The Average Indian: Existing, Not Living.

*Don't forget to read the end of this post*
Mom: “So, when are you going to get your offer letter?” (I recently got placed in IBM, just so you get the reference).
Me: “September 2017, probably. I have no clue, Amma”.
Mom: “It’s such a wonderful opportunity. I am so happy for you”.
Me: “Amma, what if I don’t take the job?”

What followed was a minute of silence, accompanied by some ‘shhs’ and ‘phews’. I am sure I gave my mom a way early heart attack. But you know what? I want to start this story with a conversation I had with my interviewer last week, in which I admitted to him that I sit back and read a book whilst listening to music, whenever I am faced with rigorous work and stress. “I know that’s crazy, sir. But that is me!”, I concluded. To which he replied, “You know what’s crazy? Sitting at a desk 9-5 for your entire life. That’s crazy. This is not. This is what normal people do”.

I didn’t really understand the beauty of what he was trying to convey, until last night. But when I did, I made a few choices I hope I will be able to stick to. I am twenty years old. Wait, twenty years young. I am going to be twenty one in a matter of few months. Twenty-one is a confusing age, you see. You are neither a college kid nor a family woman. You are somewhere in between young and old, aging and aged, innocent and shrewd, naive and experienced. I must admit that life really begins to change as you move closer to your mid-twenties. Old chapters close, new chapters behold. We soon become occupied in the haze of monotony. But very late in life do we realize that ‘busy’ is a conscious decision we all voluntarily succumb to. How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives; and this is something we must sink into our minds. I frequently worry that our want for power and success is the greatest distraction from living. We are caught in a race that we don’t even realize being a part of. We continually look for ways to lull ourselves into a trance of passivity and busyness, as we coast through our lives day after day.

I haven’t spoken to my friends in recent times. I don’t remember the last time I spoke my heart out on the phone for hours together. It’s just those bland texts on WhatsApp. Actually, it has been a while since I did something without a purpose. I don’t even get to read a book off my ‘Recommended Books For CAT’ list. infinityquotes_condolences-quotes-death-is-not-the-greatest-norman-cousinsNeither am I able to think of the last time I enjoyed watching a good old Telugu film in the theater. I am stuck in a pretty bad phase: I stay up all night to do my assignments. I sleep through lectures. I spend my weekends in bed because I don’t otherwise have the luxury of enjoying it. I listen to music in the shower, because I don’t know when else to.
I read the news on my way to college because I have other things to study in my leisure time. Beyond all this, I feel that my definition of leisure is pretty bleak right now. My friends and I don’t leisure without a purpose these days. For instance, last week, I was dying to read ‘The Girl On The Train’ but I had to put it away because it bears no significance in my life right now. So, I started reading ‘Brexit: Fall Or Rise?’ instead. You see where I am going? THAT IS NOT GOOD. Showing up for our obligations but being absent from ourselves, mistaking the doing for the being, unable to sift passion from desire, caught in a battle that has never helped none. Putting things off is the biggest waste of life, if you ask me: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. You are arranging what lies in destiny’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately, my friend.

Every single emotion I’ve spoken of, I can envisage the feelings so vividly—the emptiness, the yearning, the confusion, the depression. They always seem to merge together and peekaboo at the worst possible times. The simplest things, like getting out of bed in the morning, have begun to feel so heavy. The best joys in life, like being with friends and creating new connections, feel unsatisfying now. I hear, but am I listening? I see, but am I watching? I exist, but am I living?

I couldn’t understand what was creating these feelings or what I needed to do to change them. clouds-existing-life-living-sky-favim-com-449179And although it sounds like such a cliché thing to say: the other day, something happened that changed my life forever. Believe me, it did: Everything transformed for me when I decided to focus on creating purpose in my life. I still feel like I am lost, stuck at a crossroad, but I do seem to have found direction and meaning, and I am happy about it. So, what was the miracle? A PHONE CALL. A few days ago, I spoke with someone who continues to inspire me by leaps and bounds. I worked with him during my internship at ISB, and I cannot help admitting that it is nothing short of a pleasure to have met him. Abi Paul. That is what he calls himself. The day I first saw Abi, I thought he was a bore. But eventually, I realised how much more there is to him than what meets the eye. What I learnt from him in a month is a fount of knowledge I would never be able to learn even in an year.

12095201_10207714240391974_4115024305200129493_oSo, being the sweet person that he is, Abi had called me up a few days ago, to congratulate me on my selection in IBM. We spoke for close to thirty minutes, and it was magic. He studies behavioral economics, this guy. The first time I read about him on the ISB portal, his description clearly mentioned that he loves mapping people’s minds to the designs he makes in order to augment user experience.
So, I decided to speak with him about my confusion, because Abi always looked at things in a very different way. “Ikigai”, he said. “Google it, dude. I am sure it’ll help you”. And so I did.

Thence, I have spent two days analyzing myself, trying to draw my ikigai, brainstorming over all plausible opportunities, marathon-writing random thoughts that have been plaguing me over the recent months, doodling my road map on post-its, gamifying my room, designing prototypes for the dorm; and finally, here I am. Still the same person, but with a little more wisdom and a lot more strength. I can’t figure out what to do in life as yet, but I sure have figured out how to get to knowing it. Thank you, Abi, for saying ‘Pictureka’ and making me realise the beauty of the simplest of pleasures in life. You rock.

office-lens-20160912-011611This brings me to thanking some very inspiring people in my life. People whom I can probably never thank enough. Why the thank you’s, you may ask. I read somewhere that it is important to let people know how much they mean to you. To acknowledge their efforts, time and love. To tell them that you appreciate their presence in your life. To show them that you might not be able to speak with them each day, but value their existence. I conclude that it is a ‘give-and-take’ thing. You reap what you sow. You spread happiness around you, then you gain happiness out of it, which in turn attracts happier people towards you, and you are then stuck in a loop of perennial happiness no one can rob you of. I want to be happy. And I want to thank those who have caused me to be happy at whatever point in life, in however small a way they did.

Bhanu. Bhanu Srivastav. The north star in my sparse, sky-alike life. ‘Thank you’ is an understatement for all the decisions you’ve helped me make, for all the paths you’ve made me tread, for all the choices you’ve made sure I see, for all the hurdles you assured I can overcome. 11782284_10153192552068392_5388767649097098237_o
Every individual needs a gentle push in life, and you always have my back. There are very few people you enjoy sharing your deepest, scariest, weirdest, creepiest secrets with, and there are fewer people with whom you’d want to do it all over again. You are one of them, Bhanu. I don’t think anybody could ever replace you on the imaginary apex of people I have in my head. We have done twenty rupees auto rides, six hours of yapping nonsense, midnight chats about Elon Musk and World Tours, never-ending bucket listing and what not, in such a short period of time. There are few things in my life I don’t find words to describe, Bhanu. Our bond is one of them! It would be a sin if I didn’t call you my best friend. Destiny has had its way for us. Thank you for everything!


Era Tangar. Era, I cannot thank you enough for giving me the courage to live my dreams. You are one gutsy woman. You are the person who gave me the idea of starting a blog, and kept telling me that I had it in me. 10683577_10207556867172666_4256064850467919647_oI still remember talking with you in the middle of the night about the intrinsics of WordPress and Blogging. You helped without hesitance. You are also the one who inspired me to take to designing and public speaking. You are the whole and sole reason I am who I am today. You have taught me to live life on the edge, and instilled the virtue of ‘self love’ in a totally fresh perspective. Thank you for shaping a huge part of my current self. Also, thank you for introducing me to Sanshey, Neha, Abhishek, Yashu (the cutest, friendliest, most supportive ECell Head), Anubhav  who are all very talented, super sweet and extremely inspiring, themselves. I never had the opportunity to interact much with some of these people, but I really admire their personalities. I cannot ever return your love, Era!


12079638_915136628540143_5678570467526908585_nAkshat Gandhi. Akshat, you are super awesome. although most of our conversations were predominantly delhi and haanji and samsung and swag and football and women, I still remember our psychological late night conversations about human behavior and mankind, haha. We also spoke about the craziest of things, ranging from the why’s of your hairstyles to your family and what not. And and and, The Verbal Logorrhea, and the ECell. How can I not remember? to good times. I miss you, and shall surely ping you when I am in Delhi the next time. Thank you for being kind enough to discuss my book launch with me. you are a sweetheart. i am touched.) 


Saha, Anupama, Kruti, Charu, Manoja Akka, Sai Krishna Anna, Soumya Di, Kamayini Di, Shagun Di, Akanksha Di (both the Akanksha’s, haha) – for being the best ‘ever’ seniors. For lending a helping hand whenever I needed one. For always wishing the best for me. You guys played such an important role in making me feel at home. Each one of you is so gifted, and to see that you are so down to earth even till date is just beyond amazing. I will always be indebted to you people. Anupama and Manoja Akka, I want to bring special mention to you people. I remember how often I would thrive at your rooms and wile away time, in the first year. None of my actions can ever match the love you have bestowed upon me.


Adi Babu Sir. Such an inspiring personality. 13041314_10153379083416786_6219214714899305358_oWell, Sir, I don’t think I can write much about the extent to which you have motivated me in life, because you’re so well read and there is this constant fear of being judged, that kills me from within. Haha. However, I must mention that whenever I am low in life and feel like I am being bogged down by hardships, I think of your struggle, and tell myself that if you could do what you did to become who you are, I can certainly do what I am doing to do what I want. I want to grow up to be like you, Sir. I aspire to become someone who does not succumb to the herd mentality and musters the strength to follow her passions. Thank you for your support, advice, guidance. You are my pedestal.


VishnuYou are the humblest person EVER. 1538792_627277047332826_413092410_nSo much so that humility would probably cripple before you, if it were real. I am not exaggerating. I mean every single part of what I am writing.
You have no idea how much I’m in awe of your nature. You’ve done so well for yourself so early in life, and still remain so grounded. I still can’t comprehend that someone I knew as a senior in the Deeksha House Cabinet is now on the pinnacles of wisdom and success. I am so happy for you, Vishnu. Thank you for remaining the same person through all these years. That is an achievement in itself. I have never seen a more modest person than you. I am hoping I can be as intelligent, someday. You’re a role model. You truly are.


Rohit Anna, Alekhya Akka, Anil Baava, Bachi Bava, Ronnie Da, Ponti Da and Moni – for the constant support and guidance you guys have extended. Although, I haven’t been able to do all the things I’ve been told I should be doing, I AM TRYING. I want to thank you for lending me direction, and assuring me that no matter what, you people will always be the super duper cousins you have been! There is no better feeling than family supporting you through troubled waters. I might not be able to show it, but I really admire you people with every fibre of my being.


Sivaram, I want to say sorry for playing the busy card too many times. 12651195_941325519292614_6604368678008470619_nLike, really really really sorry. Writing an apology is a waste of time. I want to present my ‘time’ to you. Without any tantrums. That’s my apology. Please take it! Also, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the super amazing human being you are.

I think we live in a time when being a ‘good’ person is a rarity, and thus an achievement in itself. You are weird, crazy, stupid, super sensitive, and all of that; but you are a gem at heart; and I hope I can be as pure hearted someday.


Rohan, Tejas, Aayush, Kamala – each one of whom I came to know from the other. We have never met in person. But Kamala, your writings; Tejas, your wit, and Rohan, your persona – amaze me. I am blown away by the fact that you people are constantly abreast of the happenings around you. Rohan, I always LOVE the things you share. There is so much to learn from every thing on your wall. I also remember the patience you displayed when we first spoke about the ECell activities in your college, and my questions didn’t seem to end. Hats off to you! Tejas, your comic timing is impeccable. It is a gift you’re born with. Don’t ever lose it, please. Also, I must tell you that you are one gutsy guy. I love how you carry the ‘no-pagdi’ look. It is a big thing for me, to see someone do this. Respect! Kammoooo, mana prema amar rahega. Your writings strike a chord, man. I am a fan. And how can I forget to mention that you are also my fitness inspiration? I am genuinely trying to take a leaf out of your book, and shed some kilos. The going’s good so far. Haha. And Aayush, ab kya hi batau. Tune apni dosti damsel town se drainage mein laa dee, but that’s a story for another day. I will always cherish the beautiful moments we shared. Much love and power to you all.


Sravan, Abhinav and Abeed, for introducing me to a totally different world of libertarianism out there. For continually guiding me, teaching me, correcting my wrongs, wronging my supposed corrects, for helping me grow. Thank you so much. I draw a lot of motivation from your day to day activities and achievements.


Bhavishya, for being the amazingly bold person you are, and for taking a stand for me at a time when you didn’t even need to. 14205927_10210547042373058_8783332684915608861_oAlso, for showing me that it’s the skill and not the camera that decides what you are worth. You are ‘THE’ best photographer I know. You inspire, boy! Thank You.

P.S, I still haven’t been able to write the post you once wanted me to work on. But I promise to do it before this month end. Not because you asked me to, but because I want to. I want to confess that whenever a friend of mine brags about his photography skills here, I calmly open your Instagram profile and brag about your expertise as a mobile photographer. You’d like to know that everyone shuts their mouths. Haha. Thank You!


Akshay, Siddharth, Jitendra, Jaspal Bhaiyya, Pallav Bhaiyya, Sarthak Bhaiyya, Manan Bhaiyya, Shashank Bhaiyya, Venkatesh and Deeksha Di – for being such awesome mentors, for teaching me how organisations work, for introducing me to the GenX Startup Culture, for your continuous support regarding and for bringing me an inch closer to meeting the right people at the right time in the right place. By believing in my abilities and giving me a chance to establish them, you have proven to me the beauty of taking a path not chosen often, the benefit of taking risks, the value of having an identity. You guys have truly contributed a lot. Thank You!


12744631_1045196532205055_4896784238275214737_nBhargav – for our collabs, for all the advice that helped me survive computer science (i would have dropped out of college, had it not been for you. i swear.), for being such a nice virtual friend, for always always always reassuring me that you like my work, and for keeping the writer in me alive. we barely get to talk (thanks to the busy schedules we have), but i still stand firm by the fact that my respect for you only increases multifold, with every single thing you are doing in life. you are one of those next gen ‘cool’ people, who take risks and ace life.


993498_10152106963378416_242369069_nDevi Akka, my message from you should probably be dated in the 90’s, for our families have known each other ever since. What Peddananna has done for the family is beyond explicable. Peddamma, too, has been a very bold and brave woman, as is known universally. To see a woman of her generation stand so firm by her stance is very inspiring to me. It gives me the power and belief to want to grow up to be like her. Really. And then, there is you, Devi Akka. You have been through so much in life. Mom and dad have always spoken about your transition from a pampered child to a brave, young woman. I don’t think I could have ever managed to undergo all that you went through. My respect for all three of you cannot be explained using any word in the dictionary. I just want you to know that you have always inspired me. I love you all.


Anuraag (for being the kindest ever – you are such a morale boost), Ratna (I love you beyond everyone else, Ratna. I still remember the first time you ever wrote to me), DTP (you have been the most constant support – I don’t know if I can ever repay you for all the love and support), Avviii (entha cheppina thakkuve – I like how you call me ‘vanilla’. haha. thank you for the love and support, avi), Akhil (Akku fellow, neeku thanks cheppatame ekkuva. 😛 ), Vamsi (Vammu, despite all the hardships our friendship has seen, we survived. I still remember the day you texted me to say you love my blog), Khush (you are the bestestestest fellow writer I could ask for. you are super talented, and I am sure you’ll go places. please mail me a sketch for my birthday. i love them as much as i love you), Yalamanchi (you are swag, mate. we have survived the gossips, the ugly times, the good times – all of it. i remember our interminable phone calls as well. haha. you’ve done really well for yourself at such a naive age. proud of you).


Manindra, Sravan and Ravi (cheers to six years of friendship, endless JPR-BZA train journeys, and the times we have had at #LB – Mani, your determination and passion inspires me like hell. I should be ashamed to say this, but it is a marvel that you know Computers ten times better than I do despite studying it way later than I did. I am proud of you. Ravi, I hope I can dance so well some day. Nuvvu 12th standard dance nunchi eto velipoyav, nenu maatram break dance thote migilipoya. 😀 Your journey of dance is very motivating. Sravan, your ability to stay calm and composed even in the worst of times is so amazing. Naaku kuda nerpeeva, please.), Chandra (you have proven that photos and pixels have no link in ages. I am a huge fan. Please pursue photography.), Prakhar Sharma (you are so so so so hell bent on doing things you wish to do. I love that. I wish I had the balls to stick to something so much. you inspire!), Gogia (we rarely talk these days, thanks to our never ending classes and busy schedules, but you were one of the first friends I made at AUR. You have been bullied, teased, humiliated, and yet stay confident – oblivious to the world. HATS OFF!).


Ashiya (you deserve a special mention. My respect for you is somewhere in the third world. So much so that I could probably never measure the intensity. Sahi lee tune uss aurat ki, placement leke dikhaya. Your attitude is a gem in itself. I am very very very inspired.),  Parnami (shaayad main tere baare mein likhne laayak hi nahi hoon. You are one of those very few people I would call a prodigy. Kya khaata tha bachpan mein? Above all this, you are such a good human being at heart. It’s not everyday that you see a good, talented guy in class. I am so inspired by your patience. Main toh itne parcel kabhi naa laati. Phew.), Ravindra (I am a silent fan of yours. Mere jaan pehchaan mein Karate karne waala aur koi nahi hai. But it is an art I have always been fascinated about. And the fact that you have done so well for yourself is nothing but wow. I wish you the best of everything you want. Thank you for being a role model of hard work.), Smit (The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of you is the very cool application you designed. I totally admire people who end up doing things at AUR. It takes a lot of self motivation to achieve something in this dreary campus. I respect you.), Arora and Nayak (zindagi mein kuch karne ki tumhari chaahat dekhke mujhe aur mehnat karne ki ichcha hoti hai. tum log mast ho.), Sunandan (chota size, bada dhamaka – tu nahi toh aur kaun hai. The chords in me receive so much energy when I see you onstage. You are the BEST bee boyer I know).


Bawa and Vishnu (peak stress mein bhi do gaali deke cool down hone ki, tum logon ki aadat se main bohat hi zyaada prerit hoon. you guys rock.), Vashishth (teen saal lagaataar harr exam mein aage peeche baithne waalon ka kuch toh achcha rishta hona chahiye, na. haha. although our conversations in three years have been very few, you are one of the people I can speak my heart with, without any fear of being judged. Thank you for being a good adjacent-roll-number-partner. haha. btw, tunn hoke bohat sahi naachta hai tu – referring to our farewell party dance, which I am sure you don’t remember because you were so high that day :D.), Sihag (tere bharose pass hui hoon main kitne subjects toh. Thanks kabhi kaafi nahi hoga yaar. You are so so so clever. I hope I can be as intelligent someday.), Vishal (it is difficult to manage studies with other things, especially, when it’s things like robotics that need patience and time. respect!), Khunteta (tu thoda bhi mehnat karna shuru kare, toh Steve Jobs banne ki potential rakhta hai, Khuntu. You are so smart. I am very inspired by you.), Anchit (you are so confident, Anchit. That’s very nice to see.), Aslam (I am so inspired by your startup. It takes clarity of thought and courage to start something afresh. Although hame zyaada kabhi baat karne ka mauka nahi mil paaya, I am so proud to have known you).


Deepak (I have heard stories of your hard work and grit from so many people. But you have never shown even the slightest hint of hardship on your face. I am trying to be that.), Gautam and Tyagi (you guys are so dedicated to what you do, and as if that weren’t enough, you are also very intelligent. Your passion for dance is unthinkable. I look at the amount of sweat that goes into each performance and feel like all your victories are so well deserved. Thank you for inspiring me.), Vats (anyone can guess what people learn from you. Your attitude. It is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. You have coped with the best and worst of situations with a smile on your face. I have seen it, Harshit. My respect for you has only grown with time. I hope I see you as an Army Officer soon enough. Please never stop smiling.), Thakur (beta tu toh tayyaar hojaa. Do saal baad jab milne aaungi, tab tak Army officer bann chuka hoga. Toh, keep my dose of chicken and army-canteen-samaan ready. Kuch toh faayda uthaaungi apni chaar saal ki dosti ka. Tu itna achcha hai yaar, Thakur. Your focus towards your goals is very motivating.), Bansal (You are the epitome of helpfulness. I have never seen someone help others so voluntarily. I am telling you, I try so much, to be half as helpful. But nahi ho paata. Na hi kabhi ho paayega. Salute, Bansie!), Kartik (My fitness inspiration. Although, my efforts at losing weight have ended :D, if I ever end up losing weight, it’ll be because of the inspiration you have instilled in me. You are also a super nice human being, Kartik. I will always cherish our Nakka Mukka. :D), Piyush (being willing to help someone even when you know there is nothing you are gaining out of it – this is the quality of a beautiful human being. you are exactly that, piyush. Itna bindaas, hasta khilta. Hamesha aise hi rehna.), Prashant (you, my boy, are a crazy crazy crazy person. I admire your unconditional love for music, which is unaffected by any criticism you receive. Your will power inspires me. And ab toh invigilator aur bann gaya. Bohat badi baat hai. :D), Robin (Robbie, you know it already. Your habit of smiling through life is like a facepalm to troubles. Nothing has ever been able to sadden you. In four years of togetherness, never have I seen you sad or depressed. You are the only one of your kind. Combined with super cool dancing, dramatics and quick learning skills, you are nothing short of a perfect role model)Utkal (your expertise in the field of design and photography is beyond this galaxy. i totally drool over your work. please please please teach me how you are so intelligent and humble. you are one of the very few classmates i look up to. i really do. wish you luck with everything. continue to inspire me. now, you owe me a photoshoot. I have been very nice to you. haha. JK!).


Kanika (you are a super woman. i love you just the way you are.), Anupam, Tabish (mera sabse pehla dost bana tha tu Amity mein. How can I not be inspired by you, Tabby. I will never forget the Kebabs and the orientation either. Haha.), Bhave (you know your priorities, tu bhale hi kitne bhi mazze kar le. That is a big thing. Not everyone is blessed with this virtue. I am trying to learn from you.), Priyal (our friendship has seen ups and downs. we have survived the ugliest and toughest of times, and yet emerged as best friends. i will always love the memories we’ve had in four years.), Harshita and Shweta (i am so much in admiration of you guys. both of you have proven that no amount of dancing can take your brains away. you’ve had consistent grades alongside rigorous dance practices. if this isn’t motivation, what is?), Waseem (for being one of the first writing counterparts I met in college. I have no clue why you gave up poetry eventually. but you’ve been a good friend despite the minimal interactions and i like that you are one of the very few people on campus who make sense to talk with. just learn Spanish and chill, okay. you are very brainy. i have always felt so.), Sarthak (you are a whizz-kid. trust me. I have discussed this many a times even with you. you have the brains to move mountains. i am awestruck whenever you answer something with so much confidence in class. you are very inspiring.), Rathin (your expertise in sports is so motivating. i have always wanted to be a king of one, but i have ended up being a jack of all and king of none. haha. so, i am trying – trying to learn from you. i have also found a good friend in you, i suppose. cheers!), Khalid (your zeal to learn amazes me, Khalid. you are always so eager to know, and that is a quality I must derive from you), Rakshita (evey, nuvvoka mudhdhu pilla vi. i will always love you for your love and kindness. you are so damn sweet. mana train journeys ki salaam. haha.), Kulgaurvi and Ritu (thank you for being my constant notebook suppliers. main toh pakka fail thi second and third year mein, had it not been for you guys; and your wishes and trust in me give me a kick like none other. thank you for being more than just ordinary friends).


Dhruv, Nitesh and Kushagra. You guys are amazing. Dhruv (mera respect kisi aur level ka hi hai tere liye. I have never seen anyone so focused towards their study and goal. There isn’t the slightest of doubt that you’ll shine in life. I am very very very inspired by you), Nitesh (yaar, apna toh puraana ECell ka rishta hai. you are one of the very few people i loved working with. i am amazed by your skill of single-handedly managing the entire club), KD (we had this chat on whatsapp one night, don’t know if you remember. we spoke of our ambitions and goals. you are very unique. i have never seen a person like you. you seem like there is so much more to you than what you show, and that unseen side of you comes out in your drama. you are a fantastic actor. the most intense emotions come so easily to you. you fly to greater heights, Dromeo. i am a silent follower of yours).


Geesh, Prerna, Nishant, Ankur – you guys have always been so sweet to me. I don’t get to speak much with you, because of course, civil and computers. But campus mein bohat kam log hai, jinse baat karke achcha lagta hai. You guys have been constant friends from Year 1. I am heavily inspired by the bindaas, chilled out attitude all of you carry along with you.


Smriti (BOBO), Saurabh (my alter ego), Vimansha (oops, Misha Vim!) and Sakshi (sassy and smart assy) – my partners in crime. How would I ever have graduated sane without you guys? You are like the broken piece that completes my heart. I’d sob for ten days straight without you guys. Well, just ten days okay. I’d survive with pizzas beyond that. Lol. I love you, people. You have stood by me through movies and outings, thick and thin, chicken and vegetarian, and what not. Before I cry and get all senti, I am ending it. Tum log toh dill ke itne kareeb ho ki lafz nahi aa rahe likhne ko. Waise, udo math. Tum log kuch inspire nahi karte mereko, nalaayak saale.


12038130_1115884938440469_3596577440411114312_nNeelesh Bisht. Haathi mere saathi. You are one person I absolutely love talking to, not just because you are a ‘fat panda on a roll’, but because I am one too. ROFLLLLMMAAAOOO. I am sure we are going to spend the day hogging on food and riding whenever we happen to meet. You are the only normal person around me. With reference to our most recent conversation, I know that you will hold this article close to your heart, because this is EXACTLY what we were speaking of. You have a life unlike most others, Bisht. You are gifted. Do what your heart yearns for. That is what will make mumma and mumma’s boy happy. STOP using y=mx+c to calculate the slope of how down your life is going. XD


Jayanth (your sweetness shall remain unparalleled. you cannot imagine how touched I was to see your message of congratulations recently. you go, boy.), Jyothi and Shweta (both of you are the loveliest girls I know from back home. i am so glad i met you. although none of us could make it to IIM Indore, the experience of preparing for it is something i’ll cherish for a lifetime. soon shall we meet.), Teekay (wassup, cutie? for being my lover boy from school age, i will always always always cherish the amazing bond we have. it is like none other. we talk only thrice in an year, maybe. but it never feels like we don’t keep in touch. i love you.), Manu (although our attempts at meeting each other had constantly kept failing, i must say that i cannot thank LinkedIn enough for our friendship. your comments on Insta make me feel so energetic and nice. Thanks for all the love. you are awesome!), Suraj (“i love how you articulate your thoughts” is a line that is etched in my heart forever. you are the humblest and kindest. just be the super talented dark horse you are, forever. your brains inspire me. you are such a quick learner. also, thank you for giving me Adakari. Drama is something I could never have dreamt of being associated with, otherwise), Mansi (you are the best writer I know, maannnuu. the passion and intensity in you comes out in your writings and acting. you are my tiniest inspiration), Nikki (you were the first person from Vijayawada to ever support my writing. I also vividly remember the help you extended to me at StartAP. you couldn’t be sweeter. don’t go out in the rain, it is scientifically proven that sugar melts in water. yikes, too cheesy kadha. haha. i hope we get to meet soon. love you.), Sarang (you already know how much I love you. You are the reason I have a job today. THANK YOU se thodi repay karungi ye karz. I owe you a treat, and essentially, a lifetime. We have had some great times. Come back soon!) and Sanjana (although we haven’t spoken much in recent years, I must confess that I’ve always had a woman crush on you, Sanju. You’re the coolest senior from senior secondary school. I still read the testimonial you wrote me in my scrapbook. You are a star! You inspire me).


10377073_790802977633929_2797366432816522873_n12651350_957401570963485_4648625808772696729_nDipen (our friendship is the craziest one I’ve had so far. I mean, you chancing upon my blog, SSC sharing it, you sharing their contacts – it all seems like a dream, Dipen. I guess, our friendship is equally dreamy and magical. i hope we can meet soon and continue our correspondence for a lifetime.), Vaishnavi and Teja (I know both of you, one because of the other. You guys have always been so kind to me. Vaishu, despite the fact that you are special because I share my name with you, I can never forget how you warned me against some people I ended up befriending. Neeku gurthuledhemo, I clearly remember. THANK YOU for saving a life. And Teja, nuvvu river antha pure, abbai. I like how you ‘Vaishu’ me all the time. Good old days, until you went abroad bah).


Sahith (you are one of the very few people with whom I have had the luxury of sharing a nearly eighteen years old bond. 18 GODDAMN YEARS of having known each other is a crazily beautiful feeling in itself. You are such a great guy. Every time you tell me you love my writings, I feel so good about myself. You are the reason. THANK YOU.), Rishabh (you have grown from being a naive boy to a smart man. The finesse in you impresses me, Rishabh. Never thought I’d see you become this. So proud of what you are.), Naveen (I made you my fitness inspiration ever since you took to modelling. You amaze me. Gosh.), Maneet and Chandana (our gang. OMG. we are those typical girlie gangs we come across in hollywood films and music. i so wish we weren’t continents apart. we would go clubbing and eating every night. miss our school times.), Srikar (you are another fitness inspiration. You should surely mail me your secret mantra. Hahaha. Btw, we are surely meeting this December. I won’t ditch you eesari), Sasira – R.Sai – Mukul (three of you haven’t changed one bit over the years, and that’s the thing about good old friends. they might not stay with you, but they stay by you. ALWAYS and FOREVER. Mukul’s an exception, though. Now, he is more of ‘oh-i-am-a-cool-delhi-boy’. Haha.), Nalini (nuvvu devudu, saami. antha manchitanam ela?), Vishal (Headless Nick, you are most favourite immediate senior. I mean, ain’t it obvious! The times we got to spend. Remember, we also had what morons called ‘a link’ back then. ROFLMAO! On a serious note, you were a leader, school topper, humorous young person from what I remember in school. Our silly fights and your incessant jokes about me that neither ever made sense nor had an end are some things I hold very close to my heart.), Vamsi (MSR, we are soooooo meeting in Hyd this December. And we shall get back to discussing Eragon and Potter. Old times sake!), Swati (I can never forget our lunch at MY HOME. you are such an awesome person. i love you. also, you are a great dancer), Jaya (for being the one super genius Sahith and I always gossiped about right from Class 5. Haha. You’re super brainy. I hope you become the next gen Satya Nadella, and still remember me) and Tishya (how can I not mention the very one person who made me feel at ease with secondary school? you were, are, and will always be a huge inspiration. I remember that the first time I ever spoke on stage was because of the confidence you instilled in me. it means a lot, Tish. really does!).

You guys are the only people from school who have constantly supported my writings and achievements. it is a very very very special thing for me. ‘touched’ is a small word to say. i believe that your friends from schools are the ones you grow up with, the ones you befriend without any wants or desires or motives, and that is why friends from school are the best you can ask for. i am so glad we are schoolmates.



Spunny (you are the sweetest super duper senior I know from back home. our bond has been one of a long time. from sharing books, to discussing them, from reading each other’s blogs and being in awe, from you being the one to guide me through EAMCET/AIEEE/IIT and all that shit I still hate, to the amazing times we had at VC – we have come a long way. i hope you are having a great time in the US.), Sudheer (Lettrs is testimony enough. Such a weird friendship ours is, Dheeru. i miss you. delhi stint aipogane, ping me. we should meet. we live so close.), Teju (you are such a darling. you are the cutest senior from school. sometimes, i forget that we are junior-senior. such is our bond. i so hope we can meet this time i’m home. I love you loads. you have always been so kind, with your texts and messages. i hope i love you back enough).


Deepak Bhaiyya, Deepanshu Bhaiyya, Maroo Bhaiyya and Tushaar Bhaiyya (you guys dance like the world isn’t watching, and that attribute is something that i have learnt from you and come a long way in life. main aap logon jitna achcha naachti, toh mooh uthaake kisiko dekhti bhi nahi. but you guys are so modest. you act like you’re normal people who haven’t achieved anything in life. what’s better? the friendship that you guys share, all four of you – the core team of MB, without any differences or disputes – inspiration bohat chota shabd hai aap logon keliye. please mere shaadi pe ek group performance karna MB ka. it would be a dream come true. :D).


Rohit (Kochar jee, aapko toh special award si dene ki ichcha hoti hai. Hamari dosti toh gajab hi hai. From hatred to besties we have gone. I still laugh at it. Hahaha. You are the kindest thing in this world. I hope I can be half as sweet. And oye, your Haikus are mind blowing. I tried writing some, but i think you have given me a complex – my fingers don’t move. you rock.), Gulshan (for always being there, on Insta/FB/Twitter, just about everywhere. i wish you stayed longer in college. what you have done in life is something that very few people do. It takes GUTS to take risks. you had them, you did it. and there’s no stopping you, now. i still remember your singham mimic. amazing. keep in touch, okay. you inspire me loads and tons, and give me the courage to do something out of the box.), Jay and Akki (the super awesome brothers. I know each one of you to a different level altogether. you guys are not just friends, you are very close friends. Akki, i am still sorry for our last meeting. i promise i will always walk in ten minutes early from next time. haha. and Jay, nuvvu inspiration kaakapothe inkevaru cheppu. the crazy things you have dreamt to do – phew. i am in awe of you).


12961436_10153865517146141_8615535392468477927_oDivya Kondapi. You are not any other person on this list. You deserve a special mention. For one, our bond has lasted more than a dozen years, from what I can gather. Two, WE ARE ALWAYS HUNGRY. Three, you gave me Shahghouse. Four, we can’t decide our favourite dish because we are so obsessed with food. Five, our mums are crazy. Six, whenever we plan on going out, it’s ALWAYS a good place to hog at. Seven, cuz’ our gossip sessions always end up in a ‘I-know-right’ session, wherein we share so many mutual interests that it sometimes makes me wonder if we are lost siblings. Eight, because we eat, gain weight, lose hair, fall prey to incessant taunts from our moms, don’t care, and SURVIVE. Nine, because Mandy was my first puppy love. Quite literally. Haha. Thank you for helping me conquer my fear of dogs. Ten, because you are super awesome and I always have fun with you! We should really hang out sometime soon. Dedicating this song to you. It’s an all time favourite, and as creepy as this may sound, it reminds me of you. Haha.

“This is the price we’ll have to pay for our broken paradise, this is the mask we hide behind, it’s far too late to turn around. For the ones with no way out, all the ones who still believe
that we can change this world together, we sing this broken symphony.
These are the lies we tell ourselfes, this isn’t what this world was meant to be,
the time will come for us to see that all the choices we make come back. Sing it, sing it, sing it out!

That we can change this world together,
we sing this broken symphony”.


13064507_10208149742834111_6939999054458891659_oDivya Makena. Whenever I hear the lines “And we play our favorite songs, and we scream out all night long, like ooh ooh oh, when it’s just me and my girl”, I think of you, Div. It never ever feels like we have only met once. I guess, the trip was one of those once-in-a-lifetime things. We know the deepest and darkest of each other. And thanks to you, I had no time going back to being happy. Also, thank you for contributing in driving away my fear for dogs. Love you much! Vizag can never be complete without you. Please come back soon, and we shall plan another one of those trips to the temple, only to be chided by the priest for not wearing bindis and chunnis. Yikes!).


11001860_10205151479619875_8235817680405068582_nSaurabh Rao. Mere dil ka dhadkan, jigar ka tukda. I know you are already freaking out, hehe. Rao Garu, I have had the wittiest conversations only with you. TBH, I don’t like that you are in the US. If everyone I can learn from goes off to the US, who will remain to keep me motivated? I have learnt so much from you, not just attributes or qualities like others on this page – but actual, technical stuff, which I went on to implement in my projects and assignments. I can never thank you enough. Your knowledge in everything you have dabbled in so far is beyond amazing. Much respect and love. Try reversing the entire idea of the startup – send me chocolates from the US, instead. I can surely send you some homemade pickles in return).


12747270_969277326442685_4001876523390521706_oDheeru, how can our nine years strong friendship not inspire me? you have always chosen the road not taken. From the school you went to till the career option you chose, every single choice of yours has only left me surprised. Each time. But you emerged, successful, every time. Nee determination ki salaam. Btw, your stories have life. I end up connecting with most of them). All our conversations about illusions, movies, life, struggle, and certain things I am not supposed to disclose here – are things that have kept me happy and motivated in the toughest of times. you rock, macha.


13442477_1042012699218707_5953406194101109771_oDharmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa (just trying to prove my excitement), It would be a crime if I didn’t call you my best friend. I have seen you evolve, Dharma. And I don’t think anyone has seen you so closely. From Nalanda to NLS-B is a journey that calls for hard work, perseverance, dedication and ambition. I still remember your phone calls. You were so shy, so afraid, so naive. And boy, look at you now. There are days when you advise me to be brave. I am so proud of you, Dharma. I have ‘actually’ seen you change, from a normal ordinary boy next door to a sophisticated well read young man. And that paper work origami that you used to do – I still can’t make one of those. Please teach me someday. Also, LAST BEAT had inspired me to launch my startup. I owe you a lifetime. It is a rarity to find friends like you. I am blessed. But then again, you are such a bitch. You had the time to wish every single person out there, but me. [with reference to the placement]. -_- Either way, whenever I feel low or left out, I recall your story and feel pumped up. You are the head lights to my car. There is no illumination in my life without you.


Ravi Kiran and Tanay, two super cool people I have had the pleasure of knowing. Although a large part of our interactions have been virtual, I cannot deprive you of your share of thank-you’s. You people were one of the earliest ones to inspire me. Everyone else set in after I started with my undergrad, but you guys were in the frame way before that, and that’s why I am giving you a special mention. 10286918_795571630453130_504001848223819279_o10648268_10206790850512718_2077535904582534677_o
First, Ravi, for helping me prepare for my FIRST ever interview (there’s this thing about first-somethings. they tend to be special.), for constantly critiquing my work, for keeping me on my toes, for being honest and outright, and for being the amazing person you are. THANK YOU. Next, Tanay. For being the only one of your kind. You’ve taught me to take pride in who we are and where we come from. I’ve never seen someone stick to their roots so firmly. You are the best, boy. I still remember our conversation about Naxalism in Vijayawada, and your love for the Indian culture. I was so impressed with your ease of striking a conversation with someone you hadn’t even interacted with for too long. You love the way you are, and with this very attitude, you have taught me to be self assertive. That is an achievement for me. You were one of the first people to get my engine started. Thank You!


, for teaching me the virtue of a peaceful sleep. You have changed a large part of my subconscious self without even realizing it. I have learnt to let go, to stay chilled out, to be at peace – all because of you. Thank you for being one of the first persons who taught me to believe in the reason of our existence.
Had it not been for your constant Malayali-movie-marathon-watching, I would have gone berserk with the kind of work I am used to doing. Thanking you would be a mistake. You deserve a lot more than that! “We are an unchained melody. Are you still mine?”


Christopher, for being the most ambitious and perseverant person I have ever seen. 13340237_1808619302700726_1882887582945318149_o
You are sure to achieve your dreams. I have no idea how you remain so focused and dedicated. When I try to be half as serious about my work, I end up sleeping or eating. You are quite acquainted with my love for food these days. So, needless to mention. Haha.

Also, I love the quotes you sometimes send me every morning. They are such a nice thing to wake up to! You are very inspiring. I know that you will achieve the choicest of everything you wish for. Good Luck to you!


13659155_1373321192698019_788621214763236496_nMohit Gaur. Mohit Bhaiyya, aapke baare mein jitna likhu, utna kam hai. You have emerged a winner in the battle between you and modesty. I have never seen a celebrity act so normal. You haven’t changed one bit over the years. You still speak with me about the poetry recital we first met in. It is only momentous that I shared my first victory in AUR with you. Even that day, I distinctly remember what your words were, “Prize mujhe mila ho toh bhi, Vaishnavi deserves it much more”. And then, as if you were just another person, you shook hands with me and congratulated me. You can’t be so nice. No one can be so nice, bhaiyya. You’re sweeter than the ‘cupcake’ in your song. More power and fame to you!


You guys are my most favourite family. Each one of you is so kind to me, has always been. I will always cherish the wonderful time I had at Pune. How I wish I could rewind and relive it all over again. The food, the travel, the conversations, the lovely cant. house. I will soon meet you people. Thank you for all the love you have bestowed upon me. I hope I can return it someday. *Abhi Da, when you suddenly realise that the video you are watching has your cousin in it, it’s a third world feeling. You inspire me.

12687987_134113096973617_3206839901105536742_nDadaaaaa, how can you not be on this list? There are people who motivate, and then again, there are people who inspire. But you are of a third kind. You do both. Every conversation with you is so enlightening. It rejuvenates me, makes me want to do something in life. And although my efforts are partially negated by the distractions that engulf me, I AM TRYING. The way you articulate your thoughts, carry yourself with so much confidence – it’s beautiful. Just wanted to thank you for being a strong pillar of support. You give me this mental strength, that there is someone in the family who is willing to listen to me. I probably never showed this to you, but yes, this is my way of expressing gratitude.

12525187_10154009940174268_7977477172341023682_o12346573_942787445796083_7527287052168486394_nIf not you, who? If not now, when? Papa and Amma, you are the best parents in the entire world. You have struggled, fallen, risen, survived, and raised me to be a good child. I hope I make you feel like your efforts and time were worth it. It is difficult to balance work and life, and even more difficult to bring up a single girl child who was born ten years late.

Your struggle started much before I was born. And that is what makes you people even more special. I cannot ever express my love to you. You deserve all the love multiplied by a million galaxies. Thank you for being my first hero and superwoman. I love you to the moon and back!


291913_121715741368178_1211578526_nSandhya Atta, I think of you whenever my friends fall ill. Why, you may ask. Because you took such good care of me. Through all these years, you have made sure that I received the best of every medication I had access to. And this is something I’ll always be indebted to you for.

“Health is wealth” is a saying we have all grown up with; and you made it possible for me. THANK YOU for being a major part of my upbringing. I love you.


12072576_10208030788632028_6883390649967365664_nAnd last but not the least, Prashant. For being the dark horse. Talent galore, but modesty infinite. You seem like you are straight out of that show – Suits. How can anyone possibly be so clever? It isn’t possible. Thank you for helping me settle down in college, giving me ideas for my blog, and helping me improve myself as a person. I am so glad I met you. Thank you for being such an inspiration.

DISCLAIMER. Please bear with me if I have forgotten to mention someone’s name on the list. I do not tell lies, and mean it when I say that my memory is largely transient. So, please do not be offended or sad. If you know me well, you’d know how forgetful I am. You would understand. I want you to know that I have learnt something or the other from every person in my life, and I appreciate and value every bit of it. Also, it is likely that some of my closest friends aren’t on the list, but I hope you know that this is just a list of those people who have made a difference in my life. If you are a friend, YOU WILL UNDERSTAND.


Anyway, my heart is now loitering around McDonald’s. So, I must pause till it comes back to me. And I am already craving for my mandatory weekly quota of McSpicyChicken and ChickenZinger. So, adios amigos. I am leaving you with a video to watch. It’s beautifully introspective. Do leave a comment about what you think. Until next time!

Thought For The Week: ‘What would you do if money was no object?’ – try to start your introspection with the answer to this question. It worked wonders for me. Please start introspecting. It is key to happiness. Just because you are not dead, doesn’t mean you are alive. So, do it and keep me posted about your results. I would love to discuss.



3 thoughts on “The Average Indian: Existing, Not Living.

  1. Vaishnavi, you sweet sweet girl..! This post is the best. You have no idea how much joy you have given to all these people. Because they played some role in your life. This is how you spread love.! Keep spreading this love… More power to you girl.!


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