Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lessons from a guest speech at MASE

  1. Do everything you hate because it will be healthy
  2. Say "fuck off" a lot
  3. Get fired at least twice
  4. Travel light and travel without a plan
  5. Believe in your personal projects (sometimes... many times... fuck the client)
  6. Drink beer and sake in the morning!
  7. Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.

Friday, September 23, 2011

GM Travel

Wishful thinking: Let's genetically modify travel. Let's take away the genes for fatigue, motion-sickness and homesickness. Let's add genes for time-stretchness (when you just don't want the travel to end) and resource-non-endness (so you never run out of money). Also a radar-gene for meeting only interesting people who have real stories to tell, not people who think they do.

There will be additional genes for equipment - clothes that never soil or get wet, fuel that never runs out, stomach that never runs or gets fat despite a lot of gastronomical abuse, levers that handle any amount of alcohol, an ear-and-mouthpiece that communicate in every language/accent/dialect in the world.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Of Rap and Riches.

Most rappers sing about how miserable they are despite their riches. Most people like them for the misery, as well as their own aspirations for the riches.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Life is a fruit.
Your loved ones, your friends, are seeds.
Practical details - living, work, love - are the pulp.
Juice is the essence of the fruit, the experience. The lessons in life. The truth.
What remains, the make-believe - books, films, ads - is pulp fiction.

A few good thoughts

Behavior Manipulation.

That's today's advertising.

It's not all bad. But most of it is.

Bad ideas emerge from bad intentions. Or greed.

Bad communication emerges from bad vision.

Bad ads emerge from the lack of something better to say.

Good advertising is about love.

About liking a product and saying something good about it.

About suggestions, rather than persuasion.

About the power of thought rather than influence of media.

About informing and participating, rather than beating competition.

Good communication is about good nature. And good people.

About a world of good. That only exists within a few.

A few good men.

10 reasons why people like to sit in the sun

10. To sun-bathe - to get a tan
9. To concept
8. Because it's so nice :)
7. Because indoors is exciting only in the night
6. Because it makes them feel active ( bloody reptiles ! )
5. Because it gives them a chance to wear summer-dresses, shorts and slippers - reason to look sexy
4. Because it takes away headaches
3.They feel good, sun makes them happy
2. Because it's science - sunlight in your eyes makes the happiness hormones come out
1. You can kick off your shoes.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Reading Wisdom

Here are a few quotes from the famous book 'How to win friends and influence people' by Dale Carnegie.

“Benjamin Franklin, tactless in his youth, became so diplomatic, so adroit at handling people, that he was made American Ambassador to France. The secret of his success? ‘I will speak ill of no man,’ he said, ‘…and speak all the good I know of everybody.’”

“Criticisms are like homing pigeons. They always return home.”

“Abe Lincoln once remarked that ‘most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.’”

“‘Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbour’s roof,’ said Confucius, ‘when your own doorstep is unclean.’”

“‘A great man shows his greatness,’ said Carlyle, ‘by the way he treats little men.’”

“Lincoln once began a letter saying: ‘Everybody likes a compliment.’ William James said: ‘The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.’”

“If some people are so hungry for a feeling of importance that they actually go insane to get it, imagine what miracle you and I can achieve by giving people honest appreciation this side of insanity.”

“‘I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people,’ said [Charles] Schwab, ‘the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.’”

“Wise words from General Obregon’s philosophy: ‘Don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.’”

“I once read a definition of flattery that may be worth repeating: ‘Flattery is telling the other person precisely what he thinks about himself.’”

“Here is one of the best bits of advice ever given about the fine art of human relationships. ‘If there is any one secret of success,’ said Henry Ford, ‘it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.’”

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

“It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.”

“A long time ago, a hundred years before Christ was born, a famous old Roman poet, Publilius Syrus, remarked: ‘We are interested in others when they are interested in us.’”

“‘There is nothing either good or bad,’ said Shakespeare, ‘but thinking makes it so.’”

“Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.”

“I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

Friday, August 05, 2011

To Shub, my friend.

At times like this,
when streaming's bored the shit out of me,
when skype only pings people yapping,
when books are boring, and sleep elusive,
would I rather be lonely or stitched to another ?

They're both doorways to death, my friend
doorways to misery - one cold, one fiery,
they're both thieves, of your sanity,
and unsuspectingly brutal cuts under your skin,
rubbed with salt and frozen,
numb, intoxicated, bitter, dark.

They make us drunk without drinking,
act without thinking,
sunk without sinking,
hope without hoping,
headbang without rocking,
live life without stopping.

And we, hopeful, hopeless, fresh-faced, clueless fools,
swing for want from one to another,
imagining our happiness in dreams far from real.

Life is a sewage of mazes, my friend,
there's no happiness. only illusion.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

In Your Head

The mind is its own place,
and in itself,
can make heaven of Hell,
and a hell of Heaven.

- John Milton

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Open Road

Know why I like travel? Because you meet people with an open mind. Who are willing to connect to people beyond their own kind. Who are curious and excited. Who find regular life boring because it's easy to get used to living in silos and get impressed by pretension. To fall prey to being 'liked'.

Travel liberates you. One, you know you will meet different people. Two, there is no fear in being hated by people you might never meet again.

People who call others weird and the very ones who are so afraid of being weird. I find weird interesting, because there are always interesting stories to find and important insights to be gained. I can talk to them for hours. As for the former, I get bored faster than phosphorous burns in air. Bore me to death with all the hullabaloo about your parties and your clothes and your interesting life. Fascinating !

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Personal Hell

Everyone carries their personal hell with them. And each hell is different. Some are bigger, and often spill over more often than others. They are called 'difficult' by their peers. Some like to discuss the aforementioned 'spilling' and the 'spiller' and feel 'righteous'. But isn't that part of their own hell? Some like to stay quite and stay busy till they get so stiff, that nothing can spill over. This illusion and lack of flexibility and humor is their hell. Some like to mask theirs by humor, bravado, emotional and materialistic dependencies. Being popular brings us it's own kind of hell.

The craziest part? We all think everything other than our own hell, is hellish. Because our own is just part of life. While the others should probably do things better.

My hell ain't no bigger, ain't no smaller. No more or less important. And no more or less hurtful than yours. Same for everybody. A little compassion for others' hell would make the world a better place.

Maybe it's just me, but I still feel like kicking people who gossip. Who speak of things behind other people's back. And call it 'bonding', 'venting' or just 'girl-talk' (men do it too).

Gossip, to me, is the motherload of all evil. I'd rather hang out with a 'weirdo' than with a 'righteous'. Gives me a lot less stress. And definitely a better friendship.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Design Decoration

There's always a line when design stops being just decoration and starts becoming a concept.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Or love and hate and everything business.

While being out in the professional world - studying or working - one gradually learns to be a stoic. A consequence of letting your ideas out for everyone to judge. A defense mechanism towards handling criticism and growth better. A shift from purely creative pursuits to gathering professional acumen. Or simply an outcome of a busy life.

But the best ideas still come from the most basic emotions. Love. Excitement. Joy. Humor. Vanity. Pride. Warmth. No one can work stifled from inside.

A good ad professional will never let his human side harden. That is the only fuel for his best ideas.

Friday, March 25, 2011

My article in Deccan Chronicle

Heavily edited, but it's there.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Find your expression in 140 characters or less.

My love affair with Twitter started in 2008. Now many many followers and ten thousand plus tweets later, I can’t even begin to explain what Twitter is capable of.

Imagine standing in a room full of thousands of interesting people. Then imagine that everyone can hear everything everyone else is saying clearly and effectively. Imagine being able to choose who you want to listen to, who is just plain faffing, and who just said what you were about to say. Imagine finding resonance with hundreds of people on topics that you always thought were outlandish or specific only to you. Imagine getting up to an email saying, “His Holiness The Dalai Lama is now following you.”

A lot has been said about Twitter that is subjective. So I’ll keep this factual and simple. I started Twitter because I had moved to Gurgaon and didn’t have any friends and we started meeting up quite a bit. Restaurants on Twitter would offer discounts if we met up at their places. We would be abreast of the latest happenings in the city, and the latest news in the world. Free invites to concerts, brand launches and a direct line to any celebrity/author/tycoon/your ideal as an equal was quite an experience.

Twitter soon got me a new job, a better apartment, a supercool roommate, numerous professional assignments, a support system of thorough-bread, self-made professionals who also became friends for life, and a place to opine unusual ideas and embrace a thousand point-of-views.

In early 2010, I quit my job and offered to handle Facebook and Twitter accounts for a few startups while traveling. That gave me bread to survive for over 6 months. I soon moved to Goa for work and everywhere I went, I had tweeple waiting to hang-out with.

In 2010, I joined the editorial team for a design magazine. Experience and influence on FB and Twitter helped us make the magazine popular in design and advertising circles and saved us immense marketing dollars. I had decided to move to the best ad school in the world at Germany for higher studies, and looked up many students of the school to speak to them of their experiences. This told me if I would fit, and if it was the right choice.

A lot of people come and tell me that they tried Twitter and it didn’t work out for them, or that it’s become a dating site. In recent times, due to rapid publicity, the quality of conversations has definitely been on a decline. But Twitter is like the rest of the world, where you meet all kinds of people. You have to find your kind of crowd and find people that you connect with. A lot of wisdom and insights are still to be shared on Twitter, you just have to find the first few interesting tweeps, and find your expression in 140 words, or less.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Power of Religion

God or no god. The powerful thing about religion is that it gives a common man immense resilience and hope. The power to not give up or break down. The power to steer his mind free of negative influences and cultivate good habits. Believe in good. And that is nothing short of a miracle. A day trip to Brindavan taught me that today.

Also saw a man strategize a new way to sell god.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Your Reckless Self

Recklessness is a manifestation of your inner voice - before the brain reasons you out of it. It always stands strong for exactly what you want. Because the first instinct is sacred. It's is as true and pure as god's voice itself.

It is this why sometimes recklessness is the weapon of choice. To act before fear takes over. To refute apprehensions and hesitations before you lose your nerve. To radiate confidence you do not feel, or avoid that trap all together.

But recklessness works only as the start. If you don't follow it up with gumption, logic and a lot of faith in your inner voice, it's as empty as recklessness alone. We've all been there.

Recklessness when followed up with gumption, logic and a lot of faith in your inner voice, can move mountains. And that is a truth not many last to discover. Because they give up recklessness way before they discover it in maturity.

Brain will help you reason. Brain cannot make you happy. Only following your instincts can. Be reckless, be happy.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Cynic Slander

Cynicism is not a result of bad experiences in the past. Cynicism is the fear of them happening again in the future.

If you've learnt your lessons, and become stronger in the process, cynicism is not much use, is it?

Cynicism is like rust for hope. It takes away possibilities and gives you defeat before you are defeated. It alienates company and erodes morale.

But the most dangerous part about cynicism is, it makes you believe that you'll be happier being cautious. There couldn't be a bigger lie.

When you're cautious, you're bound, restrained. You follow your brain more than your heart. And you still think being cautious will make you happy. Right?

Wrong. Happiness is only a function of the heart, of freedom. Nothing more, nothing less.

Write Right

Writers have often had to go a long way to prove their worth. And charge good money for it. What's great writing unless put in a great layout with cool design? Right?

Wrong. The problem is, the quality of writing is not as visible as good design. As a result, clients often fail to see why they should pay premium for something they don't feel is important. More often than not, they won't see the value in saying something clearer, crisper, sharper, more flavorful and ultimately more effective.

More than saying in words and content, good writing is about controlling the flow of reading. The mood, the imagery, the feeling evoked, the cleverness perceived. The joy in reading when you don't want to stop.

So get clients who will pay you for being able to say something as effectively in 100 words as in 1000. Who will appreciate saying well whatever it is that needs to be said. For saying no without saying so. For implying what can never be said. And for knowing when not to say anything.

To everyone else, say no.