In Conversation With—A Horny Auto-Rickshaw Driver

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Here is a beautiful conversation I had with an auto-rickshaw driver who was honking relentlessly and then apologized with a promise to transform. There was so argument, debate, rather a compassionate communication between us:

Why are you honking now, there is no one ahead?

It’s a habit.

I don’t think it’s a good one. Would you like to change it?

No, why? Everyone honks.

Everyone does so many things that are bad, do you want to do it too?

No.

Everyone does so many good things, do you want to do too?

Don’t talk too much in the morning time. We’ll have an argument.

No, we’ll have a discussion and learn each other’s perspective. And we’ll also know each other better this way.

That is so true.

Why are you honking now, there is no one ahead?

The auto-rickshaw from the side might come ahead of me, so I am honking.

You want to go ahead?

Yes. Who doesn’t want to?

I don’t want to. We can go slow.

I haven’t seen anyone like you before.

That auto-rickshaw is also one of us. He’s not a terrorist that you’re getting so upset or frustrated with him. We don’t need to go ahead—go slow. Nothing is at stake. Let’s bring love and compassion in our driving as we do in our relation.

Yes. You have a point.

But if honking is so bad, why does company manufacture it and give it inside a car? Stop the horns first.

The same way the manufacturer gives us tongue. We have given it for a reason—let’s not use it to hurt people. If your tooth bites your tongue, will you break your teeth?

I got your point.

And there is a huge awareness created in the country for no-honking. One old man from north India has given all his life for no-honking campaign.

I am extremely sorry. I’ll take care next time.

See, it’s good to talk and discuss.

You’re very right. And form today, I’ll try to honk less.

All the best. You’re a true hero.

LOL!

Why are you honking now, there is no one ahead?

Oh, sorry, sorry. This will take time.

LOL!

Simple. Whatever the question, love is the answer. There’s always a way—most of the time it’s love.

Not Gandhi, Not Tata, Not Tendulkar, Not Gates—My Role Model Is This Common Man

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­­­­­­­­We all, usually, have a role model—a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated. And, usually, that person is some popular figure in past or present history; someone prosperous or termed as successful. My role model is someone different and my definition of success is also different.

I have many role models. Not that they’re not from the usual list but most of them are friends or acquaintances around me; from daily life. One of them is Vinay Jain who was my school mate in 1995.

He was a naughty young boy in school and a naughty young man as of now. He’s always been a child inside; full of energy and fun. But he was not my role model in school days. He became one now as I got to know him better. He lives a balanced life that is an almost perfect combination of wealth, family, health, emotions, moments, experiences, time, adventures, hard-work, food, fun, friends, dreams, desires, spirituality, compassion, kindness, and all of that.

Very few have these all now-a-days and he’s one of the blessed ones.

He’s been there done that type of character that always excites me with his experience and thoughts. He has a good job in an esteemed multinational, a loving wife, a bright child, a comfortable home, a speedy car, a lovely vision, a loving-kind heart, an optimal brain and mad friends; like me.

I really like to follow virtues of these people around me because they’re the ones whom I connect a lot. Their life resonated with mine and I find solace while peeping into their struggles, challenges, victories, as I understand of all it. I have seen them growing, crying and laughing in from to f my eyes since years. Hence, I always feel connected to these people who I call daily heroes.

There are so many of them, who inspire me, as I write this blog post. My wife, my parents, my neighbors, the auto-rickshaw driver, my friends, the vegetable seller, the cleaner, the ones who forgave me for my bad behavior, my teachers, my students, my readers, my ex-lovers, the security guard of our housing society, the local police and not to forget the people who get-up early morning and travel long distances daily in the crowded local trains of Mumbai.

I don’t really connect with people who have a chapter of their name in history books or have their biography in Wikipedia but rather I connect to regular people like Vinay—and many more like him—who are my role model.

 

The Indian ‘Raj’ Comes To America!

Surprised by the title of this blog post?

Well, you ought to be but this is blog post has twist. and believe me it’s nothing like the fraudulent British Raj. This is about creative freedom, about creative a journey; beyond borders and beyond limits.

This is about my friend, philosopher and guide Raj Solanki who is a creative soul and among the few ones who believe in the concept of a global village.

I met Raj when I just started my career in media and entertainment in 2000. I was a junior computer graphic artist and he was a senior producer in a B4U Channel. For me, he was the lord as he had already worked with MTV, Channel [V], Star TV, Sahara TV, Manoranjan TV, Zoom and Sony Entertainment Television to name a few. He has been an integral On-Air Creative Director associated with the above channels for Hindi films like Munna Bhai M.B.B.S., Don, Dhobi Ghat, Bhootnath, Bodyguard, Barfi!, Dostana and Agneepath.

Creativity, to me, is so much than a skill one lists on the resume. I believe it’s the way of life form. I have tried to bring my creative energies to everything I have done—from my college class work to my internships to my associations with major international organizations from television to films.

The above words from Raj still ring in my head. He was different from all the creative people I have met in life.

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He has worked on global projects as a creative and visionary director with over 9 years of career experience working for independent film companies, television broadcast groups and new-age media. He has displayed excellent communication and decision-making skills, with exceptional multi-tasking abilities adept in leading multi-functional teams in delivery of quality films and related projects.

He’s a tech-savvy analytical and strategic director with outstanding problem-solving skills. I have learned to be well organized, efficient and always willing to go the extra mile for on-time content delivery from this man. Once he narrated his journey to me that I want to share:

Establishing a significant event in the world of television and films, right from my first venture at Bombay Talkies was truly a great pleasure. The process was happening with all my dedication, devotion and special attention to television and film. The most exciting part of it was I was the Associate Director for the first Indian version of  MTV show BPL Oye.

I still remember today that watching the Hindi song Mehbooba-Mehbooba from Hindi film Sholay on MTV that caused strong feelings of enthusiasm and eagerness in me. Those feelings that has kept my passion alive. Ahead of that I had more goal sets in my mind, to be an integral part of the important happenings in the television industry.

So, whenever there was a new venture, I would immediately rush myself to it and be the one to join in the success. To name a few, I had been active and critical in launching projects as a director for many television channels.

Krissh red-carpet in London was another successful—22 minutes—event captured and executed by him. But by the best of his recent works, in my view, are the episodes of Foodie Comes To America that inspired me to write such a title to this bog post.

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I remember working under—or as he would say with—him for a year or so.  I learned a lot from him and the values he taught, became my building blocks for rest of the life. He’s a spectacular team leader and has attention to detail script editing and composition, team building and development. He’s possess excellent communication and time management skills.

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Raj is also philanthropist by heart. He, along with son Aryan, keep doing random acts of kindness to make this world better. When they were in India, we were an integral part of the SOMEONE. SOMEWHERE. community to serve the needy.

To sum-up, he’s one of those who are blessed to have a blend of everything good in them and I am blessed to be his friend, ex-colleague and student.

 

 

 

 

 

The Quiz That Brought Us All Together

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The founder of our school group on WhatsApp initiated a spectacular quiz contest the other day. It was about answering 9 subjective questions. And, as usual, the winner was supposed to get an exciting prize.

We were all excited and participated as much as possible. From far it seemed like just another quiz but it was very carefully crafted. All the questions were framed in such a way that it brings out hidden, buried memories of the school time.

I was trembling while answering them. A sweet-bitter pain engulfed me as I walked down the memory lane; all alone. There was no one to hold my hand, no one except these noisy memories. Life is quite silent in late 30s but the memories—of school time—shout on top of their voices.

I, suddenly, remember everything. My mischief, my mistakes, my first crush, my achievements, my failures, my innocence and all of it.

  • I remember being the class-monitor once and being sacked because I was thrown out of the class. The school principal said that it was a disgraceful thing to see the class-monitor out of the class.
  • I remember eating delicious street food outside the school. Back then it costs only a fraction of a rupee to buy such things.
  • I remember poking my bench-mate with pointer. She was so hurt and school teacher asked me to bring chocolates for her immediately.
  • I remember bunking school to go to the graveyard to smoke cigarettes with notorious boys. I was almost blacklisted after the school principal came to know about this.
  • I remember being a master-mind of bursting firecrackers in ladies’ toilet. No one attempted that before.

All the memories came in front of my eyes, one after the another. But this is not only what happened. There was more magic as we got to know each other’s memories. Every person is like a novel and has so much wit and wisdom in life. Everyone has their layers and this quiz pealed them layer-by-layer and made all our memories naked, without ego in front of each other.

Really. So much had to be explored about each other.

This quiz was magical. It has ignited a fire of strong companionship in everyone’s heart; like a sorcerer’s spell and united all of us—like never before—22 years after school.

The Present Moment Is The Biggest Miracle

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Today is a big day miracle is going to happen.

Yesterday, I said same words and it did happen for so many of us. Some of you messaged me that there was no miracle today. I have a different perspective on this.

When I was in my no-money walking pilgrimage, we stayed with homeless people, tribal, wealthy people, in places of worship etc. Miracle was happening every day. Sometimes we got o eat, sometimes we didn’t. But we were alive. There was peace and love and happiness around. And I was not realizing this for many days.

Yesterday, the sun rose. There was plenty of oxygen to breathe. We woke up, we went to our work. We did work. We spoke to each other. Friends, families were alive. We were alive till the end of the day. We gave, we got. We had dreams, we made plans. We kissed, made love, prayed. It was a beautiful day with all 24 hours in it. The Earth was spinning. The sun had set. Moon came. Stars laughed. We slept and woke-up today to read this message.

So much happened. But some of us said that there was no miracle. We were alive and feeling happiness, pain, anger, love and all it. And still do we feel that nothing happened?

There is so much miracle in daily things that happen but we, sometimes, fail to accept and appreciate it. We look for some other miracle ignoring the one that is happening right now.

Right now, this moment is the biggest miracle.

Meet The ‘Juice Baron’ From India

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Fruits is the only nature’s gift we can eat naturally. Fruits have multi benefits, like vitamins, fiber, minerals, antioxidant and may world is moving at fast speed then to ensures we cope up with this speed we provide nutrient and healthy product to the world.

Fruits are soldiers to prevent from illness naturally. It acts as fast agent to improvise function of our internal and external body.

With the above idea in mind—my friend Hemang Bhatt—founded the popular brand HAS in 2007. It’s one of the most successful brand in food and beverage section in India. Since the inception, the brand has delighted more than 10 million customers—you’ll find an outlet in all shopping malls in Mumbai and in other metropolitan cities.

He’s an entrepreneur, philanthropy and socialist. The thing that excited me the most is that he’s always open to experiment and explore new ideas. He’s always ready to support social causes and we did a massive campaign together to share our gratitude to Indian Army. We made people, from all his outlets, sign on pre-printed THANK YOU cards and sent to the army headquarters. The idea was mall but the ripples were big. He also got a phone call from the headquarter.

He’s not only making his brand famous in India but also collaborating with the global markets. Not only that the brand is delicious but the staff gets excellent training in salesmanship, communication and soft skills. They’re always smiling and are encouraged to grow in life, not only as a good salesman or staff but also as a good human.

He’s one of the perfect examples of the leader of the Make In India movement. People like him always bring smiles on every face and make our nation proud.