As people, most of us abhor change. The turbulent changes of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe have put many on edge. Be it an irksome inability to move around freely or the uneasy feeling of staying with the same people for months together.

I am an introvert. My natural environment is to remain alone as often as possible and revel in my thinkings. The coronavirus pandemic induced lockdowns should ideally have been a godsend. Unfortunately, it has worked the other way. My wife and kids are extroverts by nature and being locked in with them has played havoc with my thought process and I yearn for some me time.

With Karnataka unlocking, I will now be able to go to my workplace more frequently and this should help me identify with myself again. 

The family will move in with my mom who now is all alone.  Another change that is bound to create friction within. The kids will not like this change anymore than the wife. Yet, Change is the only constant!

A Tough Couple of Years


The past two years have been tough. The Chinese virus has ravaged the world not sparing India as well. The multiple lockdowns between March 2020 and May 2021 and partial unlocks in between meant a fresh perspective on what is essential in life and what is not. 

The children were a strength during these difficult period and they made us mom and dad proud by not being unnecessarily fussy with their requests. I cannot thank my luck enough for having them in my life. The work was majorly online and continues to be so. Teaching students on computer screens is not an easy task. I am unable to make out if they are learning stuff without seeing them and understanding their body language.

Yet, two batches of students have graduated  during the past year and another batch will do so soon. It is an interesting experience and I wonder how the students are coping up.

On the personal front, I lost dad in November and since them I am finding it difficult to cope up. This decade started with some bright ideas for the future and seems to have knocked the wind out of me already. 

I am not one to give up though and wish to document my life daily from today.

Book Review: Jasmine Builds on Shifting Sands by Sanjay Desai


Title: Jasmine Builds On Shifting Sands

Language: English
Author: Sanjay Desai
Genre: Personal Development & Self-Help; Contemporary fiction
Publisher:  ConsciousLeap Insights Private Limited
ISBN-10:  8194917204
ISBN-13: 978-8194917205
Binding: Paperback
Price: Rs. 238 (Buy from Amazon)
Pages: 160

My Review:

I lost my father a few days after receiving this book and almost did not read this book and would not have reviewed this. Unlike most self-help books, this one has a story, fictional, but inspirational. It is a two part narrative of intertwined and inter-weaved through the thoughts of the author's spiritual guru in the Himalayas. 

This book is a little slow to pick up. (Probably my state of mind also affected my ability to read it). Once the story begins (after a rather long prologue), it is quite endearing. The story of Jasmine is interspersed with QR codes and Links to some self help exercises and workshops that genuinely help put things in perspective. These are called micro-learnings by the author. While, I for one do not like to break my train of thoughts while reading, I followed the author's request to pause and do the exercise. I did like the first one at the end of Chapter 4, but skipped the rest as I prefer reading books without breaks.

I believe the author genuinely wants us to improve our lives and identify with our goals so that we can achieve what we set out to do.

The author's learnings from his guru make the story of Jasmine very interesting and endearing.

Jasmine the protagonist is like any other Indian. The story will surely resonate with each of us because of her dreams and yearnings which are so similar to yours and mine and every Indian who calls themselves middle-class.

Jasmine Builds On Shifting Sands, is a unique take on how to approach the ups and downs of our lives. It also talks about the need to change with our changing conditions and introspect on our actions that led us to where we stand today. The conversations are so simple and written in very easy to read language without jargons.

There are a few grammatical errors and also some content that could have been left out. The author comes across as a genuine person with his own self-doubts that he conquered with the help of his spiritual guru - Ma Krishnanangiri to whom he has dedicated this novel.

Overall this book is a good read, though could have cut a few things to make it much crisper. (The author does warn us that it is not necessary to read the prologue/epilogue, but I read it nevertheless due to force of habit). 

Positives: Very easy to read, a passionate narrative and an everyday story.

Negatives: The story could have been crisper.

Who will enjoy this? Those having second thoughts on their life path and choices.

Buy or Don’t Buy? Do buy. Do not be fooled by the category this book is placed in. It is a good novel with a self-help component, expertly weaved into it.  “When our actions are not out of no-mind state, the mind comes into the action, leaving its impression, which will include intent, as well as subconscious factors like doubt, fear, and whatever else” (You can buy from Amazon)


Integrated with hybrid multimedia learning tools, Jasmine Builds on Shifting Sands is a unique self-help fiction offering. Its captivating narrative ties two seemingly distinct tales in an intertwined journey that explores the manifestation of dreams. At the center of the book is Jasmine’s journey of making it as a successful model in the cut-throat world of fashion. Her tale of victory and failure is enveloped within the master narrative of Sanjay, an erudite knowledge-seeker who meets his spiritual guru- Ma. Set between the esoteric location of the Himalayas and the urban bustle of Mumbai, the book offers an enhanced learning experience which is further amplified through the embedded micro-learning content that is interspersed throughout the text, making for a truly immersive experience.

Book Review: Irrationally Passionate by Jason Kothari

Title: Irrationally Passionate: My Turnaround from Rebel to Entrepreneur

Language: English
Author: Jason Kothari
Genre: Personal Development & Self-Help; Biographies
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN-10: 9353572657
ISBN-13: 978-9353572655
Binding: Hardcover
Price: Rs. 509 (Buy from Amazon)
Pages: 268

Short Review:

I fell in love with the easy flow of the book. The narrative takes you on a dream of doing the best possible things you ever wanted to do. Jason Kothari's story should be a must-read for every aspiring entrepreneur who is struggling to make his dream come true. The book is extremely well written, the thought behind the man comes out with such clarity that every reader will instantly click with the story and dreams of Jason Kothari.

Irrationally Passionate - My Turnaround from Rebel to Entrepreneur, is an extremely likeable and honest take on what it is to be an entrepreneur and what it takes to speak about the struggles along the road. 

The Detailed Review:

I'll be honest with you. I did not know who Jason Kothari was until I read this book. I had heard about most of the startups (as would most of you), but this book took me backstage and into the mind of the Entrepreneur behind these startups. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur and have a dream to succeed in doing something innovative, this book will lead you on a path of bold entrepreneurial success.

For a young man, the book is written with exceptional clarity. Perhaps, that is the reason he's done so well as an entrepreneur. However, this book does not, like the typical self-help books, chant out mantras of success. Instead in Irrationally Passionate, Jason Kothari talks about his childhood lessons and experiences that played a major role in his path to success.

His struggles against school bullies and racism at college, the falling out with his friends, habits of a rebellious kind and wake up call when his parents called him out. All these stories tell us that most people have similar issues. The few who rise beyond these are the ones who stand out from the crowd of wannabes. The story of Jason Kothari should inspire many more entrepreneurs.

In the book, you will learn about the following:
- Discover what your true talents are and how to focus them
- Understand that meaningful work is a “gift.”
- Learn the difference between a career, a vocation, and a job.
- Find new job possibilities that never make it into the classifieds
- Negotiate job offers
- Turn your ideas into extra income
- Learn about alternative work models than doing a regular job.
- Find the work that you want to do and were meant to be doing
- Build up your educational assets.

Jason Kothari writes about how he learns to bargain at a very young age, right from a chessboard (he brought the rate of a 500 rupee chessboard to Rs. 30) to how he learnt arbitrage, trading and such stuff by organizing Pizza charity sales and comic book trades at school.

If there is one book you should read this month, please pick "Irrationally Passionate: My Turnaround from Rebel to Entrepreneur". Trust me, you will not be disappointed. If not anything, it will inspire you to look at things from a unique perspective of a rebel turned entrepreneur and how effective parenting and support can work wonders.

Positives: Very easy to read, a passionate narrative and an everyday story.

Negatives:  -

Who will enjoy this? Almost everyone, and especially those who have dreams and are looking for some inspiration to achieve those dreams.

Buy or Don’t Buy? A definite buy. With today's ups and downs and with recession looming, every one of us surely needs some inspiration. (You can buy from Amazon)

Book Blurb: While a college student at Wharton, Jason Kothari scraped together money from family and friends to save his childhood favourite comic book company, Valiant Entertainment, from bankruptcy and bring it back to life. A few years later, he transformed Valiant into the third-largest superhero entertainment company in the world after Marvel and DC Comics and sold it for $100 million.

Jason then became a professional turnaround leader and went on to transform distressed. Indian Internet icons, FreeCharge and Snapdeal, helping save billions of dollars in value, and advise giants like technology investor Softbank and real estate developer Emaar, who have invested billions of dollars in India.

Irrationally Passionate reveals the inside story of how a rebel, train-wreck kid transformed himself into a successful young entrepreneur and business leader who became one of the top ten paid executives in India while only in his 30s.

From getting his first job as an assistant to Jackie Chan in Hong Kong to learning strategy from champion Muay Thai fighters in Thailand to tackling huge personal setbacks to becoming a CEO in 60 seconds, among many other stories— Jason’s inspiring journey across countries, industries and companies has something for everyone, right from students to entrepreneurs to corporate CEOs to even parents of students and entrepreneurs.

Irrationally Passionate is a highly personal, authentic, open and complete account of a young entrepreneur’s life. Brimming with practical advice and philosophical insights, it will force readers to reflect on how they perceive life, work, family and spirituality by giving them a fresh perspective.

Welcome 2020 - My Goals for this Decade.

A new decade begins. Born in 79, it is also the beginning of a new decade for me. 40 - that number brings a fresh perspective, a period of rumination on what has been and what could have been.

To say I have no regrets would be a lie, but, the good has overshadowed any regrets I have at this point in my life. It is said we should plan for the long term and not worry about things that happen in the near future as long as the plan is in place.

So here is what I wish to achieve over the next decade -

1. Begin and complete my PhD. - This has been a long-standing aspiration for me. Things almost came to fruition in early 2019, but a combination of various factors didn't let it happen. Hopefully, this year would be kinder.

2. Save and Invest more than I spend - My savings and investments have been steadily increasing. This year, I want to at least save and invest 51% of my income. This is currently hovering at around 35%. Hopefully, by the end of the decade, I should have increased the saving percentage to 70% (i.e. more than 2X my expenses).

3. Spend more quality time with family - The elder daughter is inching towards her teens. Sure, it is another 5 years. But, I believe, these 5 years could define my relationship with her during the teenage years. The younger daughter needs to be weaned away from television and movies. Not that it has been an issue (we no longer have a cable/streaming service subscription and watch one or two movies over the weekend on television), but the past week in the holidays, she has been more and more into watching movies.

My parents will be needing more of my time. This is another thing I need to keep in mind.  Managing myself and time will be key to achieve this. Hopefully, I will procrastinate less and execute more.

4.  Build an alternate source of income - Something I have been able to do over the past decade is steadily building an alternate source of income. I hope to become less dependent on my salary and primary job over the next decade and make my alternate source of income more stable and steady. I aim to be financially independent and free by the end of 2029.