I read, watch, think, and write. I’m in my ‘Defining Decade’ (late) as the clinical psychologist Dr. Meg Jay would call the twenties.
Reading is my elixir.
For me, there are few empowering moments as reading. My one regret is that I discovered reading a little late in my life – when I was twenty. I often find myself reading across contemporary fiction, pop philosophy, travel writing, literature, history, management, personal development, and anything that interests me. I don’t miss book fairs and I finally experienced a grand literature festival this year at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2019.
If I have to talk about favorite books, I’d have to pick one in each genre. Thus, I’d rather choose those books that were a joy to read and magnified my spirit. I’m going to list a bunch of favorites across genres here, and link up to my genre specific suggested reading list.
Favorite books: In Search of Civilization by John Armstrong, My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durell, Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama, From the Holy Mountain by William Dalrymple, Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
Films are my constant companions.
Films educate me, extend my experience, and are therapeutic. I have a particular inclination towards World Cinema: watched films of 36 different countries. I’ve made multiple solo visits to the International Films Festivals in my city.
Favorite films: The Man from the Earth, Thirteen Days, The Sound of Music, A Separation, Before Trilogy, and many many more.
My devotion to films even inspired a couple of projects. In one, I drew management consulting lessons from a Japanese film Tampopo. In another, my friend and I developed a case based negotiation simulation exercise based on the Thirteen Days (the film on the Cuban Missile Crisis.)
I’m fond of Middle East and Islamic cultures.
From Turkey all the way to Iran. I love these places. I think its because of the stories of Arabian Nights that I had read and loved during my childhood. I’ve soaked up on a lot of books and films on these regions. Sometimes my knowledge of this region and Islam surprises me. The origin of Abrahamic religions, the Orthodox christian monasteries, Prophet Muhammad’s period in Mecca and Medina, to events much closer to today – the Iranian Revolution, the Arab Spring, and the general geopolitics of the Middle East – all these fascinate me.
Someday soon, I’d like to travel to these places.
I write because I can.
I began to write as a natural extension of my reading. I’m not ashamed to confess that most times whatever I write is only a synthesis of what I may have read. I began by keeping a private journal of daily entries and thoughts. Overtime, writing has expanded to play the following roles for me: as an exercise in mindfulness, to capture beautiful experiences, to reflect, and to share my thoughts.
My favorite pieces are the ones I wrote on my experience at a mosque during Ramzan and a reflection on moving homes. I gained confidence in writing when I kept a daily public blog during my b-school for over a hundred continuous days. I do a lot of micro-blogs on my Instagram. I’m long working on my first book – converting my b-school blog in a book. God willing!
My job is to create value.
As a professional, my mission is to create value for my organization and its stakeholders. I view my job primarily as one of creating value. Why else would a business exist? A particular quote from Clayton Christensen’s book ‘How Will You Measure Your Life’ has been a inspiration in the way I look at the profession of management: “Management is the most noble of professions if it’s practiced well. No other occupation offers as many ways to help others learn and grow, take responsibility and be recognized for achievement, and contribute to the success of a team.” If you’d like to connect with me professionally, visit my LinkedIn Profile
Life-affirming is my philosophy.
Life-affirming is a phrase I picked up from the book ‘In Search of Civilization’ by John Armstrong. I interpret the phrase to indicate any activity that worthy of the miracle of life. It is a phrase difficult to define but easier to identify. It could be a dog’s love, a baby’s smile, the hard work of a single mother, the ethics of a politician, the aesthetics of a particular melody, or the devotion that religion arises in its followers. I have this philosophy of life-affirming to be a useful heuristic tool to identify what is worthy of life.