Experiences and Learnings That Drive My 2020

New Year resolutions I believe aren’t as meaningful as they used to be. Learning every day and revisiting the year after a good few weeks in to the New Year and checking if those learnings are already being put to use works practically for me. On that note, it was an interesting 2019 for me as I straddled several projects. It had been a year of big decisions and some tough choices. As I reminisce the year gone by in this first month of 2020, I am sharing with you the highlights, experiences and the learnings that I will carry into 2020.

varun_manian2019 saw HQ10, a co-working space that allows Corporates, small businesses and start-ups to operate from its trendy offices in Guindy already saw an expansion. What I love about HQ10 is the flexibility that comes with the state-of-the-art facilities and highly functional workspaces making it beneficial for corporates and entrepreneurs alike who would otherwise have to take on a big capital investment.


varun_manian_drivexMy passion for cars went into overdrive with DriveX, another entrepreneurial venture that I invested in last year. Founded by my dear friend and India’s 1st Formula 1 racing driver Narain Karthikeyan, DriveX is Asia’s First Multi-Brand Car Mobility Platform. DriveX gives you the option to own a collection of cars of your choice depending on your needs and works in a fascinating way. You can subscribe to a car or a package of your choice for any tenure between 12 to 60 months without a down payment or processing fee making it hassle-free to own a car. This module allows customers to have the freedom of enjoying a personal automobile without the hassles. Check out drivex.in for more on this.

varun_manian_arakkattalai2019 also saw the launch of Varun Arakattalai, a CSR initiative that I consider a major personal achievement. With Varun Arakattalai, I aim to be able to help all those in need of not only monetary funds but also physical, emotional and social support. Having undertaken several welfare initiatives, this non-profit entity has brought about sustainable and positive change in the lives of underprivileged kids, youth and women. Intending to create a community for passionate people that work together to solve the community’s imperative challenges, Varun Arakattalai chose the Patinampakkam community for its initial activities. Using sports as an instrument to promote health, education and empowerment, we have been able to successfully help the community with employment skills, financial resources and parental support.

Another key event of 2019 was the Chennai water crisis that is etched in my memory, not as a particularly happy one. On 19 June 2019, the city officials declared ‘Day Zero’ as all water reservoirs were exhausted. This was a major crisis that saw schools declaring holidays and workplaces experiencing a shutdown.


We at Radiance Realty too were severely affected by this as water is essential to the construction business. While the construction industry saw a slowdown, I feel deeply for the hardships endured by the common man during these trying times. Well, I am glad we have been able to get over this and have emerged as a community that is more responsible and understands its value further. As everyone around, my family and I have adopted many sustainable practices for life.

Taking into account all that I’ve experienced in 2019, I can proudly say that it’s been a year of great experiences and greater learnings. While we are already over the first month of this New Year, Radiance has already had a double launch in Chennai, Radiance Suprema in Madhavaram and Radiance The Pride in Pallavaram.

The year has kicked off on a very positive for us and I’d like to wish you all a memorable and meaningful 2020!

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The Importance Of Sports

I read an article where recently crowned world badminton champion, P. V. Sindhu said that she has to find new strategies every time she plays. Sports stars like Sindhu indirectly tell us that playing a sport gives many life lessons along the way –

  1.   Sports teaches us to give our best: To attain a level of expertise requires hard work. The good part of sports is that one can see hard work pay off. So, it is motivating to try harder and give our best.
  2. Self-discipline:Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant in one of his interviews said that the discipline that M S Dhoni and Virat Kohli have inspired him. Discipline here means maintaining a rigorous regimen of practice even after having tasted success.

  3.   Decision-making: There are times when you have to make a decision while that impacts others around you, maybe an entire nation. Thinking from each one’s perspective is a good thumb rule to start with.

  4.  Team-building: A sports team requires a lot of time and energy dedicated to building a culture which leads to success. The most effective way to teach conflict resolution and team building is to instil those qualities in a tangible way – by placing otherwise ‘conflicting’ identities on the same sports team and training them to work together.

  5.  Sense of Unity:Sports bring diverse people together. Remember the movie Chak De India where Shah Rukh Khan or Vijay in Bigil inspires players to see themselves as one team? Sports instil a sense of belonging and identity, bringing out the best in people.  

How are these qualities different to that of what we apply to life? Sports play a pivotal role in developing an all-round personality. The onus of encouraging youngsters to take up sports seriously is on all stakeholders of society. An important aspect here is that children from educated and middle-class backgrounds have at least some exposure and are able to seek avenues to build upon this.

What about people who aren’t exposed to this or have an opportunity? Varun Arakattalai was formed to bridge this gap. 

Our objective is to use sports as an instrument to promote health, education and empowerment. In pursuit of this objective, we organize sporting events for the Chennai community. With the faith that people have shown in us, we have been inspired to discuss and bring about solutions to social issues faced by people in the area as well.

I believe for individuals, they enhance personal abilities, general health, and self- knowledge. On the national level, they contribute to economic and social growth, improve public health, and bring different communities together. And on the global level, sport and physical education have a long-lasting positive impact on development, public health, peace, and the sustainable management of the environment. We are now living in times of great uncertainty. Therefore, it should be everybody’s ambition to contribute to peace, freedom and stability.

We all have a chance to do better. We all have a role to play.