Surviving the End of the World… and other adventures in 2012… !

Way past 21 Dec 2012, and we are all still here – Well, I guess this post is a timely one!
2012 has been one hellova crazy year for me personally; & I hope the past days, weeks and months have treated you just as well.

As we got into the rewind and review mode during the last few days of the year and as this New Year unfolds; I can’t help but feel grateful for the experiences and learning that the past year had to offer me.

2o12 – Well, it’s been the year I went from saying Hi to our Former President while wearing pyjamas and a tee shirt, to dozing off in between a meeting with the Founder & CEO of the current venture I am involved with; getting to speak with and learn from some of the most outstanding Indian thought leaders, to taking on 8km runs once a week. In between I also learnt to drive a car (well, had to do it someday), and got chased on an empty stretch by 3 miscreants on a motorbike, morning 2 AM.

Inside I feel good as to how the year treated me (caught up on a few good movies too – ‘Dark Knight Rises’ included); this whilst I can’t wait to take on, and experience what 2013 has to offer.

The Dark Knight Rises

Picture Credit: The Dark Knight Rises official website

Over to the Details…

Interaction with Thought Leaders

I have thanked Yinglan before – here, here and here; and I can’t help but thank him enough for his continued trust and belief in me.

Over the past nine months in 2o12, I had the opportunity to speak with and take a look into the minds of 35 plus FABULOUS thought leaders – It’s been one heck of a crazy learning experience. During this period, I have managed to miss (without any regrets) breakfasts and dinners, sometimes meeting the leaders late night 11 PM at the airports; sometimes early morning over breakfast; sometimes hopping from 1 interaction to the other the same day (with venues spread across opposite ends of Delhi!); sometimes speaking with them during transit in a car (in between meetings at Pt A and Pt B) etc. In one instance, wherein the chunk of the discussion was still left, I have even requested the individual if I could stay back in their vehicle/ vicinity and work on my laptop till the time they came back from their next meeting (learning: make sure your laptop and mobile are fully charged on the days you make such requests!). There was also this one instance wherein after a 2 hour long discussion, the individual and I decided against hiring a cab and simply hopped onto the Delhi Metro (impeccable timing: End of work day!) to catch up on our respective meetings for the day. All in all, they make for some valuable learnings and experiences.

* Leaders who were gracious with their time and insights in 2o12 include: Dr. R A Mashelkar, Dr. Anil Gupta, N R Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani,  Dr. Swati Piramal, R. Gopalakrishnan, Arjun Malhotra, Phanindra SamaGanesh Krishnan, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Deep KalraNaveen Tewari and many more – Much Grateful. Thank you.

Starting off with my entrepreneurial journey full time

Having consulted a few entrepreneurs and leaders for almost a year (I used to work during the day with an organization 10 AM – 6 PM, and consult serious entrepreneurs and leaders during my free time, evenings and weekends), I guess it was only natural that I took the leap when the opportunity came along. Two crazy memories from working on the current ventures include:

(a) Literally slept off during a 5 min break in between one of the early (skype) meetings with Sanjiv ( Sanjiv is the Founder & CEO of the ventures I am involved with) morning 1:30/ 2 AM – Before you judge me, this was the third straight day I was pushing myself a bit more than usual, having been up for straight 22 hours that day – Waking up for consulting work morning 3:30 AM, going for work (with an organization) 10 AM – 6 PM, post which I hit the gym and was back in for skype meetings 10:00 PM onwards.

* I did manage to wake up later that morning around 8 AM – if I may add, with a wee bit of strange ‘surprise’ on finding the lighting and PC (still) switched on.

(b) Reaching out to former President Shri APJ Abdul Kalam (probably the most humble individual I have met till date) while wearing pyjamas, when he visited our residential apartment to bless a young couple post their marriage – When one is working on a venture wherein one thinks that they are ‘changing the world’ (to put it in perspective – working out of one’s home wearing a Superman tee, minus the cape), one tends to act in the oddest of ways at the oddest of times. The result – I didn’t care (well, actually didn’t have enough time) to shave  or change into formal attire on receiving the news, and had to rush to see if I could speak to the Hon’ble President on his way out (in the parking lot!); this, wearing a tee-shirt, windcheater and pyjamas.

*Later that night, I realized that I had forgot to introduce myself personally in those 10 seconds when I had shared a line about our venture and requested for his mail id.


Running 8 kms runs a week

Being part of the NCC in college can teach you a bit about taking on your own personal limits – Having progressed from being a 16 yr old teen who could run just 2 km distances max with breaks in between, NCC was a good change in terms of realizing that I could do better than that – Learnt that, despite my generous build, could persevere and take on 7 rounds of a field 3 times the size of a football field, early morning 5 AM.

Having touched 7 km runs early on in 2oo9; now that I look back, it seems crazy that it took me almost 3 years to realize and break that plateau to run 8 km runs this year (Best timing: 45 min 02 sec).  Maybe I should start keeping a tab and become more conscious of the plateaus that keep building up around me.

Having run this distance regularly once a week along with my regular week exercise routine, I lost 7 kgs this year and feel better in terms of what I can endure physically. For those who are curious whether you can take this up (a few guys did reach out to me on FaceBook for this) – Well, just make sure you have been given the go-ahead by your physician and are warming up most days with 2 km runs – from there on, it’s just about not giving up on the running in the 5 min intervals.

What I followed, without injuring myself  running on the treadmill (Source: Men’s Health India, October 2012 Edition):

6.5kmph(5min) – 8kmph(5min) – 11kmph(5min) -8kmph(5min)
13kmph(5min) – 10kmph(5min) – 11kmph(5min) – 8kmph(5min)… walk/ run rest distance to cover 8km total…

Learning to Drive… and finding my first 3 Speeding Tickets in the mail

It seems almost embarrassing to admit that I had been putting off learning to drive all these years! – Nonetheless, 2o12 happened to be the year that I finally picked up some driving skills. Not-so-amusingly, from the first time I drove the car all by myself, I have (unwittingly) also managed to pick up ‘3’ speeding tickets over the 45 odd days which followed that moment.

Having said this – Thanks Pa and a shoutout to Merly for being patient with me and coaxing me to take this up eventually. Thanks Ma, for allowing me to drop you off at work everyday morning to brush up on my skills, and for bearing with me every time I started off 5 min later than required (every single day). Need to learn ‘some’ patience from you and Pa (well, been saying this for a ‘few’ years now – don’t think will ever get there!).

All said and done – 1200 bucks poorer (that’s INR 400*3 – Thanks Delhi Traffic Police btw, you guys are doing a great job), and a wee bit wiser, I have switched to listening to soft(er) music whenever I think I can see a bit too much road ahead of me which needs to be can be covered.

Having started with this, I also intend to pick up some basic skills for car repair and stuff this year – Been too narrow minded (ahem, stubborn) when it gets down to more details, need to change that.

My New Year Resolution for 2013?! – Well, do enough things in 2o13 to ensure I write a blog around the same time next year.

Best Wishes to you and your loved ones for a great year ahead!