Stay tuned!


t’s Sunday. Ankan is looking for a place to hang out. He searches the MeetUp app. Our club meeting pops up. He decides to join us as a guest.

Ankan tells us that he is a medical professional and likes dabbling with poetic expressions.

He participates in Table Topics session where he takes us down his memory lane to the Mall road in Shimla where a monkey had once snatched his spectacles off his nose. It was hilarious. We exchanged a lot of smiles.

By the end of the meeting, we think we know a lot about Ankan. But it’s not until he recites his poem that we realize there is a lot more to Ankan than meets the eye. Here’s a para from his poem, “All I Want”:

Sometimes I just wanna talk... Sometimes I just want to pour out.
I have stacked up a lot, all I want is to say it out loud!

But there is no one to listen... There is no one to care.
And all I do is cry a little, when all I want is to smile a little!

We would have completely missed this side of Ankan if it was not for this poem. We are glad we were tuned in. Indeed, the art of conversation lies in listening – both to what’s spoken and what’s not.

Surely, there are a lot of other sides to Ankan. And to each one of us. All we must continue to do is… stay tuned!

[5-Bullet Tuesday] How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big?

Hi All,

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

What I’m reading –

Loving reading Scott Adam’s, “How to fail at everything and still win big!” The famous Dilbert cartoonist comes across as a humble boy next door with down to earth, relatable and practical advise and hope for those who consider themselves average and still hope to Image result for How to fail at everything and still win big. Size: 120 x 160. Source: big! All green lights for this simple yet powerful book.

What Movie I watched —
Watched the movie, Cuttputli on Disney Hotstar yesterday. Best part of the movie is that it turned out to be the movie which the entire family including my teenage son and nine year old daughter ended up watching from beginning till end. That itself is a big deal given the options available these days to children.Disney+ Hotstar announces new Akshay Kumar film 'Cuttputli' | MintSohana, my daughter, is usually dead against thrillers but she too managed to brave it out – thanks to Akshay Kumar and Rakulpreet, kid’s favorites (although they’re too cool to admit it). Sohana and I gave the movie a 4 stars rating but I have to admit that it is because expectations from Bollywood these days are at an all time low and so anything decent enough looks good. I didn’t quite loke the real culprit and how it unfolded at the end. Doesn’t quite fit the definition of a thriller. Nevertheless, a movie you can watch with family if you’re okay seeing dead bodies of children in plastic bags.

Feeling low? – everyday happiness formula I learnt

How can I not share a little something from the Scott Adams book I’m reading 📕. Here it goes – use it like a checklist and you’ll never feel low or unhappy:


  • Eat right
  • Exercise
  • Get enough sleep
  • Imagine an incredible future (even if you don’t believe it)
  • Work towards a flexible schedule (i.e. go for productivity over attendance)
  • Do things you can steadily improve at (choose a career path that affords a continual improvement)
  • Help others (if you’ve already helped yourself)
  • Reduce daily decisions to routine


Quote I’m pondering —

“If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.”
— Rita Mae Brown


What I learnt –

I was listening to the Business Made Simple podcast by Donald Miller where I learnt a different perspective on what caused Kodak to die. Kodak was the company that invented the digital photography too 📷 but chose to stick to film based photography business. Well, but it wasn’t simply that the competition picked the digital technology that caused Kodak to fail. Ironically, people didn’t quite have a use for the countless digital pictures they clicked back in the time (I can completely relate with that. Remember transferring the images into the laptop 💻 and wondering what to do with it.). And therefore, Kodak still could have survived. The last nail in Kodak’s coffin was actually Facebook. Yes, because Facebook meant that those countless digital pictures finally had a home. A home where these images could be shared , discussed and celebrated. (I remember uploading the digital photos on Facebook on my maiden US trip. In fact, I overdid it as I shared the images of my gun shooting experience 🔫 at the Connecticut firing range – a story for another time!). And therefore, the disruption wasn’t because of a direct or obvious competition but because of a new unforeseen one. That’s how disruptions work anyway -disruptively.

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.


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 🙂.

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.


What Good Are Your Generic Management Skill?


ad is unwell. He was discharged from hospital just last Thursday after 9 nights 10 days at the hospital.

As he has extreme weakness and breathing issues, we are having to set up the ground floor room to make it more convenient for him during this difficult time. We otherwise are at the 1st floor but there isn’t an elevator in our old ancestral house.

There were two people who were here to help us today in this mission-  both well known- one for electric connections, Sanju, and Ram for general help for moving things around and arranging / overseeing resources.

Where as the electrician, Sanju, has a specific skill, Ram does not have any specific skill – his skills are more generic: Arranging or leveraging available resources, managing the resources etc.

Ram could quickly arrange a rickshaw at a reasonable price, get the traction on the seemingly mammoth task of moving the fridge from a distant location to where it was needed. He also offered a helping little hand to the electrician to pass the drill machine for example, to the rickshaw puller to move the fridge around.

He also provided some experiential advise across all these broad range of areas. While both are valued individuals, but if I were forced to choose one among the two, I would go for the general manager.

The reason is simple – The general manager can help arrange an electrician in no time, where as the other way round is unlikely.

I gave 320 bucks to the electrician and two old wallets I don’t use. He was happy with that and quickly moved on to the next gig elsewhere.

I gave my old suit (the one I wore at my wedding) to Ram, the general manager, three nice shirts I don’t wear any more, and offered him a job once he returns from his village. He’s visiting his village for a wedding where he could look the smartest wearing this suit. He was immensely happy, and so was I.

A lot of us are into generic project management or operations.  Some of us feel miserable with the fact that we don’t have a specific skill. Well, don’t.

You might be undermining your unique ability of management.

Management: simply means “manage men tactfully”

Well, don’t get me wrong or think that I’m sexist. That’s just an easy way to remember what “management” means. In fact, it’s not just managing people, its about leveraging and managing all resources.

As the resources are always scarce, if you have this ability and are constantly honing it, there is no way you will be redundant, irrelevant or out of a job. In fact, you’re better placed than many of those who are skilled in depth in a specific area.

Few other points to ponder:

  • Hard skills are relatively easier to replace but soft skills are not.
  • Soft skills are more human, where as hard skills can be automated.
  • Soft skills can make you stand apart from competitors.
  • Soft skills are harder to find or even identify but once confirmed, the employer wouldn’t let you go.
Skills approach
You will need more and more of Human (generic/ soft) skills as you rise the management ladder.

Now say cheese and get back to doing what you do best. Until next time, this is Mohit signing off.

Here’s What You Do!


apa, if all our family members get COVID, then what would happen?”, asks my seven year old daughter, Sohana.

She’s such clear with her questions and so expressive that I miss a beat when a question like that comes.

However, Dinky and I have made one rule, and that is that we have to stay calm no matter what. Calm is infectious (..more than the virus!) and that’s all we need at the moment.

Otherwise, we’ll lose it all even without giving it a fight.

The delay in my response has already given the little mind enough ideas, and I can see the BIG tears rolling down her face turned smaller than usual because of the anxieties.

So, I tell her very matter of factly, “Nohana, we have to keep our immune system intact.”

Now, she’s listening. She wants to know more, the sudden stopping of her tears tell me.”

It’s strange I can tell that, even while she’s mostly covered in her face with the mask, which too appears too big for her small face.

“Doctor Mamu was telling me earlier today that even if a virus attacks our body, our body soon starts fighting with it. If our immune system is good, not only would it kill the germs, but it would also make our body stronger next time. That’s how nature works.”

“Nohana, what can you do to keep your immunity high?”, I asked.

“By thinking good thoughts, eating good food and staying hydrated”, she said confirming she knows it all.

She smiled. After all. She adjusts her mask, which is flimsy dealing with the cold, the tears, the cough.. too much for it to handle, apparently.

The date today was 27th Sept, and today was the first day, since 7th Sept, when I actually went out to the balcony with her. Of course, still fully geared with my mask, and a bottle of sanitiser which has suddenly become such a constant in my life.

That’s all we can do, guys. Sohana know it and so do we all. We may not be able to protect us from the virus, despite our best efforts. I thought I was cautious, my family was cautious ,,but it did happen. 

The good news still is that we still have a lot in our control – and it starts with what our intake is: mental intake as well as physical. That’s what would keep us strong to fight it, in case it comes. Here’s my daily checklist for your reference. This is, of course, in addition to the medicines which you may be prescribed:

  1. Vitamins:
    1. Vitamins C
    2. Multivitamin
    3. Zencovit (Zinc)
  2. Food:
    1. > 1.5 L Water
    2.  Fruits including banana, apple, anaar, 
    3. Nutritious Food
    4. Coconut Water
    5. Hot ginger water
  3. Reading and Listening list:
    1. John Maxwell’s “Make Today Count”
    2. Easy Translation of Bhagwat Geeta
    3. Humour they say creates positive hormones. I was reading a book called FML (Viewer discretion advised: 18+ 🙂 ) which I find quite funny actually.
    4. The survive and thrive podcast by John Meese. (Yeah, I want to thrive not just survive..) 

Now, is there any of the above that is not “still” in your control? With a little support from your family or caretaker you can manage it all easily. Do it for your kids too. 

Focus on what you can control.

Post this emotional furor, Sohaan and I did some more usual talk, the more 7 year old types. “Papa, how many days before I can hug you?” .. “OK.., and Mama?”..

It was such a comfort to have her speak out cheerfully like that. 

I can’t explain what it means to me now to have a “normal talk”, “a dinner together”, “standing beside each other”… after having lon..ged for it for so long.  

We had our one:to:one time may be after a month. I don’t know how much comforting was it for her, but I certainly felt blessed. 

Tanav, my 11 year old son, chose to stay inside. In his room. I later figured that he was talking to his mom while I was with Soha. He needed the one:to:one time too. He has his own emotions and so much more to deal with.

It seems like they’ve grown up much faster in the last 3 weeks than they have in years. They’re on their own, and even taking care of each other. They’ve, once again, surprised us with what they can do and achieve.  

Of course, children, like we all, have their emotions, all we need to do is to support each other so we open up to our emotions and find good ways to deal with them. 

Bottled up emotions are harmful. Help your children find ways to deal with them instead.

How would you answer Sohana or your child if they asked, “Papa, if all our family members get COVID, then what would happen?” 



Hands down winner of the day.. “kids”

A pretty emotionally draining day today. Test for Deepti came positive too. As human beings, we hope against hope that things go better than we expect.
But we have to face it. They say, “you have to name it, to tame it

Now we have a name to it, we’re at it to tame it.
At home,  surprisingly so, if anyone has put up  the most courageous and calm stand, it is the kids. And, what can be more relaxing for us than that?
There’s so much to learn from the sweethearts – they are almost taking it like an adventure game. That is such a pleasant attitude towards a situation like we find ourselves in today.

It’s much better than sobbing, panicking or blaming the situation. None of that would help.

And all of us, adults in the house are most guilty of just that.
Someone has rightly said, “Adults are nothing more than deteriorated children” .

It’s good to be a child and look for adventure in crisis, and find your way forward while having of course still following the rules of the game. It makes the journey easy and less emotionally draining with some of that fun.

Even my sweetheart nieces, are expressing their love by staying connected and bringing us all smiles through our common website blog
It helps remaining in touch and keeping us is very positive mood. It’s important to keep our mind in a reward state of mind which all these kids are teaching me.

I love you all to the moon and back.

You are showing us the way.

[5-Bullet Tuesday] Hold Fast To Your Dreams

Hi All,

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

What I’m reading –

I am reading Against the Wind the recently released memoir of her life by Mrs Rajni Kumar.

Mrs Kumar, now 96, is the lady who’s been an inspiration for me for many many years. She started the Springdales school, a school with enviable reputation, which has now expanded to a total of four branches including one in Dubai!

Ah, great it is to believe the dream,

As we stand in youth by the starry stream.

But a greater thing is to fight life through,

And say at the end, the dream is true!

(Mrs Kumar ends her book with this quote by American poet Edwin Markham.)

Well, I was not a Springdalian myself but my fascination for the school was such that I’d sometimes even lie telling acquaintances that I was from Springdales instead of my own school which was the adjacent Salwan School. Not that I had anything against my own school, but then I used to spend a lot of time playing with Springdalians and had a natural affinity towards everything Springdalian!

I guess I never really outgrew my fascination (or was it obsession?) and when time came for me to get married, I would dream of getting married to a Springdalian.

That elusive dream of mine, after all, did become a reality and today I’m married to a Springdalian (who I love for many more reasons than just that!) and both my children study at Springdales! Thanks to the point based selection system in Delhi for School admissions, which gives due consideration to the School alumni.

That’s a bit of my own memoir there and in case you didn’t know, here’s the difference between a memoir and an autobiography:

By the way, did you notice, Mrs Kumar’s quote fits so well in my own journey too!

What Movie I watched —

Imagine if you unexpectedly find a bag full of crores of rupees one fine day. What would it do to your principles and values that you have been carrying over the years? 

No one’s watching. Would you pick the bag or leave it and carry on with your life as before? 

If you choose to pick it, what would it do to you, and your relationships with your family?

Chappar Phaad Ke“, is the movie that is a tell tale of all that, with realistic performances by Vinay Pathak and others. Although it is a bit slow, but it’s pretty thrilling and keeps you hooked till the end. All in all, a good, one time, family watch. 

Every time after she’s heard a story or watched a movie, I ask my six year old daughter, Sohana, what the moral of the story was. And, no matter what the story, her answer is always the same, “लालच बुरी बला है” (Greed is bad!).

This time, however, she was right!

Memories I’m Making –

It was John Maxwell who brainwashed me (well, in a good way, of course!) into believing that I can create great memories with my loved ones.   

This Diwali, we as a family agreed to get one family picture clicked that we’ll

forever be proud of. In a world where smartphones click a gazillion pictures a day, we decided to get just one that spoke volumes of our chemistry. 

Everyone put their best foot forward and a day which would have, otherwise, filled itself watching videos of Sis and Bro, exchanging Whatsapp messages, or playing Brawl Stars mindlessly, found itself a purpose. We all nicely dressed and posed well for this picture. 

A picture that will indeed make memories come fresh timelessly. 

If there is one thing I have to tell you, it would be – Don’t wait for memories to happen, get up to create them yourself. 

Because, you and only you can! Read this article to find out how. 

Happy Diwali! 

Quote I’m pondering—

Hold fast to dreams 
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

– Langston Hughes

What I ‘m impressed with–

Festivity is in the air. What if crackers are banned in Delhi, creativity is set ablaze all around. Have you seen chocolates in the shape of rockets, anaars, chakkari and sutli bombs? You name it. 

Risking coining a new term here, cracko-lates. Now would that make me famous?


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.


My Longing To Belonging

Roses are red, violets are blue

A face like you, belongs in the zoo.

But don’t you worry, I’ll be there with you.

Not in a cage, but laughing at you.

Do you know how you looked when you were a baby?

You probably don’t remember yourself, but I’m sure your elders have told you.

It was the 29th July 1990. It was a glorious day, just like today.

My Grandma and I were sitting in our veradah watching the slight drizzle outside. We often sat here and I used to excitedly listen to her stories of the times gone by.

But that particular day Grandma sitting on the white cane chair said something that changed my life for ever.

“I remember the day when you were born. I was in the kitchen making tea when the phone rang. It was a call from the hospital and the news of you arriving.”, she said.

I smiled and gestured for her to continue.

“Yeah, it was raining so heavily I was wondering if I should go by the car or take a boat to the hospital.”

“I reached the hospital, and before I saw your face, as our rich family traditions have it, I gave your mother an envelope full of money. Her work was done. And why not, after four granddaughters, I had a grandson.!

Then, I asked the nurse to hand you to me. I held you in my arms for the first time and then I looked at you.

I still remember, you looked like a perfect ugly duckling!!!”

And she laughed like there was no tomorrow. In fact there wasn’t. For me. Because it might have been her weird sense of humor but that moment was one when I felt as if I didn’t belong to my own family. 

But then, I consoled myself: After all, it doesn’t matter what people think you look like. What matters is what you think you look like!

Well.., every day from that day onward, I would look at myself in the mirror and all I saw was an ugly duckling!

That’s how I became an ugly duckling wholeheartedly. Now, my dear fellow beautiful ducklings, do you know what this ugly duckling wanted?

All this ugly duckling ever wanted was to belong. 

And thus started my longing for belonging. I wanted to belong. To anyone. To anything.

In school, I did well. With great difficulty, I managed to make friends. We were three of us – Rahul, Mohit and Nitin.

Do you want to know the kind of bond we shared? Yes?

Rahul used to hate me. Nitin hated Rahul. I hated both of them!

The entire school life.

A little price to pay for belonging.

In college, I did even better. You see, the girls with the beauty and the brawn didn’t think I even existed. But I still made many girlfriends. Do you want to know how?

Well, I would fall head over heels for anyone who would care to smile at me.

After all, I wanted to belong. To anyone.

A little price to pay for belonging.

But none of those relationships ever lasted. Because all those girls were completely useless. After all, how could anyone with any grey matter ever fall in love with an ugly duckling?

Even here, haven’t you noticed me trying to please you? I pleased people all the way to become the President of the Toastmasters Club of West Delhi.

A little price to pay for belonging.

There is nothing wrong with trying to belong. Don’t we all want to be a part of something greater than ourselves?

But we often try to fit in to belong rather than, stand out to belong.

There is just one thing I have learnt from a lifetime of quack quacks.

[bctt tweet=”True belonging happens not by fitting in, but by standing out.” username=”mohitsawhney”]

Not by trying to be like them, but by being your authentic self.

Yes, It’s a little scary standing out here, but the view is breathtaking.

Well, I’m still trying to belong. Do you think I belong to you, the Toastmasters?


Okay, then I guess the ugly duckling was right.

I met it in the mirror this morning, it said:

Yes, roses are red Yes, violets are blue

Be you be true

Whether in the zoo Or in Honolulu

They have nothing else to do,

Those who laugh at you!

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.