It had been a long-held aspiration of mine to study at the University of Cambridge. I was unsuccessful in my application to do undergraduate studies, but was awarded a scholarship to do a master’s degree – a lesson in perseverance. Those were times of despair. The financial markets as we knew them had crashed all around us. Mumbai, my country’s great melting pot, was still reeling from terrorist attacks. At the more hopeful end of the spectrum.
Cambridge taught me the value of intellectual rigour. The long hours and sleepless nights do not just pay off on exam day – they shape you for life. From the time spent in the College library I learned that discipline is gold. To this day, I use the problem-solving and abstract thinking skills I developed while tackling midnight assignments. Cambridge taught me to celebrate curiosity and to pursue a life-long ability to learn – no lesson could be more useful as we usher in what some are calling the ‘fourth industrial revolution’.
One of the ways in which I am trying to make a difference is by applying my skills to India’s healthcare needs. I incubated a digital health start-up, AMBER. Inspired by the thought ‘if you can do this for cabs, why not for ambulances?’, AMBER has set out to change how Indians seek medical assistance by applying Uber-like principles. In an emergency, the app enables patients to call an ambulance and identify their closest emergency room. Hospitals are also supported because the app notifies them when a patient is on their way. It also works in non-emergency situations, acting as a health monitor and pill reminder tool too. The world has changed dramatically since 2009. Some changes are reasons to rejoice and some to be worried about. But that's the nature of human progress - messy and with creases. I keep reminding myself of the lessons learnt on campus. There are reasons to be optimistic and there is plenty of work left to be done. University may be over but the 'school of life' is not.