"I wish to promote regional languages in IT"

by Muntazir Abbas    Sep 19, 2008

“In the government, challenges come from within the system, but then
they make achievements more special,” believes Rajesh Agarwal, IAS
1989 batch (Maharashtra) and CEO of National Internet Exchange of
India (NIXI)

As the CEO of India s only neutral Internet exchange, Agarwal has
his hands full but then he is a man used to challenges. He managed a
record-breaking 750 million voters and 500 million digital pictures
during a stint with the Election Commission. Ever modest, Agarwal
laughs off this achievement, “It was challenging but fun, coupled
with a challenge.”

Agarwal’s weekends begin with a cup of tea in bed and then some time
spent in the balcony surrounded by trees. An early morning stroll
along Lodhi Gardens, coupled with light exercises comes next. He
attests, what most of us know, that spending the mornings in
peaceful, verdant surroundings is the most pleasant way to begin a
new day.

Even the best of us have trouble keeping promises and for Agarwal it
is Yoga. “My wife always insists on Yoga. Almost every year this is
my new year resolution!”

Agarwal likes to spend weekends at home with his family, but a flood
of office e-mails keeps him occupied for some time. This Saturday,
Rajesh together with his family watched Aamir Khan’s production -
‘Jane Tu Ya Jane Na.’ “Aamir Khan makes good movies, doesn’t he?”
asks he.

Many working professionals like to spend the weekend in the kitchen,
so does Agarwal, although for different reasons! “I like loitering
around the kitchen, while my wife and son prepare something special,”
he sheepishly says. Samosas and jaleebi are his favorite north Indian
junk food.

Talking about his usual weekend activities, Agarwal visits the
library of India Habitat Center; a favorite haunt on lazy weekends.
The son of a renowned mathematician, his interest in math and
computers is not surprising. This weekend he attended a meeting of
the Linux User Group, something that he defines as a refreshing

Music and tennis are other favorite pastimes. In music, he has a soft
corner for Punjabi folk music and greats like Kishore Kumar, Mukesh,
and Mohammed Rafi. “I enjoyed western pop music of 1980s during my
college days,” says he.

We finally came to the million dollar question — How do you manage
your personal and professional life? “See. This is very difficult,”
was the quick reply. “I guess that there are phases — on some days,
you have to give more preference to professional work, and then there
are certain days when you need to catch up with your family and your
personal life.”