Thursday, May 28, 2015

Carpe Diem

It doesn't matter if you believe in a higher power. It doesn't matter if you believe in destiny.

What really matters is that you make the most of your life in hand. Life in motion. Life at a pit stop. But never stagnant.

Choose to stay still for a while, but never stagnate. Inaction can lead you to stagnation.

Act. Always. Be in Motion. Carpe Diem. Seize the day.

Sunday, April 06, 2014


I am begining to realise that humans are meant to enquire about each other. That's a basic tenet of conversation.

It tells them that you're interested in them. It tells them that you care for them enough by taking the time out to learn more about what they do, who they are, what they like, what they are passionate about and what they are not.

Understanding deeper things. Also understanding things deeper. Starting with simpler things in life. Like their favorite tea, joint, book, their values, picnic spot and such others.

What's more important is to have a conversation. Be willing to converse. At times even when you don't seem to have a common topic.

Its about social objects. As Hugh MacLeod states on, social object is any reason why two people are talking to one another, rather than someone else. What really matters is the conversation that happens over a social object. And I believe this is the essence of social media marketing and the whole of digital marketing, the field I belong to. 

When I first learned this concept at, I applied it to study and market products. But as I type this, I realise that the concept of "social object" is so important for a reason - it is fundamental to the human nature. And that is why it matters.

I also realise you won't "automatically" know what others are interested in. And that is why you have to enquire. 

It all starts with having a real conversation with the other person based on what you know. You converse a little. You learn and contribute mutually. You gather few more insights. You converse more. Perhaps you gain some fresh perspective on some other facet of that person. You converse deeper. And sooner than you realise, you have developed a meaningful relationship with the other person.

And building meaningful relations is again fundamental to the human nature. We've been doing that since the dawn of civilization.

So which new facet are you going to learn today? 

Start a conversation, today. And it all starts with a simple, genuine enquiry.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Step Into Your Uncomfortable Zone

           [Image credit:]

Learning a new task is not a problem. Figuring out how it works is not a problem. The reason you're a nervous wreck is thinking what you will ACTUALLY do. And also because you've never done it before. Therefore, stop thinking and start doing.

Remember this: You can't experience running until you actually run. Put all your preparations to test.

We live today expecting it to be like the day before. The routine keeps you sane. But it also makes you sloppy. It prohibits growth. It stagnates. You only grow when you step into the unknown realm. Into the unexperienced zone. In the uncomfortable zone. That is the zone of growth.

Now is not the time to think. Now is the time to act. Pull all your energy and focus it on achieving your goals. Strive as hard as you can. Always. Be dedicated. Concentrate. Push the boundaries.

Keep moving. Have the momentum. Have the will. Be strong. Know that you can face the unknown. That's what you've been doing all through. You've tackled problems head on all through. You've faced a new life each day. You've never run away from challenges.

Slay your inner demons one after the other. And get back control. Your mind is always questioning your ability. Believe in your inner self. It knows. Each time you faced a new problem, you came up winning. You adapted. You adjusted. You just plunged in and took control. That's tackling challenges.

Now you find yourself amidst this new field. Which you wanted to master all along. You never got a chance earlier, except now. Think about how much you can grow in it. Think about a new field you'll be able to learn and master. There's no better time to start contributing to a new field. Expand your horizon. Push the uncomfortable zone into the comfortable.

Don't hesitate. Hesitation is for the confused souls. Hesitation makes you inactive. Hesitation doesn't let you spread your wings. Hesitation makes you secondguess your ability to excel. Hesitation stops you short of realizing your potential. Believe. Focus on your objective. Channel your energies. Be enthusiastic. Stop wasting your time on mundane stuff. Stop surfing when you should be working. Make a routine to be creative. Think different. You have learnt enough about the field to go into war. You're prepared.

Start. Now. That's where the magic begins. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How Do You Manage Yourself?

To-do lists, notebooks, reminders, calendars, diary, the Pomodoro technique - which one do you use? Actually it really does not matter which you use.

These are only methods/ tools/ techniques to help you get things done, to help you manage time better, to help you manage yourself better. They help you augment the way you do things.

Don't get stuck within them. They are merely the means to achieve the end.

Focus on achieving the result. That is more important. Experiment with techniques to see which benefits you the most. Follow whichever method/ tool/ technique suits you. Then move on on to the next task.

The most important thing is to have the will to do things. Rest will follow. Once you have the will, you will align all else to achieve the goal.

Have the will to organise things.
Have the will to complete things.
Have the will to experiment.
Have the will to become better.
Have the will to arrive, not just travel.
Have the will to resolve, not crib.
Have the will to take matter in own hands, not pass the buck.
Have the will to chart the uncharted territory, than sticking to the everyday route.

Have the Will. Achieve. Move Ahead. Become Better.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The 2-Hour Manifesto

[This blog entry is a note to myself. It is a note to push myself harder. In the right direction. Consistently. It's an effort to become better. Would love to hear your comments on how you have adopted ways to become better.]
  • Challenge yourself to complete any task within 2 hours. 
  • Grasp new concept within 2 hours. 
  • Don't keep anything pending over 2 hours
Stop questioning your ability to complete something valuable in 2-hours. Know that you can do it. Push yourself to achieve it. Believe in yourself. It's a matter of just doing it consistently. Do it now, than later. Practice achieving it. Do it for 21 days. Make it a habit. 

When you're stuck with something, just think about it creatively. Give yourself a deadline. Stop debating with yourself. Just pick up the option you arrive at and run with it. Finish it in the best of your ability. Don't do shoddy work.

Reinvent your thoughts. Be creative. Think on your feet. Act on the run. Be emotionally compelled to achieve something in 2 hours. Feel a sense of joy and fulfillment upon completing your 2-hour challenge. Make a note of progress. Of achievements. Of points to improve.

Kill inertia. Break the pattern of distraction. Wire your mind to achieve something valuable within 2 hours. Know that you will achieve it. Monitor. Learn. Improve. Achieve. Grow. Don't be wary of trying. Try with full involvement, full emotions. Be compelled to achieve.

When in your 2-hour challenge, keep everything else aside. Remember anything that is keeping you from achieving your challenge is a distraction. Including phone calls, social media, newspaper, books, friends, TV, drifting thoughts, your past, your concerns, your worries, that new thought you felt like exploring further.

When you are feeling down, break the pattern. Do something to overcome it. Pile it with abundant, joyful thoughts. Take on the next challenge. Achieve it. Move on to the next. Learn.

Always replenish the massive energy store in you. Let the energy be replenished every time you WANT to. Feel energetic. Know that there's immense energy stored in you. Just unleash it. Be buzzing with energy. Let others feel it. Do it for yourself.

Take on the next 2-hour challenge. Achieve it. Move to the next. Feel the joy of achievement. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What You Can Learn From Cheetah

Be a Cheetah who spots its target and then uses all of its energy, aggression, sincerity in catching its prey. Don't be a Tortoise who slowly moves inch by inch towards its goal. It has the sincerity and energy too. But not aggression. By its nature, it is not aggressive.


Be a Cheetah, career-wise. Your prey is your career. Prepare well. Adapt. Spot the opportunity. Feel the fierceness within. Be aware of your capability. Draw all your energy. Focus on your goal. Then go for it. Full steam.

Don't just cherish the process. Savor the achievement. Be after achieving it. Stop only after you've achieved it. Feel the adrenaline rush through your veins when you go after it.

Do you think a Cheetah will bloat over how well it prepares, how well it camouflages itself, how well it spots it prey, how well it runs? Of course not. They are the basic necessities. Without them it cannot succeed. But it stops only after it has nabbed its prey.

Set ambitious targets. Keep your prey in sight. Adapt to it. Don't lose your focus even for a millisecond. Don't try half-heartedly. If you do, you'll starve.

What are you gonna do? Sit still or go after it?

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

5 Quick Fixes to Regain Your Focus

Feeling distracted? Want to get rid of that annoying feeling when you are simply unable to concentrate at work?

There's something in your mind that you're unable to resolve or come to terms with. You have that nagging feeling that something's not right today, but not sure what to do with it.

You spend time tweeting, randomly browsing the web or reading some article in a desperate hope to get out of this "Not-in-my-elements" mode.

But nothing's working out. You are just wasting more time. Your inability to eliminate the root cause(s) drags you further down the pit. You have lost focus, you morale is low, you begin losing confidence and you start feeling down.

Here are 5 things to try at this very instant to get back in action. I found them pretty helpful in my experience.
  1. Change your posture. Sit erect. RIGHT NOW. You'll be amazed at the speed at which it can positively affect you.
  2. Meditate for 5 mins. Keep your eyes closed. Focus.
  3. Make a to-do list for today. Prioritize its sequence. Work on it one by one. Just work on closing them.
  4. Jot down what's on your mind "AS-IS" in a diary or a notepad. Don't bother about the sequence. Just write. Unload yourself. Be specific about what is distracting you. Give yourself a time frame to complete this session, say 15 mins. Stop writing after this time.
  5. Take a quick walk. Jog, if you can. Clench your fingers tightly and suddenly release them. Do something to get the adrenaline rushing in your body.
I am quite hopeful that you'll clear your head and be all pumped up at the end of this power session.

Do share your personal experiences and also some quick-fix remedies you try for getting back in action. Let's have a conversation about it in the comments below.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Child Beggars Mushrooming at Pune's University Circle

Before watching Slumdog Millionaire, I had disregarded the very notion of mafia-controlled beggars crowding popular places in large cities. But the stark reality portrayed left an indelible mark on me. It stayed somewhere in my subconscious for a long long time, before I got its first-hand experience some days back.

En-route home I travel through this huge traffic junction called 'University Circle', called so due to its proximity to the Pune University offices and colleges.

It was a regular day. I was returning home that evening when I noticed a few child beggars loitering around the signal, dangerously close to the transiting vehicles. As soon as the signal turned red, these kids (ranging 5-13 yrs) ran amidst the idling cars and started cleaning their windshields and rear windows, while others tried selling toys to urban parents sitting comfortably in their AC cars.


Photo credit:

The beggars were so oblivious to the signal turning green that some passengers had to carefully move the kids to the footpath. The older child beggars started screaming at the little ones, directing them to the footpath.

Many more days passed after this incident. What I saw yesterday, alarmed me even more.

The beggars had grown in numbers. In just about 20 days. Now I could count at least a dozen beggars manning different outposts at the University Signal. In another 20 days, will it triple in number?

Two questions came to my mind -

1. How were they proliferating so fast?

2. Why aren't the local authorities controlling the situation?

I feel the situation is grave. Most of the newer lot of beggars I noticed are children, from 6 months to 13 years. The 13-yr old girl beggars were seen nestling the 6-month olds while begging. Every time the signal turned red, these kids would hurl themselves onto the incoming vehicles - much to the consternation of the drivers.

The irony is that begging is flourishing despite being a crime in India. It is an unanswered question as to how these beggars confidently loiter even in the presence of traffic authorities.

I know this is a vast topic to write about and there are many aspects to voice my concerns for. As a part of the larger Indian community, I am seeking answers and looking for ways to curb begging as a means to fuel bigger mafias and gangs. As much as I don't want to believe what is portrayed in the movies, I know that there is some element of truth in them

I am trying to play a wee bit part: I avoid giving cash to beggars (children and adult alike). By not giving them cash, I hope to dissuade at least one beggar from begging. But who am I kidding? There also needs to be heavy-duty rehabilitation programs run by civic bodies and NGOs at the state and the national level.

What do you feel when you encounter a beggar? Empathy, Sadness, Anger, Hopelessness, Helplessness or Indifference? Empathy is often the last feeling we experience, Indifference being the first.

What do you think are some ways to curb begging in India? What role should the government actively play? How to de-link beggars from mafias? How to give a new and enjoyable life to these child beggars?

Too many questions. Fewer answers. But I am hopeful.

Friday, January 04, 2013

A Different Perspective: The Lighthouse and The Torch

The Lighthouse and The Torch: Both are sources of light, both guide you to your destinations, but to me, both offer different perspectives on how we approach work and life.

What started as a philosophical quest for me, became something of practical value. It was one of those "Aha Moments" in the process of self-discovery.

Here's a gist of they mean to me:

Light House
Photo credit:
 The Lighthouse symbolizes a destination/ goal you want to reach. You see the guiding light of your goal/ destination and know where you need to go.

Photo credit:
The Torch symbolizes taking matter in your hands and doing something about it, yourself.

The question that follows is - Which one is more important? Is one of them a better approach than other?

The answer manifests - Both are required.

Why so?
When you have set a goal, it shines all through to tell you where you should be going. But to go there, you have to take matter in your own hands and actually take the first step.

Think of Light house as a Goal/ Objective (Big or Small, Long-term or Short-term) in your life/ career like -
1. I want to watch a movie, or
2. I want to own a car, or
3. I want to reduce my weight, or
4. I want to do well in my exam

Think of The Torch as actual Actions you take to achieve your goals -
1. Finding brokers, finding new properties, visiting the site, negotating and signing the agreement.
2. Selecting a dealer, visiting it, test driving, negotiating, handing over the cheque, driving car back home
3. Baselining your current weight, start running, swimming, etc, doing it regularly, monitoring your weight, re-aligning your efforts
4. Defining what score you expect, Studying regularly, Forming a habit, giving mock-up tests, checking mock-up score vis-a-vis your objective, re-aligning your efforts, etc

To achieve something, you need both the Objective (The Light House) and the Action (The Torch).

Another "Aha-Moment" as I type this. Sometimes you can't plan things through. You only know where to go. (The Light House) In such cases, just take Torch with you and start exploring. If you hit a wall - explore another way, then correct your path. If you make a mistake, correct.

Steadily, you'll find yourself reaching The Light house, using The Torch. :)

What do you think of these? Would like to hear your thoughts/ views. Thanks

Sunday, December 30, 2012

FW: Vacancy: An Icon for India

I'm sharing the following text "AS-IS" from my friend Shubhra Talukdar's blog, with his permission.

The article is very aptly titled - Vacancy: An Icon for India .. I am reproducing it below due to the sheer impact it had on me. This was a conversation we had on Facebook a while back and I'm adding my comment after the <---> below.

What does India need urgently?
An Icon.

Not the icon of of just a religious or a display nature, but a Symbol. An Indian who stands for something. All societies and nations need an Idea or Person or something, to which they can believe, and internalize. Something which can give Identity, a sense of togetherness, something that rises above the petty divisions of caste and creed, community and religion. Without this symbol, we Indians are doomed to fight our petty internecine battles – never to rise above the pitfalls of our diversity. 

We have given up on our politicos (barring a very small minority), to be an Icon. For these few, it is a struggle against the entrenched bloated crass set, collectively encompassing the legislature and the bureaucracy. We’ve seen cases of judicial activism – but the judiciary cannot take the place of the legislature. Our intelligentsia set is no good, endlessly debating various logic to their bitter end, or paralysis by analysis, if you must. This makes people escape to sports-persons (cricketers?) and/ or movie – and TV – persona, good in their fields, but not suitable enough to transcend barriers and inspire policy.

An Icon, when when he or she emerges will unite our hopes, desires, loves and fears. The identity forged therein will transcend our current identities of region/ religion. And make them irrelevant.

The time is ripe for our Icon.
My comment - I sincerely hope the Icon is reading your post and realises his/her time has come. Only will is no longer the only asset needed. Someone like Howard Roark (From Fountainhead) comes to mind actually or Jack Reacher (from Lee Child novels).. But those characters are just work of fiction.. Spiritual leaders would have the influence if capitalised well, but not the right following.. Politicians have the influence, will, following, but not the right agenda (not the most)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Indians, How Angry Are You, Really?

[Update: 29th Dec 2012: The Delhi-Gang rape victim "Nirbhaya" covered in the article below, died in Singapore Hospital after she succumbed to her severe internal injuries, a lung infection and brain damage. May her soul rest in peace and hopefully, now the justice will prevail.]

This question is to my fellow Indians, who off late, have been getting rightfully angry at the appalling state of things around the country.

As another year ends, it leaves us aggrieved and shocked beyond belief. This year would clearly be remembered to be at the nadir of shameful activities in India. There were so many revelations this year and the shock value of each one was just too high to digest and move on. But that's exactly we did, with pain in our hearts.

Here are four randomly selected recent cases -

Delhi Gang-rape case: The most recent incident that shocked the nation (again) is the brutal gang-rape of "Nirbhaya" (as TOI named her rightly) last week. Truly horrible. The culprits are nabbed. Case is promoted to "Fast-Track" court. Justice is WIP.

Kasab: We took 4 years to hang a terrorist, who should have been publicly tortured and hanged the very next day. The height was we offered him a defense lawyer.

Corruption and Scandals: A. Raja epitomized corruption with '2G scam' a couple of years ago. Then we had Commonwealth Games, Coalgate, NRHM scam, etc. All syphoning thousands of crores of rupees from our exchequer. Need more? There's a whole page on "Scandals in India" on Wiki.

Bad Governance (a.k.a Plummeting confidence in Indian politicians): We've gotten used to "Bad Governance" phrase by now. It's become a catch phrase in a Page 3 party. Sadly, GOI and the elected parties are (still) not doing anything about it. I guess they're waiting for another reason/ motivation/ push/ stick or may be the Mayan Apocalypse to get things right.

So, what is common in all of them? We got pissed off. We protested. We took to the streets. We lit candles in the night. We cried. We stood united. Then resumed our routines, waiting for another skeleton to come out of the closet so we can again mourn together. The GOI was still mum. We were still hopeful. We still are.

I feel the problem is severe. The real problem I feel is the "casualness" with which people commit such crimes/ scandals. The casualness is the result of bad governance. They know "nothing will happen" .. They know "they will get away".. They know "Have gotten away before, will get away again"..

The real missing thread is lack of severe and timely punishment.

Unless there are strong laws (and quicker case closures), criminals/ corrupt politicians will continue doing what they do best. Unless we pin them down, nail them down quickly, what message are we communicating?

Some argue that Sociey needs change. Of course it does. But society as a whole is such a complex mesh that it is difficult to decipher how exactly we can change it. Which element to change for a better society?

What can be monitored is the "The Rightful and Timely Action". Once people know there is a strict action taken, and that they can't get away.. the rate would drop.

There are two aspects - Internal Deterrent (Values) and External Deterrent (Punishment). To build mechanisms for Internal Deterrent take times. Values are not build overnight. We can sow the seed, nurture it and pray. We can argue for a longest time that Values - as an incentive to not be a criminal - are more important than Punishment.

But we can't pray that people with bad conscience will play fair, can we? Punishment is required for such bad souls, who don't want to change.

Politicians are used to fooling us. We are used to getting fooled. In broad daylight. We are also used to the feeling of helplessness. People will debate, crib, protest at the degrading state of things.

But there's about one thing we will not lose - Hope.

Hope that the next day we will not hear another rape case. Hope that our corrupt politicians and criminals will grow a conscience. Hope that India will become a developed nation, someday. Hope that sense will prevail.

Hopefully, our GOI will become like Avengers - crime fighting super-"Common Men" in their cape (or not) fighting injustice, rape, dowry, corruption, bad governance, and everything that's worth fighting for and everything that's worth living for.

-A hopeful Indian

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Easier Way Out?

The Easier Way Out

The easier way is to take up a short cut to success, than work your way through.

The easier way out is to quit, than to do something about it.

Easier way out is to stagnate, than to grow.

Easier way out is to demean your subordinates, than to empower them.

Easier way out is to demotivate, than to inspire.

Easier way is to just preach, than to practice it.

Easier way is to run away from a challenge, than to tackle it.

We are created to take challenges head on.

Right from our cave-dwelling days. Right when we discovered fire. When we created the wheel. When Buddha found about miseries of life and took up the challenge of finding a solution. When Schindler saved Jews. When Martin Luther King Jr fought for civil rights. When we created first space ship. When we sent Laika into space. When we sent Neil on the moon. When Hillary and Norgay climbed Mt. Everest. When Gandhi opposed the British through non-violence. When Steve Jobs resurrected Apple. When APJ Abdul Kalam created Agni missle and empowered India.

History is replete with people who chose the challenging way. And left their mark. We now call them legends. They faced the challenges in all advertisities and succeeded. They had a drive, an inner desire to grow, contribute and persist.

We are meant to take things up the challenging way. We are meant to leave our mark. To make a dent in the universe. To believe in yourself. To do what is right. To grow. To become Better.

Which one do you choose - the Easier Way or the Challenging Way?

Monday, November 05, 2012

Commuting Experience on Pune Bus Day (1st Nov 2012)

Pune Bus Day
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Sakal Times gave us another reason to feel patriotic - this time doing something worthwhile for the city on the occasion of The Pune Bus Day.

As expected, there was a lot of hype built around it. And for a good cause too this time. You can still see large sized banners across the city showcasing professionals, lawyers, students proudly proclaiming that they will "make the right choice" and they will "travel by Bus" on the 1st November.

PMC deployed about 2500 buses (private + state transport buses + Local buses) and chalked out new and direct routes - much to the convenience of the passengers. You can read more about that here and here.

This article is not just about that.

There was a lot of chat on the 1st November at my workplace, Mithi Software Technologies.  Lot of people came forward and commuted by Bus that day. Due to a last minute contingency, I could not be a part of it.

Therefore, I asked one of my good friends and colleague, Amol Kulkarni to share his commuting experience on The Pune Bus Day. He agreed to share his point of views and what should one look towards next time.

The Good Part:
1. While travelling in Bus on 'Pune Bus Day', there was an overall feeling of excitement and being a part of something good. 

2. Although there was a break journey in my travel to work in the morning, there was no waiting period as they had a high frequency of buses. But in the evening, I had to wait for some time, which was okay.

3. On any regular day, I have two main pain points with PMPML. First is their low frequency of buses, which resulted in huge waiting period. Another was poor condition of buses. However, yesterday both of these problems were eliminated as the buses had high frequency and were in good condition too.

4. I feel that this "Pune Bus Day" experiment is successful in the sense that people are willing to travel by bus if given proper infrastructure.

5. Pune has plans to contruct a Metro and a Ring road, which could potentially solve the traffic and congestion issues. This sadly will take years to start and finish. Therefore, the need of the hour is additional bus capacity in PMPML, which PMC should fill up, IMMEDIATELY.

Glaring concerns in the experiment:
1. Widen the roads to handle larger bus traffic: The Pune roads are not wide enough to handle the traffic of a large number of buses and many areas experienced traffic jams.

2. Don't just pump in buses, improve the bus routes too: Just blindly adding capacity in the current design of Transport Infrastructure will not be adequate - we need a better design. Currently it seems to be a Hub and Spoke design i.e., Corporation Depot being at the Hub, from where all the buses are routed. At the Spokes are smaller depots like Kothrud, Hadapsar areas. Due to a huge traffic passing through this Corporation Depot, it has become a nagging bottleneck. Indeed, PMC did experiment with some route design, but it had thought of keeping several hubs, the traffic congestion would have become more bearable.

Thanks for your inputs, Amol!

Although Puneites gave a thundering response to Pune Bus Day, and were excited to the core, there are some areas PMC needs to work on in the future to make this experience even better.

I just hope that this event does not end up being celebrated annually, like a Valentine's Day or a Father's Day or a Mother's Day. I sincerely hope PMC + Sponsers take up such initiatives more aggressively and more regularly to make Pune even better place to commute. I am pretty sure Puneites will continue supporting them!

Did you also use buses on the Pune Bus Day in Pune? What was your experience? What was good and what needed improvement? Do share in your comments below.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Stop Cashing In On Your God

It was the 3rd day of Ganesh Festival when it hit me.

I was returning home after work that day when I was caught in a traffic jam. The traffic was moving at a snail's pace. It provided me an opportunity to observe the roadsides - which were buzzing with activities.

I noticed how so many Ganesh pandals were set up on each side of the road. You could count that each lane had about 3 Ganesh pandals. Two at each end of the road, one in the middle. If there was another lane emerging from the middle of the lane, there would be two more pandals - on the diagonal sides of the same intersection. And so on.

Ganesh Pandals
And likewise imagine how many pandals would they be "squeezing" per square kilometer. And simple arithmetic will tell you how many in a township, and then in a city.

There's more. Each pandal is owned by a Ganesh Mandal (Committee). And it is a matter of prestige for those Mandal owners to decorate their Pandals better than others. And so they splurge money. From where does the moolah come from? From the same people who pay tax.

How? Simple, each Ganesh Mandal owner(s) will send their "members" to collect donation from residents of the nearby area. And can you refuse them? They're all politically connected. Getting the idea?

They also play loud music much to the annoyance of the people staying nearby. I can tell you that it is not sensible music. It is not devotional music either. Add it the fact that the horrible traffic jams and chaos it causes. No committee seems to bothered about the tremendous amount of waste it generates. Every year.

Which brings me to the title of this article - Are we really cashing in on our Gods? Are we monetizing them? As long as the concept of God has come into being, we have monetized him - milking his omnipotence. That's in the couple of thousands of years of our civilisation.

Why not sanitize everything? Why not just 1-2 Ganesh Pandals per square kilometer? How about just believing (theists) or not believing (atheists) in that Higher Being and still live happily? Why all this hype around God?

Navaratri has just begun, Dussehra and Durga Puja is just round the corner. Pandals will again be raised. More chaos will pervade. More money will be spent. The cycle will repeat. May the Gods bless us with a sane mind.

Durga Puja
[Image courtsey:]

Let's go green in celebrating our festivals. A motivating trend is that there is less intensity of Fire Crackers these days during Diwali. Many families, societies, townships have started recognizing the nuisance caused and have started celebrating festivals in an environmentally friendly manner. But those families can be counted on fingertips.

What is the starting point to curb it? Where do we start? Would like to hear your thoughts/ views in the comments below - even if you disagree with my thoughts.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Don't Just Sit On It: Decide and Act, NOW

"Probably one thing worse than a bad decision is Indecision."

There are three types of people around - Those who make good decisions, those who make bad ones, and those who don't make any decisions.

The indecisive ones simply sit on a given task/ decision and do nothing. What they fail to realise is their indecision is negatively impacting others, in sometimes tangible and many times intangible ways.

Without tapping in your will
All you do is wonder and stay still
When that decision just lingers on
When you're lost, don't know where to move on
Take A Stand

When all you do is delay
That decision you just sit on and pray
Someone's waiting, but all you do is stall
When you play safe and let things take their toll
Take A Stand

When you want to feel right
Take that decision to feel pleasant and bright
Don't hesitate, be brave, but don't fake it
Just go ahead and stake it
Take a Stand

I feel decision making can be cultivated like a habit. Like habit, discipline your self to regularly take decisions and more importantly, act on it. Procrastinators tend to make a decision and then delay action. Avoid this trait.

Start now. Whenever you feel hesitant, think about the risk involved. If it is a low risk task, just take it up and finish it. If there is a high risk involved, you can consult someone before taking that decision. The important thing is not to sit on it just because you think it is high risk.

If it is decision you are stalling at work, it is costing the company money. If it is a career decision you are dilly-dalling, you could be missing out on several opportunities. If it is a personal decision you're delaying, your family might be getting affected by it. Think about it.

Sort it out. Consult. Discuss. Clarify. Arrive at a Decision. Then just go ahead and Act on it. Move to the next task.

How do you counter indecision? Which habits have helped you become a master decision maker? Do share in the comments below.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Doing Good Work

Stop cribbing about how your boss neglects that awesome work you are doing for him. Stop feeling anxious about what others think about you. Stop feeling bad about that jerk who doesn't pay attention to you.

It doesn't matter. They don't matter.

Remember, you are here for a purpose. If you don't know what it is, relax. Just remember that you're here to do good work you'll be proud of. Keep at it. Rest doesn't matter.

Spend quality time at work. Ignore the jerks. Ignore the put-downers. Ignore the behind-the-back comments. Take what is good. Move on.

Make a difference every day you come to work. Be better than yesterday. That's a simple plan, ain't it? Just keep doing it.

Make a dent in the universe. Only that matters. Every single day. Every single moment.

Remember, sometimes you'll find yourself digressing from your purpose. Soon as you realise it, re-focus your efforts. Once you've taken its cognizance, don't waste a single iota of energy doing banal work. Re-align your actions.

Do good work. Focus. Make a dent in the universe. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Real Test: How Do You Deal With Risks?

How do you handle a situation you've not dealt with before? How do you respond to a situation you're uncomfortable with? Do you panic when you're in a sudden and seemingly unnerving situation?

I'm essentially talking about risk and our ability to take risks. 

I feel the real test of a person is how he/she deals with such random, sudden and unexpected situations.

We often encounter such situations in our lives. And many times the first reaction is panic - which is quite understandable. It is a fight or flight response, which our cave-dwelling ancestors were compelled to take. And this is thousands of years of programming hardwired in our system which is difficult to get rid of.

So what is risk taking? It's about getting involved in something with an undefined/ unexpected outcome. And the risk taking ability is how well one deals with such an event/ activity with an undefined/ unexpected outcome.

The good news is that we can nurture this risk taking ability - with lot of practice, patience and good presence of mind. Expect that there will always be uncertainties, and be prepared for it. Be confident. Have a presence of mind to deal with them. Keep practicing. Gradually, we will get better at it.

Start taking intelligent risks. Not like jumping out of your building or like moonwalking near a cobra, or standing in front of an approaching truck. Not life threatening risks. That would be dumb. I'm not talking about them.

More like, starting to experiment with things/ situations. Say you feel uncomfortable dealing with an unknown group of people. As a first step, you can just start mixing with some newer faces, one at a time. And then gradually mixing with a group of unknown people.

Maybe you think that investing in stock market is risky. So to build up your confidence, read more about investing, start investing small amounts and gradually increase the sum. You'll notice that the more you're exposed to it, the better you can deal with it.

It could be as simple as taking a detour from your regular route to explore newer routes. Things like these. You can start by taking risks in areas you're familiar with.

There are people we know of having this remarkable ability to aptly deal with such situations. We admire them for having a good presence of mind. I'm sure you can instantly recall many in your personal and professional network. You should also speak to them about how they have developed this ability.

Taking risks exposes us to environments/ situations we have not come across before. We learn. We grow. We become better. Challenge yourself to take newer risks to become better.

Go ahead and take a new risk, today! You'll be thrilled! Promise. 

How do you respond when you face an unexpected situation presents itself? What are some ways you've used that helped you master it? Do share your experiences and techniques in the comments below.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Celebrate Eco-Friendly Ganesh Chaturthi

I could see several people standing on the traffic signal, holding placards of some kind. About 10-15 in number, in 2-3 groups across different junctions of the signal. But they seemed peaceful enough. No cops around. No crowd around. What was going on?

I thought this group was a part of just another protest of some kind. I ran through a list of embarrassing public events which were recently unfolded - large scams, protests, fast-unto-death rallies, etc, and then I also tried arriving at the cause that this group might be affiliated to. I got curious.

When I was idling at the signal, I read what the placards had displayed and carefully observed the attire of the people.

And then I became ecstatic.

What stood apart was their bright yellow jackets on white T-shirts and a prominent cap, with Cummins neatly embroidered. Which probably meant that Cummins was the sponsor.

The placards they held were not to support a cause of protest.

They were in fact spreading awareness to celebrate the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi in an eco-friendly manner. One of the placards asked people to refrain from submerging Ganesh Idols in rivers, ponds, etc. They implored people to submerge the idols in a tank specially created near such water bodies. Another placard requested people to stop throwing garlands and flowers (Nirmalya) in natural water reservoirs. This ensured that these water reservoirs did not get (further) polluted.

[Photo credit:]

I was thrilled. This brief encounter made me think deeper about the very need of such awareness campaigns. Upon googling the issue further, I came across some interesting articles here and here. And this one was particularly insightful.

Here are few things we can start doing from this Ganesh Festival (starting 19th Sept) to keep the environment clean:
1. Let's immerse Ganesh Idols in separate tanks and not in rivers, lakes, ponds, etc.
2. Let's pledge that we will keep Ganesh Festival free of noise pollution.
3. Let's use only the natural clay idols, and not Plaster of Paris ones.
4. Let's avoid use of non biodegradable material such as thermocole altogether.
5. Lets recycle flowers and garlands to make hand made paper or dried flower products.

Keep it up Cummins! I'm certain it will have a lasting impact. Gradually we will start seeing clearer water reservoirs through many such initiatives and campaigns.

Wishing you all a very happy Ganesh Chaturthi in advance! :) May Lord Ganesh bless you with lifelong happiness!

What are some other initiatives/ activities you can do to conserve the nature better? Do share in your comments below. Thanks.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


In a rhythmic gait, she walks towards me
Twilight approaches, and its hard to see
The stalker's close - as I watch her flip
With anxious glance, I notice the painful slip

The beautiful flight in her momentary fall
Almost ended my reluctant stroll
Her pride had fallen, and she came closer
Mischief galore, from this slippery disclosure

To deftly test, and to know how it will feel
He had rightly planted a banana peel
As she frowned, fumed and then became wild
Rejoiced and laughed, this naughty child

Friday, August 17, 2012

You don't need Approval

Think you're being humble when you crave for approval?

Don't complicate it. Things are really that simple. All that is required is the willingness to do it.

Be free from restrictions. Freedom from emotional desire to seek approval.

"By seeking his/ her permission, he'll know what I am upto, he/she'll correct me". Really? Stop bullshitting yourself. Just go ahead and do it. Take risks.

Don't hesitate. Your heart doesn't, when it pumps blood. You know what is right and what needs to be done. Your mind makes it weak. Your mind complicates matter.

Worried about what others think of you? Shut up. You are again begging to conform to the bromide.

Think Gandhi would have worried about what others would feel about the Dandi March? Think it would have mattered to Newton what his neighbor felt about Gravity? Grow up. They didn't worry about it. Nor should you. They believed in something they knew was right.

Get rid of that fear within you. Take risks. Conquer it. You know you can. Deep within. Your heart does. Don't secondguess your ability to excel.

You don't need Approval. Be fearless. Be You.