Note to readers: Morning Stars is a series of interviews with achievers across fields about their morning routine and how they get ready for the day ahead. Mornings bring optimism and a fresh start. And how we spend them sets the tone for the day.
Ashish Pradhan is up at 5.15 am every day, before the ink has dried on the previous night, in a manner of speaking. The President of Siegwerk Asia, a division of the German printing inks powerhouse Siegwerk, then follows that with meditation and a workout. He tries to be offline till 9 am, a practice he recommends everyone should try.
Excerpts from an interaction:
Where are you currently? Please describe the scene and mood around you.
I am based in Gurgaon and I find that the general mood is optimistic and positive here. Everyone is trying to put the weight of the pandemic behind them, looking forward to recovery and bouncing back from the setback of 2020.
Are you a morning person? What time do you get up on working days?
Absolutely, I have been a morning person for a long time now. As a routine, I get up at 5.15 am every day, except on Sundays. I love the mornings as they show me the promise of another day full of hope, opportunities and challenges, that I always look forward to.
How many hours of sleep do you need?
I try to give as much rest as I can to my body and mind, but I ensure that I start my day at 5.15 am to follow my regular routine.
What would mornings be like at college or university?
I stayed in the college hostel when I studied engineering. I’ve developed my love for mornings during my college days, which usually started early. I remember waking up my friends, who were reluctant to get up early, and take them for a swim. I cherish those good old days.
Do you reach out for your phone for news/ messages right away or do you stay offline for a while?
I try to stick to this one golden rule - stay offline till 9 am. People and my team members are, in any case, free to reach me in case of any urgency. I believe everyone should practise this once to see how effective this really is.
What are the two or three things you do in the morning that are important for you to start the day on the right note?
Meditation and a strenuous workout are an important part of my routine. They help set a positive tone for my day.
What is your regular news source in the morning?
I’ve taken to reading online newspapers and trusted news portals. However, I do like the feel of the hard copy of a newspaper. Therefore I read the Indian Express
What do you like to see on the breakfast table?
I like to eat healthy. My breakfast usually consists of eggs and fruits like papaya and banana.
Are there two or three cities that you worked in and know well? If yes what did you like about mornings in those places?
I have stayed in different cities like Mumbai, Gurgaon, Pune and Hyderabad during the course of my education and professional life. One city that stood apart was Hyderabad. I loved the mornings in Hyderabad, especially in the winters, when it is nippy. The air is crisp and clean with the sounds of birds when you are in a park.
Any song or tune that you like to listen to in the morning, or which captures the morning mood for you?
I say my prayers. Its calming and reminds me to show gratitude. Thanking the Almighty for the life he has given me soothes my soul and gives me the opportunity to acknowledge and cherish even the small things that I have.
What is the one thing you do on weekend mornings that you don't on weekdays?
I like to sleep late on the weekends. Weekends are also the time I spend most with my dog, Flash. I enjoy taking him to the dog farm for some off-the-leash fun. Watching him is most relaxing. An absolute joy, these pets.