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The Day I Switched Off my Whatsapp! Writing and Creating Audiences Overcoming Chronic Failure A to Z Reflections
Friday, November 6, 2015
The Day I Switched Off my Whatsapp!

Social Media is probably one of the most important communicative tools present out there today. Not a minute goes by without someone going ‘online’. Thanks to its growing demand and competition, we have many platforms to voice out our opinions today.

I am known among those close to me to take my sabbatical on Fridays. Being privileged to own my own clinic, I am allowed to take off from work and focus solely on spending time at home with my family. Last week however, I decided to take it a step further. I decided to go offline completely for just that one day. What I wasn’t really prepared for was to switch off my whatsapp along with it!

As the day progressed, the temptation to go online and see if there were unread messages kept increasing. I would spend time with my son and my wife and yet after a few hours I would want to go back and check it. 

I did go online two to three times during the day to see if there were any personalized messages and I even took time to reply to those. I stayed away from groups but I could see the messages were piling up.

Needless to say before I went to bed that night, I opened it up to find 250 messages from over 18 conversations!

I replied to whatever was necessary but it got me thinking. I realized that being online was a part of my life and that I couldn’t really stay away from it.

In a world today where many businesses and meetings takes place over social media than face to face, switching off in an online world would seem impossible! Everything happens online today. We book our tickets online, we buy things online (veggies included!), we pay our bills online, we even read newspapers online! Imagine how many deals would not take place if go offline? Only when we pause and think about it do we realize how dependent have we actually become to the online world!

Here’s one maybe we’ve never thought about: we prefer to talk/ chat/ communicate online!

Earlier simple texting would do. With the advent of emoticons however, online communication seems to have gone to a whole new level.

One would have to ask though: Are our voices heard anymore when we come face to face with an individual?

We love to take selfies and pose with people we meet or socialize with, we take pictures and flash it on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter etc. We can spend hours chatting with people online. It would make it seem like we are very social.

But are we really that social?

For instance, I know those people who can chat online more than talk! They can text you many things online and hold up the conversation for long but won’t say much when you sit with them over coffee.

Most of the studies on communication as a whole states that body language accounts for more than the words we speak. I think Will Smith in the movie 'Hitch' summed it up perfectly when he said, “Sixty percent of all human communication is nonverbal, body language; thirty percent is your tone. So that means that ninety percent of what you're saying ain't coming out of your mouth.”

If the words we’re saying only accounts for ten percent of our communication, you begin to think if real communication could ever take place online? 

Can today’s online platforms actually replace old school, sitting across the table conversations?

Director of Communications Donna Whitten from 12 Stone Church writes, “Social media is the modern-day watering hole. It's where people gather to talk about their day, show a photo or share a joke, a news item or a bit of wisdom. People crave connections these days and while not a replacement for true community, social media is a great opportunity to create conversations.”

So that would mean that while communication on a whole couldn’t take place via social media, we can at least use it to create conversations.

Creating and building up conversations can help in connecting with people to a certain level. So how do we create conversations online? Donna suggests two ways:

1) Ask questions
People love to weigh in, comment and give their opinion. The responses are a valuable insight into the people in your sphere of influence. A prompt and conversational response tells people you care and that you're listening- that makes it personal. 

2) Equip people to share. 

People love to post videos, songs, quotes, pictures- you name it. You put tools like that in their hands and they are going to share them. These tools help in creating conversations with people.

Honestly, I do not know if real relationships can work online. While connections can happen online, I still believe you would have to go offline to take your connections to a real relationship.

So here’s what I want to ask you: 

Would you be willing to switch off your whatsapp for a day? Could you go offline for a few hours without having the urge to go back on?

You could ask: Why should I?

That’s a legit and a very valid question. After writing down the pros of social media, we wouldn’t want to switch it off!

I did it for a day and if you would ask me, would I switch it off again? My answer to that is I would!

Why? Because the first time I did it, life happened.

Call me old school but I think there are some things in life that the online media can’t replace, well at least for now!

The day I switched off my whatsapp, I went out with my family to the beach. We played in the water, we built sand castles, we played ball and even flew a kite and had pani puri! I know I wouldn’t want to miss those things no matter what!

Was all of that worth it going offline for a day? Oh yes, absolutely!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Writing and Creating Audiences

I’ve been writing since the year 2010 and that is when I created this blog. But I didn’t have much of a clue on the “how to” of a blog so I went researching other blogs and that is when I stumbled on my friend and former college mate’s blog. By the time I stumbled onto his blog he was already making huge strides in his writing. I contacted him and managed to sit down with him and asked him on various aspects of the blog. This was in the year 2012. I asked him if he could give me in writing on the things we had spoken and he did. I have been wanting to publish this on my blog ever since and it’s only now that I could come around to do it. He’s been a mentor and a great inspiration to me in the field of blogging!

This blogger is a well-known celebrity in the blogger circles and in the short story genre. One of his latest blogs went viral all over the world and got featured on many leading newspapers and TV channels. His blog was also picked out as the top creative blogs in India last year and was also nominated this year. He is none other than my good friend and doctor Roshan Radhakrishan. He writes at He also has several short stories that have been published in several books. Without further delay, I want to turn this post over to my very good friend, Radha.

“Every genre brings with it a unique set of problems to solve for the narrator. Horror requires that you evoke a sense of dread and impending danger upon your reader, if not your protagonist himself. Romance requires that the reader care for the characters within the story. Humor needs to take into account verbal jousts alongside slapstick moments which can only be imagined by the reader. All of this requires time as we, the readers, get to know the characters and worry for their safety or well being.

That is why I love short stories. They challenge the very concept of time available. Suddenly, you don't have 60,000 words to make people care. You don't have time to describe the palettes of nature or devote pages to the melancholy streets within the world you create, stuck with a limit of 2000 odd words. Yet so many masters of prose got it write - be it O Henry, Jeffrey Archer or even Jeffrey Deaver and even ol' Stephen King who loves to weave his yarns slowly. 

Personally, I always found that writing stories for a blog brings its own challenges. For me, scrolling down (and down and down!) endlessly takes away from the joy of reading as opposed to the feel of turning a page of a book and getting a feel of moving forward. I imagine many feel the same way. So how do you strike that balance? How do you tell a short story within a blog and yet manage to hold the readers attention?

This is how I do it and I personally recommend it since it seems to work for me. I would love to hear your opinions on the same as well.
For the sake of making it concise, I will try to make it into points...

Writing short stories  

1. Have a set theme in your head - action / comedy / romance / life lesson. Don't try to go for everything at once - leave that to Bollywood.

2. Don't overcrowd a short story with too many characters. Just use the number you need. 

3. In general, look to keep short stories down to 1500-1800 words.

4. If you feel your story is going longer and longer and you don't want to cut down on the words, you always have the option of splitting it into two parts with a catchy ending at the end of part one.

5. Have a key protagonist - do you want to tell your story as a narrator or as the protagonist himself ? Decide that first.

6. Don't publish your story as soon as you finish writing. Go, have a break... go out for dinner and get a good nights sleep. Revisit what you wrote the next day. Is there anything you want to change after reading it again?

7. Ideas can come about anywhere and you may not always have a laptop handy. With apps like Evernote, you can quickly type down the gist of your ideas and develop them later at leisure.

8. Short stories allow you the element of surprise which i love - you can lead the reader one way, then turn it around with a few words at the end.

9. You don’t have to describe the trees and leaves and buildings... just the things that matter. 

10. Write the way you think... it is your originality that will matter- how you interpret the world around you or the world you create.

Creating an Audience

1. Go right now and make free accounts linking your blog in IndibloggerBlogadda, etc. Always add your posts link after you've written a new post... it will give others the chance to read your blog. They have regular contests as well which are quite easy... take part in them.

2. Your map viewer in your blog shows you the last 10 results... do you get monthly statistics... if not, may I suggest You get good looking counters and you can view not just your daily views, but see where they come from, which post they liked to read... this is for every day of the year as long as you keep it and its free.

3. Visit other blogs. Comment on those you like. Read other people's comments. If you agree with their opinions, click them and check their blogs... most blogs have a Facebook or google LIKE button... Click it for those you like. They will come to see who you are.

4. Add a Google or Facebook Like button to your own site.

5. Don't despair if you don't see many people coming to your blog... to build anything takes time.. We all started from zero. No use comparing. Accept what your strength is and write to that.

6. In your sidebar, add a column for links to your favorite articles... as you write more, you can categorize them ( fiction, life, love, life as a doc ) People may come for one article, but they'll stay to read the others.... 

7. This is nothing more crucial than point number 3 again because I sincerely believe it is the most important... go to others blogs, comment on them... only then will they know you exist. for e.g. : start with my site. go and see the people I read... take a random link from there and go there.. read their articles.. if you like their views, comment... see who they read, who responds to them... randomly click on any of them... read --> comment --> click like where applicable --> click on random friend....

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Overcoming Chronic Failure

Hello there!

It’s been a little over a year since I got in here to post. Busy.... hectic....etc, etc is what I have been in the last one year managing my now one year old son, family, work etc. After the A-Z challenge last year, to be frank I had become so lethargic to writing; I couldn’t even imagine bringing myself to write again. But it’s not easy to ditch something you love doing and although I often thought of writing every month, I would procrastinate and push it to next month. I want to thank all of you who sent me emails and texts asking me to write again. It definitely did prompt me to start writing! I have a guest blog which has been pending for over one year now and I will be getting it posted in the upcoming posts.

Have you ever experienced chronic failure in life? Are there mistakes that you keep repeating over and over again?

I am not talking about failing in life. We have all failed in life in certain things. Many of us have picked up the broken pieces and learnt to move on from there.

What I am talking about is failing constantly in certain areas of our lives. Say for example in areas like: 

    • Money- We keep losing money and find ourselves often plunging in debt.  
    • Jobs – We can’t seem to keep a job and find ourselves changing jobs frequently.
    • Relationships- We constantly keep getting into the wrong relationships.
    • Emotional decisions- We constantly keep making decisions out of our emotions without rationally thinking it through.

Let me tell you what happened to me recently.

I have mentioned many times about the staff that works with me in my clinic. She’s been working with me for over 8 years now. She’s good but gets a bit absent minded at times. I often have to remind her about her work. As I recall, it was over a month ago that I got really angry and frustrated with her because she had become very sloppy and absent minded in her work. It began on a Thursday, where I shouted at her for things she had forgotten. She repeated the same thing on Saturday and Monday. I was so furious that I didn’t bother asking her why she had forgotten but just kept yelling at her repeatedly. Yet, she wouldn’t say a word.

By Wednesday, I was really frustrated with her. I told my wife Anu about it and she asked me why I wasn’t considering firing her. It was hard to fire her as she was one of the most trustworthy people I had ever met. I remember sitting in the bus that morning on my way to work, wondering what had gone wrong with her. I began reflecting on the past 8 years that we had worked together. That’s when it hit me that this was not the first time I had become frustrated with her at work. I remembered all those other times the reason she became sloppy was because something would have been bothering her at home.

You see, she is a single mother, a widow who had been raising up her only son and also caring for her ailing parents. She normally got sloppy at work because there were bigger issues happening at home. I realized the reason for my frustration was not her but me. I knew the solution to this problem and yet kept repeating the same mistake again. Had I taken things in perspective and asked her if there was something wrong, I wouldn’t have had to go through all this frustration. I decided to apologize to her and ask how things were at home. 

That morning as soon as she came to work, I called her to my office and said, “I don’t know if you noticed, I have been shouting at you since the past three days, I want to say that I am sorry.” She said, “It’s alright. I thought you might have been having problems at home. That’s why you were shouting.” I said, “No, things are absolutely fine at home. How are things at your home?” It was like she had been waiting for this question for the past three days! When she started talking about all the problems at home, it was like a dam breaking and waters gushing! As soon as she finished describing her problems, it was like a huge load had been lifted off her. She was back to being active at work again! It wasn’t like I did anything to help her; there wasn’t much I could do really. All she needed was someone to listen to what she was going through and that made all the difference.

We all make mistakes. None of us are perfect and so we are prone to make them. The issue never was in making a mistake; it is when we make the same mistakes repeatedly and don’t learn from it.
The important thing is to learn from you failures. What caused that failure? What can I do so that I won’t fail again? You can be sure that there will always be a next time!

Elbert Hubbard once said, "A failure is a man who has blundered but is not capable of cashing in on the experience."

If this is true then the opposite of this statement is also true: "A success is a man who has blundered but is capable of cashing in on the experience." Take any successful person today and their lives will tell stories of the times they've not only failed but also how they saw and used that failure as a lesson to become successful.

So how do we learn from the mistakes we make?

  1. Stop and evaluate.
    If we’re doing something that seems to be failing repeatedly then we must stop doing it. We need to take time out and evaluate. The results are going to be the same if we keep doing it the same way. We need to stop and find out the reason why we are failing.
  2. Seek counsel.
    The best way around a repeated problem is to get outside help. Sometimes we get blinded by what seems the norm to us. It may be difficult to figure out what’s wrong. Seeking counsel is an excellent way to see things that seem invisible and find new ways of doing things that brings results.
  3. Do things differently.
    Author and Pastor Craig Groeschel puts it this way, “If we keep doing what we’ve always done, then we will keep getting what we have always got.”

The temptation often is to go back to doing things as in the past. Many times we become secure with the way things were done earlier even though it yields little or no results. 

We need to courageously break away from the status quo and do things differently.
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Friday, May 9, 2014
A to Z Reflections...

I want to start to with just one word from last month...WOW! It has been one of the most eventful months in my life as a blogger! I smile at myself with a little pat on the back as I look back and realize that I’ve been able to join all those who finished the race from the A-Z of posting everyday while managing to comment on every other blog!

If you've been a regular here, you would know that I am not a regular blogger. I think I have managed to maintain around 9 posts in a year since the past 3 years. Never once did I think I would be able to write everyday for a whole month that too at a single stretch!

When I heard about this challenge for the first time, there was something inside me that made me want to take it up. It came almost immediately to write on relationships as that was something I had been learning to build in my own life.

The Challenges I had to face in the A-Z Challenge:

The question of writing 26 posts alone was a major challenge. I had never written more than 9 posts in a year; this was almost close to impossible!

When I first started in on the challenge, I had decided to start writing it a month before so that I wouldn't have to face the pressure of writing every day. So I listed out 26 values I had to write on.

With the huge number of patients in the clinic and the laughter and the cries of my precious new born at home, I conveniently kept postponing writing out the posts for each value. This kept happening till the last week of March. Then reality hit me! I scrambled for time as I managed to finish writing A-C by the first week of April!

I couldn't write at home so I squeezed time in the clinic to finish writing for that first week and then the next thing I know: my laptop decided to dump me after 6 long years of being together! Apparently the monitor and the motherboard had died! With it my hopes of writing in the clinic were also gone. It was then I came so close to deciding I was going to quit.

But then the old adage: ‘Where there is a will, there is a way’ was definitely imminent in me. I decided to write in the early morning hours when everyone was asleep.

By this time, I had already reached on writing the required post of the day. There were days when I thought I wouldn't be able to write anything at all. But I managed to write a single post everyday in the month of April. I managed to help my wife look after my son too!

I want to take this time to thank everyone who’s been involved! 

A big one goes to my wife, Anu! In midst of everything, she would take time to read every single blog and make edits as and when necessary before posting.

My sister: Hilda who made this whole blog possible. Sitting through all the codes, finding the right pictures for the content; she’s the one responsible for the whole new look of the blog as well!

My good friend: Maya, who sat through reading every single post editing the grammatical errors right through.

Thank you to all the organizers on the A-Z team... This must have been the month in which not only did I write but also read quite a lot! Reading is so crucial to writing!

Finally, a big thank YOU! It was you who read all the posts and left such encouraging comments. Some of those comments truly made my day! Note: I still haven’t been able to reply to all of those, I will be doing so in the coming weeks!

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Z for Zeal

With $50 in his pocket, Dustin Hoffman headed to New York, hoping to find work as an actor. Inexperienced and unknown, Hoffman struggled to find employment. Acting gigs were not paying his bills, so he worked an assortment of odd jobs to stay afloat, including typing for the Yellow Pages, stringing together Hawaiian leis, and checking coats at a local theater.

Undaunted by sparse opportunities, Hoffman clung to his passion. He took whatever acting jobs would come his way, always hoping to be discovered. Each time he acted, even in humble roles, he added to his experience and fanned the flame of his passion.
Hoffman’s passion stayed sharp because of the company he kept. Two of his best friends were fellow “starving artists,” also trying to make a break as actors. Their names? Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall. Together, Hoffman, Duvall, and Hackman supported one another, validated each other’s dreams, and shared the ups and downs of life as aspiring actors.

Acting was the common passion that all three of them shared. As a result, their relationship grew much stronger. Despite the struggles they had to go through, it was their zeal for acting that kept them together and kept them going forward. People often tend to distance themselves when they don’t share a common passion.


Take any two people who share a strong relationship with each other and you will find that both of them share a common passion; something that they are both zealous about. It is often what cements that relationship.

Everyone has a dream; something that they are passionate about; something that drives them from within. The truth is that some pursue it whilst others give it up. In order for us to develop a strong relationship with any one, the key is in finding what their dreams/passions are and being able to relate to it. When we find it, we enter their heart. The more we help them pursue their dreams and visions, the deeper we take the relationship.

You can know a lot about a person and still not understand him. More information isn’t always the answer. To really understand people, you must know what they want, and that requires you to go beyond the head and consider the heart.

Take Away Principle: In order for us to develop a strong relationship with anyone, the key is in finding what their dreams/passions are and being able to relate to it. The more we help them pursue their dreams and visions, the deeper we take the relationship.

Tips on finding a person’s zeal:
1.      Accept that people are different and may not share the same passions as we do.
2.      Ask good questions. What makes them happy? What makes them sad? What gets them excited?
3.      Don't make assumptions about people based on their background, profession, race, or gender.

4.      Be genuinely interested in them and support them if you relate to their passions.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Y for You

In this entire series, we’ve been looking at various values that one ought to possess in order to build strong lasting relationships with people. Now, we must remember that just by practicing these values may not help in building strong relationships with everyone. But it will help us understand and connect with others better and as a result understand ourselves.

What’s important is not how other people relate to us, what’s important is how we relate to others. We can’t control other people’s actions and reactions but we can control ours. We can’t determine how they feel about us but we can determine how we feel about them. The most important person in any relationship is you.


This is why it is very important to accept yourself for who you are. We cannot build strong relationships with others if we don’t have a strong relationship with ourselves. Every one of us has insecurities and issues that we wish we could change about ourselves. Sometimes we allow these insecurities/ issues to get the better of us and we feel insignificant and worthless in the eyes of others. Often times it undermines our ability to reach our highest potential.

Like any Marine, Scott Winkler travelled to Iraq knowing that danger was part of the equation. However, he never suspected to find it lurking in the back of a supply truck. While unloading a fifty-pound box, Scott’s leg became caught in a strap, and he collapsed to the sand, landing on his back with his torso grotesquely contorted and his knees facing the earth. Surgery could not repair the damage, leaving the young man paralyzed. Initially experiencing bouts of depression, Scott finally reached a place where he said, “Enough is enough.” Unwilling to stay on life’s sidelines, he began training for the Paralympics. Within two years, he held the world record in the adaptive shot put and took part in the Beijing Paralympic Games.

There was nothing Scott could do to change his condition. However he refused to let a tragic accident define him. He believed that he could still achieve despite his disability and that made him a success.

What is important is coming to terms with who we are. When we do that, we are able to focus on our strengths and develop them enabling us to become secure in ourselves.

Take Away Principle: We cannot build strong relationships with others until we’ve built a strong relationship with ourselves.

Tips on building yourself:
1.      Understand that you are unique.
2.      Increase your value by trying to fix those things which are within your power to change.
3.      Do not allow circumstances or situations to define you.
4.      Come to terms with your weaknesses.

5.      Work on your strengths and develop them.  
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Monday, April 28, 2014
X for Xerox

A relationship is like a bridge that connects two people to each other. A bridge cannot exist if the points are not strong in themselves. All the previous 23 values we’ve been looking at how to build strong relationships with others. This post and the next is how we build ourselves. Building ourselves helps us in building strong relationships with others.

“For many years Monterey, a California coast town, was a pelican's paradise. As the fishermen cleaned their fish, they flung the offal to the pelicans. The birds grew fat, lazy, and contented. Eventually, however the offal was utilized, and there were no longer snacks for the pelicans. When the change came the pelicans made no effort to fish for themselves. They waited around and grew gaunt and thin. Many starved to death. They had forgotten how to fish for themselves. The problem was solved by importing new pelicans from the south, birds accustomed to foraging for themselves. They were placed among their starving cousins, and the newcomers immediately started catching fish. Before long, the hungry pelicans followed suit, and the famine was ended.” – Taken from Bits & Pieces, June 23, 1994, p. 17. 


Recently I got into conversation with someone who regularly read my blogs. They told me that the values that I have been writing are great but found some of them quite difficult to implement. I simply told them to find someone who does it well and Xerox it from them.

Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde once said, “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”

Nothing worth knowing can be taught but it definitely can be caught. When we find people who excel in certain values in their lives and look and model them, overtime those values become a part of us.
If we were to evaluate every area of our lives, some of the best things we do today are as a result of learning it from someone who did it well. We build stronger relationships with others when we relate to those who are good at building relationships. When we identify the area that we are weak at and find and model someone who’s good at it; overtime we become good at it.

Too many people attribute their poor behavior to others around them: “I did it because I've seen him/her do it.” “If he/she can do and get away with it then why can't I?” “He/she did the same, you didn't tell them anything!” Sounds familiar? We have often said these as kids, haven't we?

In his book, “The Next Generation Leader”, Andy Stanley writes, “We have a tendency to measure ourselves against people around us. They become our point of reference.”

This is why we need someone who is good at the values we want to develop: so that our references are always worthy of emulating from.

Take Away Principle: If there are values that we find difficult to incorporate into our lives, we need to find someone who is good at it and model from them.

Tips on Xeroxing:
1.      Identify those values that we find difficult to implement.
2.      Find someone who does it well.
3.      Ask them if they would take time to teach you.
4.      Spend time with them watching and learning how and when they do it.

5.      Emulate them and slowly make those values a part of you.
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