The Accidental Gypsy - A Conversation with Mr. Rais Khan
This is a series of articles focusing on life and what would life be without learning about its adventures from the pros. I will speak to distinguished professionals who are now retired and have a wealth of knowledge to pass on to the coming generation, don't take me wrong as these individuals are still active and vibrant and are living to the fullest.
For the first of this series, I spoke to Mr. Rais Ahmed Khan, a Chartered Accountant with a contagious sense of humor. A funny accountant is already an oxymoron and I haven't come across anyone who fits this bill better than him. He has recently published his memoirs as pictured above and a copy can be ordered from Amazon.
Born in Undivided India in 1944, he obtained a Masters Degree in Commerce from the Prestigious Aligarh Muslim University in 1961. Mr. Khan migrated to the newly formed country of Pakistan in 1962 and completed his Chartered Accountancy. He then embarked upon his professional career working with esteemed organizations such as IBM in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and Etisalat in the UAE. He lived in the United States for about 4 years and has extensively traveled across Europe, North America, Africa, and the Middle East.
An evening spent with Mr. Khan is an evening worth remembering. Here are the excerpts from my recent interview with him. The book can be ordered through amazon (http://shorturl.at/xAFT7).
Najib: Good Evening Mr. Khan, please give a short summary of your book and the key takeaways?
Rais Khan: This book would take you through a journey, a journey of the life of a common man who did not know what he was trying to achieve. My life was either an accident or took turns for the best / worse because I took the recommendations of some people who just came across. My life was not following any steps for success rather achieving success on every step. I achieved everything I thought I was incapable of, including mastering spoken English language and some chapters in the book would entertain the readers on quite a few of these incidents. I have encountered all sorts of miracles from unknown and unconventional sources and this is true in everyone's life; all we have to do is to be aware of our "NOW". There's nothing called planning one's life and take it from someone who has lived his life to the fullest, things just happen for the good.
Najib: What has been the greatest fear that drove you throughout your life that actually never came true?
Rais Khan: I was always fearful of being dependent on someone; facing humiliation had always been my biggest fear. I always avoided senior management to the best of my ability to avoid being insulted; kissing ass had never been a trait I could fully develop. This fear of being disgraced always drove me to take care of people below me and it always saved me on quite a few occasions. Now at this stage of my life, I am thankful for not being dependent financially or physically to a great extent.
Najib: Why did you leave Pakistan when you had a superb career trajectory?
Rais Khan: I did not leave Pakistan on my own but was literally driven out of there. My boss in IBM had an acidic attitude problem and I had unnecessarily taken it a point to go head on with him. I always counted my clashes with him as a personal victory as I always took a principled stand. My boss would fight for petty expenses and I personally thought that this was too small to bicker about. I would do it again if I had to, though, ultimately things became quite unbearable towards the end and the only option I had was to leave IBM and avail the opportunity that came to me from the Middle East and I hurriedly took it without giving much thought to it.
Najib: How important of a role does money play in one's life, what are your thoughts about money now that you have retired?
Rais Khan: It's really valuable as it takes away a lot of worries but one shouldn't make it their purpose of life and happiness. I never strived for too much and firmly believed that what is destined would always come towards you. Too much of anything still frightens me.
Najib: If you were to live your life again, what would you do differently?
Rais Khan: I wouldn't do anything differently except that perhaps I would be more careful with my spending habits.
Najib: What are the personality traits that you possess that have hurt you the most?
Rais Khan: Uncompromising attitude in a lot of professional and personal situations. I now consider it as a great weakness and I would always recommend everyone to be flexible and open in life. "You can always be worng"should be a possibility while addressing a situation.
Najib: People you were always uncomfortable with and were never able to get along?
Rais Khan: Cheaters, Selfish and Opportunists. I had a knack of clashing with them even deliberately at times and now I regret that these people should just be avoided and left to themselves.
Najib: What would you advise your 25-year-old self now?
Rais Khan: Don't be too aggressive in life, live and let live. Do a better financial / career planning. I should capitalize on my assets that I never knew I had, I had fantastic social skills and excelled at that; also was helped a lot by my looks. Always hang around people smarter than yourself. Finally, devote more time to learning and reading.
Najib: One last wish if it had to be granted?
Rais Khan: I would like to live a luxurious life with the best of everything. I would learn to live more for myself and would also give more time to myself as well. The only regret I still have is that I still cannot sing.
Najib: 3 of your favorite books that you would like everyone to read?
Rais Khan: Stp Worrying and Start Living By Dale Carnegie, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and Tuesday's with Morrie by Mitch Albom.
Najib: 3 of your favorite movies?
Rais Khan: Judgement at Nurenberg, Not with my wife you don't andStitch in time.
Najib: It's going great and we have learned so much from you in this session, it would be great to know of some quotes that have driven you:
Rais Khan: Here you go:
- In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.” Robert Frost
- I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
- Knowing there's one thing I still haven't told you: I now believe, by the way, that miracles can happen. ” Nicholas Sparks, A Walk to Remember
Najib: Please share some final thoughts as an advice for young people?
Rais Khan: I had read somewhere that once the famous king Mahmood asked his genius servant Ayaz to tell him one thing which can make him happy when he is sad and make him sad when he is happy;
His advice was “This too shall pass”
My advice is not to waste your time planning for future or repenting on the past but live in the present as it is going to pass as well.
A copy of Mr.Khans's book "The Accidental Gypsy" can be ordered through Amazon, use the link http://shorturl.at/xAFT7. In the case of comments or personal advice, you can always contact him at Rais Khan <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
The author is a regular technology and management blogger and can be contacted at email@example.com.