Friday, July 30, 2021

I Don't Feel at Home in this World Anymore - Movie

2017, English. A single nursing assistant returns home to find it burgled - her laptop and her grandmother's silverware. Nothing much, but she is upset at how the world does not let you be and messes with you. the cops are not helpful either (they have their own problems), so she takes the help of a nut case in her area who is great at judo and stuff and loves such causes. Together they retrieve the laptop, and then the silverware, and by then get involved in a messy situation which ends up with many body bags.

Different certainly. Starts cute and nice and eds blood and gore.


Malik - Movie

2021. Malayalam. Fahad Fasil plays the don in a fishing community in Kerala and makes money smuggling goods in the 80s. He has differences with his friends, Christians, and the divide is exploited politically. All angles are covered almost - communal, family mother-son, friends - but the story is told very well, as it peels off layer by layer in a grand scale.   

Long, but very watchable.

Thatrom Thookram - Movie

 Don't know what it means but this Tamil movie had some nice twists and turns and an endearing bunch of characters. Three orphans run away from the orphanage in search of a better life and hope to go abroad until they find themselves caught in a mess.


A Play at Ravindra Bharathi - Suravaram Pratap Reddy

 Anil, grandson of Suravaram Pratap Reddy, a well known social historian and reformer from Telangana, invited me to a play on his grandfather which was hosted by the Telangana Government's Department of Culture.

The invite

Interesting pic - before the play began

I went with Vasu and enjoyed the play. It was well written and enacted with specific episodes giving an insight into the man and his work.
The play

 Enjoyed the evening out and ended it with a dosa at Kamath's to remember old times by.  Ravindra Bharathi needs some repairs.

Thought for the Day - When We Hit the Bottom, We Meet God

 There's an ego within us that makes us think we can do it on our own and it is this ego that makes us drive through against the flow, not seeing other options, holding us and only us as the sole reason, our way as the only way. And in our narrow mindedness, in our tunnel vision, we see no other way.

Pic Satish bhai

We hold out against all other ways with our ego, our pride, our singular focus that only we can crack it.

Until a time comes when we are at the bottom and we are looking at failure so stark that it knocks all ego out, that we have no more pride left, and we give up and surrender. A moment when we feel immense relief at having set aside the load we were carrying so long, all alone. A moment when our one way is gone, and we are ok with all possibilities.

It is that space when we have hit rock bottom and all we can do is laugh in relief at our own stupidity and since we have nothing else, we surrender. Whatever happens is fine, all possibilities are fine. Bring it on. I won't fight it anymore.

There, at the bottom, when all ego has finally left us, when we are naked, when we surrender, we find God. We find the weight falling off, new possibilities around. And we can begin again. From God. (Or our true selves or whatever we like to call that).

Like they say then, empty yourself, scrape out that ego, find that bottom.    

Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Money Series - Conversations with AP

 I resumed my money conversations with AP who I feel has a wonderful relationship with money and who has shared some wonderful insights into this mysterious energy that seems to drive the whole world. In the past he shared some gems like how 'money is the power to kill an ant', and 'how not to let money control you', and how 'when it comes to you its yours'.

Through my conversations with me and some other work I do, I figured we are limited in our ability to deal with money (or love) through these - our ability to receive, our ability to hold and our ability to freely use without fear of losing it. Water is a great metaphor as is air and we must keep those in mind while trying to understand this energy.

To me, much of my limitation in the past with money came from my judgments about it. Now, I refuse to have any judgments about it and receive it as freely as I do air (without judging where it has come from). 

Yesterday's insights

1) Judgment should not be about money - it can be of a capability that translates into money. Money lies in abundance at the higher end of skill (which includes our capability to make money out of our skill.

2) The outcome of money cannot be the reason to be in business. Money is the wrong premise to start on. (AP spoke of a paragraph in Atlas Shrugged which he said influenced him much  - a quote which says 'money is nothing but the value of goods and service exchanged'. I am now motivated to begin my reading of this tome which has been with me for a while.)

3)  Whatever skill we have, whatever product or service we have, we must tweak it such that we sell it to the people who pay you the highest price (or to the maximum number of people). Go to the place where the skill is valued. Which end of the spectrum gives you most.

4) Be conscious of the value. Somehow its hard to ascertain value - then wait and see what feels good for you. (My mantra is whatever I feel good, whatever takes me through the roof and feels completely high).

5) Value is a function of time. Timing is critical. When the time passes, you don't get the value. AP related an incident when his company which provided a service for about 1 crore, realised they could bargain for more before delivery and asked for three times the price by adding in some after sales and other conditions and the customer gladly paid. If they had delivered and then asked he would not have got it. Similarly we are willing to pay a price when in urgency or when the value is far higher than the price, so strike at the right moment to get the highest value.

When things get critical, put the bill out.

6) Money equals credibility said AP. Credibility is like a dam, it builds a reserve. You must be careful to plug the leaks.

7) Can always build my money back even in Timbuctoo and come back into the king's courtyard

8) Have always trusted people, never looked to cheat them

9) Have always had a healthy equation with money. Never felt burdened or short.    

Monday, July 26, 2021

Judas and the Black Messiah - Movie

 The true story of Fred Hampton, the 21 year old Chairman of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panthers, who was betrayed by one of his own men who worked for the FBI leading to his assassination by the FBI in 1969. Initially said to be a justifiable murder by a court, it was later ruled as an assassination and a compensation was paid to the family. Daniel Kaluya packs in a powerful performance as young Fred Hampton, whose real life story is fascinating.

Coming on the heels of 'The Trial of Chicago 7', one realises how much of this history has not come out and one is glad to connect the dots now thanks to these films. Watch them - both.

Sankalp - An Interesting Initiative

 Gowri does some interesting work. She shared an article she wrote recently about Sankalp, an organisation she supports. Check the article out.

Reviving the Loom - Gowri Bhavadas

For those who have experienced it before, the echoing rhythm of the handloom carries you back to gentle memories of weaving villages from the times gone by. Almost every village then was a cottage industry in its own merit, with skillful independent weavers entwining combinations of threads and dyes to craft magic. Each piece of fabric created thus, was raw, unique and an epitome of intricate & dedicated craftsmanship.

Kerala was no different. In fact, they are the creators of one of the most exquisite and universally popular forms of handlooms, the kasavu mundus and sarees. The undyed, off-white cotton cloth, often laced with coloured or golden borders is a favourite among the young and the old alike, even to this day. Yet, it is a pity that today, only co-operative societies supported partly by the State Government and limited master weavers in places like Trivandrum, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Kannur and Kasaragod are engaged in handloom production and retail. One of the most important reasons for this is, of course, the advent of power looms that engage in mass factory production thus ensuring lower costs and increased choices. Adding to this, the independent handloom industry could not match up with constantly changing trends and consumer orientations.

Therefore, today, there is an urgent need to not only support traditional craftsmen and their skills but also develop better design support and innovations in the field to help weavers adapt with the
new world view. Organizations such as ours, in the struggle to revive traditional handlooms and livelihoods of independent weavers, hope to also bring forth a sense of familiarity and admiration for the artform among youngsters who are otherwise used to hybrid power loom products. Our designs propose to explore modern ideas and creative preferences while holding on to the basic crux of the art.
Among consumers, love for local handmade products is on the rise. The charm of pure cotton Kerala sarees, mundu neriathus or mundu jubbas cannot be matched by modern mixed fabrics and machine prints. But many are not willing to spend. Bridging the gap between the needs of these consumers and earnings of the weavers is no menial task. It requires establishing a heightened awareness of the processes involved in crafting a single piece of handloom fabric. It also necessitates coming up with better ideas of cost cutting by removing middlemen. This will, in turn, generate a secure means of livelihood for artisans, allowing them to retain their family heritage rather than migrate to other sources of earnings.

Sankalp started off as an organization promoting women empowerment. But today, we also hope to give a platform to talented artisans who find it increasingly tough to hold on to the handloom industry they so cherish. We further wish to reach out to handloom lovers and make superior handloom clothing available to them at cost-effective rates. Let’s pray that more and more such initiatives are taken up by independent organizations in the State to revive our age-old handloom heritage.

Author: Gowri Bhavadas

eCanteen Fundas - Harness Physical Energy for High Performance

 How to manage physical energy for high performance!

E-Canteen Fundas: The energiser bunny in you needs a refresh too

Pic: Edex Live

We were speaking about the importance of physical energy in energy management last week,’ said Rinku, ‘How do we go about it, bhaiyya?’

‘Physical energy is the fundamental source of fuel for work, mental and physical,’ said Rakesh. ‘This physical energy is derived from the oxygen-glucose interaction in our bodies. It means that our breathing and eating patterns affect our energy. Small improvements in our breathing, food habits, exercise, hydration and sleep patterns lead to significant changes in the physical energy available to us.’

‘Breathing, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.

‘Yes,’ smiled Rakesh. ‘Deep rhythmic breathing increases physical energy and improves concentration and performance, while shallow breathing depletes energy rapidly. Extend your exhalation to twice your inhalation period, a three-second inhalation followed by six seconds of exhalation, and notice the difference. Longer escalation helps maintain a healthy work-recovery ratio.’

‘Wow,’ asked Rinku. ‘Does food also have a work-recovery ratio?’

‘Yes,’ said Rakesh. ‘Our body’s hunger clock is set for about 90 minutes, so 90-minute work-recovery intervals are optimal. Since the quantity and quality of our food impacts our physical energy, we benefit by choosing the right foods, eating more calories earlier in the day and fewer in the evening, and eating five to six small, low-calorie and high-nutrition meals at 90-minute intervals. The key is never to feel too hungry or too stuffed.’

‘And what about exercise, bhaiyya?’ asked Rahul.

‘About 30-40 minutes of continuous exercise thrice a week, at 60-85% of our maximum heart rate capacity is good,’ said Rakesh. ‘Use interval training and work on physical energy measures like strength, endurance and resilience. Everything adds up. Physical exercise increases energy levels, boosts fitness, improves concentration, lowers stress and contributes to better emotional states. So go for it.’

‘That should be enough to manage energy, right?’ asked Rinku.

‘Most people take hydration and sleep lightly but they are vital,’ said Rakesh. ‘Research shows that 3per cent dehydration causes a loss of 10 per cent strength and 8 per cent speed. It’s recommended that we consume two litres of water a day. Similarly, adequate sleep improves mental performance, helps with recovery, while inadequate sleep leads to errors and health issues. About eight hours of sleep a day is recommended and a nap of 30-40 minutes every four hours helps recovery. Now, get going.’

‘Thanks, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘I’ll begin working on all my physical energy regulators.’

Pro Tip: Physical energy is fundamental to performance. It is impacted by our breathing and eating rhythms. To increase physical energy measures, small changes in food, sleep and hydration help

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Thought for the Day - The Thought Must be Fragile, Carrying No Weight of Doubt, to Be Creative

 A creative thought, one that creates a possibility, is one that is pure and unburdened by any doubt or attachment. We all have many thoughts and we wish for many things - I want that, I would like this and so on but almost all of them are burdened by our doubts and our attachment and charge to it. The volume and intensity of work does not make them creative simply because they are already stopped mid flight. Like children whose potential has been clipped by the doubts of their parents and teachers and friends, our creative thoughts freeze and remain in thought form.

But if we can manage to send eve the most fragile thought that came to our mind for the briefest of seconds, one that goes 'I would like it if this went perfectly...' and it escapes into the universe before our doubt and judgement and attachment weigh it down, that is the thought that can grow to its full potential and become a reality from its thought-form.

Create those thoughts and let them go unburdened into the world of possibilities and watch the miracle unfold.  

Anjali - Assert Yourself or ...!

 I was complaining to Anjali about this person who has no sensibilities and how she seems to take everyone for granted and just goes about her merry ways without caring for other people. She heard me out for a while and then decided that enough was enough.

'She is not going to change,' she said. 'You know that. She will do exactly what she wants to do. There's no point in sitting and talking about how she should be etc. Assert yourself and tell her what you feel and only then there will be some change.'

Simple and straight. No point feeling like a victim and suffering endlessly. If you can, do something about it.

Or shut up and accept it.

Immense sense Anjali. Thanks.   

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Link to a Poignant Article by Jack Thomas - "I just learned I only have months to live. This is what I want to say."

An article by journalist Jack Thomas of the Boston Globe after learning that he has very limited time left. Makes you think. Thanks Dr Krishnan. 

"I just learned I only have months to live. This is what I want to say."

Writing Insights - Conversations With Krishna Shastri Devulapalli

 Continuing my chat, I asked Krishna if he could share a few more insights after the fabulous one he gave me last week. Krishna was happy to and we had a chat about it. Here are a few more. 

(The first one is this - 'A man goes to the door and unlocks it is not the story. What goes on in his mind when he does that, is story.' Brilliant.)

Krishna told me he had got into a habit of discussing scenes and writing of shows and movies critically as he watched them with Chitra - something which he feels helps gain some insight or another. I agree. Craft based discussions are always going to help with insights and makes us better writers. Like this one!

1) Write the familiar, not the cliched

Krishna spoke about the subtle difference we have to make when we are writing a story or a book - between what is familiar and what is cliched. We are all looking for something familiar, which is what the writer must present in a new and interesting manner, and not merely write in a cliched manner which turns off the reader. It must be familiar, but not a stereotype. And the converse is also true.

What appeals to us as a reader or a viewer is what it familiar, but if we have cookie cutter types of characters with no depth they add no texture to the story because even the writer does not know the backstory of that character and why he is there - he is merely placed there because of lazy writing and because certain stereotypes worked before. They are all the same - if you have seen one, you have seen them all.

2)    Don't describe the person, let the reader imagine

Don't describe the appearance of a person. As a reader, one must imagine the person. Physical attributes must be written in such a way that the reader doesn't even know that the character is being described.

3) No adverbs, use 'he said' and 'she said'

Except for volume (loudly, booming etc)    

4) Chekov's gun 

Krishna spoke of Chekov's gun, something I never heard of before. It is used in murder mysteries he said. When you have a gun, you must use it in the story. If you show a white man in a story there must be a reason why he is white. There must be a payoff. 

"Chekhov’s gun is a dramatic principle that suggests that details within a story or play will contribute to the overall narrative. This encourages writers to not make false promises in their narrative by including extemporaneous details that will not ultimately pay off by the last act, chapter, or conclusion." Writing 101 Masterclass

Also, show stuff in a way that there is a space for the reader to make the connection, the discovery. Readers love it when they make the connection to what has been revealed before and when it pays off.

5) Comedy writing

Comedy is a very precise thing. When I write comedy I want to make you laugh from line one to the last line. An analogy should be damned funny. Comedy writing needs long sentences - I use long sentences and juxtapose them with short sentences.

It is in the juxtaposition of unlikely things that comedy lies.

Example - Ambujam mami enjoying a KFC.

6) Character building 

It depends on what you are writing for. If its commercial writing the central character and his goal must be clear. Also to me a detective is interesting when he is an unlikely detective. All super heroes have personal problems. As the story unfolds he faces obstacles from two directions - one from the external story and one from his personal story.

What appears like an obstacle to the character in the story, is the actual story. (absolute gem)

What looks like an ally turns into an adversary and vice versa it makes it interesting. 

7) Story should like a crisp dosa

The story should be light - like a crisp dosa - not heavy. Light and satisfying.

8) Enter late, exit quick

In any situation, come in late into the situation, and get out as quickly as you can from the situation (makes sense in real life too). Cut to the crux and get out.

9) Endings

I don't have full clarity about the entire story and many times find it difficult to find the ending. Some writers I know get the ending first and work backwards.

10) Cadence

I want every scene to make sense. every scene should be making sense. One writer once said that if you take one scene out, the entire film should collapse, so tightly should it be written.

Krishna feels that may be a bit too intense - he says he likes stories or scenes where two friends talk abstract stuff. 

11) Texture

As a writer I think we should fight both sides. I think it gives texture. If I wrote my novel 'Jump Cut' now, I would have added more meditative moments. I would have got a different ending with a different texture.  

12) Bittersweet is best

I asked Krishna if the hero in my current novel should win the cup and also get the girl, and he emphatically said No. 'What's the point. A story should be bittersweet.'


13) What makes characters interesting

Krishna spoke about an actor who once said 

"If I play a villain I play him likeably. If I play a hero I play him as a flawed person."      


Superb Krishna. Looking for more from you, next week.

Writers Lift - Have You Heard About it?

 I haven't, but when Hima Bindu called me and asked if I could give some opinion on it I said i would. Then Aditya, who was doing the feature for Hyderabad Express, called me and we had  nice chat about it. Here's the feature.

A Lovely Letter From a Father to a Daughter - Thanks Nalini

 Nalini, my sister, preserved this typed letter by a famous father (don't know who yet) to his daughter, which was gifted to her by a nephew of uncle Dr Sunderam, way back in the late 70s. She gave it to Anjali and I happened to read it too and felt it must reach every single daughter. I sent it to a few I know and hopefully some more will access it here. 

I love the fact that the nephew had the patience to type out such a long message, write a personal note on it and give it to a person who he felt would benefit from it. I also loved the fact that Nalini saved it, preserved it, in a plastic folder. These are things that tell us something about people. It was a lovely age.


The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind - Movie

 2019. True story of William Kamkwamba who grew up in famine ridden Malawi and builds a windmill out of salvaged parts and his father's bicycle despite being thrown out of school for his inability to pay fees. William's windmill works and they are able to pump water and grow a crop. He gets a scholarship and then graduates from Dartmouth College in the USA. Lots of insights into life in famine ridden areas, food riots and associated dangers. And then, a story like this. Life is wonderful.


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Thought for the Day - The World is a Stage and We're Already on it - Live

 It is something we have all heard sometime - that the world is a stage and we are all part of it. The only thing is that we seem to think that the show will start next week, or next month or next year or even next life. Unfortunately the show is already running and we are waiting for it to start.

We are already in the show and we have to play our part. The script is already written ad we have to follow our intuition and act - not contemplate merely. We need to move with our intuition and we need to act else we will be a boring side character. It does not matter if we forget our lines, make errors, the key is to jump in and give it a go.

Whatever we do, when we act, is the right thing. There is no wrong thing in this play except sitting by the side waiting for it to start. The show is on.

Jump in and do what comes to you. That's the right way to play the role. Only you know it so don't fret. It's a masterpiece.

Jump in.  

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Sarajevo - Movie

 I've been meaning to watch this film about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, an event that triggered the first world war in which some forty states got involved. The assassination was not what it seemed - a Serbian conspiracy to kill the Archduke - but actually a conspiracy to indict Serbians so Austria could attack Serbia for its own political gains. The movie shows the politics through the eyes of the examining officer, a magistrate who is a Jew, and who tries to stop the war, and realises that it is futile since everyone concerned had already made up their mind about it.


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Egonomics - david marcum & steven smith

 The authors kept their ego down and did not capitalise their names so I decided to honor them. The idea of the book is that ego is not really a bad thing as it is made out to be - it could be our greatest asset or most expensive liability. Ego sparks drive and intent to achieve and a lack of ego can led to apathy and insecurity. The authors tell us what makes it a liability and how to make it an asset.

Why egonomics - because ego costs us money big time. Its considered that ego costs 6-15% of total revenue in business (for a Fortune 500 company that would be 1.1. billion USD). Other costs show up like - over a third of failed businesses are due to ego issues, two thirds of executives don't explore better alternatives while making decisions because of ego, and 81% managers push their decisions by persuasion and not by quality of idea. The authors also explore Jim Collins book 'Good to Great' which describe great leaders of business as those who had the qualities of fierce commitment to make their company great and a great degree of humility. The hardest side to master in any enterprise is the human side and this human side is what affects the business side - through ego. So it makes sense to understand it. 

The one insight - one which I relied applies to everything in life is this - ego also works in a continuum. There is no good and bad - there are degrees and we move within that. The other insight is that the cost or impact of ego comes out in moments - by being a particular 'ego' energy we can handle these big moments that can make or break things and reduce costs.

The downside of ego showing its ugly side come sup in the following four ways 1) being comparative 2) being defensive 3) showcasing brilliance and seeking acceptance. On the other hand, if we need our ego to work, we need to shift our energy to these three aspects 1) humility 2) curiosity and 3) veracity.  

The authors say that within five minutes of a meeting we know what it is going to be like - being comparative, defensive, showcasing brilliance or seeking acceptance. By being comparative we lose the competitive edge (ironically), show that we are uncertain about who we are and we get sidetracked from our work. By being defensive we let the best ideas miss us, resent feedback and defend a single position. We must understand the difference between defending our stance and being defensive - one is open to progress and the other is closed. The authors give us a wheel of defensive spin - exaggerate, understate, manipulate and fabricate. When we showcase brilliance we make the mistake of making people wary and less open to our ideas (even if we have better ideas), we don't see it but all else can, we move away from sharing and focus on showcasing. If we share we can go the route of discovery-driven process and get in a variety of perspectives (increasing the chances of bringing in 50% better ideas). Seeking acceptance is a sign of too little ego, there is insincerity and thanks to the need for acceptance, we let a lot of bad ideas go through. It's a bit like life in junior high school - we all play out like 13 or 14 year olds.

On the other side, we can work our ego to our advantage by cultivating the following qualities. By humility we do not mean 'too little ego' but actually say that humility is the perfect balance between too much ego and too little ego. It is defined as 'and intelligent self-respect that keeps us form thinking too much or too little of ourselves.' The three ways to keep humility working for us are 1) we, them (devotion to progress) 2) I'm brilliant, I'm not (duality) and 3) one more thing (constructive discontent. By being committed to progress we don't have time for ego as it guides us like a pole star, our duality in accepting our uniqueness and nothingness keeps us balanced between over and under confidence and our constructive discontent keeps us hungry and never satisfied and always grounded.

The authors spend some time on the importance of intensity and intent in humility. They say that our negative ego rises up and shows signs through escalation in emotion physiologically called Diffuse Physiological Arousal (which is not good) and instead gun for the optimal level of arousal called 'Elevated Physiological Arousal (EPA). In DPA we are angry, irritated, emotional etc whereas in EPA we are engaged, enthusiastic, energetic, effective, excited and encouraged. Humility is not about perpetual harmony but about intensity as in EPA. One reason we get aroused is because we feel attacked on our ideas (execution, strategies, viewpoints) or our identity (values, character). Two ways to imporve communication is by maintaining Unconditional Personal Regard (UPR) -always holding the person in respect as opposed to their ideas and to channel intensity from identity to ideas. Basically, don't take it personally!

The second aspect is Curiosity which is either State curiosity or Trait Curiosity - State curiosity is when we need external sparks to be curious which is a temporary phenomenon and Trait Curiosity is when we ignite the curios spark by ourselves. Trait curiosity is a rare blend of order and openness to new. The reason why ideas don't take off is that people have imagination, ideas but lack the pre build, pre launch, pre execution curiosity. Here the authors recommend taking time before running off with an idea - be curious.

The value of a process depends upon the quality of information one gathers from conversations - on your level of curiosity. To raise the level of curiosity in daily conversations ask yourself the following questions - what do we mean? what are we seeking? what are we assessing? what does that lead to?

The third aspect is Veracity - which is the habitual pursuit and adherence to truth. The pursuit of reality - not what we think but what is actually happening. People do not voice opinions because we lack hearing down (where we see dissent as disloyalty) and speaking up capability (where we must take responsibility of communicating to the listener in a manner they get it). To speak up effectively - establish permission, make your intention clear and be candid. 

Two lines I liked - "There's a difference between the power of knowing and the discipline of becoming' and 'Speak in a way that doesn't provoke others to be defensive.'   

Nice. Thanks Sridhar for the recommendation. We could all reduce the cost to us thanks to improper use of our ego. Good perspectives - else ego was condemned to the doghouse. 



Monday, July 19, 2021

eCanteen Fundas - Periodise Work-Rest Ratio for Effective Energy Management

 Find the work-recovery ratio in your work and periodise to manage energy well.

E-Canteen Fundas: Learn to hit the pause button and refresh!

Ankita turns in high-quality work in all areas,’ said Rinku. ‘And so easily and tirelessly.’

‘Yes,’ said Rahul. ‘We put in longer hours and get tired, which affects our performance. She aces everything and still has a lot of energy left. How?’

‘It’s about her energy management,’ said Rakesh. ‘In The Power of Full Engagement, authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz say high performances result from managing energy, not time.’

‘What’s managing energy, bhaiyya?’ asked Rahul.

‘Good energy management is optimising the energy of our ‘performance pyramid’ — our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects,’ said Rakesh. ‘We then access the right quality, quantity and force of energy which changes the quality of our thoughts, behaviours and actions, resulting in high performance. We engage with life fully, leading to great results.’

‘Whoa,’ said Rinku. ‘Never thought energy management had so much to it. So, energy management helps us work longer hours without getting tired?’

‘Nope,’ smiled Rakesh. ‘Overdoing depletes energy and leads to performance issues. The key to optimum energy management is ‘oscillation’, spending and renewing energy at periodic intervals. Elite sportsmen call this work-rest training periodisation.’

‘What’s that, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.

‘Oscillation balances our energy spending with energy renewal,’ said Rakesh. ‘We normally work long hours without recovery, thereby spending more energy, leading to fatigue and other performance and health consequences. It’s best if we work in focused 90-120 minutes stretches, considered an ideal period of alertness and fully disengage and recover for 15 minutes. This 15-minute recovery phase is important. So, build rituals for your recovery — a walk, meeting people or whatever works best. And then, engage fully with renewed energy. Try it.’

‘How can we disengage when we’re overwhelmed with work, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.

‘To optimise energy and performance, you must disengage and recover,’ said Rakesh. ‘Over time, work on building greater capacity, like we build strength in the gym, by pushing past your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual limits with adequate recovery. Building capacity in your performance pyramid results in more energy, leading to better productivity. Find your work-rest oscillation rhythm and you’ll see a difference in your energy and work.’

‘I’ll apply the oscillation technique right away,’ said Rahul. ‘About 90 minutes of work and 15-minute renewals.’

Pro Tip: To manage energy, use the oscillation technique — engage in focused work for 90-120 minutes and then disengage for 15 minutes for energy renewal.

Life Lessons for Mastering the Law of Attraction - Book Review

 This book was in the pile of books that were designated to go and I flipped through it. It was written in an easy style and had small stories about how people used the Law of Attraction in their lives. I kept it and read it and found some really interesting stories. The law of attraction is pretty simple - like attracts like. What you focus on grows.

There was this story of this lady who wanted to lose weight and heard the words 'let in slim' - and she imagined herself slim as she let in slim (I guess owning it within her as being separated from her) and she had a lot of fun, lost weight and made money. And the pair who went to the World Cup and found only three entries in the doubles bobsled, saw opportunity and listed, and got a medal. Or the girl who wanted to go to South of France and took a friend's tip and landed up in a place where nothing seemed to go right until a cop rescued her and put her up with his grandma - the perfect place in South France. Or the software company leaking money that started an imaginary prosperity account and started spending form it everyday and added more, until it changed big time.

One person lost all her money and read the 'Science of Getting Rich' and visualised the Million Dollar Experiment - write your intention and repeat it at every chance. She got money and a million dollar home. One of the best one was the one where this lady went down to the last 7 dollars and decided to give it away to the church so she would not feel the burden anymore - and found a 20 dollar bill - which she gave away too. Within four days she got 10000 dollars and within 4 months 50000. She says it happened because she surrendered to the moment. Another one who was a life coach but was not successful and went broke and then hired a coach and dreamed about his ideal life - he changed his business model and became successful. Or the one who suffered a lot due to medical issues and forgave them all and got over all the pain and debt.

Another good one was this lady who was in trouble and she read this book called 'Excuse me your life is waiting'by Lynn Grabhorn which gave a 30 day technique to breakthrough called flip switching. List 30 things you love about you and each time a negative thought comes, flip it with one of these loving thoughts - and it worked for her (I love my hair was her mantra). Another amazing story is the one where the lady had an accident and was due for a painful surgery to straighten her knee and she visualised it all happening the way she wanted and kept repeating it and it -worked!

One who was 35000 dollars in debt and who pretended that there was an endless sum of money each time she spent and it turned things around. The chap who gave free mentoring and then upped it by increasing the value by asking for donations, increasing it to a fixed price and then to a minimum entry fee - and it kept growing - the value he put on himself was what they were willing to pay him. No one values you if you don't. The one who was to sell stuff but decided to goof off and voila, finds the perfect customer - relax and let things happen. She was a fan of the Pray Rain Journal which said that if you wrote a page about what you wanted as if you already had it, by the time you end the book it will be there.

Loved the story of the real estate agent who gets a listing and finds the house vandalised. Instead of giving up and cursing her luck she cleans the place up and sells it that weekend. What's more, a neighbouring lady who sees her clean up gives her many jobs. Another one who is broke who faces the numbers and makes a plan - gets excited and with the new high energy builds a big business. The single mom's housing project of this lady who wrote grants and who suddenly finds the idea - a housing project for single moms - she writes the proposal, gets the grant, makes the money. Cliff Young who ran the Sydney Melbourne Ultra marathon, running 100 miles a day by changing the rules - where everyone slept till 5, he slept till 1 and started running and won - at 62.

Clearly the big thing about money was that it was about giving - you want to get, give. A lady who gets the perfect cruise at her price, against all odds.

Lots of good stuff and some lovely stories that I will not forget. Thanks Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen.              


Anjali - New Bodyguards for Anjali

 While Sona is having a good time cooped up inside the house, settling down on bean bags and on beds, watching TV and attending online classes with Anjali on the laptop, Akela and Zor, guard the front yard as they are not allowed inside. But the moment Anjali steps out they attach themselves to her.

The other day we could not go for a walk because both Akela and Zor insisted on coming with us and we could not risk an attack by the big dogs there. When Anjali and I go out, to school for submissions mostly, Akela comes part of the distance with us, circling the car. I think she figured I am not taking Anjali away so she stopped coming too far.

The other day Anjali went out cycling and Zor, with the fearlessness of youth, ran with her and perhaps got attacked. f course Anjali was there and averted any major damage and so did Akela but Akela became conscious of her territory now.

Safe territory

Happy bodyguards

Today when Anjali set out cycling, they bounced around her (actually Zor did, while Akela went along). But the moment Anjali turned towards the territory of the big dogs (which came out) Akela stopped and started whining, pleading with the impetuous Zor to return. Zor did not, until the big dogs charged and then she bounded back double quick, and Akela stepped in to rescue her.

Hostile territory - Akela apprehensive
Anjali convincing Akela to stay, Akela listening, Zor doesn't bother

Akela apprehensive, Zor can't wait to go

Akela whining in despair as Zor and Anjali have gone off into enemy territory 

Anyway Zor returned safe and sound. Some drama all the time!

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Allied - Movie

 2016. Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard. Canadian Officer and French Resistance fighter carry out a mission, fall in love and settle down in London in marital bliss. Until there's suspicion that the lady is spying for the Germans and if proved right, needs to be eliminated.

The love story is too cold, the action luke warm. No major passions.

Lockdown Heroine - Versha Varma!

 Rajkummar Rao talks to Varsha Verma from Lucknow who helped the COVID  affected conduct their last journeys. A national level judo champion and a published poet Varsha shares her story.

A Writing Insight - Krishna Shastri Devulapalli

 Krishna gave me a lovely insight into writing  today.

'A man goes to the door and unlocks it is not the story. What goes on in his mind when he does that is story.'


I think I should get more insights from KSD. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

I Care a lot - Movie

 Watched this movie about the system in the US where legal guardians are apparently appointed by the court in cases where senior wards are considered incapable of caring for themselves. A well known legal guardian takes advantage of the system and with the collusion of doctors and the system, puts perfectly capable senior citizens in old age homes and liquidates their assets to pay herself under the guise of caring for them. Until she runs into a Russian mafia. Then the story loses its plot!

For me it should have remained there - and perhaps let the oldies figure a way of outsmarting the lady - without getting a completely comical Russian mafia boss into the care facility.


Anjali - People Reveal Everything About Themselves After Sometime

 We were listening to a song in the car. The singer sang that he wanted to be with his loved one day and night. Anjali shook her head and said that she would find it difficult to do that.

'I think I prefer my privacy a bit,' she laughed. 'I am not sure if I would be able to spend so much time with even the most interesting person I know.'

I found that interesting, so I probed a bit.

'Why do you think so?' I asked.

'They get boring after a while,' she said.

'Really? Why?' I asked.

'I feel that after a while they reveal everything about them,' she said. 'And that's boring.'

Hmm. Interesting. Hold some stuff back if you want to be interesting - like an interesting story.

Monday, July 12, 2021

eCanteen Fundas - Process vs Outcome

 Use outcome as feedback for your process!

E-Canteen Fundas: Find pleasure in the process and outcome to get the right result

Bhaiyya, Rahul once heard his favorite sportsman say, ‘Focus on the process and the results will take care of themselves’. Ever since he’s been studying at his own pace and getting poor marks,’ said Rinku.

‘But I’m enjoying the process, yaar,’ said Rahul. ‘Marks will take care of themselves.’

‘Rahul, the idea of focusing on the process is also to get the right results,’ smiled Rakesh. ‘It doesn’t mean we ignore the results. Right processes get the right results, one leads to the other.’

‘But how will focusing on the process improve results, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku. ‘Shouldn’t we be focusing on the results to improve the results? The fear of bad results will make us study harder.’

‘When we focus on the results — marks, winning, performance and so on — we put unhealthy pressure on the outcome and on ourselves,’ explained Rakesh. ‘This extra pressure and fear interfere with our execution during the exams and we don’t achieve the desired results as often or as easily. Worse, we don’t enjoy the process and, at times, resort to unhealthy shortcuts to get results. We miss the purpose, which is to gain critical knowledge, though we may end up with marks. So, we neither enjoy the process nor get the desired outcomes by focusing on the results.’

‘How does focusing on the process help?’ asked Rinku.

‘When we focus on the process, we focus on what’s important,’ said Rakesh. ‘The process for studying could be about choosing the right timings, perfecting specific topics, getting help, following the right routines and so on — all aimed at developing a robust process in line with gaining knowledge that can be sustained over a lifetime. Each day of engaging with this learning and improving process becomes a winning outcome in itself, which makes learning enjoyable and a growing experience. And when we approach exams as an extension of this process, we end up gaining knowledge of the subject and also getting better marks. It’s a healthy, long-lasting system, not a temporary quick fix. That’s why we focus on the process.’

‘But what if I’m enjoying studying and gaining knowledge at my own pace?’ asked Rahul. ‘Why do I need results?’

‘Your results will show whether your process is right or not,’ said Rakesh. ‘Treat your results as feedback. If you aren’t getting good results, look at your process. The right process delivers both — an understanding of your subject and consequently, better performance in exams.
If not, your process needs to be looked at and adjusted to get the right results — knowledge and marks.’

‘Thanks, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘Now I know how to enjoy the process and also get the right results.’

Pro Tip: To enjoy the journey and get results, focus on the process. Use results to calibrate and adjust the process till you get the right result

Sunday, July 11, 2021

A Perspective We Could All Benefit From - Srikanth Tirumala on LinkedIn

A nice article by Srikanth. And an honorable mention as well!

"Is our work alive?" - Sri Tirumala

I talked to a very good friend of mine, an ardent writer, sportsman, and fantastic human being, Harimohan Paruvu

He referred to a few exceptionally skilled and successful people and their behaviour on the field and off the field.

He mentioned Kapil Dev, the greatest ever who played for India. He was such an amazing bowler. He realized early on that his instrument to deliver the best is the cricket ball.

So he would treat it with the highest regard. He would never kick it or treat it with disrespect.

He would maybe talk to it before his delivery and express the intent of his mind, heart and hands to the ball. The ball would talk back and fulfil his intent.

He also mentioned one of the greatest legends that ever played Indian Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar.

He would get up every morning before his practice, fold his attire, clean his cricket kit and shoes, and polish his bat. He would talk to them to deliver his extraordinary skill.

For these legends and many more in cooking, music, and other forms of artistry, the instruments or objects that they use to deliver their talent are living, breathing friends and companions.

They work in harmony with them to deliver their best. They treat them with respect and ask them for a favour, and their instruments deliver it.

I love my product, I love my company, and I always wonder, do I love it and believe in it enough to “talk to it” in order to deliver my dreams and objectives?

The day we do that with our work, our instruments - whether they’re software or machines (such as bikes or cars) - will work like magic. They will appreciate our respect for them and give 200% back, and results will shine.

Don’t just love your talent, make your work and product a living, breathing entity, and you will experience their magic.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Aanum Pennum- Movie

 2021. Malayalam. Anthology of films about man-woman relationships. Nice interesting stories. Enjoyed watching them. A communist on the run meets a lustful landlord, a strong single woman with a mind of her own living in an upcountry location falls in love with an office at the tea estate and two college students go to an isolated spot in the country to experience an organic orgasm.  

Anjali - Sona Gets Some Treatment

 The good doctor from Canfel called to say we could now bring Sona for the procedure on her leg and off we went at 6 with Anjali carrying the little one like she would a baby. Shobhs and Anjali went in and I stayed in the car. It took about an hour - they first anesthetized Sona and then bandaged her foot. Shobhs and Anjali bought some toys and a collar stuff for Sona and then returned to the car. Sona was fast asleep.

Once home, Sona walked out like nothing happened, bandage and all. We had to put her back and she soon slept off. Now to wait for two weeks for her to heal.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Avishkar - Movie

 1974. Hindi. One of Basu Bhattacharya's trilogy on relationships. It is a story of a marriage told over the period of an evening and ending the next morning. An ad executive Amar (Rajesh Khanna) is facing the hard realities of a marriage that has lost its lustre, and on the evening of his wedding anniversary, takes up an offer from a divorced colleague of his to go watch a movie. He walks out, buysflowers, and when he goes home, finds his wife (Sharmila Tagore) entertaining a common friend. He throws the flowers away and feigns not remembering the date. They spend a strained night recollecting the events that led to their love affair culminating in their marriage and then the problems of the marriage. The morning brings new hope though. Very different in style, almost like a foreign film. Loved it.


Amigo e-Bikes - A Venture by Shreya

 e-Bikes are here!

Shreya, a superb singer, compere, human, someone I met at VJIET when I went to give me TED talk partnered with her college senior and launched their brand, Amigo - your e-bike buddy.

They build batteries in house and give two service options. 

1. Buy Amigo e-Bikes that come in two models

Captain - Range of 75kms

Champ - Range of 35kms

2. Retro Fit 

Upgrade your existing cycle to an electric bike within 7 business days.

Website :

Instagram :

Lovely idea Shreya and good luck with your new venture.

Lovely Talk - Making Careers By Choice by Dr D Vijay Kumar

 Lovely talk. I got an honorable mention too! Thanks Vijay.

Vijay is an educationist, someone who is passionate about education. I have known him since college, when he was passionate about everything he did, and with a huge smile and wonderful energy. You could always count on him for original and honest perspectives. I must share this one. When I invited him for the launch of my first novel, he turned up and asked me what I was going to talk about. I muttered that I was not planning on talking much thanks to my stage fright, when he told me it was  a great opportunity to express my views, one which I must have in the book. Those words made me think, rethink, and I put together the essence of my thoughts, my vision, in a shot speech. For that, a wonderful lesson in coaching, guiding, I am always grateful to Vijay.

Listen to the man himself!   

Thursday, July 8, 2021

A Nice Customer Service Experience

 I had some work in the LIC Office at Paradise, Secunderabad and I geared myself up for some slow service. But I was surprised to see how efficiently they handled it. Right from the office boy who directed me to the right officer and also sold me revenue stamps it was a breeze.

The AAO, one Ms Manjeera if I am not mistaken, instantly saw my policy, told me where to sign, what to submit, where to get revenue stamp etc. When I submitted the form and the papers she had one small hitch - I had the original identity proof but she needed a copy of that.

I looked dejected.

Then she smiled and said 'It's ok sir, I'll note down the details of your id proof. Why unnecessary trouble for you to go and get a copy.'

I was so grateful for her thoughtfulness. Such a pleasant change from the sadistic people we would encounter earlier who would throw the rule book at us and make us suffer. Good work Ms Manjeera, you are a wonderful ambassador for your company.