Words. Wisdom. Winners.

Nurture your relationships


Our son Vidur was 4 years old.
He had just started school.

During one of his classes, he was to draw a picture of his family.

He came home to show it to my wife, Ruchi, and me.

The three of us were represented by stick figures.

And then I noticed something…

I had a phone in my hand.
I recall feeling like my heart pierced a million times, in that moment.
Because it was true.

I always had a phone in my hand.

I was at the peak of my startup grind.
It had taken us 9 months to pull off the management buyout of Groupon’s India business.
We were to become nearbuy in about a month.

It killed me, to realise that is how my son saw me.

Not holding his hand.
Instead holding a phone.

From that day onwards, I promised to wake up before Vidur does, wake him up and get him ready for school.
I might not be there when he goes to bed, but I want to be there when he starts his day.

From waking up at 7/8 am, I started to wake up at 6 am, in time for Vidur.
Slowly made it to 5 am. Today, it is 4:30/4:50 am.

He was the reason I built a morning routine.
I thank him for that.

The next 4 years at nearbuy were intense.
But Vidur’s family portrait drove me to find whatever balance I could.

COVID, while extremely difficult for many, served as a beautiful reminder for our family as to how much we value each other’s presence in our lives.
It changed us.

Today, I work from home.
As a family, we travel a lot.
We love each other’s company.
Vidur is 12 but still confides in us, treats us as a parent while still forming a friend-like bond.

I am glad that family portrait is in the past.

As much as your job is necessary, do not ignore the relationships where you remain irreplaceable.

Doing what you love

My sister Radhika recently reached 100K followers on Instagram (@a.dancers.tale)

She is a dancer, loves dancing, is good at it and creates content around that. Over the 2 years that she has been creating content, she found a unique niche. Sitting dance. Where she would use her hands, her face and her upper body to emote the song and convert it into an experience for the audience.

Every reel of hers requires planning.

Selecting the song.
Thinking of the choreography.
Then the costume, makeup.
Then shooting it (by herself).
Repeated takes.
Editing (again by herself).

It seems like such a massive effort to me.

While I record 7 reels in 30 mins or so, she takes 2 hours to shoot one!
But she loves it.
What seems like effort to me, is not an effort for her.

And, she does it while having a day job as a university professor.

This is what authenticity brings.
It brings consistency.

We can NEVER be consistent with something we do not want to do, something that is not authentically us, something that we have to pretend to like.

We can only be consistent if we choose to be ourselves.
Effort becomes pleasurable then.

The world sees effort.
We simply see ourselves!

Start with trust

“You will be paid your salary at the start of the month and not at the end.
I trust you.”

This is what everyone experiences when they start working with me.
If you start with trust, people will do even more than what you expected them to.
Because they take this trust as a mark of respect.

You are not alone

You are not the only one confused.
You are not the only one unsure.
You are not the only one struggling.

You are not dumb, inadequate, or incapable.

Everyone is struggling.
Everyone is figuring it out.

Don’t be harsh on yourself.

3 things to run after in your 20s

1. Run after growth and learning, not salary.

Your salary will become a natural byproduct that’ll grow by itself.

2. Run after people who think differently from you.

Not those who always agree with you or think like you. Rather, people who tell you something you didn’t know.

3. Run after things that make you scared.

Because when you overcome your fear, you become the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Are you part of the 1%?

I am having lunch at the Google Gurgaon office one day.
Standing in line at the North Indian counter.
And in front of me is a Googler.

This dude steps away from the line to check what the menu of the day is.
And goes, “Damn! Aaj phir se daal makhani hai!”

(Translated: Damn!! I have to subject myself to the torture of eating butter-laden richly cooked lentils for 2 consecutive days of my hard-earned life!)

And I stood there. Amazed.
Wondering what is it that this person has done in his life to be troubled by the fact that he is getting to eat daal makhani for 2 days of his life?

So, I came up with this theory of how Google started.

When Larry and Sergey (the founders of Google) started it, they said:
“We are going to create the biggest experiment that this world has ever seen.
And here is how it will work.

We will get a set of super-smart people in a room (we will call it a company later on). And we will give them the most complex problems to work on.

But we will also give them stuff they didn’t expect.
Free lunches. Bean bags. They can come whenever they want. Leave whenever they want. Bring their pets to work. Sleep at work. Take 20% off and do their own thing.

And over time

They will stand in front of the mirror and say, ‘I deserve this!’”

But then Larry and Sergey were statisticians.
They know that it is impossible that EVERYONE would feel this way.
There has to be a percentage, however small, that doesn’t.

Let’s assume 1%.

So they said, “If we build a large enough company, say 100,000 (Google’s employee count), then 1% or 1,000 people will get up every morning and say:
We are going to work super hard everyday to get close to hopefully feeling one day that we deserve this.’
And those 1,000 will move the company forward.

The remaining 99,000 are just filling in a seat.
They are smart, no doubt, but their level of entitlement makes them dispensable.

It is the 1% that creates magic.

This, my friend, is not true about Google. It is true everywhere.
It is the 1% who do not feel entitled that drive it forward.

Are you that 1%?

Recognise your capability!

I wish smart people would know how smart they are, instead of waiting for someone else to validate them.

I wish brilliant people knew the value they bring to the table, instead of asking others how valuable they are.

I wish wise people were wiser to see the wisdom that lies within them, instead of noticing it in everyone but themselves.

I wish all of that for you, and know confidently how much you are capable of!

Give your loved ones time

One of the biggest mistakes I made was thinking I will keep my parents happy with the money I make.

I will send them on vacations, buy them things, and make their life comfortable.
But the busier I got, the less happy they were, despite all the things they now had.

The truth is that we have much less time with our parents than we think.

Our parents are going to die, and we have no idea when.
Sadly, we do not have all the time in the world.

So call them.
Tell them you love them.
Thank them.
Spend time with them.

Because all that our parents really want is us spending more time with them.

True relationships do not need things to grow.
They need time.

So be sure to give your loved ones this time.

Don’t remember, think!

I consciously and obsessively do NOT remember things.

I always carry a notebook with me.
Taking notes like a school student.
Putting tasks in a calendar.
Sending myself emails in the future.

The mind’s energy should be spent in thinking.
Not remembering!

What is success?

Your salary is not your success.
Your happiness is.

Your score is not your success.
Your learning is.

Your designation is not your success.
YOUR description of your designation is.

The world has made us believe a fake definition of success.
Not falling for it is the biggest success!

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