May we interest you with the story of a person who has turned their penchant for puzzles, into a happening educational venture (and how about some mild alliteration along the way)?
Or, what about the story of someone with a whopping CAT score of more than 99.5 percentile?
No, no? Oh wait, here’s something better, a three-time Tata Crucible winner?
Now, what if we told you that all these attributes form the story of one person? Puzzled yet?
Don’t be. Knowledge Tribe brings to you, the inspiring saga of yet another real-life wonder woman, Gayatri Phadnis-Vyas. This IT professional-turned educationalist-cum-entrepreneur, is the proud owner of an educational and soft-skills venture called ‘Logicology’.
Number three seems to a be a favourite. Continuing the legacy, she has apparently made it a habit to score hattricks in quizzing too. Having aced the regional finals of one of the most prestigious onstage quizzes in the country thrice with her partner, she can beat you in a quiz on topics as varied as Chanel and Swiss Army Knives. Come, let’s get to know her.
Gayatri was always a curious child and had the strong urge to learn something new. This quality led her to grow into an avid quizzer in her school days. But, somewhere down the line, she lost touch with the field and her once-favourite sport, boiled down to just attempting the occasional online quiz, or indulging in some cricket trivia now and then.
It was after her marriage to Kartik Vyas, who is also a quizzer, that her interest in quizzing was reignited. Jump to the year 2014- Kartik, who was working with Persistent Systems Ltd. at the time, was looking forward to participating in Tata Crucible along with a partner. As fate would have it for Gayatri, Kartik’s partner had to go out of the country, and she ‘just tagged along’ for the quiz without much preparation. To her surprise, the duo won the Nagpur regional final, inspiring her to get back into serious quizzing. And the rest as they as say, is history.
Taking Chances with Swiss Army Knives
Today, reflecting on the 2014 Tata Crucible experience; which was her first onstage quiz; Gayatri nostalgically recollects, “Halfway through the final round, we had not even answered a single question and were languishing at the bottom. After a couple of more questions, we decided we had to take a chance. There was a question on the world’s best knives; my partner hit the buzzer and answered, ‘Swiss Army Knife’. The quizmaster though, asked for a specific brand name. I remembered it was ‘Victorinox’ and this answer kept us in the game. This incident taught us an important lesson- that you need to back yourself, irrespective of the situation you are in.”
“Thereafter, we answered a few more questions and were eventually tied for the first place. During the tie-breaker, we chose not to answer unless we were dead-sure. We thought that if the other team answers it correctly, we should be a sport and take it in our stride. However, our opponents perhaps got nervous and hit the buzzer even before hearing out the entire question. Unfortunately, their answer was wrong and fortunately for us, that meant we were the regional champions! What this essentially taught us, was the need to control our nerves at such crucial times,” she beams.
‘Vitamin Supplements’ by Logicology
Ask Gayatri about her company, Logicology, and she passionately articulates, “Before starting Logicology, I worked in the IT industry for over seven years. I conducted scores of recruitment interviews. While quite a few candidates would be decent at the technology part, they wouldn’t be good enough at the basics. I realised that the ability to think independently was missing in a lot of them. There was a dire need to address this problem and there was hardly anyone doing that here in Nagpur. My husband and I thought that instead of just cribbing about this, we ourselves should do something about it! And that’s how Logicology was born.”
Having been in the field of recruitment for a long time, Gayatri and Kartik strongly believe that marksheets and resumes may help one land in the institute or job of their choice, but the X-Factor comes through how one can learn and adapt to newer things; how aware one is of the world around oneself, and how one interacts with it. “The vision of Logicology, therefore, is to inculcate in young minds, the need to focus on skills that matter in the longer run– Aptitude, Personality and General Awareness,” Gayatri emphasizes.
Further, she adds, “The education system in India seems to be quite result-oriented these days. Students tend to join classes with the sole aim of clearing a certain exam or participating in a certain event. The focus on the bigger picture often seems to be missing. It’s like having a stomach ache one day, so you go and get some painkillers for that. Later, you have some throat infection, so you get antibiotics for that. Instead of being those painkillers and antibiotics, Logicology wants to be like the vitamin supplements that help you build your immunity over time.”
Challenges of a Woman Entrepreneur in a Tier- 2 City
“Education in India is a strange business,” Gayatri says, contemplating. “It is the only business where customers pay upfront and there is absolutely no correlation between results and the fees. It is therefore very difficult to differentiate yourself, especially early on. Being in this field, specifically in a Tier- 2 city, also comes with its own share of pros and cons– more so, given that we are into a rather niche area. On one hand, it’s great that there isn’t much competition for us here (Nagpur) and that we are the pioneers in this area. However, there’s a flip-side too. People in Tier-1 cities seem to be more aware and willing to try out new things. Since ours is a niche offering, getting enough takers for this ideology upfront is a bit of a challenge.”
Gayatri also broached the topic of the challenges that come with being a woman entrepreneur. “I often have to deal with people who think this is just some sort of a pastime for a lady who doesn’t wish to be a homemaker. It sounds like bragging but to be taken seriously, I must explicitly tell them that I am an engineer from a top NIT, scored a percentile of 99.5+ in CAT and was a fast-tracker at work too. Despite being the majority-owner of Logicology, people often seem to feel that it’s my husband who runs it while I’m just an assistant. This general attitude of the society that women always play second fiddle to men does bother me at times but it’s something we women entrepreneurs have to live with!” she says.
Gayatri Phadnis-Vyas and Kartik Vyas (to her right) at Quiz-o-range, an event conducted by Logicology.
On Teaching Children and Learning from them…
When asked if there is a difference in the way children and adults perceive education and knowledge, Gayatri enthusiastically shares, “There is indeed a huge difference. While the younger lot wants to try out newer things and take newer challenges head-on, adults want to play it safe. A sizeable majority of adults seems to be content with being ‘good enough’ to get a job, whereas kids want to be the best at whatever they do. This perhaps has got a lot to do with the way our education system shapes us over the years.”
“Children tend to not have any fear of failure, and that allows them to be passionate about what they really like. Easier said than done, but adults can try not to let their passion die down. Another thing that adults can learn from children is to be open to learning newer things. If there’s a skill that would keep one in good stead, it has to be the ability to learn and adapt quickly,” says Gayatri.
Gayatri Phadnis-Vyas: The Individual
We asked Gayatri whether there is one favourite aspect of her life, out of all the different hats she dons. Without a second thought, she said, “While all these aspects are an important part of what I am today, I think the one that’s closest to my heart is that of an educationalist. Though the educationalist and the entrepreneur in me are rather entwined due to Logicology, I see myself as an educationalist who happens to be an entrepreneur and not the other way around.”
On being quizzed about her hobbies and pastimes, Gayatri quips, “I guess my most favourite hobby is solving puzzles, which now sort of happens to be my work as well! I’m trying to learn Japanese these days. I am an absolute couch potato and can watch sports on television for hours. Although I have cut down a lot on watching cricket these days, there was a time when I could even watch a test match between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh on TV for all five days without getting bored!”
Parting Thoughts: Knowledge Tribe and the Goal of Education…
About the idea of a Knowledge Tribe, Gayatri says, “I am completely sold on the concept of Knowledge Tribe. It’s all-the-more relatable for someone like me who’s from a Tier- 2 city. It gets difficult to find a bigger group of people who would share similar interests with respect to knowledge and education. Having an online platform like Knowledge Tribe helps bridge that gap.”
Sharing her views on what should be the ‘goal’ of education in an individual’s life, Gayatri says, “I strongly believe that education has to be a lifelong process and cannot be limited to getting a degree or two. Also, it’s not just the academic skills that should count towards ‘good education’. I have always taken pride in having a high IQ, but now that I’m running a business, I can experience first-hand that to succeed in life, having a good EQ (Emotional Quotient) is equally important, if not more.”
So, there you have it, Knowledge Tribals- the inspiring story of Gayatri Phadnis-Vyas. Let’s all take some cues from her and bring little everyday changes in our lives- in how we approach education, in how we prepare for life, in how to remain humble through our achievements, in how to stay motivated, and most of all, how to keep learning lifelong!
Gayatri can be reached at-
Logicology can be contacted at-
Phone: +91 8446980747
All Images are courtesy Ms. Gayatri Phadnis-Vyas.