Happy Birthday Dr. KSV (Dr. KS Viswanathan)

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Dr. KSV_99

Today is my Prof. K.S. Viswanathan's Birthday. It is no coincidence that it is also celebrated as Teacher's day. One of the best things Dr. KS Viswanathan did for me was say " I don't know the answer to that but I'll do some research." It modeled a more honest intellectual discourse. You don't have to pretend like you know everything and you don't always need to have or share an immediate opinion. Thanks Dr. KSV for your amazing example.


Books

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Buy one book, complete it, then buy the next book. Many order books in bulk and end up reading none. It gives a sense of satisfaction and security if we hold a large amount of resource. The thought behind that being "It's mine, I can refer it anytime". Actually the resource unused is not a resource. In this case it's just bunch of papers. Make use of your resource, one by one. Read. Grow. Repeat.


Using experience to the advantage

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Years of experience allows you to make more mistakes through the course of time and learn what is the best way to do something. If you are unable to gather this experience and constantly focusing on being right, your years of experience just turns out to be another number. Might fall into the trap of guided execution with 100% assured success. It won't help you on a longer run.


Reading

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Don’t set your goal of reading a specific number of books per year and keep Mortimer J. Adler’s words in mind: “In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”  I set aside some time to reflecting what I read and see how I can apply it to upgrade myself.


Time for action

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Overthinking in decision making causes us to spend too much time thinking and getting stuck in a loop of inaction. You can't read the future and you can't know everything. So do know that thinking harder doesn't activate the crystal ball. and overthinking and problem solving aren't the same thing . Being a leader requires confidence, decisiveness, and quick thinking--none of which are served by overthinking every decision or scenario or worrying about every move you make.

There's a time to think, a time to act, a time to reflect, and a time to move forward.


Growth mindset

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Your growth mindset, or lack thereof, is critically important to achieving or not achieving goals. There is nothing wrong with realistic optimism. And don't let someone tell you otherwise.

Over my career, I've witnessed those with growth mindsets are realistically optimistic and achieve their professional and personal goals consistently.

They have ability to work through adversity. They realize by working smart, hard, together, with focus and doing so with consistency, they will achieve their goals.

They don't get too high or too low. They are team players and give recognition to others. They are coachable and often seek out coaching. They realize they themselves don't have all the answers. They most often are self and situationally aware; and bring positive energy to situations, even challenging situations. They might fail, but they learn, and consequently grow and achieve goals.

Conversely, I've also observed those who lack a growth mindset. They might take convenient accountability in positive situations; but lack accountability/responsibility in challenging situations.

They often bring negative energy to situations. They themselves don't admit fault or failure....In their mind "someone else fails them and causes them to not achieve their goals". They often are inconsistent in achieving goals.


Get going

-Karthik Gurumurthy

The doubts that we have in our minds are the ones that others have put in.

If we believe in those doubts, we will stop believing in ourselves

As we journey through life, there is a chance we might fail.

But if we don't begin that journey at all, then the failure is real.


Do I have to be MS Dhoni?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Having high emotional intelligence doesn't mean that you remain calm and undisturbed in every situation. That is called Sainthood. You have your anger under control and can use it as a tool to showcase your displeasure. Never stop being yourself because of wrong understanding of concepts. Self awareness is the key. We have to use it wisely..

MSD


Prayer for Today

I release my partner
from the obligation to complete me.
I release my parents
from the feeling they failed with me.
I release my children
from the need to bring me pride,
so they can write their own paths
to the rhythm of their hearts.
I don't lack anything.
I cherish my essence,
my way of expressing it,
even if not everyone can understand me.
I learn from all beings,
all the time.
I honor
the divinity
in me
and you.
- Shamanic Blessing ✨💕🙏
Author unknown

Notes to Myself Part 9

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"You are the only one that can do what only you were meant to do to be a change for good in the world so go out there and shine your light and do it! Don’t let the norm stand in the way of making a difference, dream big (because you can do anything you set your mind to) and accomplish much with your unique gifts."


Notes to Myself Part 8

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"Try not to worry much. Whatever is happening is happening for a reason & it will teach you something. Trust your instincts, believe in your values & keep going. It's all building you up. And you can take it. Fall down but keep getting up.

No one is permanent in life. But everyone has a role to play. People come, teach you something & leave when they are meant to. Treat them well to your capacity & be honest. Don't bear any hard feelings.

Learn, gain experience, share, be generous but don't buildup a bad attitude. Use your ego wisely.

Try to stay in touch with your friends. They are true gems.

Life is a marathon, don't look at it like a sprint.

Stay happy, nothing is more important."

--your older self with greying hair 😊


Notes to Myself Part 6

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"It’s better to work in a positive work environment that is inclusive and psychologically safe than to work on really cool stuff in a hostile environment…It’s more about who you work with than what you work on. Culture is everything. You’re the kind of person who can identify interesting opportunities that are good for the bottom line anywhere you are. So, don’t waste your energy and time in toxic environments, but instead find creative, inclusive, collaborative company/department cultures. The sky is the limit when you’re in the right place working with the right people!"


Notes to Myself Part 4

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"Chase as many exciting experiences as you can and remember to be observant/reflective in those moments...both personally and professionally. Everything else will come as a product of those experiences."


Notes to Myself Part 1

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Starting today, I am going to start writing a series everyday which I would like to call it "Notes to Myself"  If I have to start all over..What work advice will I give my younger self? 

For today,

"You are stronger than you think and never think less of yourself, you are made to shine so go and be the best you can be"


Gratitude

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"Gratitude shifts perspective from:

  • Don’t have to have.
  • Past to present.
  • Can’t to might.
  • Narrow to wide.
  • Lack to generosity.
  • Burden to energy.
  • Complaint to enjoyment.
  • Problem to opportunity.
  • Pain to potential.
  • Obligation to freedom.

Helpful 2 minute exercise to start the day

-Karthik Gurumurthy

While I’m typically known as positive, energetic, and optimistic, the past few weeks have definitely worn me down.

Tony Robbins says we cannot be angry and grateful at the same time. Focusing on gratitude shifts so much. When we are hurt and frustrated, it create our fear based reactions of fight, flight, or freeze which narrows are thinking and creativity. Gratitude breaks that cycle.

I found this little exercise from Harvard Business Review to be a helpful motivator. Perhaps you will, too:

“It can be hard to muster the positive outlook that fuels motivation and creativity. When we lose that positivity, burnout and fatigue can quickly follow.

How can you inject some optimism into your day? This two-minute exercise can help. Each morning, finish the following three sentences (either on paper, out loud, or even in your head) before you turn on your computer or start your commute:

Today, I will focus on _____.

Today, I am grateful for _____.

Today, I will let go of _____.”


Book reading: Reflections

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I love reading books but sometimes I get too carried away and I buy way  too many at the same time when I go to India or at the Friends of the Library shop.

I am realizing it is better to buy one book, complete reading it and then buy the next book.  When I buy books in bulk, I end up reading none. It gives a great sense of satisfaction and security if we hold a large amount of resource. The thought behind that being, "It is mine, I can refer it anytime." Actually the resource that is not utilized is not a resource. If unutilized,  it is just bunch of papers. I am realizing I need to make best use of resource, one by one. Read, Grow, Repeat...


Happy Holidays

Wishing you all a wonderful holidays.
May the spirit of the season embrace you.
The year that tested us all in many ways, that tested our faith, hope, resilience give way to a deep sense of hope, peace, joy and positivity.

I trust you take some time to relax, reflect, recharge.

-Karthik Gurumurthy


Listening

-Karthik Gurumurthy

“Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.” - Andy Stanley

Isn't that true?

Listening is such a powerful and yet such an undervalued tool. Listening cannot only help us resolve discrepancies, listening can make sure that challenges do not even turn into issues.Leaders need to surround themselves with people who say what needs to be said, not what the leader wants to hear


Do you take life for granted?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Are you grateful for the life that you have? Or do you take things for granted? Maybe you haven’t thought about it for a while. Did you ever fail to appreciate someone you care about? Was that because you were too busy putting out fires or focusing on other things? Or perhaps you assumed they’d just hang around forever.

The problem is, when you take people or things for granted, you put them in jeopardy. It’s not enough to make up for neglect after they’ve slipped away. It’s important to be grateful every day for the wonderful things in your life. Think of this as a wake-up call.

What Do You Take for Granted?

Parents. You have parents who offer their unconditional love. They’ve given a lot of themselves to ensure that you have a better life. Show some gratitude. If you’re not one already, you’ll probably be a parent one day.

Country we live in. We can share our thought process openly and have the choice and freedom which you wouldn't witness in so many parts of the world. Unless we step out, we do not remember this. Every time I step out of the country I remember how thankful I am to be living here.

Loyalty. People remain faithful to us through good times and bad. When was the last time you showed your appreciation?

Love of your life.Your spouse may be the most important person in your life. Do you take his or her love for granted?

Students. I have had connection with student familes who’ve been with us for years. Am I thankful for the loyalty and the Blessings?

Health. We don’t appreciate good health until we feel lousy. When we get better, we take our health for granted again. (So much for learning from our mistakes.)

Freedom. We have: the right to privacy, the freedom to speak our mind, and the privilege to practice the religion of our choice. It wasn’t always that way. People gave their lives to protect those freedoms.

Variety. We have so many travel options, food choices, and retail alternatives available to us. Not everyone has that luxury.

Trust. Your faith in those who are close to you enables you to share your deepest secrets with them. Do you realize how special that trust is?

Dedicated team. We have an amazing team who do everything we ask of them — and more. Do you acknowledge their value —or take it for granted?

Security. We have reasonable weather, access to healthy food, and can walk the streets safely at night. Be thankful that we don’t live our life in fear.

Basic necessities. We have three meals a day, a warm bed to sleep in, and a shelter over our head. To some people, that’s a luxury.

Nature. After days of bad weather, we appreciate the sunshine. Maybe we shouldn’t take clean air or water for granted.

Life. Everyday we see someone in the obituary column and our name is not featured there. Do you take that for granted?

Appreciate What You Have Before It Becomes What You Had

One day we should take a moment and listen to ourselves. We complain about not having enough while we lose sight of the wonderful things that we have. That happens because we get restless, things become too routine, or perhaps because we enjoy the hunt for something new.

The problem is, when we take stuff for granted, things eventually go south . . . the relationship goes sour, the team member jumps ship etc.. And, of course — then we react with panic. As the saying goes, “People say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Truth is, you knew exactly what you had . . . you just never thought you’d lose it.”

So . . . think how you’d react if those things “walked” out of your life. Why wait for that to happen? If you’d care a lot if you lost them, find the time to show appreciation for them today. As the saying goes, “You should appreciate what you have before it becomes what you had.”

Happy Thanksgiving!


Expectations

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"When one's expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have."
-Stephen Hawking

Love this quote. Not in a sad way, and I suppose it depends on how you read it.

Lot of times we tell ourselves that “no one cares what I think” or “this is just the way it is or there’s nothing I can do”

When we realize that those are just stories and we learn to not expect what people might be thinking, or how a situation should be then it opens up a whole new way of seeing the world and appreciating what’s really there.

Because people will care what you think and want to hear what you have to say and there’s always something you can do.

Always.

When you learn not to expect a certain result, people surprise you and Life surprises you.


Rewind or Fast forward

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Lot of times I encounter people who wished that they can go back in time and alter the course. I don’t believe in living with regret but there are some things that I would definitely have done differently in my life. Obviously I can only know that now with hindsight so it would be impossible to know how some things would play out at the time. I’m a big believer that we do what is right at the time, using the information we have.

What is helpful now though is having the benefit of that knowledge to know that that thing, person or job isn’t for you.

It helps us to make future decisions and navigate our way through any new options that present themselves.

One of my friends asked me the question  the other day if f it was possible, would I go back in time and change anything? Probably not. All those decisions (good and bad) led me to where I am today, and all the people I now know and love. Better to focus on now and appreciate all the positives rather than dwelling on a past you can't change. Easier said than done sometimes.


Why is being Grateful important?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Gratitude can make you feel calmer, content and relaxed. Each time we reflect on what we have and what we are grateful for, our brains release Serotonin.Serotonin is the key hormone to stabilise our mood and happiness – it promotes our wellbeing. It also helps with sleeping and digestion.

Practice daily gratitude at the start of your day and notice how you feel happier, calmer and relaxed. I spend 5 minutes as part of my morning routine to be thankful for all I have.

I ask myself - what am I most grateful for today?

Each day my response includes:

· For my amazing family, colleagues, students

· I get to serve the world each day working with favorite people.

· My deep network of incredible souls (family and friends)

· I get to choose how I react and respond to each and every situation I find myself

· I get to choose how I nurture my mind, body and health

When we SERVE ourselves and show gratitude - we in turn SERVE all those we touch, see and interact with.

👉🏽 What are you most grateful for today and how will you embed the practice of daily gratitude into your routine?

Wishing you all a fabulous start to the week.


Struggle to Sensation(al): Lessons from Rahul Tewatia

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I follow IPL (India Premier League) Cricket tournament which happens every year during March-May where Cricketers all over the World participate for different franchises and  is exciting and entertaining to watch. Because of Covid-19 pandemic, this year it moved March-May to Sep-Nov time period and was scheduled to happen in Dubai..

One of the games I watched today was between Rajasthan and Punjab teams. Punjab played first and posted a  big total of 223 funs and Rajasthan was given an opportunity to chase this mammoth total. Even though Rajasthan had the potential to cross the line, one of the players Rahul Tewatia  was struggling in the middle and was taking lot of time to score runs. His batting partner (Sanju Samson) was however fluent and was scoring runs with ease. At one point the way Rahul was paying everybody was feeling sorry for the Rajasthan team and felt that Rahul needs to exit as  he was taking time and if someone else comes,  at least they can take a chance of winning the game. That was the impression every body had (including myself).
Then, without the slightest warning, he broke free. Rahul who is in the team more for his leg-spin bowling started hitting sixes all over the ground. It was not a flicker of hope, but an all-consuming fire. He scored 53 runs of 31 balls and helped Rajasthan team win the game against Punjab almost from an impossible position.

RahulT

 

Lesson#1 We all make mistakes, but the way we approach mistakes defines our relationship with them. For some of us, we are intrinsically terrified of mistakes and failure, and we refuse to even try or freeze  in the fear of doing something worse. However, Rahul Tewatia diid not let his mistakes define him. He quickly learned it and moved on. 

Lesson#2: Following was the tweet from Rahul back in 2017.  What is there to learn from this tweet? He has pre-played his success. Everything is created twice: First in mind, then in reality.

 

RahulTewatia

 

Great work Rahul! Such a great inspiration!

 


Happy Independence Day, India

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Happy Independence day, India. The  poem "Where the mind is without fear" was written by one of the greatest poets of India, Rabindranath Tagore. This was written during the period when India was struggling for freedom from the British rule. It was a part of ‘Gitanjali’, a compilation of all his poems which was published in English in 1912.

"Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of the truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake."

-From Gitanjali (aka Song Offering) by Rabindranath Tagore


In this poem, Rabindranath Tagore expresses his love for his country and prays to the Almighty for its well being. In his prayer, the poet says that his countrymen should not live in fear anymore and must do away with the evils of society. They must live with respect, dignity, honesty and perfection.  The poet envisions India as a country where the people live without any kind of fear or oppression and hold their head high with pride, dignity and self reliance. He also says that knowledge should be attained without any restriction. There should be no discrimination based on caste, creed, race or religion. India must reach towards its goal of attaining freedom and being an ideal nation. The countrymen must possess noble thoughts and do away with all the superstitious beliefs that defy logic and reason.The poet prays to God, seeking his support and guidance for his countrymen to have noble thoughts and actions. He asks God to awaken them into this heaven like place of an independent nation.


Planning your day

-Karthik Gurumurthy

One of the things my dad advised when I left to US for grad school (about two and half decades back) was making a schedule or routine and sticking to a routine on a day-to-day basis.

One of the many challenges of Covid was the disruption of routine. As creatures of habit, we all had routines around going to work and the activities of our personal lives. These routines were dramatically changed and constrained. Suddenly most of us were working from home and establishing new routines by necessity. Some put their routines on hold hoping that things would soon return to a semblance of normal.

I quickly realized that I needed to adapt to the new constraints and develop a daily agenda that would best serve me and the results I wanted to achieve. I saw the challenge then (and now) to make the most of every day regardless of circumstance.

So I revisited and nenewed my current schedule.

A good schedule creates good results and vice versa. Knowing high payoff activities and doing them consistently is key to effectiveness. Rather than leave their day to chance leaders are strategic. And with an increase in remote work, a schedule is even more important.

Here are the ingredients of my schedule:

Rest. A majority of us don’t get enough sleep. Given the increased time we have at home, there’s no reason not to catch up and start getting the sleep we need. Sleep deprivation can lead to decision making that is impaired to the equivalent of moderate intoxication. A quick review of research shows how sleep is central to attitude, mental and physical help, obesity etc.
Starting Early. Getting your day off to a good start is important. For me that includes walk, study, prayer and reflection. I like to rise early so I can do those things without rush (right now I’m editing this article at 5:15 a.m.). The point isn’t how early you start your day but to begin purposefully and peacefully. This will equip you to hand the challenges that you will inevitably face later.
Problems. Some will come to you but others are already on your agenda. Prioritize the most important problems to address. Trying to solve every problem at once usually makes you ineffectual. A good challenge is to ask yourself, “How can I change this problem into an opportunity?” The difference between a problem and an opportunity are often perspective and ingenuity.
Projects. These are the important things you choose to do to move you closer to your goals. Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment. You can get lots of little things done and still not be doing important work. Projects are the building blocks of your business’s and your life’s success.
Relationships. Which need renewed, repaired or raised to the next level? Think in terms of the important people in your business and life like you think in terms of important projects. Before Covid-19, many relationships were addressed in the time we had left over rather than intentionally. When the pace of life slowed, we had time to invest in deepening and strengthening relationships.
Hobbies. All work and no play doesn’t make Jack dull, it makes Jack fatigued and unhealthy. What things that you enjoy and refresh you that you can do for some period of time each day to provide you a much needed respite? I hear leaders say they don’t have interests outside of their work. If you find yourself in that category, consider the benefits of curiosity and wonder, of learning new skills and widening your interests. Not only will it be rewarding, it will almost certainly benefit your work life.
Rejuvenation. What do you do the end each day as well as you began it? One classic technique from positive psychology is to identify three good things that happened during the day. Another is to simply ask yourself, “What is the most important thing I accomplished today?” I keep a note pad next to my bed to record insights that come to me in the time before I sleep. Ultimately, gratefulness and reflection are a positive ending to the day.
The next day? Simply repeat your routine.

You might notice I left out interruptions (which will inevitably occur). You don’t have to design them into your day. They will happen naturally and regularly so you might want to include some margin to deal with the important ones as they occur.

These are my ingredients. You may add or subtract for your renewed routine. But now is a good time to re-examine and renew your routine to make the most out of every day you are given. You can’t put more time into your life, but you can put more life into your time.


How I Built This by Guy Raz

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I have been listening to the most amazing Podcast,  "How I Built this ". Guy Raz does the most phenomenal job interviewing some of the most successful entrepreneurs of recent times. Guy has a real talent for interviewing entrepreneurs and engaging his listeners, which is what make this intriguing.  The selection of stories are from some of the best and most entertaining episodes, from Away bags and AirBnB (and their Obama Os) to FUBU and Allbirds. This isn't a bunch of "overcoming all adversity and winning" tales. It's honest, true stories about the work, the practice, and the insights that sparked many of our most loved innovations. I can't get enough of it!!!


Review of The Test: A New Era for Australia team: Season 1

-Karthik Gurumurthy

 About two years back, Australia’s Test cricket team became entangled in a ball-tampering scandal during the third Test of a series in South Africa. Captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft were the key figures involved in an incident dubbed ‘sandpapergate’ and one which would cast a dark shadow over the sport. Steve Smith was stripped of captaincy and handed a ban along with David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.  The Australian cricket authorities were forced to make changes in personnel. Justin Langer, a retired top-class batsman, was brought in as head coach and Tim Paine was made team captain.

For all cricket lovers, who are in desperate need of some decent viewing during this time of isolation and lock-down, the newly released Amazon Prime"  "The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team" is worth the watch.  This  is an in-depth, behind-the-scenes, eight-episode examination of a cricket team in crisis. It chronicles 18 months in the travails of the Australian national team, from the squad’s all-time lowest point to its return to relevance in the 2019 World Cup.

Review:

Born in India I have been passionately following the game as much as I can from the late 1970's and 1980's and it continues to provide non-stop entertainment and excitement. Australia has been one of the most successful cricketing team and been a dominant force for decades winning multiple World Cups  and other ICC trophies. I always admired Aussie team for their fighting spirit but  never liked them as a team as most of the team members were arrogant, offensive and knew that these players would do anything to win and I strongly felt that what happened in Capetown was something they totally deserved.

 With regards to this documentary..Where do I start?

The series takes a deep look at coach Justin Langer’s ruthless yet humble characteristics and attributes, both as a former player and as a potential manager of a team that had hit rock bottom in 2018. Coach’s vision was also quite clear and obvious from the start – " that is to build a team that will earn the respect, not only of their own country, but of the cricketing world once again".

This documentary showed all the raw moments of the players and coaches and this showed you the person behind their own titles. It brings forward the real people, real emotions and real drama that unfolded after what happened. The series was thoroughly enjoyable, it's rare for outsiders to see inside the inner sanctum of a test dressing room and that was great.  Everybody in the Aussie dressing room was very passionate and charged up and not afraid to show their frustrations. The camaraderie was almost tangible and the way the team stuck together through thick and thin was amazing to watch. The behind-the-scenes footage shows all the drama and emotions of winning and losing matches all before Australia departed for last year’s World Cup and Ashes series in the country of their biggest rival, England. After watching two of the episodes,  cricket fans will have a completely different perception of the Australian cricket team. First time in my life I will use the word respect and Aussie cricket team in a sentence.  It was great to see what Aussies thought of Virat Kohli and the Indian Cricket team. However, I am surprised that they didn't include the part when Virat Kohli  pleaded to the fans to stop abusing Steve Smith when the crowd booed him constantly during the India-Australia World Cup  2019 game played at the Oval.If you're a true lover of the game, if you can put aside team loyalties and just applaud the 'Rising from the Ashes to win the Ashes', this series is for you. 


Code of conduct

-Karthik Gurumurthy

In light of COVID 19, the related crisis and challenges and the normal every day difficulties we all face, what should be our code of conduct?

I believe the question of our time is, “How can I help?”  The first and obvious answer is to take care of yourself and stay safe so that you are able to help others. 

But if you stop there, you’ll limit both your impact and your happiness. The best way to beat self-absorption is to answer the question, How can I help?

Here are  some possible good answers:

  • Share good ideas if it can add value. Just be careful you don’t spread disinformation. Focus on what you’ve learned and know from experience. (Unless you are an epidemiologist or a medical professional who understands and worked on virology, it is risky to speculate about specifics of the virus.) We can all grow through this experience if we share great ideas and learn from each other.
  • Offer encouragement. A phone call or an email with a kind word, a positive comment and whatever reassurance you can offer means more than ever now. You don’t need to offer solutions (unless you are confident you have really good ones). The goal is to lift the spirits of anyone who is down, lonely or discouraged.
  • Check in with others. Ask how people are doing. Let the person know you care for them and are thinking of them. Go deeper than the normal conversations you have with people that are often rushed.
  • Reconnect. Dust off old relationships you haven’t had time to re-establish in the past. For most of us, there is no pressing agenda or no time crunch that keeps us from doing so.
  • Donate Time. This one is tricky as nobody wants to risk exposure. That is a personal choice. But you might not necessarily have to leave your home to help if a charity needs skills you have that can be applied virtually. To find out your options, call and ask what you might do to help. It is equally important not to spread the virus knowingly or unknowingly by restricting trips outside your home (And my deepest gratitude and respect goes out to the first responders who are there on the front line for us at their own peril.)
  • Donate Money. This is the least risky thing to do, and how much you donate isn’t the point. Any and all donations are appreciated. Take care of your family’s financial needs first. But if you have something you can give where needed, consider donating. But please do your homework so you don’t become a victim of a scam.

There are no quick fixes to the problems we face. But enough people doing what they can to help will indeed make a big difference.

God bless you, and please be safe.


The New Normal

-Karthik Gurumurthy

And so we enter a new world of social distancing, people stocking tissue paper, and limitations on how we can gather. Borders are closing, airports are shutting down, and in some countries, police and armed forces are getting prepared for handling this new situation. How are we going to handle this new normal?

  • Nothing concentrates the mind more than an existential threat. At our core, we all want to survive. We will check we have the fundamentals in place and learn to live without the non-essentials we used to rely on.
  • Social distancing is vital to slowing the spread of COVID-19, but it also pushes against human beings’ fundamental need for connection with one another. Especially during difficult times, people feel an urge to commiserate, to comfort and be comforted by each other.
  • We will see the best of human behavior. We will see extreme acts of kindness as our streets connect up and we look after the elderly. Volunteer networks will spring up across the country and across the world. We will witness the selflessness of our health workers who will continue to turn up, day after day, exhausted and exposed. We will owe them our lives.
  • We will see the worst as well. Absolute greed as families hoard months supplies of tissue paper while others can’t find any. Price gouging. Thankfully, it will not stay that way for long.
  • There will be misinformation and rumors, because these things thrive in a time of crisis. Social media aggravates this and gives oxygen to sensationalism/ quick cures. If you can, counteract the nonsense that is already spreading, and call-out the worst to get it shut down.

We have known times of adversity before. And just as we have come through those difficult times in the past, we will come through this one. It’s who we are and it’s what we do. But before we complain too much about this new normal, how about taking time to count our blessings. Write down 3-5 things you are grateful for at the end of the day. They can be simple things like when someone smiled at you.

This is the opportunity to be more thankful for what we have ,  to show courage and kindness and act with common sense. Our example matters.

If we do that, we will sustain, survive individually and collectively. This is the time to slow down everything,  act with empathy, kindness and reflect. Not sure when we will get this again.


Superstar of my school departure

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Rajinikanth Veeraraghavan:(June 28 1974- March 6 2020)

Rajinikanth

Circa' Nov 2015: Three Quarter Chinese restaurant , Church Street Bangalore

This is my good friend Rajinikanth (also known as Superstar) from school who went to be with Almighty today (March 6, 8:10 AM IST).  Our school friends and I  are still coping with this tragic news and we are recollecting all the good memories we have had with him. I have known him from VI grade and he was one of the math whiz who did very well in academics in school. He was in the same section from VI -IX grade. I  took language classes and  he was very thorough and complete in his approach towards acads and was jovial too.  He lived in a place called Velachery which is quite far from where I used to live and thus I was not in regular touch with him. After high school, I found out from my other friends that he got admission to one of the premier institutes named BITS Pilani. 

All of us went our merry way to do our undergrad and lof us decided to come to US to pursue Grad school. While we were here, we tried reconnecting back with our school folks and tried to get back in touch with most of our friends.  Slowly but surely we finished our grad school and  got married and some of them started family as well. We got back in touch around 2005 and started writing back and forth via email. (Googlegroups). He was very quick to respond and  started sharing the funny incidents in school and always took time to correspond via email. With most of my school folks, there was always a sinusoidal pattern where all  of a sudden,  all the team members felt the need to correspond sharing their nostalgic moments  or about the birth of their son/daughter and suddenly it will soon ebb.  In the year 2014, suddenly with the advent of WhatsApp groups, bunch of school folks started reconnecting and ended up finding almost of our school friends and it was like frenzy catching up with the school folks all over again. Thanks to the initiative of my classmates Maya , Ram Pai and  other networkers we all got back in touch. After 1991, I got a chance to speak with Rajini only in 2014. I vividly remember running downstairs to call him during my lunch break and was so excited to hear his voice and we were so happy to catch up on lot of stuff. Needless to say that the lunch break was long. After that we were in regular touch and I am thankful that I got to meet lot of my school folks in 2015.  Thanks to my school friend Anu's initiative, I was able to meet Rajini in person and had dinner together. It was wonderful to meet and that was the last time I met in person.  That was the time I  captured the picture posted above. We did talk over the phone  regularly and Rajini went through lot of challenges at work and I tried my best to help him out with the best of my ability and was in regular touch till Oct /Nov 2019.  

Yesterday, all of a sudden, I received a message from a great friend of mine, GB that Rajini has been  battling a health issue and is not looking good.I was totally shocked to hear that as I wasn't aware of the same and my friends started sharing about the health challenges that he had been facing last few months. I was at first incredibly confused. “How could this happen?” I wondered. Not comprehending in that moment that life does eventually lead to inevitable death. Even our highly intelligent, self-aware species can’t grasp the idea of a guaranteed future demise. I just couldn’t process it, until I finally did. Then the shock came. I stared at my computer in complete silence as my brain began to rewind ancient memories through my eyes and into my bones at a rapid fast-forward speed. Death is always an unexpected earthquake, regardless of whom it happens to or what your relationship was.  The sudden impact of receiving this news made me aware that I had absolutely no idea he was suffering.  Our group of school friends still prayed hoping a miracle can happen which will make him live longer. Few of my friends who live in Madras decided to meet him in the hospital and today morning as they reached the hospital found out that he just departed. As soon as I saw the message from Mana (Anand) from the hospital, I  started to sob uncontrollably quietly.  I texted a couple of high school pals who I remained tight with and asked them if they knew. They did. They expressed their shock and anguish as well. Like me, they seemed to be in regret that their grief was so consuming, considering they also were not aware of his health issue. I guess he has gone from being a super star to a shining star. This poem written by the unassuming anon. sums it all.

"The angels looked down from heaven one night.
They searched for miles afar,
And deep within the distance
They could see a shining star.

They knew that very instant
That the star was theirs to gain,
So they took you up to heaven,
Forever to remain.

Look down on us from heaven.
Keep us free from hurt and pain.
You'll always be within my heart
Until we meet again."

-Anon

P.S; I  have added a GoFundMe site supporting Rajini's family kids. Whatever you could help would help his family/kids. Thanks in advance!


Don't blow the whistle

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Sharing the story for some weekend inspiration 😎

I watched a soccer game as our son's team was getting ready to play the next game.

While my son was warming up,  I sat down and  asked one of the boys what the score was.
With a smile, he replied; they are leading us 3-0.

And I said, "Really? I have to say you don't look discouraged."

"Discouraged" the boy asked with a puzzled look.

Why should I be discouraged when the referee has not blown the final whistle.
I have confidence in the team; we shall definitely overcome.

Truly, the match ended 5-4 in favor of the boy's team.

He waved at me gently, with a beautiful smile as he left; I was amazed, mouth wide open; Such confidence; Such beautiful faith.

As I got back home that night, his question kept coming back to me - .....
Why should I be discouraged when the referee has not blown the final whistle.

Life is like a game....
Why be discouraged, when there is still life.
Why be discouraged when your final whistle has not sounded.
The truth is that many people blow the final whistle themselves....


But as long as there is life, nothing is impossible and it is never too late for you.
Half time is not full time.
Don't blow the whistle yourself....


Value of Inquiry

-Karthik Gurumurthy

What is common between a student, Business Analyst, Project Manager, Program Manager, and your profession. Irrespective of your chosen profession, one thing common is the ability to ask questions. I recently read a book "Ask More" written by Frank Sesno. He was a former CNN Anchor and White House correspondent and spent his career asking questions. In this book, he talks about the "taxonomy of questions" and explores the value of inquiry. Each chapter covers a different type of question, including "diagnostic, bridging, confrontational, mission, interview, legacy," etc. and more.

What I got from the book:

  • Asking questions helps you open doors, solve problems and break down barriers.
  • To use inquiry effectively, master asking different type of questions, including:
    • "Diagnostic" questions help you get to the heart of the matter and zero in on the problem.
    • "Bridging" questions act as connectors between a reluctant subject and needed answers.
    • "Confrontational" questions demand accountability and uncover the truth.
    • "Mission" questions identify shared values and goals.
    • " Interview" questions can be helpful or can intimidate both employees and employers. When used correctly, interview questions produce meaningful revelations.
    • "Legacy" questions give you the opportunity to reflect back on your life.
  • Asking questions and reflecting on it encourages personal growth. 

"The simple act of asking, of listening without comment or judgment, and letting a silence linger or a free-form thought coalesce invites a person to reflect or think out loud."