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Offbeat: Azim Lalani - A penchant for the gentleman’s game & old classics

Adgully’s special feature section – ‘Offbeat’ – seeks to give a peek into the lesser known facets of our very well-known industry leaders. We present, in the industry leaders’ own words, an interesting read on areas that are not usually highlighted in regular media coverage – be it about their childhood days, secret skills that they possess, how they unwind from their hectic schedules, and much more. 

Azim Lalani, Business Head – English General News Cluster, Network18, is a man grounded in reality, who understands the many facets to running a digital-first company. A distinguished media professional, Lalani has worked with numerous news platforms, including the Indian Express, India Today, and Rediff, to name a few. With over 18 years of hands-on experience in Media and over 10 years of experience in Digital Media under his belt, Lalni is known for his enigmatic yet constructive approach to establishing market presence, hence increasing revenue and aiding profit.

A precious childhood trait that you still possess?
Board games have been something that’s stayed with me right from the time I was a kid. I was fascinated by games like Monopoly and Chess for the simple reason that it requires one to plan ahead and strategise every move. Playing these games always brought out the competitive streak in me and it continues to do so till this very day.

Ever wished you had superhero powers?
Oh absolutely! Who wouldn’t like to possess some superhero powers and try to save the world? As a child, I wanted to travel to different countries around the world so that I got to meet as many people as I could. Which is why, I always wished that I had the power of flight. Now that’s a superpower to have.

What is your biggest fear and how do you face it?
The biggest fear in my life is the fear of not being motivated anymore. Being such a highly-driven individual, I wake up every day and ask myself what could I do today that is meaningful and adds/ brings value to the people around me. You need to be a better person today than you were yesterday and should strive to achieve that in any way possible.

A secret that you have which no one knows about?
I’m an absolutely transparent individual, who has nothing to hide. Being completely honest with anyone and everyone around you is the key to a good relationship.

What would one find in your playlist?
I’m a big fan of Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh and all the evergreen greats of our time. In short, the classics sang by these stalwarts take me to all the good places in my head. Their voices are music for the soul.

Your go-to activity to relax?
I unwind by spending time with my family. They mean the world to me.

What is the greatest lesson that you have learnt from life so far?
A life lesson that I’ve learnt with time is that one must never give up and always be persistent no matter what the odds are. They say, the best things in life take time, which is why one would be surprised to see how determination and one’s sheer will to succeed and do better can reap rewards aplenty.

A social cause that you are most passionate about?
A cause that’s extremely close to my heart is child education. It’s something that none of us should take lightly. It’s so very important to make a difference to their lives by educating them, for what we do for them today will define the country’s future.

What’s the one thing you would like to change about yourself?
I wouldn’t like to change a single thing about myself. You only have one life to live, so give it your best shot. One should live happy and be content with the way they are.

If not in your current designation, what would you have been?
I would like to say, a cricketer. I love the passion that the game brings out of you. Besides that, I respect the gentleman’s approach to the game, where you compete with the highest of intensity, but also hold a deep respect for your opponent.

What are the three apps on your mobile that you couldn’t live without?
There are quite a few, but at the top of my mind, I’d say Firstpost and News18 because I like to constantly monitor how my App is doing. Besides that, the next apps would be WhatsApp, for staying in touch with my family & friends, and Gmail for all my work-related emails.

Any content/film or book you saw or read recently and why?
I like Amish Tripathi and love reading his books. The parallels that he draws between mythology and today’s current times amuses me and catches my attention each time I pick up a book written by him.

Which two organisations outside your own do you know the most people at and why?
Many of my colleagues are from my earlier stint at India Today, as it’s in the same complex, and Rediff.com, as they’re a part of the same industry.

Two things about this industry you don't like or don't understand?
The industry has given me all that I have and taught me everything that I know, so there is nothing there is that I don’t like. There are many things that I still learn on a daily basis and that is what I absolutely love about the industry. It is an ever-changing space

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
There is no place like home. But if I had to pick one from the places that I have been fortunate enough to have visited so far, I would say Vienna, because of the city’s deep connection to art and history.

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