[5-Bullet Tuesday] Is This Your Defining Moment?

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering.

Something I never knew! –

What made mother Teresa mother Teresa? For twenty years, she was teaching the wealthiest children in Calcutta. She overlooked the impoverished slums that surrounded the well to do neighborhood in which she worked, never venturing out of her tiny sphere of influence. One night, as she was walking down the street, she heard a woman crying out for help. It was in the moment that this dying woman fell into her arms that Mother Teresa’s life changed forever.
Realizing the seriousness of the woman’s condition, Mother rushed her to the hospital, where she was told to sit and wait. She knew the woman would die without immediate attention, so she took her to another hospital. Again, she was told to wait; the woman’s social caste made her less important than the others being treated. Finally, in desperation, Mother Teresa took the woman home. Later that night, she died in the comfort of Mother Teresa’s loving arms.
Mother Teresa’s “defining moment” had transpired: the moment when she decided that this would never happen again to anyone within her reach. From that moment on she decided that she would devote her life to easing the pain of those who suffered around her and that, whether they lived or died, they would do so with dignity. She would personally do everything in her power to see that they would be treated better than they had ever been treated their entire lives, with the love and respect that all people deserve.

(Excerpt from Awaken the giant within, Tony Robbins)

Tool I loved —

Mindomo, is a simple and yet powerful mind-mapping tool. (Thanks to dear DTM Ankur Yadav bhai for sharing this with me) The free version has limitation on the number of mind maps you can create on the cloud. However, using it as an app on the device locally doesn’t have this limitation. I used it to create the mind map I used to structure and remember the points to cover for my office HCD presentation (see the mind map I made below). 

Question that makes me cringe–

When the time comes, will you remember you’re a hero and selflessly respond in support of those in need?

(From the chapter ‘What can one person do?’ in Awaken the giant within)

Quote I’m pondering —

It was involuntary; they sank my boat. – John F Kennedy, when asked how he’s become a hero

Story I loved–

Read the story of Kaushika from Ramayana in ET today (in The Speaking Tree column, cutout below). It teaches the profound lesson that work is worship and duty is God.  While ET has a miniature version of the story, it got be curious and I found the full story here. Give it a read.

ET 20th Aug 2022
The Speaking Tree

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[5-Bullet Tuesday] Here’s How You Cope With Pain!

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering.

Fun fact I read –

Did you know? There was a time when having oil on your land was considered a curse! It was only later when technology turned it into a source of wealth.
Basic ideaTechnology can change anything! Another example being the seemingly worthless silicon from the sand powering the magnificent speed of your electronic device such as the one you’re reading this blog on (adapted from Awaken the giant within, by Tony Robbins).

What Movie I watched —

Loved and highly recommend the movie Darlings available on Netflix. Great acting by Alia Byatt and all co-stars especially Shefali Shah’s. A touching and very believable  storyline which kept Dink and I glued till the end.
See the source image

Abbreviation I loved –

CANI: Constant And Never-ending Improvement (another one from the Tony Robbins book)

Quote I’m pondering —

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

A perspective I loved – Hands

“Grandma, how do you cope with pain?”
“With your hands, honey. If you do it with your mind instead of relieving the pain, it toughens even harder.”
“With your hands grandma?”
“Yes, our hands are the antennae of our soul. If you move them; knitting, cooking, painting, playing or sinking them into the ground, you send care signs to the deepest part of you and your soul lights up because you’re paying attention to it. Then signs of pain will no longer be necessary.”
“Hands are really that important?”
“Yes my daughter. Think of babies: they start to know the world through the touch of their hands. If you look at the hands of old people, they tell you more about their life then any body part. Everything that is done by hand is said to be done with the heart. Because it’s really like this: hands and heart are connected. Masseurs know well: when they touch someone with their hands, they create a deep connection. It is precisely from this connection that healing comes. Think of lovers: when they touch their hands, they make love in a more sublime way.”
“My hands grandma…. how long I haven’t used them like this!”
“Move them, my love. Begin to create with them and everything within you will begin to move. The pain will not pass away. And instead what you do with them will become the most beautiful masterpiece and it won’t hurt anymore. Because you have been able to transform its essence..
~Elena Bernabe ~                                           

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What Happened at Resonance 2022?


f your entire life were condensed to just three days, what would you like those three days to look like?

For me, I’d like those days to look like the last three days at Resonance2022 organized by District41, Toastmasters International. And here’s why…

#We were all in the right room:

If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room. – Confucius

Anyone who attended the Resonance will agree that we were all in the right room. Well, the room happened to be the Viceroy Hall at WelcomHotel ITC Dwarka. It was here that we engaged with the emcees, interacted with Toastmasters top team and witnessed a superb lineup of keynote speakers! And then, there is much more learning that happened off-the-stage simply by observing the demeanor of leaders. #Learning

#We were building new bridges:
A survey of 200 random people was conducted where they were all invited to a hall. Research found that most sat next to someone who was like themselves – a white man sat next to a white man, a black next to a black and a fat man sat beside a fat man! Nothing, however, could be more debilitating to our growth. (Source – Professor Himanshu Rai, guest speaker at Resonance 2022).
Thankfully, that was not the case at all at the Viceroy Hall. It witnessed 200+ people from different parts of Bangladesh, India and Nepal bonding and mingling together, celebrating others achievements and creating new bridges. The atmosphere of Toastmasters and the well thought-out activities designed by the emcees automatically ensured everyone got busy opening new possibilities for themselves! #Networking

#We were fully present!

We learn best in moments of enjoyment – Dr. Ralph C Smedley.

And enjoyment is much more than laughing over a humorous act.  The physical activities, a sense of empathy for others, new perspectives along with the fun moments made the magic happen – It opened the participants minds fully and activated all senses which made them more receptive to new ideas and made even the complex learning easily palatable. #Enjoyment

All of that and more happened inside the Viceroy Hall. Things that made us all feel a little more humble,  a little more human. If you attended, please share what else you saw happening inside the Viceroy Hall at Resonance 2022 and if you missed, it better be because you had something more important or worthwhile to do at the time 🙂.

The Power of “One More” 


have realized one thing about myself – I need motivation every now and then to keep going. I abide completely by Zig Ziglar’s quote that goes:

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.

So, in my pursuit I heard this highly energizing  interview of Ed Mylett, Enterpreneur and author of the upcoming book, The Power of One Morereleasing on 1st June. I hadn’t heard of this guy, Ed, before but I knew the interviewer, Pete Vargas. Pete is the CEO of Platform University of which I was once a sincere member, when it belonged to Michael Hyatt.

This one hour interview pumped me up BIG time. It was like love at first mic for me. So much so that I preordered this book The Power of One More straight after watching his interview.

Listen to the full interview below or refer some my notes below.

  • Ed talked about one more that can change everything in our life:
    • One more try to quit smoking or drinking
    • Saying I am not going to drink for one more day
    • Saying I am not going to quit for one more day
  • You’re much closer to your dreams than you think you are. Have the goal clear and think what can bring it closer to you:
    • One more meeting
    • One more decision
    • One emotion
    • One hour of someone’s time
  • He included such new powerful quotes to bring the message home that you are qualified to change other peoples lives and your own. In fact, the very things you think disqualify you (I’m not good enough, I have failed myself, I am an alcoholic myself..) are the ones that are your biggest qualifications to change others lives and your own:
    • “Your mess becomes your message.”
    • “God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”
    • “Your test becomes your testimony.”
  • Keep your own promises (to become the most confident person when you lets say feel you’re the most awkward person today:
    • Do the things that are in your control. Make a promise on those and do them and do one more.
    • For example: If 30 minutes of daily cardio is your promise to yourself, do that and an extra minute, the one more! This fills you with confidence like nothing else.
      • Make your bed daily
      • 1 gallon of water daily
      • Set the clothes the night before
  • A parent who is not in pursuit of their dreams are neglecting their children.
    •  If you tell them, “you can be whatever you want to be“. He/ she might be thinking, “.. and why not you mamma?
    • Things with our children are caught not taught. i.e. they’ll do what you do, not what you ask them to do.
    • There are different types of child neglect – divorce, drug addition, not telling them that you love them, but one of the most insidious* (*proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with very harmful effects) form of child neglect is a parent who’s not in pursuit of their potential or their dreams. They’re catching that from you.
  • You realize the power of one more when you realize that you may not have that one more any longer.
    • What if you don’t have the one more chance with your parents for example or children.
    • Take one more action with a loved one – tell them how much your love them, or ask them for forgiveness. Something. Do it now.
  • Perhaps the biggest lesson of all for me was when he said that he lives 3 days in one. Don’t believe me?
    • His point is that the day doesn’t need to be 24 hours long anymore like it was 50 or 100 years back. Those times, things would take their own sweet time but not anymore.
    • He, and as a matter of fact, even Pete live 3 days everyday and get so much more done. How? They consider day one as 6 am till noon, and then review what they’ve accomplished, what they’re grateful for and create/ adjust the plan for the next day i.e. noon to 6 pm. They repeat the same for 6pm till 11 or midnight.
    • That may seem like a mind game, but it works to increase the amount of things they get done massively. I have tried and it works.

As you can guess, I am all for the power of one more, what about you?

[5-Bullet Tuesday] How to Bring Up Your Parents!

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering. Today is the World Book Day and so most of the bullets will have a book recommendation in them.

What I’m reading –
The Passionate Programmer by Chad Fowler
This is unlike any books that you would normally see me with.
So, what attracted me to this one?
Looking at this book in the shelves at the British Council Library, I had a ticklish feeling inside- “I am a Software Project Manager and I must know more about the world’s of programmers who I manage!
And I’m glad I picked the book as it gave me more than what I had expected. This book is not just useful for programmers or IT professional (although I’d vouch that is is a must read for them), the message in the book will apply to you no matter what profession or role you play in the organization.

What I loved watching—
The subject I have feared the most is Finance. But for some Godly reason, I have been associated with Banking industry for over 12 years now – retail, investment. asset management, you name it. While it’s less of a monster now, but some concepts still trouble the heck out of me (Derivatives, Hedge funds, Mark to Markit, CDOs). So much that I would pay a fortune to anyone who’s able to make me understand them in a simple way.

One such man who’s making difficult concepts super easy is Paddy Heirsch.

This three minute video explaining SWAPS completely blew my mind – never seen or even imagined this convoluted topic could be explained in such a short, simple and sticky way. I’m an instant fan of Paddy Heirsch. Already got his book – Man versus Markets, as well, which explains in a plain and simple way how markets work. You can’t afford not to read it.

Song I’m loving listening to –
There is something special about heading out of the house even if it is a walk down to the neighborhood park. Heard a seventeen year old singing a soul touching legendary Nasrat Fateh Ali Khan’s song. Listening to live performances, even if it is an amateur singer at the local park, has a far greater effect than Alexa playing at home. Sharing this lovely song which I heard for the first time from this local legend.

Quote I’m pondering —

A manager is not supposed to be a pinch-hitter (substitute batter in baseball), knowing the whole team’s job and filling in when things get difficult.
– Lister and DeMarco in the book, Peopleware (which is in my books to read list)  

 What I learnt –
“My Daddy used to carry me on my shoulders when I was seven years old. People would tell him that it would hurt to carry a big boy, but Daddy didn’t care. He loved pampering me when I was a kid.”

Daddy is now 80 years old and is dealing with multiple age related health problems – ILD, Prostrate, Sodium imbalance. This also takes a toll on his mental and emotional well being. I have hardly ever before seen him break down but that’s not unusual in the current scenario.

What he needs in this time is a role-reversal – the pampering that he once showered on us to be returned to him – a regular haircut he enjoys, a shower, a car ride (other than the Doctor visits) and a sweet ritual like a special meal cooked with love.

He needs a feeling that he is being fully heard, a feeling that he is covered in all aspects – financial independence, medical management, social connections – everything that will make him emotionally secure.

A lot of the ideas above come from this free e-book called “Daddy, My Baby” by self published author Rishi Sharma. It’s a short book but a must read if you’re struggling with how to take care of elderly parents with love and affection.

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When in Rome…


ave you been to the US or  want to go to the US?
I hear Yessss!!

I was like one of you. I so wanted to go to the US. And yes, my great American dream was realized in February 2005 when my company sent me to the US, a.k.a. “onsite” for a project.

I packed my bags and off I was on my maiden flight trip and that too to America.  

Now, living in the US, you see, is a totally different experience – One of the first things I did was to get a rental car. I felt like I had arrived.

As I was driving one day, sitting on the black leather seats of my white Mercedes Benz, I heard a police siren. I pulled over and the police car stopped behind me.

Back here in India, I am used to getting out of the car in such a scenario, walking up to the cop and negotiating a deal. Little did I know that doing that in the US could be fatal.

I stepped out of my car, and must have taken just a step. I looked up to see two police guns pointing at me.

Please don’t kill me, sir!” I shouted, my trembling hands automatically rising.

Hands down sir, and in the front. Stop right there, and kneel down. Now!” he answered.

I survived, few hundred dollars lighter in my pocket for the ticket.

My Dad back in India almost had a heart attack when I told him I paid thousands of rupees for a petty traffic violation. I think Dad would have been better off had I been gunned down in America (tongue in cheek)! 

About a week passed, and my colleague Bala told me, “Easy, man! Lets take a walk out after dinner.

We carried a bag with peanuts and wore layers after layers of woolens. And, how could we forget to wear our monkey caps to save us from the biting chill.

As we were walking, Bala suggested taking a short cut through a park. As we were enjoying our peanuts, we heard a series of police cars sirens.

Bala and I looked at each other. That can’t be for us, we thought!

Well, apparently someone had called up 911 and reported something on the lines of, “Two masked men possibly carrying ammo trespassing into our property.”

In no time, we were face to face with the police. Bala almost died. I tried explaining to the cops but my broken English didn’t let me get my message across to the cops.

Anyway, after some frantic phone calls, it was all finally sorted. 

I swore not to do anything illegal in America. In fact, I swore not to do anything in America for the fear of it being illegal.

A month passed, and then one day a senior colleague, Hari Prasad a.k.a. Harry called me, “Let’s go to Blue Trail in Connecticut. “

What on earth is that?” I asked.

“It’s a shooting range where you can practice on real guns. It’s fun, it’s legal and c’mon, even 9 year old’s are allowed to practice there.”

After confirming on the website a dozen times, I said “Okay!”. And eight of us went to Blue Trail in Connecticut and did what no man or woman at least on our Facebook friend list had ever done before!”

..and what do you do when you come back from an experience like that – Bury it in your heart forever or post it on Facebook?

Ignorance can be educated, Crazy can be medicated, but there is no cure for the stupid! 

Different poses of me with an AK47 sizzled the Internet for a week. So many comments that Facebook slowed down that week. Bliss.

The glory only lasted a week. I had taken a day off and was relaxing at the hotel, when suddenly the silence was broken as my phone rang.

There’s someone to see you Mr Sawhney.

I came out to the hotel lobby to see two HUGE men. They sat me down on the sofa seats in the lobby.

“Mr Sawhney, we’re from the FBI and doing a routine check. Can we have a little talk?”

FBI!!!!! “Sure”, I said (as if I had any choice!)

“Have you ever been to Connecticut?”

“Yes, I think I have been to Connecticut”

“You think or have you been to Connecticut, Mr Sawhney?

Well. Yeah, I have been to Blue Trail in Connecticut. 


Just to have some fun.

He pointed me to the gun hanging from under his belt and said, “We have got some guns here, would you like to have some fun now?”

I don’t know what happened after that. I was dying several times every moment.

What if they detain me, torture me, kill me. I blacked out. Before they left, one of them said, “Take care sir!”  

Apparently, they asked the same set of questions at the same time to each of the eight of us who had gone to The Blue Trail. Seemed like a proper interrogation.

Those were my glorious days in the US. 

Do you still want to go to the US?  Courageous lot, haa? Just remember: Those sirens… yes, they are for you! 🙂

On a serious note, it is said that, “When in Rome, do as Romans do!”  But my advise to you would be to “First KNOW what Romans do. Only then can you DO as Romans Do.”  

If you like this post, then show the love by sharing it with friends and family. The best part of writing a blog is the discussion that follows, so do register your thoughts and views below.

This script is based on direct or indirect experiences and stories heard while in US captured as a speech for a Toastmasters project.


[5-Bullet Tuesday] Make Time For Your Mental Wellbeing!

Hi All,

Wish you all a very happy and healthy Mental Health Week. And here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering.

Templates I loved using –

If you have to do something more than once, have a template for it.

Meetings, that’s something we all have to do every day. And yet, we usually don’t have a template for it. Most of us stress and struggle preparing for meetings and secretly hope godly interference to save us. Right? Well, if your situation is something similar, these two templates will surely come in handy to you.

These templates (courtesy: Michael Hyatt) are super effective in planning for meeting and getting the recommendation across to the manager for approval. Use these and see how much more in control you will feel.
Recommendation Briefing Form
Effective Meeting Blueprint

What am I excited about—

A few weeks back, I had mentioned a silver lining for everyone including myself who is delaying starting their Podcast (Podcrastination). Well, while I am still getting there, but my son, Tanav has taken the plunge already. Yes, he started his own Podcast! And it’s really nice (okay, I may be biased but check it out and find out for yourself) – It’s called Reality versus Expectations and he interviews people from varying job profiles and finds out if the general perception of a job meets the reality. Check it out: Reality versus Expectations.

What I learnt about Mental Health–
it was refreshing to attend the Jay Shetty talk organized by Macquarie office to mark the World Mental Health Day (10th October). Quite an insightful session and more than that, the way he speaks is magnetic. I heard his entire keynote of 30 minutes and another 30 minutes of the Q&A session that followed. He is on the top running On Purpose podcast

  • The growth equation: Pain + Reflection = Progress
  • Remember to make TIME for these things every single day (TIME is the acronym for : Thankfulness, Inspiration, Meditation, Exercise and a bonus S for timely and adequate Sleep.
  • Gratitude must be expressed, specific and personalized!
  • Be curious not creepy. 
  • In this time of pandemic and lockdown, make your own commute.

Questions I loved–
Jay Shetty also suggests building deep connections by asking good questions. Here are some of them which he says he often asks his guests in his On Purpose podcast:

  • What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
  • If you had to make a rule that everyone had to follow for 30 days, what would it be?
  • What’s something you used to value but don’t value any more?

These he says are far better than the usual, How was your weekend, or what are you plans for coming weekend, questions.

Poetry I loved –
Attending the 100th milestone meeting of Bright Beginning Toastmasters Club was a feast. They had invited professional Hindi poets. Well, I could gather only some part of it given it’s depth and my limited understanding of pure Hindi. But, what I understood has left a strong desire to know more (isn’t that what a masterpiece often does?). Particularly noted re-listening to Karvan Guzar Gaya – an inspiring poem by Gopaldas ‘Neeraj’ about missed opportunities.  

Coincidently, I also documented my own little Hindi homage poem this week, which was a tribute to Ashok Mamu, whom we lost in May amidst the second wave of the pandemic. It was his birthday this Friday and the family marked the occasion as Celebration of Life.

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Celebration Of Life

Today is Ashok Mamu’s birthday. We lost him this May amidst the scathing wave of COVID-19.

Today, the family celebrates his life. On his birthday.

Ashok Mamu was a constant in my life. Since I gained consciousness. He was there. I feel so even though we hardly spoke with each other. An inexplicable bond. Vibes. He was someone who was always there. Really there. The kind of presence that gives one the comfort one needs. Like the peace of mind to know someone’s there. To take care. Like you have nothing to worry about. This poem is a homage to the divine soul, Ashok Mamu. Happy Birthday.

**अशोक मामू : श्रद्धांजलि * *******ॐ शांति******  कोई ऐसा मौका न था जब आप नहीं थे, जब जिसको जहाँ ज़रूरत थी आप वही थे आपके बिना जीना तो आता ही नहीं, भगवान से ये सवाल है इसमें क्या है सही?  सय्यम, विश्वास, स्पष्टता,संस्कार, हसमुख, अनुशासनी व उदार। एक शब्द में कहुँ तो आपसे सीखा है- सही माईने में प्यार।  नियति (my sweet little sis) ने मुझे एकअच्छी बात बताई है - की लोग तब तक ज़िंदा रहते हैं, जब तक उनको हम अपनी यादों में अपनी बातों में और अपने कामो में जीवित रखें|  एक बार ज़िन्दगी ने बड़ी शान से, पुछा सवाल मृत्यु से - ऐसा क्यों के सब मुझे करते प्यार, और तेरा तिरस्कार ? तो मृत्यु ने मुस्कुरा कर जवाब दिया: क्युकी तुम एक मीठा झूठ हो प्यारा, और में एक कड़वा सच तुम्हारा।  तो मृत्यु जीवन का अंत नहीं शुरुआत है, आपके बिना जीना सीखने की बात है, आपकी यादों, सिद्धांतों, दिखाया हुआ मार्ग, सिखाये हुए नियमों का साथ है, भले ही ये लग रही अँधेरी रात है- पर ये भी एक नयी परभात है।  ******ॐ शांति******

[5-Bullet Tuesday] You Can Communicate With Impact!

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering.

Event I attended–
Communicate with Impact, a virtual session organized at Macquarie office. At Macquarie, we follow leadership expert Peter Fuda and apply his teachings. Here’s some food for thought from the Mr. Peter Fuda:PeterFuda_quote_photo_3

The D&I definition I loved—
Corporates are giving a lot of attention to Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) these days, but it can be complex to understand. This simple definition clarified it for me:

Diversity is the mix. Inclusion is making the mix work. ~ Andres Tapia

Quote I’m pondering —
I recently delivered my Toastmaster’s speech where my evaluator used this quote. It was such a nice mischievous way to define a good speech.  

“A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt – long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.”
― Winston S. Churchill

Poem I loved reading—
This goes out to those who are avoiding risk, playing it safe, being too cautious. Well, expounding it makes me imagine myself in the frame. Erghhh.. Okay, anyway, it’s a good way to remind ourselves to L.I.V.E.

There was a very cautious man

Who never laughed or played
He never risked, he never tried,
He never sang or prayed.
And when he passed away one day,
His insurance was denied,
For since he never really lived,
They claimed he never really died.
(Anonymous poem)

―  John C. Maxwell, From Developing the Leader Within You

What I learnt about communication–
When communicating, here are some principles which we often forget. It was a pleasant refresher for me from the Communicate with Impact session I attended last week:

  1. Don’t sell, create the gap!
  2. Speak to the heart, not just to the head!
  3. Speak less, say more!
  4. Context before Content!
  5. Give the punchline early
  6. Use a metaphor
  7. Define what’s up for grabs and what not (Negotiables versus non-negotiables)
  8. Once an agreement has been reached, close the conversation.
  9. Demonstration always works better than Description
  10. They may tolerate your conclusions but people will commit to their own conclusions.

If you like this post, then show the love by sharing it with friends and family. The best part of writing a blog is the discussion that follows, so do register your thoughts and views below.