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REPORT | The Journeys | Ft. Col Rahul Chauhan


Muskan – Hello and welcome everyone.I am Muskan your host and your dost for the podcast
series- THE JOURNEYS. This series is presented by INSIGHTNER. I would like to
An army man, who is strong and brave
Did for his country , whatever it takes!!!
Now a CSO, at Adani Group
Grit and determination, his guiding light
Protecting the company day and night
Honour and duty, his constant drive
Ensuring safety, he’ll always strive.
Hello Colonel, it’s a pleasure to have you on the show today. I appreciate you joining us

Colonel Rahul Chaan- Thank you ,thank you so very much Muskan ,very kind of you for
these nice words and giving me this platform to interact with you and the audience. Thank
you so very much.

Muskan- So Colonel I would like to ask you my first question which is what motivated you to
join the military.

Colonel- I’ll say it was my father because he was an Air Force and then he put me in military
school there in around the 10th class I realised that I like leading men I like being at the
Helms of the Affairs and then taking the group to the successes and finally when I was
selected in th class as a school Captain I think that spurred me that that gave me that kind of a confidence where I just felt the NDA exam played the SSB landed up in NDA cleared India
and then finally I joined with battalion so this is I’ll not say motivation but I think it was just I
had to be here and that’s what I came to Army and if I look back years back I
think those feelings which I started getting in th class probably there for the right feeling and
I just followed whatever I wanted and I’m pretty happy about that

Muskan- It’s been a great journey right!

Colonel- Yeah Yeah absolutely.

Muskan- so where did you serve the majority of time in service and which was your
favourite posting among all?

Colonel- Muskan and the Army we tend to spare not more than two years at one place and we
keep moving around in last years I’ll say I would have seen more than Places and all these
places and more than that they all are hidden gems if I talk about the Jammu and Kashmir if I
talk about now Northeast if I talk about maybe people won’t have heard the name of Dima
without a stick in Assam a beautiful place a hidden Jam then I’ve been to Rajasthan I’ve been
to Wellington a place in close to coimbatore so these all are beautiful places so if I have to pick one it is very difficult for me however if I have to tell you that you must go and visit one place that is the Kashmir Valley you must go it is one of the best players most beautiful the people are great the cuisine is absolutely wonderful and this I am talking when I’m not operating that means I’m not doing operations I’m just enjoying the beauty of India.

Muskan- Yes I’ve been to Kashmir actually and it’s heaven.I agree .

Colonel- Absolutely!

Muskan- So my next question to you is what rank are you most proud to have earned and

Colonel-I’ll say two ranks not one brand first was well when I was commissioned as
lieutenant because my parents they were standing besides me and they were pinning those
thoughts on my shoulders I almost went numb and that feeling of that numbness is still there
it give me goosebumps when I remember and recollect those moments so I’ll say that was
one and secondly when I became kernel I was chosen to lead a group of men about odd
people their families and their extended families because we are as a one groups it is a very
unrest responsibility because in Army every decision of a leader is a matter of life and death
especially when you’re in a field so your decision matters a lot so you have to do a lot of
calculation you need to have a lot of plan a plan B so that’s all invigorates me and that makes
me happy basically when I’m in a stressful situation so that’s why I remember when I was colonel and chosen to lead the team and finally we won two Awards also so these two
ranks were very close to me and they’ll remain close to me. I’ll keep telling these stories of
these two ranks to my kids and maybe grandchildren later on.

Muskan- It’s actually a pleasure I must say and my next question to you is about the
matters you were saying that you earned few medals so which medals or citations are you
most honoured to have received?

Colonel- As an individual I think we all want a pat on the back .And over the period of
Journey I have got a number of awards & Rewards and if I have to pick one again it is
very difficult but I’ll still mention if I talk about my individual award I’ll say when I was
adjusted as the best student in my school because that time it was again when we joined the military school it was people came from all over India it was a competitive exam we joined
together we trained together and finally going out as a best student that means it means a lot so I even though I have reached wherever I have read I still talk to people about that moment when the award was given to me so that’s why I’ll say that individual award is

That however and whenever I have to talk about the awards it’s a team award because that is difficult to win because a leader is as good as the weakest link in his team so as a team if
you’re willing that means even the weakest link is doing its fair and that’s why the team is
winning so when I was leading my Battalion as a colonel both at the northern front as well as
subsequently after two years on the Western Front there’s a game there’s a matrix to
decide that which Battalion will be adjusted is one of the better ones amongst the or plus
battalions are there in these two locations in continuous two years we won the team
Awards one of the best battalions amongst the Western and the northern fronts these awards
are very close to me this is behind hanging guy and me I’m not sure the audience will be able to see it or not but they’re very close to me so these two things again it will always remain very close to you.

Muskan- I’m sure you had a great time in Army and there must be some fun things you
and your friends did together while you were deployed so would you like to share those
memories if there are any and I’m sure there would be many though.

Colonel- Muskan when when you’re there in the field location especially you don’t know
what is going to happen next I was when we were there in J&K and Northeast when we are
there in the Insurgent areas or maybe the tourist infested areas every day was a fun day you
never knew that what was going to happen next you know going from place a to place where
you don’t know what is there in the Place so I’ll say those time of these fun days and as it is
we were young so we were looking forward to those kind of events but again if I have to
choose one probably I’ll save I remember those days when I was pretty young and we were
there deployed on a ft, mountain and it was all snow clad and we were secluded from the
civilization for almost about months those people staying together and away from the
civilization no electricity Whenever there should be light used to come out we used to
celebrate each day we used to sing Dory songs we used to cook food outside so those were
the fun days probably I remember a lot those days and given a chance I would like to go back
to those days and I had nothing to do on the top of a mountain, just to rest up.

Muskan- I mean you must enjoy your everyday life. That’s really great .So tell me about
some of the special people you met. I’m sure you would have met a lot of people.

Colonel- I’ll say that all those people who help you in your career or probably whom you
want to become more probably they are the mentor for you I’ll say when I was in military
school I had an administrative officer when I saw his when I used to see him dressed up in a
military attire probably that posed me to join army my father was an airport and I joined
Army he was one of the special people who changed the course of my career my life you can say that and then after when I joined my Battalion I had the chief of Army staff for my unit
only so I used to look up to him and I wanted to become like him so he was very special to
me and he he will remain special to me because I always looked up to him I looked at his
career path that what all he did and I almost tried to replicate and a lot of credit goes to him
the people or the instructors or the people who are there who are teaching you how to pick up a weapon, how to fire, how to react in a business situation the tactics to save ourselves and from this and of course our friends against in any operations and those are those special
people so I’ll not pinpoint on a single person I’ll say the entire team entire but our entire
family they all were very special to me because whatever I am today probably it is all
because of that.

Muskan- I’m sure your journey was special and every person you met was really special to
you and close to your heart so as I see that you have spent one year in South Sudan so how
was your time in South Sudan and is there any incident you would like to share from your
experience there ?

Colonel- So, one word is fantastic! It was the first International exposure which I got I was
chosen among the few people to represent India outside in a multicultural International level
and it was a great experience I was working as a logistic officers again it was a new
opportunity for me and that was the time when this North Sudan and the South Sudan was
getting separated the referendum was going on again it was a great experience it was
somewhere around if I remember correctly so during that time if I had to remember a special incident I’ll say the even the partition the results of the referendum was somewhere around
the same time if I recollect it was the of January or somewhere there is .South South Sudan
got separated from the North Sudan and I was there in Cuba their capital and those people
when I saw them celebrating when I saw them crying when I saw them they had very limited
resources till they were ready to offer anything and everything that day I realised what is the
value of freedom so these are few instances or the incidents which remains with you because you have seen something probably you may not notice anywhere else so that I still remember those that particular day especially when I was there in Sudan.

Muskan- I’m sure that pace of life would be so special to you. but I have one really interesting
question: how was the food there? I’m sure that it must be hard getting Indian food over

Colonel- There was hardly anything outside the Force Headquarters Cantonment sort of
things .There we used to cook our own food and our pretty bad cook so but we were four of
us we were there staying together and we used to go to pool let us call us at the pool where
we used to get together and we used to cook our own food so three days we used to have
good food and the fourth day was a disaster because that was my day, we had to struggle a lot on that.

Muskan- All right, tell me a funny story you experienced that could only happen in the
military, like we civilians cannot enjoy that like one funny story.

Colonel-Actually people think generally that the army people are very very disliked they are
very straightforward they don’t laugh but that is far from truth we also have our own moments of Joy which only doesn’t come out quite often because generally we don’t talk about all that
but one thing I feel that it doesn’t happen outside the probably I’m not very sure that we welcome our newcomers especially the ones who joins the Battalion all the Newlywed wives of the officers when they join the Battalion we welcome them I’ll say we do a prank on them and then we record the entire incident and then we flash it so when we are formally welcoming him or her in a big Gathering we flash it on the screen and then we enjoy
I can I recollect one of the incident it is again of my senior when he was joining the Battalion
in the J&K so we planned my seniors they plan to abduct him and he was kept in isolation for
two days and he was made to believe that he has been abducted by the militants and his entire reactions and actions they all were recorded and finally after two days we got him back to the
Battalion and thereafter during his dining in the entire thing was flashed and he was too
embarrassed and whenever we store the freezes the clippings again this great fun I must say.

Muskan- I must tell you like this is the best podcast you know because for me these stories
are really fun. So as I know that you are currently a CSO at adani group so how your army
experience is helping you with your corporate life.

Colonel- I’ll say the Army is a way of life, the discipline, the work culture,the ethos, the
truthfulness, this all gets grilled on us and especially if I say in last years I’ve already told
you I’ve been to different locations and I have been at different appointments, different roles
,different functions and everywhere it is a fresh starter that means you’re starting your fresh
,you’re starting from zero. You’re getting the different kind of setup, different kind of job role
,different kind of people ,so it was a little easy in the Army because you think so same but the
situations were different so when I joined corporate it was almost the same like a change of
location change of people change of job role .Army has to take about a month or two to settle down and then be productive here in corporate again it took me probably four months to
learn and now I’m productive, in the Army I won a number of awards I’m sure my journey
has started here ,my team along with me if not the awards at least I wish to be recognized.

Muskan- I’m sure so how your experience has been so far at adani group leading eight
businesses as a CSO.

Colonel- Nothing is easy ,nothing comes easy but in the Army one thing we are taught be
very organised plan for it and then go for it so I plan because if I start off .I say that my career
started in military school my military career started from there in the NDA and then years in
Army which is almost 20 years I was in shorts only running around and saving the country I
thought let me wear a tie and the suit and go to some Corporate Place so that’s why I decided I chopped out a plan, I prepared myself for a year and a half where I had a plan B also I
prepared for GMAT, I gave my GMAT exam and a good army person he always have a
backup plan so I thought if I’ll not get a good position and good option or good company
probably I’ll do an Executive MBA so I was prepared for that I did few certifications also
. Fortunately,I got an opportunity at the adani group here again it is a wonderful opportunity
I’m looking after the security of all emerging businesses that means I have to again start off
afresh there are the data centres which are coming up, there is a reality business which is
growing, there is a Aerospace which is coming up so I’m from designing from creating security philosophy to designing the security physical security and the technical security and then making it happen on ground it is all very interesting job and I’m just enjoying it.

Muskan- I think with all these emerging businesses with you as a leader at Adani group will
surely grow . So I wish to ask you what characteristics make an effective leader. So what do
you think are the most key factors that a leader must have?

Colonel- I’ll give my own personal experience that what I have been doing and I’ve been
pretty okay with whatever I have achieved I’ll not say it is be this but yes I have achieved all
good things I never keep myself at the pedestal of a leader, whatever the group is I just make
them feel that because of my experience probably I’m part of it .Every individual has got his
own capability I just need to nurture them because everybody comes with a capability if you
tell them this is to be done probably their capabilities will be limited, you just show them the
goal. tell them to explore their own capabilities and move towards the common goal .So I’ll
say that this particular characteristic or maybe this philosophy which I have achieved I’ve
been pretty successful at and I would like to continue with that .

Muskan-Of course ,so that’s your leadership style.

Colonel- Yeah you can say that I’m a kind of a Democratic leader who lets people enjoy
there’s no point being a banyan tree whose big strong people are intimidated but nothing goes under it so I’m a person who likes people to grow because if they grow ,probably my name
will also grow .Isn’t it?

Muskan- Yes ! So I’m gonna go on to my last question that is what one Mantra in your life
has helped you a lot ? What’s your mantra?

Colonel- I’ll not say that it is philosophy of my entire career or life and I tried to give this to
my kids also is that we need to have a always we need to be very articulate and meticulous
towards the planning. So I plan every year that how my year is going to be, then I divide it
into long-term goals with some goals and the short-term goals then all these three brackets
are further subdivided into the Milestone that I want to achieve this first minutes then next
and this is helping a lot and this is not only about my professional career I’m talking about my personal career I’ve been talking about my family I’m talking about my finances I’m talking
about my physical fitness everything everything I’ve well defined targets for this entire year
and if I have to give an example the last year I decided myself to run a half marathon and do
well in that not only it doesn’t happen that I had decided that I’ll read at least books I failed in
that miserably because of the time constraint and I decided to do a certification and did a
certification again in spite of being very busy I achieved that certification .So this way again
finances I had decided that I’ll do something for the mutual fund and I’ll learn something
and then I’ll grow some unfortunately again I feel there but atleast I try yeah that has been my Mantra or you can say the philosophy of life where I would like to be very organised I would
like to break down into Milestone and try to achieve them by doing a lot of hard work and
research so that’s how I am that’s why.

Muskan- I was also looking at your LinkedIn profile and I saw that you’re also learning a
language right .

Colonel- I want to do a lot of things actually so I wanted to I keep telling my kids also that if
going forward if we have to succeed we have to be an all-rounder having only one capability and quality probably will not meet us anywhere so you have to be a good writer you have to
be a good orator you need to have knowledge of different languages you need to have you
know you should be able to play at least one instrument you should be able to sing in a
platform you should when you stand on a Rostrum .People should listen to you so all these
qualities keep building it up so I want to do a lot of things I don’t know what all so I keep
defining it for myself every year .I’m at that juncture we talk about the Maslow’s hierarchy of
needs you will see, so I’m on top right now I don’t want to achieve, I have achieved almost
whatever I wanted to .Now it is self-actualization that I’m looking for that what can make me
happy so probably learning languages again it’s in planning not in this year bucket I want to
do it this year bucket is already full ,I’ll not spill that because that I’ll do it next year I’ve been
able to achieve or not but I’m very clear that I’ve laid down certain targets again what I want
to be at years of age ,what I want to be at 50 I’m very clear about that so can we get an idea
of what’s your long-term goal that are very close to me but yes if I I’m looking in future I’m
looking for maybe much bigger roles much bigger responsibilities where again I’m leading a
big group and achieving Awards and rewards and succeeding as a person as a team leader
and of course to be very Frank going forward the security, there’s difference between
physical security, cyber security.This all is going to be merged so I have to be future ready
now the life or another security cannot be restricted only to physical security that means gun
guards and Gates so if I’m stuck to that probably I’ll become a dinosaur I’ll be extinct so I’m
preparing myself for the future I’m getting future ready and I’m Learning about the
blockchain how it can be used in security domain how the data analytics can tell how can it
improve these physical security how it can help and of course I want to learn maybe some
languages in like python all these this not in store and it will keep me excited for this year at

Muskan- That’s a pretty interesting idea you know to keep long-term goals and short-term
goals .I must say that your kids are lucky to have a mentor like you and also your teammates.

Thank you so very much you’ve been very kind and thank you for taking the time to speak
with me it was a great podcast and I had a lot of fun and the discussion was really insightful
thank you again Colonel Chauhan it was a pleasure and I hope you enjoyed too.

Colonel- Thank you so very much I think this is the first time I’m interacting in such an open
manner otherwise we military person we are very you don’t want to come on the camera but
yes you have given a platform where I could express myself share my feelings how exactly I
have gone about my life my career and what I’m looking forward to so I’m sure I’ve been
truthful I’m sure you would have liked whatever I have said and it was all my personal
experience thank you so very much for giving me this platform.

Muskan- Thank you you sir for coming on the show and it was really good so podcast comes
to an end and this is Muskan and I’m signing off.