The year was 2006. C.V.L. Srinivas, then chief executive (Asia-Pacific) at Maxus, the WPP group media agency, was flying back from Shanghai to Delhi. He was exhausted, but was already thinking of his next flight from Delhi two days later. That whole year, he had been living out of a suitcase—travelling 20 days a month, away from his wife, who then worked in Citibank in Delhi.
His next trip was not the only thing on his mind that day. While on long flights, he had been toying with the idea of quitting it all and taking a break. “Something told me that I was running too fast. You only live once, I thought. You need to take the time out to smell the roses,” says Srinivas, 50, currently the CEO of South Asia at GroupM, remembering how he felt 10 years ago.