courses and training for a deep sea diver. These institutions are located in countries like France, South Africa, UK, and Tasmania.

Training in South Africa

All set for a long swim - diving course in South Africa

I completed the formalities and headed for South Africa where I began my training.

Pipelaying barge.

My course began in September 2007 in a place called Saldana off 150 km from Cape Town. It was very cold out there and our daily schedule started with intense physical training involving 3 km swims and exercises. After that we had our theory classes where we were taught about various diving systems and also about the dynamics of our body under water. Commercial diving is very different from scuba diving which we are familiar with.

In scuba diving suit

As divers we use very heavy and sophisticated state of the art diving systems an example is the  Kirby Morgan diving system which is a tough helmet weighing about 20kg with a in built communication system. In scuba diving the source of air is the cylinder which is carried on the back but in deep sea diving we use an umbilical system which is a tough pipe connected to your helmet on one end and to a surface compressor on the other end which provides access to unlimited air supply.

Riding rubber boat with the out-board-motor

Deep sea conditions

Underwater the physical parameters are very different to what we are used to on land.

Me in the diving basket

There is an increase in pressure as we go deeper and deeper. The pressure rises at the rate of 1 atm (1 atmosphere) for every 10 meters also there is variability of the temperature and play of currents. The diver while under water is subjected to many risks like while resurfacing from greater depths he may develop aeroembolism, narcotic effects of gases, oxygen toxicity etc. Thus one has to be physically fit and mentally sound to meet the demands of this profession. The course was a great experience for me and my training got further refined once I started working.

It’s a freelance profession

The diving support vessel

Once I completed my training I was excited to pick up a job. Diving is basically a freelance profession where your

A jack-up rig alongside a oil jacket platform

A pipelaying stinger running a pipeline from the jacket at the other end

experience matters the most and companies prefer trained and well versed divers. I got my first job from an Indian diving company called Dolphin Offshore. I worked with them for 6 months gained experience in riser clamp installations, surveys and marine growth removal. Once i got back home i sent my resume to a Mumbai based agency

The pipeline which has to be connected underwater

that sends divers on jobs around the world. I was then sent to the Middle East where i was part of a very cosmopolitan diving team with divers coming from different corners of the world.

Team effort important even when underwater

My diving team suiting me up

As i have explained earlier

The basket from which the diver is sent underwater

commercial diving is a tough field. We are exposed to conditions which are dangerous to our body. We are working with heavy

machinery. The work force under water is also less. A job completed by 3 to 4 men on land has to be done by one diver under water. A team effort is required the head of this operation is the diving supervisor who in monitoring your activities under water via cameras. He is responsible for the air, light and camera connections and also keeps a check on your time. This is very important as a diver cannot stay underwater for a long time as he may develop bends, thus the work has to be done in record time.

Multi-tasking keeps you challenged

The work of a diver changes constantly with the location and requirement. You can be inspecting the structures of oil jackets and platforms, connecting pipelines, installing concrete mattresses on cables on sea beds. Also many science channels regularly employ divers for monitoring and tracking deep sea creatures. The planet Earth series has had large contributions of divers in its making.

Today diving has become an upcoming career with lot to offer to young aspirants who prefer a life of challenge and have a taste for adventure.

So friends I now wish you all the best in your choice of your professional career and may it be very rewarding and exciting. I also thank Dilip Sir for this opportunity to share my experience with you all.

Venkat

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About dilipnaidu

An open mind! Love to share my thoughts and a keenness to learn. An engineer and a MBA I had a wonderful innings in the Army and later moved to consultancy and teaching. My current interests are reading, music, growing culinary herbs, playing golf and yoga. I am serious on "Living life less seriously". A warm welcome to you be well and be cheerful always.

22 responses »

  1. pdhillon says:

    Wow! Wow!. I too love swimming because I was a fast learner. Keep up the good work.

    Like

  2. Gaurav R Aora says:

    A big Hi Venkat!

    Today i also felt like sharing some of my experience at Taj Group of hotels.I would like to use Sirs Blog to give you all some insight about my learning at Taj in relation to Team Work.

    ‘It takes less time to do things right than to explain why you did it wrong.’ Was the advice given to me by my Food & Beverage Manager, while working as a Team Leader at Taj Residency, Kerala. But doing things right all the time requires a good team with a great sense team spirit. Good teams accept bouquets and brickbats with equanimity. This idea helps teams to work together as a happy family. In my opinion, team effort should create a sense of cohesiveness. However the most important element of a good team is the leader, as it is the leader who binds the team together, gives them the vision and inspires their focus towards the goal.

    As a team leader of the coffee shop at Taj Residency Kerala, my most important duties were achieving daily budget of the restaurant and ensuring that all guests are happy. I feel proud to have achieved these goals. However, achieving goals and objectives of a company like Taj is not an individual task. It requires inputs of many employees working together to align towards the common goal forming a team. Magnetism teaches us that ‘Opposites attract,’ thus one should try to form a team with different skills, talents and experiences. Creative people contribute enormously to the success of teams; they are passionate about what they do and this motivates the others to contribute. They not only make promises but also deliver.

    Working in Kerala with different sets of individuals was challenging. My team was very diverse, but was working and helping me to achieve the organizational objectives. When people are asked how many members form an ideal team, many reply that a bigger challenge requires a larger team. However, in my opinion, handling a team of more than ten individuals is not easy. The company should create an environment where people are encouraged to work in harmony everyday. They should discuss and resolve problems openly rather than bottling up their feelings. Everyday we used to have a briefing where we discussed the plans for the days i.e. house count, VIP arrivals, and the menu. Finally we would focus on sharing ideas and addressing grievances. Information was shared freely and openly.

    Good team work does not come naturally but has to be nurtured. One of the basics of team building is good relationship amongst team members. Some important elements are:

    • Trust
    • Mutual Respect
    • Honest Communication
    • No back-biting
    • Promising Long-term relationship
    • Equality among all members

    Given the time and right people, building a successful team is not a difficult task. The challenge is in keeping the same team together to solve bigger problems of the company and to make it more effective in the changing global scenario.

    It is sometimes very important to put the best into your work without being concerned about the final result. This brings in respect and appreciation from the team members and the boss. In my opinion, a good team leader should be able to learn by observing. While working in the bar, I learnt all about mixers and flaring styles from my team members. In return, they were helped by me with their wine service basics. Although most people are recognized for their knowledge, those who help others are valued the most. For being a good team leader, one needs to be disciplined, able to formulate plans and also share success with the team to motivate them to do better.

    While working at the Taj Group of Hotels, Hyderabad, we had a group of 20 German guests coming for lunch and we were in an acute shortage of staff. At that time everybody, from the general manager to assistant managers along with other support staff came together as a team and handled the situation.

    Organizations can achieve their goals effectively if the various cross functional teams work together. Every team can give valuable inputs for the functioning of other teams. No team can work in isolation. As the saying goes, united we stand; Divided we fall!

    Wishing all readers Happy Valentine’s Day!lets form a Team and Spread Love to make world better place to live in.

    Thank you Sir,for providing all of us this stage for expressing our views.

    Regards

    Gaurav R Arora

    Like

  3. Ashish Patel says:

    Hi Venkat,
    it’s a truely amazing article…
    greaat dear.

    with regard,
    Ashish

    Like

  4. nisha sashidharan says:

    Hi Venkat ,

    The article is jus amazing dude and thx for sharing ur experience with us !!!

    thx
    nisha 🙂

    Like

  5. Binod Luitel says:

    Hi Venkat,

    Congratulation! for choosing a different way of living. In fact, there are very few people in the world who realy make their career to their hobbies. This is the secret of success.

    I found it very interesting and inspiring to read your article. You reminded me of Helen Keller who has said, ” life is either a grand adventure or nothing”. So why not choose to live an inspiring and adventurous living like you. Live a legacy for the generations to come.

    Wish you all the best.
    Binod.

    Like

  6. Aditya Pandey says:

    Good Evening Sir, How are you? It gives immense pleasure to once again write back on our blog.

    Sir, i think what Venkat has discussed with us is an eye opener for all those people who want to create their own world.

    I would like to share one thought given by acting legend Mr. Amitabh Bachhan. Once he was attending his father`s poetic seesions, Someone asked him, Amitji why you also dont start composing poem like your father? Amitabh Bacchan replied,” My father(Harivansh Rai Bacchan)once said to me; There are two types people in this world, First, who Love and live for their work & Second,Who work to live:, I will choose to fall in first category.

    It`s very much important to choose your profession which you want to live with. Sir, I would like to give my own example; I always wanted to do acting but conditions were not favorable; Nevertheless, I am trying my hard to get admission into NYAD & i have been shortlisted for Final Round.

    Doing MBA was my first choice but i dont want to choose it as profession. It is not because i find it hard but i find acting more interesting and real.

    One should do only that thing in which he is interested!!!!!
    Thank you all of you

    Like

    • Dilip says:

      Dear Aditya,

      Very interesting response on a choice everyone finds hard to decide. I am so happy to hear that you have been short-listed for the Final Round of NYAD aspirants.I am sure the MBA inputs will stand you in good stead and at times help differentiate.

      Wish you all the luck and thanks for sharing your thoughts. Bye and be awesome!

      Like

  7. Gaurav R Arora says:

    ‘Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.’ -Aristotle

    Choosing a career you enjoy is important, because it not only defines you, but allows you to do what you like to do, as opposed to what you have to do. A person without any aim in life has no destination in sight. He does not know in which direction to move. Venkat your blogs reminds me of 3 idiots, by doing what you want to do; you can earn money and be happy working at the same time.

    As a child, everyone has a dream about what they want to be when they grow up. That dream may change with age, but it is the desire to do something enjoyable for a living that stays constant. I sometime think what talents or abilities do I have, I thought about activities that I enjoy, and then finally it struck me I enjoy cooking different dishes and also have a flair for bar tending. But again I have totally diversified my field from being bartender at Taj Group of hotels I came To TASMAC for doing MBA. I then got confused, was it bar tending that I liked the most? or it was people whom I enjoyed serving? Or it was Creativity in making different styles of drinks? I have realized that I can only do work which allow me to be creative, but then I thought I can actually make any work creative if I wish to.

    Why can’t I be a HR Manager who can serve dish in restaurant or welcome guest with mock tails, or even sharing my learning at MBA with employees. I believe as long as I do something I love,I’ll be successful.

    I have a long term desire to open my own restaurant with all creative and crazy dishes in the menu e.g. noodles in somosas, chocolate pani puri …the ideas are endless. I have this aim and need to work steadily in this direction.

    Thank you Venkat for making me think once again,superb job done.
    I think the world itself is a Ocean with endless opportunities.

    All the very best.

    Gaurav R Arora

    Like

    • Dilip says:

      Dear Gaurav,

      How well you have expressed your feelings. Your exposure to a Five Star work environment and that too the stint at the Bar must have honed your creative skills as well as your interpersonal abilities.

      I am thrilled to hear of your desire to one day open a restaurant – do keep me in the loop when you draw your plan 🙂

      With kind regards and thanks for dropping by!

      Like

  8. col brar says:

    Hi venkat, i am so happy to see you growing as a living example to many of your colleagues and friends and many more younger generation to do what your inner side tells you to do. you are lucky your parents and grandparents who are so supportive in going for a risky and rarely known profession. hats off to them too. majority of us had to join a profession to fulfill the desire of our ancestors.only few individual stand up for their right of choice of profession. well done venkat. keep it up. my congratulations to the entire kulkarni family and your bold friends.

    Like

    • Dilip says:

      Well said Col. Brar,

      Yes Venky does need to be applauded for his steadfast aim and determination to pursue deep-sea diving. You did well in appreciating his parents who did not pressurize him into following a beaten track.

      Thanks you so much for dropping in and encouraging the youngsters! Cheers.

      Like

  9. James Ninfaakang says:

    Hi Venkat,
    A great feat of achievement. I wish to learn two things from you:
    – How to swim (please don’t laugh here because coming from a background of fishermen – from the mother line), I have no clue there, and I would just be a stone in any water body dropping to the deepest.
    – Sea transport to Africa or precisely Ghana (thats my country) from India. I want to get that exposure and experience once. I will be relying on you for what it needs.
    Of course Dilip Sir would kindly facilitate this since I don’t know you.
    Hoping to hear soonest from you.
    James

    Like

    • Dilip says:

      Dear James,

      I always love to read your comments and wish I could learn your easy flow! Ya Venkat’s story is truly inspiring! It is a good lesson on how to decide ones goals! And as Mr Ranganathan above says “When your passion becomes vocation then it is a lifelong vacation”.

      Thank you for gracing the blog and cheering up every one around 🙂

      Like

  10. V Ranganathan says:

    Hi everyone,

    “When your passion becomes vocation then it is a lifelong vacation”

    Regards!

    VRanganathan
    nlp master practitioner
    motivational speaker & trainer
    Chennai

    Like

  11. gandhiswf says:

    Infact a very nice and pragmatic field in which Venkat Kulkarni is:
    and this is absolutely right that one should choose an interested field related to our personal goal & mission coming from the deepest part of our heart.. then an individual can get success and satisfaction in life …………

    Like

  12. Dilip says:

    Hi Amrita .. all the inspiration & thanks are due to all you young and wonderful folk – the architects of the future 🙂

    Thanks & regards!

    Like

  13. Geetha Chandar says:

    Kudos, Venkat! All the Ocean’s a stage for you! Please dive safe and never lose your passion for ‘The Deep End of the Ocean.’

    Regards,

    Geetha

    Like

  14. akash says:

    Hi Venkat,

    It was awesome reading ur article.

    As truly said practise makes one PERFECT as in ur case……

    once again thanks to Naidu sir for giving us a common platform where one can share & gain a LOT ………. (in terms of knowledge,etc……)

    excellent article, keep it up ………

    all the BEST 4 ur future …..

    Thanks & Best Regards,
    akash

    Like

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