Thank you, Vijesh!

Post 9 of #sg100peopleToThank. More about this series is here.

Thank you, Vijesh!
Vijesh Sharma. Yet another friend, philosopher, senior from MDI that I am very grateful to have access to.

I first met Vijesh when I was working at Gravity.
He needed someone to organise his 8th birthday party. Really. 8th. I gave him some inputs and he thought they were thoughtful and interesting. From there on started this series of interactions, that has made my life tangibly better. Each interaction has been a learning experience. And every time I speak with Vijesh, I get out of the room with tons of optimism, hope, positive energy and enthusiasm. The world looks like a great place and I want to go out and win it all!

Thank you, Vijesh for being the North Star.

One thing that I will never forget from interactions with Vijesh? 
Vijesh and I were in Dubai last year - I was on a break from life and work and Vijesh was participating in some exhibition. After a long day, we were sitting in a hotel lobby and talking about things.

As it happens often when I speak to Vijesh, the conversation moved to life purpose and all that. And he asked, what do you want to do in life? And I blurted something like, "I want to work on the cutting edge. I want to create new things that make the world a better place". I honestly don't recall what I said but it would be in this zone.

Vijesh asked me, "Where do you think these things exist?"

I said, "Not in India for sure. Maybe Silicon Valley."

Vijesh said, "I am going to make you an offer and I will make it one time only. And I will never revisit again. You can either take it or leave it." He then said, "If you have the balls, leave everything and move to the US of A today. Now. I will pay for the flight. You already have the visa. Go figure. Spend 3 months, 6 months, hustle and see where you end."

I was speechless. I tried to stutter things like rationality, parents, responsibilities and all that. I even said lemme sleep over it and take a more patient and grounded decision. Vijesh shut me up by saying that time is running out and if you can't decide where you want to be, soon, you would have lost out. He said that by thinking too much you let your gut lose to reason. And reason never ever moved the world forward!

Any guesses what I chose? 

The greatest lesson I've learnt from him?
He said the way someone treats a person (could be any person) is EXACTLY the way that person will treat you. You may be the best friend, the greatest employee, a neighbour, a stranger or whatever. And rather than looking at patterns of great behaviour and all that, look for anomalies. Look for exceptions.

Lemme give an example. Let's take this hypothetical person, Ms Ganga. You know, most days Ms Ganga is the kindest human being ever. And you know that on her bad days, Ganga tends to resort to convenient lies. And you are ok with it. There are ups and downs! And here's the lesson. You have to know that while she could be your best friend, at some point in time she would lie to you as well! To make her life convenient and easy.

You ought to try and spot patterns. Of predictable behaviour and of exceptions. You ought to know that the way the other person operates with others, is the same way s/he will operate with you.

And the other thing, become a person with zero anomalies. Your behaviour has to be so consistent, so predictable that even a stranger can vouch for it! It has to become your brand! That!

Thing is, with each interaction that I've had in life, I have seen this one tip, one lesson, one prophecy from Vijesh proving to be true time and again! Long-term partners have cheated on me. Romantic interests have swayed. And of course, there are positives. Kind people have showered me with love and affection and attention.

I don't think I can ever forget this lesson. I just hope that I become the kind of person that everyone wants to get into engagement with.

Thank you, Vijesh for this. And thank you for all the mindspace, help and inputs. And apologies for not taking up the offer of the lifetime. I hope I do reach the cutting edge, in my own way :)

Wish you all the best :)

With all respect,
Saurabh Garg

Others posts in this series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

PS: Posting after a few days. Which is ok. As long as I reach at least 100 thank yous. 

Thank you, Ashish!

Post 7 of #sg100peopleToThank. More about this series is here.

Thank you, Ashish
Ashish Biswas is a filmmaker (some of his work is on Vimeo) and storyteller. And is also an MDI Gurgaon Alumni and that's how I know Ashish (he was a senior at college). And this is one of those million things that I am thankful to MDI for. If you can attend a business school, please do. The people that you meet there will add so much to your life that you would come out a changed person. 

Coming to Ashish. So, he was a year senior at MDI and thus we were on a first name basis.

Lemme narrate an incident. This goes back almost 10 years, if not more. There was this time when Amit (Sharma, a classmate from MDI) and I were in Mumbai and we were really struggling to balance our ambition and reality.

Reality - he and I were in jobs that paid ok, was ok in terms of work but it was far far from the kind of stories we wanted to tell. I don't remember where was Amit but I was either with GE or with CLA or with Gravity.

Ambition - tell stories that made ordinary people into heroes and gave the message of hope and all that.

To both of us (Amit and I), Ashish was someone who was living it up. He had quit his cushy job to "struggle" and make films. And he was the only person we knew who was doing anything that was remotely related to things we wanted to work on.

So we met him at the rooftop canteen of a post-production studio (I still remember it was at the Gold's Gym building at Pali - that time there was no Gold's Gym) and while I don't remember the specifics, I remember a thing that Ashish told me. After all these years, that thing has stayed with me till date. He said, "mehnat karega to there is no way you will not reach where you want to reach."

This is a way too polished version, to be honest. He had used some expletives that only he can muster. But you get the gist.

The funny thing is that I have heard this from parents, teachers, strangers, neighbours, their pets, random stranger on the street, books, motivational speakers and even Shahrukh Khan. But when it came from Ashish, it hit home. To a point that it has stayed with me till this date. There are times when I am sad and I don't know what to do and I want to cry and I want to walk up a mountain to scream my lungs out in despair and all that. And that's when I am reminded of this simple lesson. Fuck as I write this, I can recall what he was eating. A veg thali with some deep fried papad. Bisu, veg thali, papad. Funny how our brains work!

So yeah, thank you, Ashish, for the lesson that I have NOT forgotten till date.

Oh, the other thing that I took away from you that day (and continue to hold dear) is that you've taught me to chase my dreams by being an example that I could emulate. I have seen you through your ups and downs and highs and lows. You've held your head high when you were down. And you've kept your doors open when you are at a place of comfort. I hope when I reach where you are, I remain as humble and as helpful.

Thank you for all the mindspace, help and inputs.

Wish you all the best :)

With all respect,
Saurabh Garg
Class of 2006

Others posts in this series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

I don't think I can keep up with one post a day. So, I am dropping the charade of even trying. However, I do need an endpoint. So, I will endeavour to do these before I go for Vipassana (around September). I have about 170 days. Manageable? Any bets? 

Hello, Serendipitous Adventures in Mumbai.

So, I recently read this post about how to maximize serendipity. It is a fascinating read - the kinds that I wish I had written. Each word is deep, insightful and actionable. Do read the post. And please come back to this page once you’ve read.

Point 2 on this post advises you to be a connector. The author says he hosts intimate events where he invites passionate, hyper-curious individuals and they meet often for a day of action and adventure. Here’s a screen grab from the post.

This got me thinking, why not do the same in Mumbai, a place where I am located? 
And I put this on twitter
Experiment. If you are in #Mumbai and are the "curious" kinds, full of energy, want to learn new things, experiment, grow better and know more people, let's get together and we'd do something interesting. In? DM me. Limited to 8 people. 1 is me. So 7 more. #RTpls

And while I did get some people interested in the meetup, everyone asked for details. 
And thus, here are some.

What I propose. 
  1. Create a meetup group of "curious" people that love to learn "new things" and want to know more people. 
  2. We try to get people from across age groups, genders, interest areas and all that. The intent is to get a variety of opinion and thought. 
  3. We meet once a month or so (I don't know if I want to structure it rigidly). 
  4. At each meetup, we have an agenda. Say in the first meetup, all of us goto a Salsa workshop (I suck at dance - I have two left feet), followed by a brunch at some indie chef. And then end the day with a theatre or something. In the next meetup, we could go for a trek or play football or get together for clubbing. Of course, this is not defined. The itinerary gets decided by the attendees prior to the meetup. 
  5. Each activity that we do must be a group activity that is novel for most participants. For example, theatre is novel for me. And I am sure I am not alone. 
  6. If you "sign up", while you are not obligated to attend every meetup, you ought to respect time and attention for others. Once you say you are in on a certain date, please do show up :)
  7. No fees. We split the cost of the "adventure" among attendees. 
  8. I plan to do the first meetup in the next 15 days. Probably on the weekend of 20th - 21st April.

These are the things that I know as of now. 
Of course, early days. 
If you are interested in this, let's build this together?  

And truth be told, I don't know where this would go or if I would get enough people to run this experiment. And in case I do get the people, I don't know if I would be successful at running this. But then, what's the worst that could happen? 
Let's try? 
If you are in, DM me on twitter and let's take it from there. 

Oh, while I am not sure of what all we could evolve into, I am very sure of things that we will NOT be. Here's a list. 
  • We are not a dating platform. You like someone in the group, great! But please do not come with the intention of dating. There are way too many other platforms for that. 
  • We are not an opportunity to paddle MLM goodies. 
  • This is NOT business networking. This is an opportunity to meet interesting people IRL. 
That's for the time being. 
Could I cover anything else? 

One more thing. I call this Serendipitous Adventures in Mumbai. Game? 

Thank you, Hemant!

Post 7 of #sg100peopleToThank. More about this series is here.
Thank you, Hemant
Hemant Gupta runs Am Conscious Labs where in his words, "he is working to find synergy in ancient wisdom and modern science and it’s relevance in the current political-economic-social spectrum." He also runs social experiments like Thank You, India and represents the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute in India.

And he is a friend, advisor, philosopher, guide, client, critic, advocate, vendor and a mentor.

 Hemant is easily one of the top five people that I would want to stay in touch with for the rest of my life.

There are a million things that I want to thank Hemant for. Here is a list, in no order.
  1. Thank you, for giving me an opportunity to work when I needed the word and the money the most. This was when you were working on FIA and you needed a product manager. 
  2. Thank you, for being around as a counsellor when I had to make tough decisions. There are way too many instances to list here. Thank you for your time and attention - two most important (and limited) assets that we humans have! 
  3. Thank you, for teaching me how to be mindful while working, while in relationships, while I am with strangers. And most importantly, when I am with myself. From things as complicated as how to enjoy that glass of water to as simple as maintaining decorum while working, your patience with me has been beyond imagination. 
  4. Thank you for pointing out my flaws in as many words. And thanks to your discourses on mindfulness, I could take your inputs with equanimity and work on those. 
  5. Thank you for your words and puns and buns and rhymes and reasons and two by twos and millions by billions and... :D 
  6. Thank you for all your daily emails. I learn a new thing each day. 
  7. Thank you for being that bouncing board on which I have shared a few hundred (if not thousands) ideas already. Thank you for all the inputs (even though I may have disagreed with you on a lot of those). And thank you so much for your belief in me and the idea of me. I promise that someday I will increase my hit rate to a number that you would be proud of. 
  8. Thank you for being my advocate and pushing my agenda at places that I would have never been able to reach by myself. Thank you for recommending me and introducing me to so many interesting people. I believe in the power of loose connections and you have been instrumental in helping me create so many of these! 
Hemant, as I end this, heartfelt thank you for all that you've done for me. I wish you the best for all your meandering and research and mission. As a soldier, I stand by you and I am available for you anytime you may need me. 

And like you like to say, blissfully, I remain. 

Others posts in this series: 12345, 6 

PS: When I started this project, I thought I would write one note every day. And did exactly that for the first 6 days. I missed writing and posting on Sunday. I don't have an excuse. I got lazy. Will try to not miss this again. Thanks for reading!

Thank you, RaJ!

Post 6 of #sg100peopleToThank. More about this series is here.

Thank you, Raj
I consider myself a destiny's child. Good things happen to me, without me asking for them. Of course, there are times when it takes time for those things to happen, but they do happen. And at times when I am totally unprepared for those. Case in point? Raj RaJ Kurup, founder of Creativeland Asia, an advertising agency.

So this is back in 2007. I had put in my papers at GE and I had no clue what to do (not that I know now but back then I was even more clueless). I had seen some great ads (this, this and this) and back then I thought making ads would be something that could be exciting. I went to a placement consultant and asked her to get me interviews with some. She got me two - one with Raj and the other with Law & Kenneth. From what I recall, both accepted me and Raj offered me more money. Plus he was cooler for sure. That chance meeting with him and the decision to join him as one of his first employees turned out to be among the best decisions of my life.

In the two years I spent with him, I learnt EVERYTHING I know about the business of communication. Each day was fun, exciting, nerve-wracking, full of learning and more. There was this constant amazement. I was on the steepest learning curve of my life. Apart from his brilliance, Raj had assembled this team of great people, each a master of their craft. Each interaction with the team at CLA was enriching. Each day I left the office a better person, richer with knowledge and more aware of the world. And I tap-danced to the office most days.

I spent exactly two years with him and I quit him to go back to Delhi and start something of my own. It's ironic that Raj was himself responsible for feeding me with all the ambition that made me want to have more than what Raj paid me and quit working for him.

Of course, with time, life moved on. But at each workplace I have been to since I have merely applied things that Raj and team taught me. Raj gave me the best foundation that I could expect to get and I merely built on top of that. Gravity allowed me to learn from practical experience. Social Wavelength added another dimension to what I knew. VISCOMM / C4E gave me, as Redbull will say, wings. But all of it started with interactions with Raj and CLA.

If not for Raj, I wouldn't be doing what I am doing right now. Life would have taken a different trajectory for sure - I don't know for good or bad.

As I end this, I think I was extremely lucky to have met Raj at a time when I needed someone to take an active interest in me and help me grow as an individual. Raj did exactly that. I am thankful and indebted to him for this. In fact, each day I try to pay it forward by trying to find some young people that I can mentor. Are you one? Lemme know and let's talk :)

Lastly, I think the greatest compliment that I can give Raj (or anyone else for that matter is), if I could turn back time, I would not quit Raj.

Thank you, Raj. Good luck with everything you do.

Others posts in this series: 1234, 5

PS: Lately Raj hasn't been in the news for the right reasons. I am not sure how to comment on it but the respect I have for his work ethic and ambition remain intact.

Thank you, Rana Sir!

Post 5 of #sg100peopleToThank. More about this series is here.

Thank you, Rana Sir!
I don't know how to introduce Rana Sir. Apart from his work, he is a mentor and a bounding board to I think at least a 100 people. I am lucky to be one of those 100. Lucky would be an understatement. There is no one else who's opinion I hold higher. 

Here's a story from my first EVER meeting with him. First ever. He did not know who I was and what I was capable of. And he definitely did not know if he'd meet me again. I met him at Oberoi Mall for a coffee or something. I was trying to get my startup to work, I had this book (which became The Nidhi Kapoor Story) and I was going through this really tough time personally and professionally. I needed a guardian to tell me that things would be alright and I just needed to continue to walk. 

And sir did exactly that. Without me telling him that I was seeking an answer like that. In fact, he was so good, such great at making conversations that it felt as if I was the only one talking. I think, in the meeting that lasted an hour or so, I would have spoken for about 58 minutes. The other 2 were Rana Sir asking me questions that I was trying to respond to. 

Ok, I am digressing.

At some point, he asked me what I was up to. This is how that thread went on...

RB: So what do you do when you are not worrying, young man (till date, he calls me a young man). 
SG: Sir, am trying to write a book!

RB: Book! Wow! What kind of book is it? 
SG: Sir, it's a Bollywood crime fiction. An actress gets murdered and there are these cops that are trying to chase the killers. 

RB: Sounds interesting. Is it done? 
SG: No sir. I am at some 35K words and I need at least 55K more to go. 

RB: And when do you plan to get those done? 
SG: Um... I am not sure. I am at that phase in the book where I am not sure if I want to work on it. I am thinking I will quit it midway and think of something else. 

RB (without missing a beat): Ok, and how much do you want to price it at? 
SG: Sir, I think 99 bucks. That's what most first time writers get for their books. 

Again, without missing a beat, he flipped his wallet out. Took a 100 rupee note, handed it to me and said, "Young man, you will finish the book and then you will get me the first copy of the book. This is the advance"

And tears welled in my eyes when that happened. 

He did this to me in our first meeting. It dawned onto me that he is special and I MUST get him to spend more time with me. And I did whatever it took to get him to give me his time. To date, I continue to hound him for his time and often he can't respond. But whenever he can, he is generous and affectionate. 

Can I also say that Rana Sir is one of those few people that has made this hard city of Mumbai a tad more tolerable? And just for that, I can't stop thanking him! And I can safely say that if not for Rana Bawa, the book would NOT have happened. And I would have been a far different person than what I am right now. 

Thank you, Rana Sir. For your time. And for your advance. And for all the support. As promised I will do whatever it takes to get to MCA, 100 crores and 120 years! 

Others posts in this series: 1234

PS: Fast forward a few months (after the first meeting with Rana Sir). I actually finished writing the book and got it published. And when I got the first preview copies, I went to his office at midnight and delivered the copy that he had ordered. 

And, here is a page from the acknowledgements part of #tnks. 

Shot from my first book, The Nidhi Kapoor Story (website
In life, if you meet some guy called Rana Bawa (its a very uncommon name), please get him on your side. Over and out for the day.

Thank you, Tim!

Post 4 of #sg100peopleToThank. More about this series is here.

Thank you, Tim Ferriss!
Of course, you know who Tim is. Apart from the 4-hour series (work, body, chef and I don't know what all), he is more famous for his blog and podcast. I don't know when I first heard about him but I do know that I was amazed at his ability to get past the gatekeepers and get access to some of the busiest and most difficult to reach people in the world. And not just access, he had and continues to have a ringside seat as these people do wonders. He is an early investor in companies like Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Evernote, and Uber and others. To be able to put money there, you don't need access to just capital but to deals when they are being structured and even thought of. 

This insider access is what I crave the most. And not because I want to be famous. But because I believe it allows you to grow as an individual. And why would you want to grow? To be able to serve! The way Tim is. With his blog, podcast and other appearances. 

While I've never met Tim, I have an Eklavyasque relationship with him. I never had access to his time but I do have access to what he's taught. And from a distance. That's the beauty of the Internet. It allows you to literally reach anyone, anytime and on any device. You no longer have to go through the grind to reach these teachers. In fact, Tim's work reduces friction all the more. And that is what I would want to do as well. The SoG series attempts to do just that (educate, inform, spark a debate/conversation and other things).

With the remote access that I had to Tim, I have been able to learn so much about so many things. Definitely more than all the schools, colleges and other places that I have been to. You know, if I were in my 20s right now, I would spend all my time chasing content on Tim's blog. And touch nothing else. That body of work itself will allow me to get ahead. And fast. Tim has done the hard work on extracting the greatest lessons from the greatest lives already. 

Thanks to him, his life and his work, I know that what I aspire to do (make a billion dollars and inspire a billion people to do better) is not impossible. Of course its tough af but what fun will it be if it weren't tough ;P 

 I will do a Tim Ferriss with my career. I mean I love talking to people. I love listening to their stories. I love to tell these stories in my own language and I love to add whatever colour I can add on top. Someday (soon, hopefully in 2019), I will start talking to inspiring, amazing people that Tim has been able to talk to. And tell their stories from my lens! Wish me luck :) 

And, for the umpteenth time, thank you, Tim! 

Oh, random trivia. Tim is one of those few people who's website comes up higher than their Wikipedia page on Google! 

Others posts in this series: 1, 2, 3

Thank you, Ashima

Post 3 of #sg100peopleToThank. More about this series is here

Thank you, Ashima!
I went to MDI with Ashima. Among all the 150 odd people that were in the batch, Ashima was one of those that ignored my ignorance and tolerated me. And continues to tolerate me after all these years. And even though it's been almost 14 years, she remains my shrink, my doctor, my advisor, my bounding board and my fitness consultant. Every time I have a thing that requires me to goto a doc, I just call Ashi (that's what I call her) and get help. And it works every time. I think, in one line, I can say that she's an integral part of my support system! 

What makes Ashi amazing is that she is one of those few people that had the guts to take the tougher path (I wish I could write more about this - this is a public platform) and choose her fitness, her life over everything else. 

I don't really have too many words (I wish I could write more) but I do have mad respect for what she stands for and what she does for me. Ashima has taught me what amounts to being friends. She has been like a rock that has stood by me through thick and thin. And for that, and for more that I cant write about here, Thank you, Ashi. 

Others posts in this series: 1, 2

Thank you, Harshit

I started a new project yesterday. Each day, I plan to write a post acknowledging people that have helped me become who I am. This idea has been inspired by Shatrujeet's series, a100peopletothank. This is post 2 in the series. My series has the tag #sg100peopleToThank.

Thank you, Harshit. 
I first met Harshit (Instagram) some 3-4 years ago (I don't recall how we connected but I do remember it was about a startup he was planning) at Starbucks, Powai (where else?). When we met, I am not sure if I were impressed by him but I did realise that he has this, unbound, ambition. I do remember that I tried to poach him. But he did not fall into my glibness and he said no. 

We lost touch for a while and then out of the blues, he asked me to meet him. 

Of course, I never say no to meeting new people (as long as meet me in a 3 KM radius of where I live). He volunteered to come to the office and we sat and talked and talked. Yet again, I did not think much of him. 

Among other things, in this meeting, he talked to me about his admiration for Shahrukh Khan. And anyone that loves SRK is automatically a blood relative! Harshit went so far as to narrate word-to-word SRK's now famous speech (video, text) where he equates poverty with failure. SRK said, "I equated poverty with failure. I just didn’t want to be poor." I take inspiration from this piece. And so does Harshit! And we could've left that meeting on this shared fandom obsession for SRK, but no.

While parting, Harshit asked me about things that I needed help on. I told him that I needed someone to do tech for an idea I was working on at the time and I needed someone to help me with growing business at C4E

And without expecting anything in return, he connected me to Abhinav (who has now become a close collaborator on most projects). And he helped me meet a few potential clients (I could not convert any - not his problem).

As things moved along, we started meeting frequently and I realised that he is one heck of a conversationalist! To a point that I started sharing my deepest secrets with him. And instead of making fun of me or something, he started to offer help. He started to badger me to do more. And like a great pupil, I would continue to ignore. He became this persistent voice at the back of my head that would not leave me alone if I did not deliver! 

Then one day he called and said that he wants to throw me (and some others) a challenge to do 100 pushups over the next 30 days. I said I can't do anything to do with fitness and I volunteered that I'd rather write 1000 words a day. He agreed and asked me to write a 1000 words and post them on a public forum.

Even though I accepted the challenge, I kept dilly-dallying. And he did not stop her badgering and pushing me. I hated him from the bottom of my heart. And I felt miserable about not being able to work. Here is one snippet from my notes about a meeting with him... 

This is from my notes. I started writing the SoG series from the 27th of Oct, right after this note! Guess I've had enough of Harshit and Krishna chasing me!

Eventually, I gave in and I started to write a 1000 words a day. Those words took shape of Shoulders of Giants (#SoG), a series of letters to select friends where I would share whatever I learnt in the day gone by. 

I sent the first letter on the 27th of Oct 2018 (a copy is located here). Since then I have written a few (archived here). Oh, I can't write about SoG and not write about Krishna. While Harshit gave me the push, it was Krishna that helped me give shape to the thoughts and idea behind the letters. More on these some other time. 

As I end this, I HAVE to say that the thing that I relate most to him, and what I've learnt from him, and what I respect him for is perseverance. He has this maaaaad perseverance of an obsessive, maniacal person. If he sets his eyes onto something, he gets it. Case in point? His Crossfit training. Since he moved to Lucknow, he is doing whatever it takes to become super fit and compete in the Crossfit games. He wakes up before 4:30 (which is inhuman), goes to the gym and sends one inspiring quote EVERY day! Every day! An archive is on his Instagram feed. That's some consistency and commitment. If I had that kind of commitment, I would reach my lifeGoals faster and sooner!

Oh, and Harshit is a clear example of a connection that I would've never made if I did not go out of my way and told the Universe that I wanted to meet more people. And it wouldn't happen if Harshit wasn't the same! Apart from being a friend, Harshit is superconnector (has connected me to some really interesting people) and a believer in me. 

Lesson for me? And others? Go out, meet more people. And while you are at it, see this TED talk that talks about what makes a good life. Like they say, it helps to hustle :) 

In the end, thank you, Harshit. For inspiring me to push myself harder. And specifically for nudging me to create SoG. I sincerely wish you were in Mumbai. I would've loved to spend more time with him. Maybe sometime in future. I remain hopeful :)

Others posts in this series: April 1

Thank you, Shatrujeet!

I am starting a new project today. Each day, for the next 100 days, I will write a post acknowledging people that have helped me become who I am. I got inspired by Shatrujeet's series, a100peopletothank

So, the first one is, N Shatrujeet! Who else?

I first met Shatru (I call him that) when I was at Creativeland (CLA). This is 2008 or 9. Don't remember the exact year. While I was part of the planning function, he was there to develop some original content for some division at CLA (I don't recall the specifics). My interactions with him were limited, but for some reason, I knew that he is among the more interesting ones there. I had this instant liking for him. Or maybe because he was the only other person in the office that was not fancy?

So at work, while we kept to our respective teams and reporting managers (he sat at a different area, I had my things to work on), we would often hang out together. Often, not frequent.

Mid of 2009, I moved on from CLA. So did he (dunno when).

Years later when I was with Gravity, Shatru had partnered with Gaurrav Dhar (who was also at CLA briefly, though my interactions were very limited) to work on some content ideas. For one of the projects, he needed someone with expertise in event management. He got in touch with me and we did work on some really interesting ideas.

Apart from what we were working on, this was the time when I think Shatru was writing The Karachi Deception (writing, not published mind you). And this was the first time ever when I realised what writing a book could entail. He would often talk about the progress on the story and the challenges he was facing with it. I even got to read a preview copy (my claim to fame till date)!

Those interactions with Shatru probably watered the seed that was planted in my head since I was a kid! If #tnks has happened, it is because I was fortunate to have spent time with Shatru.

So, thank you, Shatru. For all that you've taught me while we were working together. And now, as life has become increasingly busy for both you and me, from a distance. Case in point? I read that you've now reached a point where you can do a plank for 5 minutes. Which is tough but manageable with time, grit, patience and practise.

But you know what is tougher? Quitting smoking! You've quit smoking. Shatru, it's the biggest change you've made. Biggest and tallest than them Sequoia trees! You loved your smokes so much that even now I can't picture you without one. I mean I do NOT have a single memory of you where you aren't holding onto a cigarette. You loved them like I love the tap-tap that the keyboard makes when I am writing something. And yet you quit. And I am so so proud and stoked. And I am inspired.

Shatru, if you can quit smoking and do those planks, I can too.

Inspired by you (and others), this April onwards, I will make my health my priority. I will stop with the Coke. And I will carry my protein shakes and almonds and others. I will not put anything in my system that fucks with it. Really. As I write this, it's almost the end of the but. But you'd be glad to know, I started today!

In the end, Thank you, Shatru! For teaching me how to tell great stories. And for inspiring me to become better with each passing day. You are a mentor, a guru and on top of everything else, a friend, Shatru.

Good luck with Vikram and all other adventures you concoct.

By Mar 31, 2020...

Sometime in 2018, I read a story about Jim Carrey (the actor) where he wrote himself a 10 million dollar cheque and gave himself 3 years to get to it. He then kept that in his wallet and every night, night after night, he would drive up to a fancy neighbourhood and visualise that he lived there. And yes, you guessed it, lo and behold, he did reach the 10 mil mark before that time expired! 

See him talk about it on the Oprah show here.

Of course, I take these things literally. And I believe in these. And thus, I wrote on an index card that by the end of the financial year 2018-19, I will be a dollar millionaire. And I kept that in my wallet. Here. See...

Also on Instagram here.
And before you jump out of your seats, no, I am not a dollar millionaire. 

Today, the FY1819 has officially ended and I am worth a few thousand. Rupees, not dollars. Thousands, not lakhs, not millions. 

It's a sort of anti-climax. I was supposed to be rich and affluent and wealthy and impactful and valuable and an enabler and all that. And here I am. Whining about how I did not make my mil. 

But then, like I know, this too shall pass. The feeling of being the biggest loser shall pass. 

And thanks to some insane music, it has passed already. As I write this, I am listening to Robaroo. Here. Go trip. When you're done, listen to this. Meethi Boliyan. Among the most heart-warming pieces of art. 

And thanks to this, I have a new ambition. 
A new goal. 
That of 5 mil. By end of FY 2019-20. 

Yet again, I am gonna keep it in my wallet. Wish me luck :) 

The Nidhi Kapoor Story

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