WisdomCircle Logo

Wisdom Stories Ep.11: Mr. Richard Sundharam

Cultural expectations surrounding the elderly are being challenged today, and with good reason!

While it was the norm to slow down and retreat into a quieter life post-retirement, more men and women are finding purpose and joy in doing the opposite.

WisdomCircle honours such men and women by shining light on their journey through an inspiring series called “Wisdom Stories”. These people have successfully smashed stereotypes, and their stories remind us that life should be lived to the fullest, no matter what age or stage.

“I joined the Defence forces very early. While I was in 12th grade, I got selected for National Defence Academy. I was commissioned into the Indian Army in 1983 and took premature retirement in 2009 as a Colonel. I joined the corporate sector post-retirement, initially in Tech Mahindra and later in Coforge (previously NIIT Technologies). In 2017, I joined an NGO working on social entrepreneurship. Since 2021, I am a consultant with Hake Technologies.

“Knowledge in any form is never wasted.”

My selection for a Masters in Technology degree at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, was a turning point professionally. I was awarded the Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card in recognition of my efforts in formulating an Information Technology Roadmap for the Indian Army. Training in the Army is very systematic and gears you to face challenges. I learnt Geographic Information Systems (GIS) on my own accord and developed software applications around it to solve complex military challenges faced in the field. This helped me carve a niche in the Army that I leveraged later in corporate life.

My parents supported my decision to join the military even though they were not fully convinced. My wife, Mary, was a pillar of strength all through. In the Army, the families of men we command are also an officer’s responsibility since jawans can deliver their best only when their families are looked after. My wife, Mary, supported me in every possible way during tough times in the office and even during the Kargil operations. She looked after all the families of jawans when I was out in the field. My success would not have been possible without her.

“My wife Mary, supported me in every possible way during tough times. My success would not have been possible without her.”

Today, I keep myself busy with things I was passionate about but missed out on due to other priorities. Staying engaged is essential to remain motivated. My advice to the wisdom generation is to plan for your retirement well in advance. Those who can find work after retirement – well and good. For all others, follow your passion. Avoid jobs that you do not enjoy.”

Mr. Richard Sundharam, Vice President, Hake Technologies

Photo and Interview Credits: Saonli Sen Choudhury of WisdomCircle

Share this article on: