Of GM Diet, Nasscom and Fresh Beginnings

Now that I mostly blog on Pluggd.in, i thought of converting this space into a personal blog. Though blogs are always suppose to be personal but I mean things particularly about myself. This will also hopefully help me keep up my writing habbit and archive whatever extra stuff is going on in my head. Hoping to make it a regular affair.

Last week was particularly interesting for me. I see myself growing on personal front. I practiced the GM Diet in the past 7 days. It started with a push from my one of my teammates at work and I thought of really giving it a try, more to test my perseverance than to prove anything else. I read some bit online and then felt encouraged when it said "lose 10-17 lbs in 7 days". For the past few months my growing weight was my most bothering issue so I thought of giving it a try.

It started on an easy note with having soup at my own birthday treat. Over the week, more than feeling hungry the tough part was ignoring all the free food at NASSCOM Product Conclave. I am a big fan of elaborate buffet spread and even a bigger fan of free lunches. Add Paneer, Pasta and Gulab Jamun to the menu and I would kill for it.

So the big question is, after all the hard effort of keeping away from temptations, was it worth? Though I did not measure but I feel like having lost about 5KGs and am wearing my belt 2 holes shorter, that is about 1.5 inches. I am definitely walking faster and effortlessly. Earlier even 1KM would cause leg pain but now it's better. The diet left a severe headache. It's been 1 day since the diet ended and I had my regular food today but still the headache persists. I just wrote to a friend who was asking about the weight loss:
"GM Diet. Not recommended though. Unlike popular belief the side effects are there. This is more like buying insta noodles if you are too hungry, helps but not healthy."
I called mom to share about the weight loss, expecting that she would be happy. To my dismay she already knew about this "popular 7 day diet that a lot of people had tried but put on weight at a greater speed later". Given that my mom herself is overweight and generally doesn't read alot I thought she would never know about such "diet stuff" but I should have known, she's my mom. She did surprise me though.

One other important event last week was NASSCOM Product Conclave. Important because it changed how I looked at things and at myself, a lot at that. And of course, for the tech. startup industry in India this is the biggest event. I wanted to attend the event for obvious reasons and given that ZipDial was being used there meant being there all 2 days, on duty.

An evening before the event I was called for the organizing committee meeting. I thought it would be only 3-4 people checking on ZipDial's preparedness and solving some last minute issues. I not a big fan of in-person meetings. In fact i hate it. Detailing and cross checking should always happen over emails and in group of two, never more. On reaching there I found out it was the whole organizing committee present there. One of members I was suppose to meet asked me wait outside this meeting room. Given that I was late by a good 25 mins, I also did not feel like entering the meeting room. The meeting was at Vivanta by Taj. There were well groomed waiters carrying heavy kettles and cups into the room. Few old people, 40-50yrs of age, typically looking like government babus walking in and out of the room. I could hear loud laughs from inside. Nothing of it looked like a serious meeting. A typical govt. org. meeting in a big hotel where no one is concerned about real work. All that I had ever heard about NASSCOM was all happening and every bit of that was negative. I was still outside the room, seating on a comfortable couch, trying to look busy into my blackberry and my back turned towards the room.

After few minutes I entered the room. I felt comfortable seeing a known face. A little later i realized this wasn't a status check or detailing meeting but more to raise team spirits. No one was working inside, they were having fun doing a rehearsal of roles. Mocking at each other. And most importantly, having fun. That is what team meetings are meant for. After I left the room, I felt really low of my momentary thoughts. A typical judging the book by its cover.

Over the next 2 days, I had to work almost 14-15hrs. This was testing my stamina. I was hungry and working for about 15hrs a day. None of which i hard tried lately and both together for the first time after the first server crash at Freecharge. This helped me gain more respect for myself.

I attended few session and they were useful. The sessions that I had least expectation from delivered the most and vice versa. Particularly two people from the ecosystem whom I respected ended up talking about "I, me and myself" only.

One of the sessions was suppose to be aired on the The Starting Up Show on ET Now. The same show that I had been on last year. The session included a live audience pitch by 3 shortlisted startups. One of the startups was Kabutar. A simple app to share pics to announce "What's happening right now". I was amazed to see that the Indian audience, VCs and so called angel investors disgusted the app after the session. Even going to the extent of saying, "it is a silly app that someone can make over a weekend". It can be made over weekend is true but silly by no means. It is as silly as twitter, a multi-billion dollar valuation company that the same VCs and investors would die to get a pie of. I think this is one reason we don't have world capturing products from India. Nobody understands emotion based apps. Even after phenomena like Twitter no one is able to see through it. The adaption of such apps have to be driven by ecosystem in early days but the stickiness is huge. One non-Indian judge gave it full 10 but everyone else is still looking for "real business". I wish they could understand the concept of "shakti as motivation" for product adoption that Dr. Devdutt Patnaik shared in the much applauded session just minutes earlier. I would really appreciate if someone could point a genuine feature issue in the app. Disgusting the concept is just being shortsightedly cynical.

Overall the event was end to end perfect. Everything that you expect from such an event was there. Inspiration, learning, networking, punctuality, detailed management, good food(it seemed so and that's what everybody else said), free booze, glamour, TV interviews, et. al.

Nothing about NASSCOM that i had ever heard was happening. The negative image that I had was tarnished. Also, whatever I had heard about the management abilities of one of the key members of NASSCOM was all true. He is simply superb. Simple and Super.

One of the teammates at pluggd.in always advocated that we were not in an eco-system but in an echo-chamber. He was right. Guess it is time i set myself free of it. I need to experience things myslef before concluding on it. I need to see things with fresh perspective.

The takeaway was that a lot of my apprehensions were holding me back. I need to give things a chance. I need to give myself a chance. Things change. Your self-apprehension and the echo-chamber never lets you experience the change.

After a changed outlook, I did one other thing that I was scared of. I lent money to a friend. My past experience hasn't been good. One friend had returned a loan after 10 months instead of the promised 4. Another one is still to return, it's been 11 more months from the promised 2 months. The amount is 5x this time but I somehow trust this new friend more than the old ones.

I also started a weekend project with a couple of friends. Too early to comment on what will happen with it. 

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