My P3 at Toastmasters finally – The Relationship Cycle

MyHercules ACT 110 Project 3 Speech was kind of jinxed as it took me quite some time to write down and then when I was due to give it, I had to call it off as had to travel outside town. Finally on September 5, 2014, I gave it as a Test Speaker at a corporate club, Recall. Thanks to all who made this possible. I finally got the monkey off my back. Here is the transcript of my speech.

The Relationship Cycle

In 1976, a 9-year-old boy accompanied by his father was out to buy his first bicycle! There it stood in the corner, a BSA resplendent in maroon beckoning him as he was all set to spread his wings and fly. His eyes gleamed as he was only too eager to escape from the clutches of his sister’s hand-me-down bicycle. That child is slightly overgrown now as you can see but his love for the bicycle remains unchanged.

Contest Chair, fellow toastmasters and guests, join me on my two-wheeled excursions.

I continued to cycle in and around the building. 2 years down, started cycling to school with Mom’s stern warnings about the traffic. The short distances gradually increased but the maximum I rode was 6 kms away to Siddhivinayak temple. For 7 years, this bicycle remained an inseparable part of mine till someone stole it from Dadar. I was devastated as I cried my way to the Police Station. Alas it was never found. At the end of the academic year, I begged my parents for a new bicycle and bought the same maroon BSA. This cycle was with me till the second year of Engineering when 2 more wheels got added and I began driving in 1986.

Driving a car is indeed different from riding a bicycle. I buried my love for the 2 wheels somewhere deep in my heart for 27 years. Finally on March 29, 2013, after a lot of deliberation, I bought a shining blue Hercules. Like the new-found possession in 1976, I started cycling the very next morning. Mom being Mom continued to warn me every morning. What started as an exercise, soon became fun as I rekindled an old flame. I got hooked to Mapmyride on the phone which measured the distance covered with the speed. It posted the stats to Twitter and Facebook so I could brag about it to all my connections. More importantly, it made me accountable as friends questioned if they didn’t see such posts. This added to the pressure.

Having pedalled for over a year all alone, I mustered the courage to cycle with a group. I was shy and always thought others were fast riders but this group was headed to see the flamingos in Sewree, my backyard. This was transformational. Made so many new friends and began learning. I learnt that my low-speed was because I was riding in the wrong gear for the whole year!

Social media got people to support my passion for cycling. It was now time for me, the cyclist to give back to society. On May 25, 2014, for the first time I cycled for a cause to support the Multiple Sclerosis Society of India. About 50 cyclists from across Mumbai rode in maroon T-shirts. Some of the patients travelled in vehicles and one of them was so enthusiastic that he let his young son pedal with us all the way to Haji Ali and back. It culminated with two senior neurologists explaining to us about the disorder. I decided then I would organise a ride on World Parkinson’s day in April 2015 to highlight the cause of my Dad and others suffering from Parkinson’s.

Now that I have told you about my cycling journeys, let me also tell you about my first love, food! I always relished the local breakfast be it the fresh karela juice at Yeoor Hills, the delectable Mushroom and cheese Omelette at Mondegar or the freshly baked Mawa cakes with Brun paav at the century old B Merwans, Grant Road. Along with food, I also discovered the grandeur of Colaba’s Afghan Church, the greenery of Aarey Milk Colony and the steep hills of Yeoor in Thane to cite some spots.

In conclusion, don’t let your childhood passions be buried somewhere in the corners of your mind. Get out and take the first step – Rent a cycle from the neighbourhood cycle shop. Cycling is the new Golf for networking. Join a group if you can but remember you are not participating in a race but just for fun. Don’t forget to invest in a proper helmet to protect your head and a pair of decent gloves to avoid blisters. Pedal for a cause and I am sure you will be pedalling for life.

The video recording of my speech is here. Sorry but taken on the phone.


Tally Team to Task

This is so true for entrepreneurs. The original post appears here and has been pasted from there.

Does your team match the job at hand? – Thanos Papadimitriou

Every start-up thinks the activity of an organization as the process of sourcing, securing, allocating, assembling, managing, and scaling human and material resources into business capabilities.

Smart entrepreneurs are like accountants, they match the duration of their assets and liabilities, both financial and human.

No one can do it alone. Sooner or later entrepreneurs have to enlist additional team members to execute existing tasks so that they can focus on new, higher value initiatives.

Four things to think about when you are building your team are as follows:

1. Fill in the gaps

A complementary partner is the most important asset available to an entrepreneur. A partner is an additional set of eyes, a sounding board and a reality check-the person whom you trust to tell you when you are wrong. Finding the right candidates begins with honest self-examination. Compare your capabilities to those needed to succeed to find the gaps. Entrepreneurs would be wise to apply the same analysis to every addition they make to the team.

2. Get started with what you have, but upgrade relentlessly

Most entrepreneurs lack the resources or track record needed to attract qualified candidates, and thus rarely have the pick of the litter when hiring. That’s ok. Part of being an entrepreneur is learning to make it work with what you have. That said, remember that difference between “A” and “B” players is not one notch, it’s 100x fold. Covering an empty position for a few weeks sounds horrendous but keeping an inept person in a critical position is crippling. The ambiguity and lag time makes it all the more important to act decisively. Immediately saddling new team members with actionable and measurable tasks can help to uncover subpar hires sooner.

3. Plan for roles to change

This means making it clear to early hires they are filling temporary needs. Make short (six month) commitments, which include flexibility for role changes as needed.

4. Hire for the job at hand

Many start-ups mistakenly hire a professional VP of Sales before finishing the product, much less validating demand for it. Not only is it expensive to have a VP of Sales sitting around before there are customers to sell to (you, the founder, are in charge of evangelical sales, remember?), anyone worth their salt wouldn’t come to work in your basement anyway. It’s just not worth their time yet.

Reblog: Taming the Enemies

The original article appears here

The biggest enemies we face are not outside, but within – Jim Rohn

We are not born with courage, but neither are we born with fear. Maybe some of our fears are brought on by our own experiences, by what someone has told us, by what we’ve read in the papers.

Some fears are valid, like walking alone in a bad part of town at two o’clock in the morning. But once we learn to avoid that situation, we won’t need to live in fear of it. Fears, even the most basic ones, can totally destroy our ambitions. Fear can destroy fortunes. Fear can destroy relationships. Fear, if left unchecked, can destroy our lives. Fear is one of the many enemies lurking inside us.

Let me tell you about five of the other enemies we face from within.

  • Indifference

The first enemy that we’ve got to destroy before it destroys us is INDIFFERENCE.

What a tragic disease this is. “Ho-hum, let it slide. I’ll just drift along.” Here’s one problem with drifting: we can’t drift our way to the top of the mountain.

  • Indecision

The second enemy we face is INDECISION.

It is the thief of opportunity and enterprise. It will steal our chances for a better future. Take a sword to this enemy.

  • Doubt

The third enemy inside is DOUBT.

Sure, there’s room for healthy skepticism. We can’t believe everything. But we also can’t let doubt take over. Many people doubt the past, doubt the future, doubt each other, doubt the government, doubt the possibilities and doubt the opportunities. Worse of all, they doubt themselves. I’m telling you, doubt will destroy our life and our chances of success. It will empty both our bank account and our heart. Doubt is an enemy Go after it. Get rid of it.

  • Worry

The fourth enemy within is WORRY.


Just don’t let it conquer us. Instead, let it alarm us. Worry can be useful. If we step off the curb in New York City and a taxi is coming, we’ve got to worry. But we can’t let worry loose like a mad dog that drives us into a small corner. Here’s what we’ve got to do with our worries: drive them into a small corner. Whatever is out to get us, we’ve got to get it.

  • Over Caution

The fifth interior enemy is OVER CAUTION.

It is the timid approach to life. Timidity is not a virtue; it’s an illness. If we let it go, it’ll conquer us. Timid people don’t get promoted. They don’t advance and grow and become powerful in the marketplace. We’ve got to avoid over-caution.

Do battle with the enemy. Do battle with our fears. Build our courage to fight what’s holding us back, what’s keeping us from our goals and dreams.

Be courageous in our life and in our pursuit of the things we want and the person we want to become.

We will be facing the toughest opponent today in our life.

We have to make thing work, if it doesn’t work- we don’t leave but keep on firing our bullets of self belief.

Reblog: Tap of Energy

Reblog: Tap of Energy

I was looking for some motivational reading this morning when I came across this post by my friend, philosopher and guide, Suneel Agarwal. A very good read in the morning.

2014 – A New Beginning


The google doodle today is apt as it signifies change of guard from 2013 to 2014. As the clock strikes midnight tonight we will bid adieu to 2013 and welcome 2014. Wish you all a very Happy New Year. May the new year be filled with joy and prosperity. On this occasion, I would like to share a video by Suneel Agarwal – A new beginning.

Another song that has been buzzing in my mind since this morning cycle ride is from the film Mashaal sung by the evergreen Kishore Kumar. A song full of hope and very very lively. Do listen to it if you haven’t.

Lessons to be learnt from Taxis / Taxi drivers

Mumbai Taxis
We have all seen the famous yellow and black taxis in Mumbai either in person if living in Mumbai or in Bollywood films. The thoughts that I am sharing are lessons learnt from the taxis / drivers. These are not my thoughts but have had the opportunity to learn these by interacting with different people over the past few weeks / months.
The first lesson is thanks to a dear friend, philosopher and guide, Suneel Agarwal. We often see an empty taxi and curse the driver ahead as he is slow and looking out for a prospect at every possible corner. Our blood pressure often reaches flash point if we are in the car behind such an empty taxi. However if there is a passenger in the cab, the taxi is driving fast and smooth.
In life too, such an analogy applies. A man without a purpose in life, without a goal in life is like a taxi without a passenger going about in his own way at his own pace, stopping everywhere and blocking the path ahead of the people following him. Similarly a man with purpose is moving fast in the direction of his goal.
The second lesson was had when in Delhi last week when I met a Senior Executive. We were discussing where he lived and commuting to work and home. It turns out that he lived some 60 kms away from his place of work and knowing the Delhi traffic he has taken upto 3 hours to travel one way. One day he was complaining about this and his Mother said “Look at a taxi driver. Does he ever complain? No. Ever wondered why? That’s his job and like it or not he has to do it so he enjoys what he is doing”. In life we too need to enjoy doing what we are doing.
The third lesson was learnt when I attended the Mastering the Mind Monkey Session by Dr. Anand Patkar. He spoke of Taxi drivers and asked the audience if we had ever noticed that when we are trying to catch a flight or reach for an appointment, we ask the driver to hurry up. But the taxi driver drives as he would. Can he change the traffic or anything else? No. So he does what is best and remains calm and drives along merrily. We have to bear the brunt of the stress. In life, let us understand that not everything is in our control so best is to leave things as they are and enjoy the ride.

Tera kya hoga kaliya?

KaliaThis is a post by Suneel Agarwal of Parichay Brand Consultants

Friday is a day for Bollywood movie releases and on 15th August 1975, three years after India celebrated its Independence Silver Jubilee, a movie released this day would leave its indelible imprint for decades to come.

While ‘Sholay’ has cut across generations and is fondly remembered for its captivating dialogues, I recollect a scene when the chips are down for a soldier of the dacoit gang. With the stakes heavily loaded against him and chances of his survival bleak, his boss mockingly asks him about his fate, Tera kya hoga kaliya?

Most of us have been through tough times and some of those times were worse enough to make you wonder whether you’ll pass this one. The look in the eyes of the others suggested that they thought it was the end of the road for you. In these tough moments you hear an inner voice that asks, ‘What will you do to cross this one honey?’ And you immediately identify yourself in a predicament similar to the soldier, ’Tera kya hoga kaliya?’

All doors closed. No light in sight. No escape route. And you wonder – what now?

This is the point. This is the litmus test. This is a position where you have to dig. Think desperately. Think out of the box. Pull out the proverbial rabbit to get out of the hole. You can either make it a point of no return, or bounce back.

In a sense these points define people. They define how they differ. They are the points of distinction.

On a smooth road there is little to choose between vehicles. It is the rocky roads that determine whether you can absorb the shocks and cross the rough patches smoothly. It is the turbulent weather that tests your mettle in the skies, and whether you can sail through after weathering the storm.

A ship is safe in harbour, but that’s not what ships are for. – William Shedd

To many, tough situations signal the end of the story. Whenever they face adversity they begin to sink, they go weak in their knees, and their minds limp. They start wondering why this has happened to them or who is to be blamed for their misery. They blame others, forgetting that in these times you don’t need to inspect but introspect.

And it is in this exercise, within layers, that are hidden the prescriptions to the life taking ailments – waiting to be discovered. Scholars have oft repeated that the solution always lies within the problem. Those who align themselves, bounce back and those who malign, turn back. They give up, to go down.

Rewind your tapes. Recollect your desperate times. Times which looked like it was the end of the road for you. But you fought your way out of it. Your obituary was ready to be published but you got out with a relish. You survived. You won. You continued to stay in the game.

You recollect those fighting moments. You recollect those bleak chances. The fight from hopelessness to your gradually clutching the straws and building your nest of survival. Your heart swells when you recount the moments, you walk taller. You are glad it happened.

Yes, you are glad because you came out of it. But more importantly you discovered yet another weapon in your armoury. You know that you fought your way out, to stay in. And now that you are in, there will be more such battles to fight and the next time around the confidence of winning this battle will help you face the forthcoming challenges.

So next time when you find yourself hopeless in a situation and the world mocking with a familiar grin asking you, Tera kya hoga kaliya? Smile to yourself. You know it’s yet another opportunity to fight and come out. And tell them, I know what will happen, I will make it happen.