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Offbeat: BARC India’s Manashi Kumar on a life far from the madding crowd

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. 

Manashi Kumar is the Chief of Strategy and People Operations at Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India. She joined BARC India in 2016 and has since been involved in creating the roadmap on talent strategy in the field of learning & development, talent acquisition and management, employee engagement, organisation design, workforce diversity and succession planning. Kumar has been at the forefront in introducing numerous L&D programs that focusses on employee performance and knowledge in the company. One of her programs addresses the training needs of employees in different stages of the performance spectrum and creates opportunities for them to either aim higher or bridge the gap between expectations and performance. 

A precious childhood trait that you still possess?
Curiosity! Till today I am constantly questioning things around me – be it at work or even in my personal life. As a child, my curiosity definitely drove my parents, family and friends up the wall, but having said that, it has been a complete boon in my professional life as it has led me to a more creative and innovative path. And now, my son keeps the bulb of curiosity ongoing in our family. 

Ever wished you had superhero powers?
Oh yes, all the time. As a mother and a woman in general, multi-tasking is second nature to me. I often wish that I could be in two places (or more) at once and juggle various things without it getting to my wits end. Hope science is working on this, will be a blessing for humankind. 

What is your biggest fear and how do you face it?
I always like to be in control of things, and sometimes the idea of losing control can get overwhelming. Cooking and driving keeps me sane! I constantly tell myself that I can’t do everything and that is okay. Controlling that emotion gets me peace. Also, an irrational fear I have is if an aircraft will overshoot the runway. I am terrified of that happening. My son constantly teases me about it. 

A secret that you have which no one knows about?
If I tell you it won’t be a secret anymore, so I am definitely not revealing that! 

What would one find in your playlist?
I am a big fan of music! 

Your go-to activity to relax?
Catch up on some really required sleeping time!  

What is the greatest lesson that you have learnt from life so far?
Don’t overly complicate things. We often get bogged down by the complex webs we create in our own head, when it might not even be so. As they say – just keep it simple, silly! 

A social cause that you are most passionate about?
Children. Whether it is education, welfare & health, or child abuse, I try to do my bit to make a child’s life better. Children are too pure to be subjected to the evil that this world has. 

What’s the one thing you would like to change about yourself?
Often juggling various roles, I tend to forget about self-care and personal wellbeing. This is something I definitely want to change in myself. I want to concentrate on building a better version of me. 

If not in your current designation, what would you have been?
Well honestly, I really can’t think of being anywhere else but at BARC India. It definitely is a ‘Great Place to Work’ and work here doesn’t feel like work! It’s home for me. 

What are the three apps on your mobile that you couldn’t live without?
It really is sad, but we are all so dependent on our phones and the apps we have. I am most dependant on WhatsApp (for obvious reasons), LinkedIn (job demands it), and Twitter (for information updates on the go). 

Any content/ film or book you saw or read recently and why?
‘American Gods’ by Neil Gaiman. Read the review of the book and got curious about it. And since we can’t see American Gods, this is the closets I could get to it. 

Which two organisations outside your own do you know the most people at and why?
At the role and position that I am in, I cannot afford to restrict myself to just knowing people from two organisations. 

Two things about this industry you don’t like or don’t understand?
It’s not something I dislike, but I would like to encourage more women to get into boardrooms and youngsters to take charge. 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
A small sleepy town in the middle of the hills somewhere. Away from the hustle and bustle, fewer people and a close-knit community. Sounds idyllic as I write this, but yes, maybe one day.

Read more:BARC teams up with 3 global majors to align audience measurement operations

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