your stamp on it

22 Nov

A famous sculptor wanted to sculpt his final masterpiece on top of a hill
He had time left for only this one – and he wanted it to be his best work ever
He worked, day and night, creating patterns and bringing the mountain stones to life
And when it was all over, he asked a friend to come and see the end result

The friend saw a stunning piece of art, from the foot of the hill and knew instantly that this was indeed the sculptor’s best work ever
And so he climbed the hill, to congratulate his friend

Once he reached, the sculptor insisted that the friend take a closer look and admire the finer aspects of the sculpture
The friend noticed a crack, and reported the same to the sculptor

The sculptor paused for a minute. Stared at the crack. One could see his expressions changing.
Without any warning, he took his hammer and destroyed the entire sculpture

The friend was shocked. What just happened
“Why did you do that? No one would have noticed that crack from such a distance. People would have still liked it”

“But I noticed the crack”


This week, we were releasing a youtube film for
And I wasnt happy with the final outcome

So I asked myself the question that I have previously asked
“Will people like it?”
And the answer was – probably yes. It wasnt that bad

But then I asked myself a different question
“Will I put my name behind this film? Will I be proud that this is a nearbuy production?”

Everything suddenly made sense


Don’t let the world define your standards

We humans have this rather unfortunate habit of checking the strength of our relationships, every how and then

Let’s see if he calls me today

Let’s see if he picks up my phone if I call him right now

Let’s see if they figure out this loophole without me pointing to it

Let’s see if I can trust this person

Here is the deal about trust

The minute you test it, you have broken it

Trust shouldn’t be tested

It is either earned, or established through conduct

To test trust, is to not have it


14 Nov

Yesterday Times of India flashed a news article on paytm’s acquisition of little and nearbuy as part of a distress sale.

The journalist had reached out to me on Sunday evening, asking for my comments.

I declined to comment, adding that his facts were wrong and if he waited for a few days I could share all the information formally and accurately.

I assume he had to file the story nonetheless, so he asked if I could go off the record and talk. I declined that too (PS: there is nothing in this world called off the record! Everything you say is on fucking record!)

When th article came out, I felt let down. I had clearly mentioned that the facts were wrong but all that was stated from my side was that I had refused to comment.

I wanted to understand what the protocol is

So I wrote in (recall: if you don’t ask, the answer is always no)

What could I have done to ensure my stand that the facts were wrong, were also represented in the article

Apparently, there is a simple way to do this

Go on record :)

I hereby go on record to state that I cannot comment on this matter right now, but do wish to share that the facts as stated in the article, are wrong.

in hindsight, this is obvious. Should have thought about it :)


There are people who tell you that you are wrong

There are people that help you see where you are wrong

Guess which ones are more than the other?

Now do you see why choosing the right crowd isn’t easy?

And why that’s precisely the reason why you should spend a lot of time on it?

Ever has this situation where you were extremely happy and content with your situation UNTIL you came across someone else who was better off, with similar attributes as yours?

And this made you feel sad and shitty about your state?

While your grass was green all through

The existence of supposedly greener grass disturbed you

Make a subtle distinction there, that might help

Did the opposite side of the grass always exist and you were simply made aware of it?


Did the opposite side of the grass come up after you?

If it’s an awareness problem – you are fighting your own self.

Not the grass

The fastest way to become wise is to receive it

The power of books, videos, podcasts – is phenomenal, especially if you consider the effort it would take to acquire it yourself

There is danger though

Information, today, is navigating at the speed of light

And it’s disguised as wisdom

Beautifully disguised

The worst form of wisdom is received wisdom that isn’t challenged

An ex-colleague wrote in, asking a very interesting question

“Now that your videos and content have picked up a lot, how does the attention feel? What’s it like to be on the other end of inspiration?”

It’s a lot of pressure

And the only perpetual overwhelming feeling is that of being humbled

Pressure, because I am suddenly conscious of whether I am making sense, whether I am making the content any easier to be absorbed, whether this is even relevant content, am I qualified enough to even speak on this?

Humbled because people are writing in and sharing such fascinating personal journeys, acknowledging how the content came just at the right time. One can’t help but feel blessed to be at the receiving end of such gratitude

But more than anything else, it’s the confirmation that inspiration perhaps has a start but surely no end.

I continue to “chase” inspiration – find it in the usual spots (books, videos, podcasts) but also in the most unexpected of places or people (kids particularly)

And thus I believe, I will never truly know how it feels to be at the other end of inspiration

And I am glad about that :)

Fake news

1 Nov

This incident blew my mind

Right after Diwali, Vidur vegans coughing. Took him to his doctor, who diagnosed the condition to be bad.

I asked him if it was due to the Diwali pollution

“Are you joking? This time there was no Diwali! It felt like a day of mourning because of no crackers”

Intrigued, I probed further

“It really felt like mourning to you?”

“Of course – like the Chirag-e-dilli day of mourning”

“Ummmm, sorry, what? Chirag Dilli mourning?”

He smirked.

“Do you know where chirag dilli gets it name from?”

His clinic is in Chirag Dilli, a colony in south Delhi

“No, doc. I don’t”

“Some Mughal ruler (he mentions a name that I can’t remember now and am pretty sure wasn’t Mughal) ordered all Hindu men to be converted.

When they resisted, he lined all of those who resisted, strapped with horse with swords, and rode the horse towards one of Delhi’s gates, chopping their heads as he rode. That gate is now called Khooni Darwaaza for the same reason.

That Diwali, every household has someone dead. And it felt like the darkest day ever.

Until a destitute woman rose up and said there is no way that Diwali in Dilli will be this dead.

So she lit a chirag, and she did it right here. Which is why Chirag Dilli”

Now, I will admit – I set his evident bigotry aside for a moment and was just fascinated by the story.

How names and traditions and habits are formed – is storytelling that enamors me.

I left the clinic, proceeding to Vidur’s piano class

While waiting, as the class went on, I couldn’t take my mind off the story. I wanted to know more

So I started browsing on Chirag Dilli





It wasn’t just a lie that I was told

I was told a lie by a person convinced he isn’t lying

Which isn’t a matter of ignorance, education or exposure

It’s a matter of belief

Fake news isn’t online

Fake news is everyone

And it rides on the wheels of our belief

Met a smart candidate yesterday for a senior role

Towards the end the usual question popped up – what is the larger goal of

Not directly asked, but hidden in that question was the more basic one – what’s the potential of this deals and discounts industry?

I shared my views. Views that I can share even in my sleep now :)

At the end of it – he was clearly shocked. Surprised. Pleasantly.

I wasn’t talking about deals and discounts. I was talking about how a basic human trait is the foundation for the company’s vision. And how everything starts from there and revolves around that belief.

An outcome of this belief is a crazy imagination of the future.

And I believe that any definition of the future sounds ridiculous when one hears it.

Which is why, to quote Jeff Bezos, People will misunderstand what we mean to do, and we have got to be ok with that.

My view of my future sounds ridiculous and I am willing to be misunderstood until it unfolds.

Are you a different person on weekdays and weekends?

Are you a different person right before you step in to office and once you are inside?

Are you a different person when with your team and when with your boss?

Are you a different person through the year and towards the appraisal process?

Are you a different person when working with your colleagues and when drinking with them?

Are you a different person because you wish to be or you think you are meant to be?


The separation of work and life has caused concepts such as work life balance to flourish in today’s culture
The pressure to “balance” the two – as separate entities on two scales of a weighing machine


Does it have to be this way?
Can life be such where we stop living two lives?

The need to balance work and life, is only if you are living each separately



As cave people in the stone ages, there was just one rule of success


If you survived, you would reproduce and that allowed your tribe, your community to move ahead

So do whatever it takes to not killed by an animal, get hit by the weather or murdered by a known one

And that has evolved our bodies in a fashion where they will do anything at all to adopt to the environment and not die

We can use the thousands of years of conditioning, to our advantage (or not)

Because our bodies are still, constantly, in survival mode

OMG, this individual is lifting weights everyday. I need to build muscles to cope up with it

Awesome, this guy eats frequently. I don’t need to conserve – I can keep burning

Oh sweet, this person is always in the present. I don’t have to keep pinging with in the head, with my inner chatter


Well – if he just sits all day why do I need to build anything to help him walk or run?

If you don’t eat right or regularly, I will have to store – to survive

Going back and forth between the past and future seems to be your favorite hobby. Sure – let’s make it happen

We don’t need to tell our body what we want from it

We just need to decide what we want it to be


17 Oct

Here is an under-rated quality

The ability to have a 10,000 feet view that it seems to suggest you don’t care about the details
in the very next instant, focus on something so specific that it may indicate you don’t have a larger view

It comes from intense training
and an unreal level of discipline

It comes from deep thought
Where you have started with asking yourself – WHY is this important
And led yourself to the WHAT and HOW of the problem


Zoom-in-Zoom-out is a great way to use maps
Its an enviable way to live life too

I am not alone

16 Oct

I was at the TEDx IITRoorkee this weekend and as always loved my time with young minds

What’s becoming increasingly obvious is that this generation in under immense pressure.

The nature of questions thrown at me by the students reaffirmed this opinion.

At the bottom of this pressure is this paralyzing sense of self doubt. Led by the view that everyone else, except them, have it figured out.

Because hey,

People seem to be eating the nicest looking food

Wearing the nicest looking clothes

Clicking the nicest looking selfies

Vacationing at the nicest looking beaches

Matched with the nicest looking self esteem possible

Someone has to tell them that it’s all a fucking lie

That everyone is going through the same anxiety as you

Everyone experiences self doubt

Everyone thinks the opposite person is more sorted

Everyone thinks they are not good enough

It’s how they react to it that makes all the difference

Your uniqueness is not defined by your experiences

Rather your reactions

Repeat after me

I am not alone in feeling this

I am alone though in fighting this

How many times has it happened that you looked at the past and went,

“What was I thinking?”

“That was so obvious. How did I miss it?”

“I can’t believe I didn’t see that”

You did see it.

You saw it loud and clear

But at that point, what you saw conflicted with your world view

What you saw conflicted with your desires at that point

So what may seem like a capability issue

Is really not

You simply didn’t want to notice

The lack of willingness to notice the opposite perspective is more harmful than the capability to do so.

There are a lot of conspiracy theories on how apple might be purposely playing with the software of existing iPhones, when a new one launches

Reports of phones slowing down, sudden problems – are all well documented.

Of course never proven to be true.

Here is a conspiracy theory that goes beyond

My current iPhone has slipped off my hands numerous times. Never to ever crack!

Day before, it slipped again.

And shattered into pieces

No small crack

Complete annihilation!

Is it possible, that Apple is controlling the properties of hardware, through software?

That it can influence how glass behaves, how headphones work, how the volume button operates – all through software?

That would be a superpower

Because if it can’t be used for evil, it ain’t a superpower

And then I extended it to my favorite hardware device


We do this all the time

Our words can influence change. Not just emotional. Even physical.

Our words can make people sweat, make people run, make people sleep, give them goosebumps.

Our visuals can do the same.

We all have a superpower

That of being able to influence

Do we realize

Do we use it for good

The path less taken

28 Sep

Hum kyun chalein

Uss raah par

Jis raah par

Sab hi chalein

Kyun naa chunein

Woh raasta

Jis par nahi

Koi gaya

Why should we

Walk the path

That has been

Walked by everyone

Why don’t we

Choose that path

The one

That no one has taken

It’s so refreshing to see strings sing again.

And capture a classic so beautifully.

Coke studio 10 redeems itself :)

I see incentives as an intersection of two traits

How predictable are they?

How accurate are they?


Do I know of them beforehand

Can I predict what they are

Do I have an understanding of how it works


Are they correctly measured?

Are they accurately delivered?

Are they tracked correctly?

If you think of a 2×2 matrix

The worst box clearly is the unpredictable-inaccurate box

This will lead to noting but resentment. And ultimately failure to drive the intended outcome

But the best isn’t the predictable and accurate one

In my experience, the unpredictable and accurate box drives the best outcome

As humans, we so want to settle

To capture the known

To make things predictable

And so with predictable incentives – it quickly becomes the new normal for those who hit it

And that depresses the impact, because the ones hitting it drive a larger sure Kd the performance.

In other words

“We are measuring your performance based on sales at the end of this month”

Predictable: if you hit the target you get 10% incentive

Unpredictable: if you hit the target you will get an incentive

This approach may seem stupid, because why would anyone be driven some undisclosed incentive scheme?

And surely – they perhaps won’t be

Until, at the end of the month when they see that you reward the ones that hit their target (and some always will)

Leaving the next months’ incentive as a surprise again

Variable rewards, changing rewards, dynamic rewards, surprise rewards

These types, when matched with accuracy, work like magic!

People react best when they are rewarded when they least expect it.

In 1983, a talented young guitarist was kicked out of his band. With apparently no warning.
Handed over a bus ticket and told to go back home, 2 days before the band’s first recording

On the journey back home, the guitarist, just as all of us, started speaking to himself
“Was this really happening?”
“To him?”

Apparently, the self-talk helped. By the time he reached his destination, he vowed to form a new band.
And do everything within his right, to be better than the band that had just fired him
Go on to break more records than them
Go on to make better music than them
Go on to earn more fame and money than them

The guitarist’s name was Dave Mustaine

The band he formed, went on to sell over 30Mn copies worldwide, making it one of the best selling bands of all times

Pretty impressive, huh?
Sweet revenge, one would say


The band that fired him, went on to sell over 130Mn copies worldwide
The band that fired him was Metallica

Was Dave Mustaine a success or a failure?

In a rare 2003 interview, Dave wept at the firing incident, STILL regretting the moment he was fired. Clearly feeling betrayed. He still carried the baggage.

Was Dave Mustaine a success or a failure?

As much as you dont want the world to define your success or failure, are you doing a good job of defining it yourself?

Rush hour

22 Sep

It takes me 40 mins to reach work everyday

Anytime of the day

The road is a smooth ride – traffic but not enough to stall.

A 30km stretch with no red lights.

But every now and then, someone with a sense of urgency will go berserk

Change lanes




Jeopardize not just their safety but that of others too

And invariably, at the end of the 30kms I have rarely found them to be ahead of me by more than a minute. Two at best!

Makes me wonder – what is it really worth it?

Risking yourself to gain a minute or two?

That’s life

When you start changing lanes, accelerating, braking, honking – you lose the perspective – what am I eventually going to get out of this?

All you focus on – is that I am doing this now and this is my present

The hare and tortoise wasn’t just a fictional life lesson

It’s an everyday affair

Two stories that somehow found a connection

I have been experiencing back pain persistently for 3 weeks now.

Because of which I haven’t been to the gym these past 3 weeks

And I have been missing it

Missing it – because that’s where I feel I prepared most for life, from a mental strength perspective

That’s where I get a lot of my life lessons

“No matter how much the pain, don’t close your eyes”

“Always look ahead, never down”

“To lose fat, pick lighter weights and do more reps. To build strength, pick heavier weights and do less reps”

“How you look at yourself in the mirror is how the world looks at you”

But every now and then you lose track of the important life lessons

To heal the pain, I went to a chiropractor yesterday. It was a great session.

Towards the end he made the remark “you look like he kinds who wants to prove that anything is possible. But do remember – whatever you do, make sure your body lasts for another 40-50 years”


Harsh reminder

It’s not about the goal for today. Even tomorrow.

It’s the process you adopt, that sets you up for life

Reminds me of a powerful anecdote

Two people – training super hard at the gym – get talking to each other

“What are you preparing for?”

“Oh the marathon. Next month. What are you preparing for?”