Desi Back to Desh

Between airports, airplanes and transit lounges

Sticky rice and mangoes or building relationships

Sticky rice with mangoes is an interesting Thai desert. Take rice steamed in starch (hence sticky), pour a few spoons of sweetened coconut cream, sprinkle with cracked peanuts, and serve on a banana leaf with sliced mangoes. It brings out a mix of interesting flavors – slightly salted rice, crunchy peanuts, sweetened cream and ripe mangoes half way in between.

Building a long term client relationships is a similar exercise in balance.

  1. It doesn’t happen instantly – you need to grow coconut, banana and mango trees, which under the most aggressive projections are multiyear exercises. If you focus too much on the short term, you are not going anywhere.
  2. It is part raw materials (ripe mangoes and banana leaf) and part steamed and stewed perfection (rice and cream). So irrespective of your pricing and the comparability of your components, margins will only come your way if can build maturity and value in your relationship.
  3. There are times when you end up with a crunchy peanut that needs to be chewed on. Don’t choke on it; it’s part of the flavor.
  4. Sharing the dish triples the flavor. There are times when you need to look beyond the price of the dish and celebrate the significance of the occasion.


To Somkiat, friend, partner, and mentor – who introduced me to sticky rice and building relationships in Thailand… Thank you.