Thursday, December 31, 2020

Before Bhumi - Plan D

2006 was a challenging year for me personally. I had always planned to leave for the UK for my PG. I had given my IELTS and was preparing for PLAB. As if the situation there wasn't challenging already, the changed rules threw my plans into disarray. Plan B was going to Australia, my family wanted me to go to the US, though the USMLE was a relatively tougher exam and hence it was Plan C. My friends from college, Ashiq Ahmed with whom I was preparing for the UK started preparing for Canada, and Mehul Patel was preparing for the USMLE. I spent some months evaluating the options and there was never a Plan D.

At some point I felt two things, one I would always be an outsider in any of these countries, and that any changed rules like in the UK could affect my prospects of higher education. Secondly, I started feeling good about how the group was shaping and started thinking if I should consider staying back in India. I was going through immense personal turmoil during that period and when I think back now, I'm not sure if I was in the right frame of mind when I decided on these things. It's probable, I just gave up without trying too hard …

We continued to meet regularly at either the Gandhi Mandapam park or on the lawn at the entrance of IIT Madras. One day, we were traveling on a bike to one of those meetings I remember Surendran telling me he was leaving Chennai and me asking him if I could start leading the group in Chennai and that's how I got started. And it was only my Plan D …

Have you faced an unexpected situation in life when you had to choose a Plan B which later turned out alright? Leave a comment

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Before Bhumi - How I met my co-founder

Social media is a lot of different things to different people, but that's how I met my co-founder :)

Read on…

For quite some time early in 2006 or late 2005 I started seeing posts on Orkut about a social group. Orkut had this feature where users could posts scraps (like a Facebook post) on other people's wall and I kept seeing these posts often. The posts were from members of a group called Bharat uday Mission (BM) & requested people to join the movement with messages like 'rise of a great nation', 'second freedom struggle' etc. I was intrigued and joined the Orkut group. The group in Chennai seemed to be meeting every month and I missed one or two before walking into one sometime around March 2006.

It was a Sunday afternoon, the meeting was at the stadium inside IIT Madras, I remember parking my scooter and walking inside. Someone parked the bike at the same time and we walked in together greeting each other. That was the first time I met  it was his first meeting too. Hari was still doing in his final year of Engineering.

We learnt about BM how it had been started by an IITian and had several chapters across India and the world. The group had a lot of young people, dissatisfied with the current system and wanting to make a change. This is when I first met  Surendran Balachandran who seemed to be coordinating the Chennai chapter. 

Orkut doesn't exist anymore, what did you consider important 15 years ago that doesn't exist anymore? Leave a comment

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Systems vs Goals - How I intend to author my first book

At the age of 22 (2004) on the verge of passing out of Madurai Medical College, I wrote down some goals including wanting to write a book. For quite some, I've felt it had to be about how I we started Bhumi.

For almost two years Vaishnavi Srinivasan has been nudging me to start writing regularly and on Linked In. I've not gotten anywhere among my 'priorities', which is really procrastination, because, I really want to do this.

I have been listening to books on Audible since Jan 2019 and it simply changed the way I consume books and has blown away my annual reading goals. Currently, I'm listening to this book #ToolsofTitans: The Tactics, Routines and Habits of Billionaires, Icons and World-Class Performers Paperback by Tim Ferriss ( The book consists of nuggets from his podcast and one of the chapters is with Scott Adams, the creator of #Dilbert where I learnt systems were better than Goals.

So, here's the system and my public commitment to start writing once every Thursday, and then we'll see how it goes :)

Each post is going to be on LinkedIn as a post, (so there's a 1,300 character limit) and on my blog here