Rajen Prabhu on Triathlons, Standup Comedy, Persistence, Success

Part 1/6 - Formative years, Career & Personal Milestones

In this segment, Rajen Prabhu, Sr. Director at a large fintech major takes us through his career milestones beginning with a stellar academic record bagging seats at the prestigious IIT Madras & IIM Ahmedabad, his professional stints as a consultant before he finally found his calling at Citibank where he headed Citi India’s eCommerce, Bill Payments and Payments Innovation business, which he considers as his first key milestone professionally. Personally, he considers his marriage to his lovely and talented wife Sowmya Venkatesan, who he says is his biggest fan, as a key milestone which gave him a sense of direction. Rajen also shares how his move to Singapore helped him embark upon the journey to fitness and endurance sports and revisits some favourite chapters from his childhood.

Part 2/6 - His Fitness Journey from Fat to Fit & Acing Triathlons

In this segment, Rajen takes us through his journey into fitness with his move to Singapore in 2011 as a senior executive with Mastercard. He shares how he chanced upon the concept of triathlons, having casually signed up for one such on a vacation to Phuket in 2013 and though he felt that he would ‘die at various points in the event’ he was hooked on to it at the end and wanted to carry on testing his limits even as he sat in an ice tub trying to help his body recover from the shock of having endured the race.

It was The Metasprint series in Singapore, however, which helped him approach the triathlon in a methodical manner which was key to help him approach the sport systematically and eventually see them as fun. He shares how he loves biking and how he struggled with swimming having learnt it only five- six years ago but persisted anyway. Rajen now looks forward to his training which is engineered seamlessly within his daily schedule. When we recorded our conversation, Rajen was training to undertake the Challenge Roth triathlon event, equivalent of the full IRONMAN event and which he successfully completed this July at Bavaria.

Part 3/6 - Nutrition, Sleep, Gastronomical Sacrifices & Singapore

In this segment Rajen shares key insights on nutrition, the importance of sleep and how he is an early sleeper, how he manages work and his passion for biking and racing in triathlons. How giving up tair-sadam or curd rice for dinner was the biggest sacrifice he has had to make after having it for the first 38 years of his life. Rajen also shares how his passion for competing in triathlons has helped him approach work and life, improved his focus, productivity and time management skills. Rajen also shares how moving to Singapore was the key factor that enabled him to discover his interests and pursue it so dedicatedly.

Part 4/6 - First love - Standup Routines & Quizzing

In this segment Rajen takes us through his first love of quizzing and introduces us to his once-cherished dream of becoming a standup comedian. Rajen shares how he had tasted a ‘modicum of success’ in Chennai rotary clubs where he found himself an enthusiastic audience among middle-aged women who would fawn over his standup routines which were a mix of quizzing and comedy. Though the move to Singapore resulted in a cooling down of this passion, Rajen still hopes to fan it alive someday especially with his inner Sumo within constantly goading him to view life in all its splendid humour. Rajen also shares his views on the current Indian standup comedy scene and how it has come a long way from mimicry and narrating jokes out of a book..

Part 5/6 - Work Life Flexibility, Ambition, Persistence & Success

In this segment, Rajen speaks on Work life balance and how bringing about that harmony has been possible largely due to a motivating organisational culture and an encouraging boss. Though work always come first for Rajen he shares how it is possible to pragmatically weave in passion with gruelling ambition by being mindful. He shares how success is about being able to enjoy work and have people who mean something to you, respect you be it at work and home. Among all things, it is Rajen’s persistence which has surprised him especially since he considered himself to be the guy who would walk away from something if it seemed too hard. Looking back, Rajen is surprised how he persisted with those countless hours in the swimming pool unable to swim more than 10 metres!

Going forward, Rajen wants to hold on to the sense of gratitude for what he has, retain his sense of humour when things go wrong and would like the understanding to prevail that wellbeing is physical and mental and how one can’t put a price on being healthy.

Part 6/6 - CXOFunFacts with Rajen Prabhu

In this segment Rajen shares some fun trivia about himself including how he got nicknamed Sumo, the advantage of having a fat man live inside a fit man, how he holds qualifying for Mardi Gras Quiz finals in college close to his heart, his ritual before the races, his favourite pair of shoes, and fondness for Japanese cuisine and how reading Lord of the Rings transformed him when he was growing up, some funny incidents of his life also earning huge brownie points when he admits to relish everything cooked by his talented wife Sowmiya Venkatesan, who was a Masterchef Singapore finalist! And we delightfully concur after being treated to a lovely generous meal prepared by Sowmiya when we landed up at Rajen’s residence in the evening, weary after two consecutive shoots done earlier in the day! We hope you enjoy listening to this one!


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