You may or may not have got a copy of Siddhartha (by Hermann Hesse) from me, but you should definitely go and get one right now. A quick but very powerful read. Sharing two of my favourite paragraphs:
“I have not doubted for a single moment that you are Buddha, that you have reached the goal, the highest goal towards which so many thousands of Brahmans and sons of Brahmans are heading. You have found salvation from death. It has come to you in the course of your own search, on your own path, through thoughts, through meditation, through realisations, through enlightenment. It has not come to you by means of teachings! You will not be able to convey to anybody, O venerable one, in words and through teachings, what has happened to you in the hour of enlightenment!”
“Perhaps that you are searching far too much? That in all the searching, you don’t find the time for finding? … When someone is searching then it might easily happen that the only thing his eyes still see is that what he searches for, that he is unable to find anything, to let anything enter his mind, because he always thinks of nothing but the object of his search, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed by the goal. Searching means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal. You, O venerable one, are perhaps indeed a searcher, because, striving for your goal, there are many things you don’t see, which are directly in front of you.”
- Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
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I’m just not like that, and that allows me to play through and keep giving. What I love best about this is that it allows me to be extremely happy 99.99% of the time. Lack of expectation and generosity are two very lucky traits I have, and they’re something that I implore more of you to focus on.
I spoke to her in my dreams last night. Calm and curious as always she asked me about life in California, food and people I met. I told her everything I could, even the imaginary cricket match on the beach at half moon bay. Looking for the smile on her face, I wondered if I needed to really ask her anything.
The faint smile on her face hinted something, as if she has completed a race and I am still finding my way. She challenged me with my own philosophies, as if she remembered everything I ever told her. Unusual, yet so polite and honest that I need not feel threatened. I answered nevertheless. Clarified myself for once.
// random personal blog post starts
After the first and rather lonely visit to Ameericaaa in 2010, I didn’t think I would make it back to Obamaland so soon. By some accident I got pulled into a business accelerator in California and ended up spending close to four months there. This time around, I was largely on my own, with no family house to live in and no wonderful cooks to serve me Indian food. Survival was tough.
My age old wish to live on my own could have been a little less challenging though. Finding my way to cheap vegetarian food, looking up accommodation, making breakfast (if time permitted), washing the dishes, laundry and walking down a few kms daily to reach work did take up a good amount of time and energy. Having to spend in USD wasn’t all that easy either. But it wasn’t too bad, weekend getaways to cousins and some very friendly locals made moi life very easy at times.
There are lessons from this travel that I would remember for a lifetime. Some personal, some about the world we live in.
Money Is A Commodity – Before I flew to Americaa, Sampad of Instamojo told me that money in US is a commodity. Unlike the necessity that it is in India. I found that people there are generous, not keen on making an extra buck from you and the life there isn’t as much of a struggle to just meet their daily needs. No working on weekends and party mood as soon as Friday evening arrives. What I also learnt is that money is easy to lose, you need to ask why you are being charged, figure how to save and you will find that the systems / decorated welcomes are built by smart businessmen who want to make extra buck from you.
On Silicon Valley – I am often asked about the Silicon Valley culture vs India. Is it really that magical? Well, Yes and No. You need to work equally hard, in fact harder than India to survive in Silicon Valley. The competition is crazy. To find support for your business, there are enough good people to talk to in India and they are as talented as the ones in Silicon Valley. The only difference is the density. The number of awesome people are just higher in Silicon Valley. But if you network well In India, you won’t miss out on the awesome mentors
On People - I continue to be bad at making friends within large groups of people just as I was in school and college But start talking work and I click. Bad.
My Meme still holds true - and there are sooo many tall ladies In Americaaaaa! I was constantly fidaaaaaaa.
Cherish friends who understand your silence – I can’t believe that I didn’t call any of my close friends even once when away all these months. And somehow they knew that I am busy and I miss them a lot. And of course there are friends who kept up with me extensively, writing long emails – sharing with me the state of Mumbai rains, asking me about my accent and adjusting to the new circle of colleagues / friends and my challenges in general. Colleagues back in Mumbai had their occasional frustrations with my absence but they kept silent all along and managed without me. I am grateful to the ones who understand my silence and the ones who of course understand the difference between when I say hmm vs hmmmmmmm
Nothing beats the beauty of nature – As much as I love to get my hands on a latest gadget or technology, there is nothing that gives me more peace and happiness than going to the peaceful beaches in California or Niagara falls as I did in 2010. Nature’s beauty continues to stun me.
Strangers and blessings - I have often struggled to understand why so many awesome people on this planet are so good to me. I met my share of such amazing ones in obamaland too. Be it the ladies who would call me home and serve me great food or the ones at office who kept encouraging me to keep smiling. And the mentors who would for no reason and no possible gain from me give me hours and hours of their time, pay for my dinner / coffee and even drop me back home when I would have no other transport. I am blessed. I shall do my bit to give back to the world.
I made the mistake of not carrying a camera on my last trip to US, those pictures in my eyes are fresh as ever, but here are a few from 2013: Read the rest of this entry »
TweetI just happened to read an open letter by Guy Turner and as I complete my time at 500 Startups Batch 6, I find it hard to digest all of it. Here is the link: http://www.builtinchicago.org/blog/open-letter-yc-techstars-and-500-companies-take-fn-money-now-take-all-it
(We @pricebaba are part of Batch 6 at 500 Startups. We are a India business)
Guy’s advice is great. I would happily dilute 5% more at this point and ensure my company survives (oops, I just admitted it). But did any of our mentors or venture partners at 500 Startups told us to maximise our valuation? Not really. We get told often to ‘get the fuck back to work and get more users / customers’
500 Startups never told us to hold the incoming cash and maximise our valuations, they tell us to get a reasonable runway and be prepared if the business takes a little time to pick up or Series A doesn’t happen as easily.
We have also been guided to keep our valuation reasonable. It is kinda weird to tell an angel investor that we are asking for a lower valuation because that’s what our market merits. It also ensures that we aren’t overvalued when raising our next round back in India.
The venture partners at 500 Startups are some of the most wisest people I have met. And no, it is not just Dave McClure. There are a bunch of them helping us out at 500 Startups (Hey, Pankaj, Bedy, Rui, George, Parker…).
So on behalf of batch 6 at 500 Startups – GIVE US THE MONEY we will take it!
Apologies, typed on mobile while travelling. Updates from desktop soon.
I have been guilty of ignoring several important things in life. Starting work at 15 had its downsides that I realise only now. Talking to one of my business partners today, I acknowledged that I have been reckless. And surprisingly I came across this Quadrant of life at 500 Startups office today. My doctor once drew this for me and explained me how I should prioritize things in life. This is extremely powerful. I call it the Balance. Much needed balance. I strive for it more than ever before.
Remember the ZONE is silent. It never demands from you and it is so easy to miss it.
I have been thinking about this for several years now and finally attempting to capture a tricky thought.
We are often a victim in our own story. Several times in life we get cornered into a situation where we feel helpless and we consider ourselves as the victim. It has happened with me at school, college, work, with friends, family … basically everywhere. At the same time I have seen so many of my friends being bogged down by this feeling of being a victim. And knowing how real that feeling is, I always fall short of telling them – GIVE IT UP.
It is easy and a very weak choice to think of a situation from a point of view that ‘I am a victim <insert your sorrow tale here>’.
Holding on to that pain and considering yourself a Victim has a payback. A sympathy value that you give yourself, a reason to not take responsibility for what happened. That’s the Victims Curse. It is only an excuse for living life in a certain way. A seemingly easier way. Over time our memories fade, we reconstruct what happened and only consolidate our position as a Victim.
Do you really want to carry that baggage?
I would also make my first public recommendation for Landmark Education. If you are serious about your life and its impact on this world, you should consider Landmark. Feel free to contact me if you wish to explore Landmark Education.
PS: Thanks to @arpiit for introducing me and also once pointing out this Curse.
The genius that I think I am, I once defined Attitude problem. Several years later, it still reads so well to me. Been there so many times since. Here is what I had written:
A while back I sat down to analyze what really is this Attitude problem. And I have an answer to it today: When you Trust someone, you expect a lot of it in return as well. If you don’t see that coming your way … you develop this wall of unanswered questions, concealing your depression, complaints and sorrows. That’s attitude problem.
Another bit I had come across was this:
well basically if any one’s ever called you a ***** than you need to check yourself, i believe that when someone has an attitude problem usually the person who has it also has a problem with trusting others and actually paying close attention to what they’re trying to say, people get offended if they think you dont care and are not paying close attention to them it’s a big nice metaphorical slap in the face.
However today I feel like revisiting the Trust Matrix. A much simpler way to look at it would be with Integrity. If your words and actions match, trust exists. If your words and actions don’t match, trust fades.
Of course, the more technical formula exists. I don’t care about it as much anymore.