From Kerala to Victoria: Santosh Nambiar’s ‘inner journey’

By Indira Laisram
Santosh Nambiar with a copy of his new book 'The Art of Conscious Balance' // Pic supplied

When Santosh Nambiar left an executive position at a biotech company in India in 1996 to start a career in New Zealand from the bottom, it was a decision his parents were not happy with. His father had just retired, and like most Indian parents, they had hoped he would be around to support them as they got older.

For Nambiar, the decision to move to a totally unknown land was perhaps “selfish”, but it stemmed from a desire to explore the world and “make a name” for himself. “I knew that leaving India would give me the opportunity I needed to grow and succeed,” he says.

As expected, Nambiar found himself in a totally new culture and land far from the bustling, colourful land that he called home. “The loneliness of moving across the globe to an unfamiliar country was very difficult… I wasn’t a local and I didn’t know anything or anyone,” he says.

“Moreover, the cold weather in New Zealand was truly a shock to my system. I had never encountered such cold and unforgiving winds as the Antarctic winds that ripped throughout the South Island in winter.”

Nambiar’s first job was carpet cleaning during the day and waiting at a restaurant by night.

‘The Art of Conscious Balance’ book launch with Prof. Sakthivel Sadayappan and faculties at the Dept. Of Internal Medicine. University of Cincinnati,USA // Pic supplied

He eventually achieved his dream after months of hard work. “I finally got my dream job in the biotech industry. I considered myself lucky as most others who arrived with me were stuck with fruit picking jobs, while they waited for better opportunities.”

In hindsight, despite the hard work and the initial disappointment, Nambiar says his experience of starting from the bottom was humbling and made his climb to success more meaningful.

In 2001, the biotech company Nambiar worked for in New Zealand moved him from Dunedin to Perth and then to Melbourne where he is now based.

Today, Nambiar is the founder of Assay Matrix Pty Ltd, a biotech company based in Melbourne. It provides support to universities in Australia and New Zealand towards biomedical research in finding a cure for diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and other ailments.

He also founded a non-profit organisation Mind Noise Matters and registered mindfulness guide with the Meditation Association of Australia.

Handing over the first author copy of the book to Craig Hassed, MBBS, FRACGP,OAM, Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Coordinator of Mindfulness programs, Monash University // Pic supplied

It is this diasporic experience interspersed with an inner journey that Nambiar focuses on his new book The Art of Conscious Balance, which was published recently.

However, the book was also prompted by a false alarm on lung cancer which Nambiar calls it a wake-up call to introspect about life. “It was a vital awakening from my own ignorance to question the way I lived. With my newfound clarity, I was able to question the confusion, stress, and anxiety that I had experienced for most my life. I began to question if these emotions and hardships were a necessary baggage in my life. And through my questioning I was able to dig a little deeper and learn more about myself. I began to realign my priorities and move forward with clarity and an aliveness for life.”

Six months into its release, Nambiar is happy with how the book has been received.

‘The Art of Conscious Balance’ book launch with the Chicago Wellness Group in Chicago, USA  // Pic supplied

Essentially, his book highlights “how our society, social systems and parents throw us onto the brutal treadmill of life, forcing us to be caught in the vicious cycle of making a name and future for ourselves. We are unable to take time off from the treadmill to ask some vital questions in life. We don’t have the courage to do so, therefore life becomes mechanical, anxious, and stressful”.

“Fortunately, I was able to make a choice and jump off the treadmill before it was too late. I was able to choose the way in which I wanted to live my life. Instead of living my life anxiously and fearfully, terrified of what the future may hold, I chose to enjoy the moment that I had fully. To embrace the moments that I had control of.”

Asked what the books title essentially means, Nambiar philosophises. “While we need our minds (or intellect) to survive in this world, we also need the profound influence of the ‘universal Intelligence’. Between the two, we can achieve ‘conscious balance’, and that is what helps us to become better human beings.”

With mentor and friend, Dr Tom Verghese, speaker, author, cross cultural consultant & executive coach. Also founder of Cultural Synergies // Pic supplied

An analogy that he uses to describe this phenomenon is the hybrid engine. The basic principle with hybrid vehicles is that the different motors work better at different speeds; the electric motor is more efficient at producing torque, or turning power, and the combustion engine is better for maintaining high speed than a typical electric motor, he says. “Switching from one to the other at the proper time while speeding up yields a win-win in terms of energy efficiency, such that it translates into greater fuel efficiency. Therefore, if we want to thrive and flourish in our lives, we need to be able to consciously balance between the ‘Intellect’ and unlimited ‘universal Intelligence’. “

The beginning of Nambiar’s book and its end revolve around Kerala because the seeds for his quest of self-awareness began when he was young, living in Kerala. “Fortunately, those initial seeds germinated later in life. After gaining more awareness about myself and my true purpose, it made sense to visit the place that was my initial home. The Broken Hill in Kerala and the inspiring life of Abdul brought me back to Kerala, where it all began.”

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