In conversation with Madhur Daga, MD, Orient Bell Limited

Madhur Daga

Madhur Daga, Managing Director of Orient Bell Limited, believes that good baseline health helped him cope with COVID-19 in a much better way. He shares his experience with us in this interview and also provides some insights into the way Orient Bell Limited (OBL) has managed to keep its team healthy, motivated and productive during these challenging times.

Madhur Daga, Managing Director of Orient Bell Limited (OBL), is an industry veteran. He graduated in 1993 with a BBA degree from the University Of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles. After working overseas for a year, he joined OBL (formerly Orient Ceramics and Industries Limited) for a short stint, after which he completed his Post Graduation with a degree in International Corporate Finance from the University Of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, Australia.

In May 2017, Madhur was promoted as Managing Director of OBL.

Madhur is a passionate endurance runner who loves keeping himself fit, traveling & listening to all genres of music, especially jazz. As a Vipassana practitioner, his work-life balance is aided by daily mediation and regularly attending Vipassana courses across India.

Madhur Daga in a tete with The Tiles of India…

You mentioned in a recent video on Instagram about how good baseline health helped you cope better, could you tell us how?

I look at baseline health in three ways – mind, body, and fuel. Mind allows me to meditate which helps me in dealing with stress and anxiety in a very different way. Meditation helps in keeping me calm and a calm mind helps in raising immunity vs an agitated or anxious mind that lowers immunity. There has been scientific evidence around the connection between mind and body which says that an agitated mind weakens the body and our ability to respond to building strong immunity.

With the body, there is a clear scientific connection between obesity and living a sedentary life with our ability to respond to COVID. Someone who keeps health as a priority and exercises regularly has a better chance to respond strongly when infected by COVID. And for the last couple of years, I have been religiously involved in physical fitness which has helped me in fighting off COVID.

Fuel, in terms of food, is about eating clean and especially abstaining from sugar, processed carbs, and junk food which again has a direct link with our ability to respond to infections. Apart from everyday fuel, we do need supplements for Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and zinc. These further ensure that our ability to respond becomes stronger and better.

This is unusually equally true of corporates. Our effort to get healthier in the last couple of years has really enabled Orient Bell Tiles to cope better.

(Disclaimer: Madhur Daga is not a doctor or a registered medical professional. This is a discussion to raise COVID awareness, and not to provide medical advice. If you have any symptoms, please talk to your doctor. Orient Bell Ltd gives no assurances as to the accuracy or completeness of the information shared)

You have been on a fitness journey for a long time, tell us what inspired you to start?

The trigger for me to move from an unhealthy life towards fitness was a series of injuries that I had in my younger days. I would get injured doing mundane activities and that is something that bothered me because I was not a frail or weak 60 or 70 years old! This made me realize the need to start building core strength. As I started the journey of physical fitness, it slowly started dawning on me that nutrition is equally important. I realized you cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet. So, it’s important to put clean fuel in to be healthy.

Our body is a slave to the mind and meditation is all about the mind and its health. I started my meditation journey in 2016 which accelerated this change in my life.

So, the trigger was a bunch of injuries but then one thing led to another and it all fell into place with exercise, good clean food, and meditation turning my life around.

Share with us your key three takeaways from the Covid experience…

My most important takeaways –

  1. During the pandemic, if you have symptoms of fever and fatigue, assume that you have COVID and consult your doctor, start the treatment right away. Do not assume you don’t have COVID and do not delay the treatment because of the same reason.

2. Trust your doctor. Make sure you have a good doctor who is aware about dealing with COVID and trust them. Do not get confused or distracted by hundreds of views on social media; you must focus and commit to a specific line of treatment.

3. COVID is really a disease that comes in phases. Just because you passed phase one and lost some of the initial symptoms, do not assume you are better. Go through the entire journey because COVID is very unpredictable, and a lot of people are suffering because people loosen up and relax too much after the initial symptoms go away. It can take as less as 10 minutes for the SpO2 to drop from 95 to 85 or lower, so please stick to the treatment.

Also, please do remember that phase one is day 1 to day 5 but there is a very important phase 2 starting from day 6 and beyond and phase 3 is recovery. Even if you are done with the virus and have tested negative, it doesn’t mean you can be a hero immediately and do everything you were doing before COVID – slow and steady recovery is very important.

At a corporate level, it is similar. It’s important to have an environment of trust and transparency with your team and colleagues. And stick to your aligned plan, be it of prioritizing liquidity, building capabilities, or planning to bounce back.

Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

There is a lot I can share but I think there is a lot of anxiety I see around COVID. I think the media, the information we get attracted to tends to be overwhelmingly negative. We don’t register the number of people recovering. Most people recover but we have a stronger reaction to deaths and tragedies caused due to the virus.

So, a big takeaway is to stay in the moment and be calm. Do not overthink, don’t be negative, and do not assume the worst for yourself. Take care of your health, respect your body by caring for your mind, body, and its fuel. If you haven’t had COVID yet, this is a great chance for you to start getting healthier with your baseline health. If you have had COVID and you have been given a second chance, then this is a wake-up call but also focus on staying positive and staying in the moment.

For managers and leaders, do make sure you prioritize the mental and physical health of your team in these trying times. How business is conducted has changed dramatically in the last year, especially with work from home. This does put teams and employees under additional stress as well as to adapt to a new normal. Even at Orient Bell Tiles, apart from a healthy work-life balance, we try and ensure a robust support system for all employees that they know they can bank on.

And lastly, do not look at negativity around you and bring it upon yourself. Always remember that the vast majority of people recover!

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