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Recent Posts

Learn or Perish

A McKinsey colleague once told me a funny yet sad story of this old lady working at a client company. He had to meet her a few times with some data requests. Since she used to always appear busy and overworked, he asked her what her job was. Turns out, she used to...

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Do you get nervous?

A few months after I moved out of the US, just near my erstwhile apartment building, a plane landed in the Hudson River, near New York City.  The US Airways flight had a complete engine failure due to a bird-hit and had no power left. Yet, Captain Sullenberger, a...

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Who is a genius?

In the first semester at IIT Kanpur, I noticed this guy whose class notes would just be half a page of tiny scrawl, scribbled with a ball-point refill.  In the hostel, he would usually be playing cricket or doing bull sessions with friends. Clearly, not a recipe for...

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It’s okay not to be okay

Years ago, when I was a civil servant, a young IPS officer was briefly posted under me for training. A sensitive guy, he was struggling with some mental health issues. Unfortunately, his anxiety got aggravated, resulting in a near breakdown. A few days later, I...

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RDX or Detonator?

If you set fire to a lump of RDX, it does not explode - it just burns harmlessly. To unleash its killer explosive power, all you have to do is - hook it to a detonator (a thin pencil-like explosive device). Similarly, to achieve our life goals, we often already have...

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The curse of unlimited freedom

This lockdown brought utopia to many of us. No more office, college, or school - at least not in a physical sense. We could sleep at 5 am, wake up at noon, binge watch Netflix, eat copiously, use the smartphone furiously, only to sleep again at 5 am.  And...

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2 AM Warriors

In IIT hostels, most of us were 2 am warriors. We would be routinely awake till 2 or 3 am, and the canteen would be crowded after midnight. That may sound heroic, but hear out the rest of the story before you decide. Since the night was infinitely long (in our mind),...

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The Real Mastery is Over our Mind

In 2002, after becoming President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was visiting VSSC (Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre), Trivandrum, where he had worked earlier. In a conference room, he and the scientists were busy, talking like old friends. As the Trivandrum City Police chief, I was...

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Distraction = Death

I once thought that the biggest harm from digital distraction (e.g., WhatsApp, Instagram, etc.) was wastage of time. It is like saying that drugs are harmful because they cost money. But if someone gave them free, would they be ok? Time-wastage is the smallest of the...

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