insecurity

We are living with our insecurity. About things, actions.
How can we live in the present if we dwell on our past, insecurities, and failures? Are we not making ourselves weak?

Our past is our teacher and, we can’t just sulk in it. We have to learn from it, so we are not repeating the same in our present.

Why do we have to live in the memories and get angry, waste sleepless nights? It is our insecurity. We have to fix it.

Socrates advised us about Know Thyself, but the world we are living in makes us ape from others. Our self is dead.

optimize

It took me four years to realize the power of optimization. A founder’s life is on a roller coaster. Someday an employee will leave, some other day customers, there will be days when you will feel like giving up, and another day your personal life will be a wreck. The sooner we accept and optimize for this scenario: making peace with the everyday chaos, we will feel less miserable.

Nothing in our life is permanent: even the billionaires with all their money die. They optimize their life expectancy better than the poor.

Seneca, the stoic philosopher who was poisoned by Nero, talks about how short our allocated span of life is. He suggests optimizing our life.

Relaters

The lazy brain of mine has built its relater mechanism. Last Sunday, I met and had a conversation with a few people. 

  1. PESIT, my friend is also from there. His name is X.
  2. My friend, who is also and Odiya, is looking for a marketer. Can you help?
  3. I know another UX fellow who has built a career without going to NIFT/Shristi. 

Some people find my relaters method for connection unconventional/stupid. But it works for me and, I don’t have to see my contact book or spend time recalling faces. It is like tags created in my head. 

highway

Ramkumar would be 5 ft tall, wearing a black kurta pajama, turban, and loverly smile on his face. He looked perfect for Instagram, just I had no smartphone, and we were in the Orkut era. He was preparing the fire as November evening gets much colder in north India.

I was with Ashish on our way to meet Vishal in Ajmer from Jaipur. We had a flat tire and were working on fixing it. It was a sort of ghost encounter in the middle of the highway, a sealed compound with disputed property written on the gate. The property was under litigation for over 30 years. Thanks to the Indian judiciary, the owner and chowkidar both had switched their generation. Ramkumar’s father passed on the job to him before taking his last breath.

Me: Bhaiya paani milega?
Ramkumar: Ekdum milega Saheb.

Ramkumar lives with his wife Radha and Eight years old daughter Munia. Munia never misses her school. Munia was singing, dancing, and hyperactive like other kids of her age. She wants to be a scientist and like APJ Abdul kalam.

Ashish: Abe salle, Kahan Mar Gaya. (That was for me since I was busy with Ramkumar, instead of helping him)
Me: Aaza chai Pete hai.

Radha got us some onion pakora, chai and Ramkumar set a hookah. Next 30 mins I was zoned out. Was it their selfless hospitality or, was I high over hookah? I can’ recall. Ashish joined us after replacing the tire and giving me all the crazy looks.

I offered some money to Ramkumar, which he turned down. His words are still fresh in my ears.

Ramkumar: Garib paise se hai, Dil se Nahi. (poor with money, not the heart)

My eye went numb, and I hugged him and forcefully put the money in his pocket for Munia’s sake. I told him to buy some toffee for her.

For a change, I prayed for the property to remain disputed for years to come. It will ensure shelter for Ramkumar and his family. Munia must have grown up by now. I hope she ended up fulfilling her dreams. Most women in our country live life on the dreams, checklists, matches defined by their parents.

hide

How do a few of us hide the entire world of sorrow within ourselves? I have known a friend who never let the sad part of theirs be known to us all. One fine day he called adios. It is difficult to find what was going on?

It surprises me how behind the broad smile, the silence, we hide all our pain, anger, or the inability to express. I wonder if even the psychiatrist would find it.

I am more scared of someone’s silence than their shouting.

meaning

How many of us look for purpose in every action of ours? Is it possible to have meaning out of everything?

We should let ourselves free and let our mind wander if we are seeking creativity. The meaninglessness has its advantage and magic.

The way we are utilizing our time, always being busy, and compartmentalizing ourselves, measuring every minute. Where are we headed?

I met a few friends who are talking about their kid’s progress and learning growth. They are just 3-4 years. The parent’s FOMO is going to fuck up childhood for these kids. It appears the upcoming generation will become a robot and look for meanings right after taking birth.

Money

How much importance of money plays in our life? The answer is subjective.

Need for money for a farmer whose harvest has suffered him a loss. The struggle of loan repayments. The constant threats from loan sharks. How will they live without money?

A daughter who graduated got a job to fulfill her parent’s checklist: build a house, take care of siblings’ education, and save enough to get married. What about her aspirations, dreams? That can die with her.

Pandemic resulting in a daily wager losing his job. How will he feed the family? Where will he go? Hunger will kill everyone if he stops working for a week.

Someone born in the metro, with a well off family, parents earning enough for him/her to get bored with all the gadgets and flashy things. Money is a means to kill boredom.

Our world is not equal for everyone, and equality is a misnomer. Some die fulfilling others’ checklist, while many die every day a little by little to live.

Bidi

Ahmed looked younger than his age. His broad face, long beard, and dyed hair made him unique. Paan was over his face like a lipstick. I wonder if he was waiting for a passenger or someone he could talk to at midnight. I was smoking Godan Garam, beating Delhi’s winter after finishing a plate of chicken-changezi at Al-Jawahar near Jama Masjid.

Ahemd: Saheb Munirka ke 350 rupeyee. (350 rupees for Munikra)
Me: Theek hai bhaiya, 320 aur Ek bidi. (320 rupees and a Bidi)

Asking for Bidi from an auto driver brings a smile on their face. I am yet to understand why? Our auto crossed the dark gallis of Chandni Chok and headed towards Cannaught Palace. Ahmed switched off his FM and started to make a conversation.

Ahmed: Saheb, Kitna kama lete ho? (how much do you earn?)
Me: Ahmed Bhai, khane pine layak. (enough for my end meets)

Ahmed was eager to know my salary. But why? I understand when the bride/groom’s parents, but why was Ahmed asking all these? After much hesitation, I told him. After some time, he stopped the auto, and my heart sank.

Ahmed: Mere bachee apse Jada kama lete hai saheb. (my kids earn more than you)

I gave a broad smile and asked about Ahmed’s kids. Ahmed’s son is a veterinary doctor in Delhi Government, and his daughter is a lawyer at Tis Hazari court.

Ahmed lit two bidis and passed one to me.

Why are you riding auto at midnight, when your kids are so well off?
Ahmed: Saheb, is auto ki he Kamai hai na. Isko Kaise chor dun? (I made them successful while earning from this auto)

As our journey and conversation progressed, Ahmed mentioned about passing away of Noori, his wife. Being on the road makes him alive with people all around. The chit chat with fellow drivers, sharing happiness, and banters brings back youth in him.

Ahmed complained about the new generation and how the mobile phone has ruined conversation. Some passengers being rude, drunk never paid him after reaching the destination.

Our auto stopped at the JNU gate, we had another bidi, and we exchanged goodbyes. The road had gone empty and silent. It had mostly dogs, fat rats, and some cars headed to the airport.

Lead with context, not control

In Reed Hastings’s book: no rules rules, one chapter is titled “Lead with context, not control.”

When you hire smart, super talented people and give them proper specification of developments and let them decide. They will end up building the best. You just gave them context and, they took it from there. They will dislike micromanagement.

When you hire mediocre people, you will have to micromanage and spoonfeed them. Working just with context will hamper the development.

I found this analogy as an eye-opener.

team

In his book ‘no rules rules’; Reed Hastings talks about building an organization on an analogy of a sports team, not as a family.

When you are building a sports team, you will pick the best. People will compete and perform at their peak and byproduct being team winning. There will be no mediocrity. When a member is not delivering or wants to move, it can happen amicably. There will be no blood loss, as the end goal of the team is to be the best.

When it comes to creating an organization as a family, we end up accepting the flaws of a member and end up shielding them because everyone is a family. The organization ends up a mediocrity. It ends up building an organization with emotions embedded, and win takes backfoot.

I have started liking the team analogy now: I was a firm believer in running an organization as a family earlier. I wish this book had come 2-3 years back.