A Sleepish Trace of The Human Mind; Losing the Race

Thoughts. Tricky affair. You ever wonder how simple would our lives be if our minds could just stop wandering off to different places every ten seconds. I mean think of it: one moment I’m having my breakfast, and then I start thinking about what I dreamt of last night, and the next moment about how I have 10 different college applications to submit for 10 different courses across 10 national borders, and the next moment, about how the pandemic took away my chance at a normal college experience. And so, I shut down everything, and start writing ‘cause that’s the only alternative to keep me from losing it all. The other day I was thinking of a DIY anniversary gift for my parents, and once I started thinking, my mind started throwing at me 20 different ideas, none of which I could actually execute. ‘Cause then I could order something, but no I should make something for them, that would be more thoughtful, but wait, what if they don’t like it? What if they think I’m a child doing all these silly things, but no, they should love it, effort certainly matters more than anything else. And while I was thinking about all of this, I start thinking about the next big idea for my entrepreneurial fantasies. I have to write it down, or else I’ll forget. But wait, I can’t find my notebook. Ah okay, my mouth tastes weird, is it because of that orange juice I had. Maybe I should dilute it a bit, or wait, is that what the preservatives taste like.

Whoa! Can you just stop thinking for a second there? Can you? This piece is turning out to be more interesting than I imagined it to be. Imagination. Hah, now that’s certainly an interesting concept. It’s ironic how we have always been conditioned to restrict our imagination. But it’s ironic how this very imagination is what connects us to our thoughts. The result is art. Or simply, an act of creation. Everything that we do – work, love, dream – it all takes root in that one space that we can truly call our own – our beautiful mind. Our minds are made in a way so as to think deeply, imagine wildly – and live conscientiously. But again, I don’t know about you, but in nineteen years of my existence, I have been always told to “control” it, as it was a wild beast that needed to be tamed. And my choice of word – ‘tamed’ – is very deliberate and conscious here. 

Control your emotions. Don’t cry, it makes you weak. Study, cram everything that you possibly can. Dreams? What are those? Okay, you want to pursue your dreams, you can pursue them after you finish your studies. Done with your studies? No, you need to get a job first. Because you have to be independent, right? But wait, do you know how to cook? How to pray? How to respect your elders (even if they don’t make any sense to you)? Alas, you have studied a lot, that’s exactly why you don’t have a hold of your values anymore (But wait, didn’t you tell me to study as hard as I possibly could?). You are arguing with your elders? Didn’t your parents teach you anything? And so on and so forth… these questions keep on tormenting us to our deathbeds.

If I now look back, we have always exactly done what we were told to do. Struggling to keep up with what society expects of us. Giving in to it and letting go of our whims and fancies at the cost of free labor. If only we could all be free and put our minds and follow our hearts to wherever they wanted to take us, life would have been so much simpler! Let your mind flow free for only then you would be able to harness its true potential. This isn’t a race, and even if the people around you have made it look like one, you don’t have to win. Hell, you don’t even have to participate. For in such a loss may lie the true liberation of that beautiful mind of yours. Embrace it and make it your own. As crazy as your thoughts may be, they are still yours. And yours only. That is what makes you unique and special, and your mind already knows that, do you?


Who are You Beneath That 24×7 Ordinary Functional Being

Most of us have spent our lives at the beck and call of others, chasing dreams that weren’t even ours to begin with in the first place. We have been reduced to mere 24×7 ordinary functional beings. This is an attempt to pose some difficult questions at you so that you break free of this cycle and embrace your true unique self.

Who are you when no one’s watching? Who are you when you don’t have an assignment to submit? Who are you when you don’t have a deadline to tether yourself to? Who are you when you don’t have an exam the next day? Who are you when you do not have to answer to anybody? Who are you beyond the confines of projects and corporates and capitalism? Who are you when you are not just an emotionless machine supposedly expected to keep working without asking any questions?

These are some questions that have been racing with the thoughts on my mind. We are so accustomed to someone constantly being after our lives or sitting on our heads to get something done. As kids, our mothers made us do everything. In school, we were answerable to our teachers, and then to grades of our examination, and eventually to the society, who would look down upon us in case we didn’t perform “good” or outstanding. And this good is defined by the standard norms that our ancestors and practices have laid down for us. Ironically, this good has done nothing actually good but has just reduced the most of us to ordinary functional beings unable to have any creative expression that we can call our own.

Much like a robot, we are expected to work and behave in a certain way. It has not only stolen away our time and energy leaving no room for any social life but has also taken away our emotional quotient, in the sense that we are now too afraid to express ourselves truly. Should I tell him this? How should I behave? What will they think? What if I do something wrong and the world will come crashing down?

Most of us give in to this way of functioning thinking that it’s the norm. And in the process, we end up losing our own selves: our identity and what makes us unique. There is nothing wrong with having ordinary dreams or attempting to live a subtle lifestyle until and unless that’s what You want, and not just someone else’s idea of you. For one day, you would be standing in front of the mirror not being able to recognise yourself anymore.

If you’re reading this, I dare you to spend one day with yourself, trying to identify if you have been following the same patterns and go on an expedition to find your true self. Realise that you are not just a manifestation of someone else’s dreams and hopes and expectations. You are your own being and can take back control of your life at any point of time.

And trust me, once you do that, you would be exceptional and unstoppable. You would go on creating and experimenting something that you can call your own. And that would be epic!

Bleeding in Silence

I was 12 when I first started menstruating, 14 when I first went home early from school so that no one sees my bloodstains, and 19 when my period pain got so intolerable that I wanted to die. 

Dysmenorrhea, the clinical term for painful menstruation interferes with the daily life of around one in every five women. But it’s funny how we still don’t wanna talk about it. It was not until recently that I started to realise how patriarchy dictates even the kind of menstrual products we use and if we can openly start a discourse on it. 

“Increase Your Tolerance Level”

At first, I was confused: there’s a medicine for almost everything except COVID and cancer maybe. You get a headache and you take a pill, it goes away. Your muscles in the back are stiff, you put on a balm and you instantly feel better. Then why is it that when it comes to period cramps, you are just supposed to take a random painkiller and put a heating pad and cry in your bed until it goes away on its own?

And I ask this very sincerely. At first, I believed that maybe I am wrong, so I went to see a doctor. And let me tell you a funny story here: I am sitting there, moaning in pain in front of my doctor. I got my ultrasounds done and everything’s fine. And so I ask the doctor so what now? And she says and I quote “you just have to increase your tolerance level”. I mean–? You have a fever or a headache, do they tell you to increase your tolerance level? And after that, so many doctors and so many prescriptions: and yet all seemed to say “just count your days and suffer in pain”. The sarcasm is the only way left to deal with those sleepless nights and unbearable pain which is “almost as bad as a heart attack”. At present, we have 1.2 million doctors across an estimated 69,000 public and private hospitals in India; and ye there is little to no research on period pain, or even, menstruation, in general. 

Shush, you are not allowed to talk about it!

To make matters worse, you are not only supposed to go through all that pain while bleeding 24×7, but you’re also supposed to stay quiet about it. All this wokeness and preaching and I still haven’t once mentioned the word “period” to my own father. I just can’t. In academic and workspaces, we use the term “stomach ache” which soon transformed, for the millennials, as “bad time of the month”. Once I got the guts to text “I’m on my period” to my senior after not showing up for my internship for two days in a row. And I was left on seen-zone. In a country where the word, in itself, is a taboo, how can we even begin to start researching about it?

From the medicines, we take to the menstrual products we use: everything is dictated by patriarchy. “Once I was sterilizing my menstrual cup in boiling water, and one of my neighbours came in and asked what was it that I was doing. I explained what a menstrual cup is and how it works, and before I could finish, she started shouting. ‘Oh my god, what are you doing, stupid girl!’ She created a huge scene and said that I’d lose my virginity if I continue using the cup. But before I could explain any further, she went away,” told Sanskriti, a 19-year-old while narrating her experience. 

Are You Privileged Enough To Menstruate? 

It was only in 2018, after years of protests and campaigning that the tax on sanitary pads in India was uplifted which was set at 12% under the Goods and Services Act. It was argued that this would enable more girls to continue school as periods become one of the primary reasons for girls to drop out of school. But is that enough? 

The Whisper XXL pack which gets me through two cycles is marked at Rs. 400. If menstruating is not a luxury, why purchasing it is? I remember one of our house-helps recently asked my mother if she had any spare clothes for her to use. At first, I didn’t understand what she was talking about but later, I got to know that she has never had the privilege of purchasing sanitary pads. Free sanitary pads are still a far-fetched dream in this country. 

What’s safe and what’s not

But even if we do get free sanitary pads, is that it? Time and again, researchers have raised their concern about the grave threat that sanitary pads pose to women’s health and the environment. If used for prolonged periods, they can cause infections and even cancer, for that matter. 

So, even if we increase the production and distribution of sanitary pads, raising awareness about its use and the dangers it poses is on whole another level. I remember hearing about this from a friend first before I did my own research. And I was like: why is no one talking about this?! If a cigarette packet can say “smoking causes throat cancer”, why can’t Whisper write “sanitary pads cause ovarian cancer” on its packet? 

We should be outraged about the utter disregard for women’s health when it comes to menstruation: from the manufacturing of menstrual products to the availability of medicines. Instead, we still choose to talk about “it” in hushed voices and behind closed doors, inventing synonyms and innuendos for ‘menstruation’ and ‘periods’ and for what? Because we are embarrassed by our own vaginas? And this is just the tip of the iceberg, just one woman’s experience. There are countless others who can’t even afford to come and speak up about this. If you’re reading this, it does not matter if you menstruate or not. It’s about the very process that enables life to continue and if you are not speaking up, you are a part of the problem. 

Marketing: Majestic Maneuvers to Invisible Intricacies

I have been scavenging my way through books and systems to understand this constantly evolving technique which they refer to as marketing. To the faintest of my memory, I fail to recall where exactly did this curiosity of mine for marketing and branding take root from. However, what I can remember is that now whenever I hear the expression, all I can think of is innovation, creativity and novelty — an ability to instil a sentiment in the minds of people which they would share for generations to come.

Take MDH uncle, for instance, he invented what constitutes one of the fondest memories of our childhood — sitting with our families watching television and this advertisement pops out of nowhere which has left a faint recollection in all of our minds till date, so much so that the entire nation mourned MDH uncle’s passing, probably because it marked the passing of an era, a generation and an entire sentiment.

Now, this is the kind of impact and legacy I would want to leave behind. After a considerable amount of brainstorming and standardizing, I have narrowed it down to the following: something if implemented with careful action and thought can help your business grow substantially.

Where to start from?

This is something most of us are stuck at, right? Now there are three categories here. The first category constitutes the kind of people who procrastinate just enough so that they think they do not have the apt skill set or the experience to start something anew. They have chosen to give in to their resistance and play it ‘safe’. And that’s absolutely alright for them if that’s what makes them happy and contended.

The second category constitutes the kind who have the zeal and passion to change something. They don’t like the status quo and know that they have the power to change something. The bottleneck then becomes that they look for the right opportunity, the right idea, the right moment to kickstart the life they always envisioned for themselves. But you see, nothing ‘right’ or ‘perfect’ has ever existed in the history of time. The inspiration you’re looking for is probably sitting right in front of you, but you’re so busy looking everywhere else that you tend to forget that magic and innovation lies in the smallest of things and efforts. Think but do not overthink.

Start right where you are. Start writing. Start creating. The world will open its arms to you and you’ll end up creating something beautiful. But beauty doesn’t lie in perfection. The first draft is never perfect. There will always be something you could have done differently. But that’s the thing about innovation, right? It’s your idea, no one take that away from you. It’s not going anywhere, you can always come back to it and revise it but the idea of doing it perfectly in the first go may end up you, not doing it ever.

The third kind constitutes those who have the right idea and skillsets but do not believe in themselves enough to open themselves to the world.

Identifying Your Audience

This one’s the foremost and the most crucial step. It’s futile to go on creating, branding and marketing your product unless you know exactly whom you are intending on targeting and building your brand for. For then you would be able to understand and empathize with their needs, interests. What resonates and clicks with them? What would make their lives easier? Is there a way you can remove a certain quotient out of their lives so that the remainder becomes happier and more productive? If you have these answers, you have your audience there, mate. If not, keep looking.


This is all where it starts, and this is exactly where some of the most brilliant marketing campaigns lack upon. It’s easier to overlook the quality and creativity of content as long as you think it’s reaching your audience via sufficient outlets and so, it doesn’t matter, right?

Well, here’s the secret: it doesn’t matter if your content reaches thousands or even millions for that matter until and unless it is noticeable enough for the viewer to stop their set of daily activities and look at it for a minute. You see, most of us are already busy in our everyday lives with classes, work, and assignments, and the little time we do get to get ourselves that cup of coffee and scroll through our Instagram feed, unless your content resonates with us on a personal level, unless it makes us think and wonder unless it answers our questions or needs in some way, unless it’s imaginative enough for us to put our imaginations on a standstill — that’s all we’ll end up doing, scrolling upwards.

The Practicality Component

So, I have worked with a number of brands and start-ups and one thing that has remained constant is that while brainstorming, we have come up with some of the most amazing ideas as to how to build the brand, how to go about marketing the product, the kind of content we want to have, how do we get it to our target audience, etc. but most of them were never implemented and that’s probably because while brainstorming, we tend to come up with a bunch of ideas which would never really be implemented- either they are too ambitious as they call it or not what the organisation needs at that point of time.

While it’s okay and in fact amazing to have so many possible outcomes and execution in mind, it’s also extremely important to streamline your thoughts and only shortlist the ones that are actually proportional to the growth and brand of your organisation, in some or the other way, no matter how insignificant.

Building Relations and Follow-ups

Again, this is where the game begins and ends. A lot of organisations fail to pay any heed to build client as well as B2B relations. I’d try and explain this from a first-hand experience. I am working with an ed-tech startup, these days and when I initially joined the organisation, we used to get 10–30 leads per week. However, after a thorough discussion with my manager, we came to a conclusion that we need to up our relation game, and so I reached out to all the societies and placement cells (the primary channel for marketing our product), got on a call with the heads, and as a result, not only did our number of leads increased substantially (100+ per week) but also we got a number of sustainable partnerships with these placement cells and cities, who now just market our content without any questions. We gave them what they wanted- new opportunities a very week, and in return, we got a sustainable medium for our product to reach a wide range of students.

Consequentially, what also then becomes pertinent to understand is that it doesn’t work in a way where you just build the partnerships and ten you go AWOL. it’s important to reach out to them on a weekly basis so as to understand their needs and incorporate any feedback that they may have into your services,

Creative Liberty

You don’t teach an artist or a singer or a painter their art and so this pertains to all the amazing content creators and creative enhancers that your start-up has.

Photographers. Graphic designers. Social media managers. Writers. Marketers. You need to trust in the ability and potential of the people you hire and give them enough space to breathe and create the art that would make your organisation the next best thing. MIcromanaging can be extremely tempting, however, we must resist the urge ’cause trust me they know their art. Ayush Wadhwa, a filmmaker and online content creator comments, “There is no greater joy when someone comes to an artist and says that they can be as creative as possible and explore and experiment with whatever they want and that they ‘we trust you and your art”that’s where some of the best work takes shape from ’cause then there are no limitations and an artist can blend his understanding if an idea into his art and creativity. So, just hire the best people you know, and then, let them produce their best work.

Social Media

Social Media has changed the dynamics of marketing and content creation to a great extent. Naval Ravikant in a tweet said “The internet has broadened the possible space of careers. Most people haven’t figured this out yet.” And so even the content that is created and marketed takes inspiration from and dives into the internet of various possibilities and probabilities. The challenge, then, becomes not giving into the social dilemma like most of them out there. Instagram, LinkedIn, Quora, Twitter etc. become the key channels communicating your ideas to a larger audience. Want to brand your product and target the youth? Open an Instagram page and start putting up reels and stories. Want to target businesses and other startups? Connect with them personally on LinkedIn. Want to create an impact? Join Quora and share all your knowledge and experiences with the world out there. Want to make your business scintillating? Post a tweet.

Thus, all that you need for you and your business to thrive persists in the very intricacies that we miss out on. You just need to look harder!

What Is Marketing: The Juncture Where Your Creativity Intersects With Your Audience’s Wants

“If you see a way to make things better, you now have a marketing problem”: this is where it all begins in Seth Godin’s ‘This is Marketing’. Varied arguments and game-changers but one purpose: to compel you to create and market, something that doesn’t solely belong to you but everybody out there! Somebody who shares the same needs, interests, and passions. It’s not a hustle game, rather a conscious attempt at consistent creation. A will to witness and catalyse change. A longing to leave your own mark amid the triviality of things.

“Marketing is the generous act of helping someone solve a problem. Their problem.” So, what’s the puzzle, then?

The Bottleneck

What we often tend to do is making it all about ourselves. Well, the truth is that people are too busy to stop for a moment and appreciate you for just being you. And while that’s a bold step for you: doing what you feel like and putting yourself out there in the world like that, one must also make the best attempts at understanding their audience.

It has to resonate with the listener, to tell them something they’ve been waiting to hear, something they’re open to believing. It has to invite them on a journey where a change might happen. And then, if you’ve opened all those doors, it has to solve the problem, to deliver on the promise.

And the juncture where your creativity and their wants intersect lies something really beautiful, capable of real innovation.

The Right Kind of Questions

Is there a problem out there? Definitely, loads! Name one person who doesn’t have one.

Is there a solution to that problem? Well, no matter how much your resistance may tell you that there isn’t one, it’s always there; the question is: did you look hard enough? You just need to be bold enough to let yourself be and be as crazy and wild as you can be. Be creative. Be innovative. Be YOU. And soon you’d realise that the solution was just sitting there right in front of you, all this while.

Does that problem deserve your focus and attention? Well that mate, is up to you to decide. Does it excite you? Do you wanna be that change? Can you let it go? Would it not make you restless every time you go to bed knowing that you let it go? Can you rely upon the world to just figure it out by themselves? If these questions give you goosebumps or even if there is a pinch of anxiety inside you to not just sit there and do something about it, this is your chance!

This is what Seth says, “Instead of selfish mass, effective marketing now relies on empathy and service.”

Now your solution doesn’t have to be about you, you see. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience, and recollect if what you’re creating would make their day better by even a minute percentage. Would it bring a smile on their face? Would they be less worrisome? Would you succeed in making their life easier?

Loads of questions, I know right! But these questions are exactly what are gonna give you all the answers you have been looking for all those times when you decided to not just “fit in”.

The Medium to your Medium

The Internet can be a vast place and it’s okay if you feel overwhelmed by that. But regardless of the medium you choose to be your canvas for the world to witness, what really matters is that you can resonate with what you create and more importantly, your readers resonate with it.

“[…] it’s a billion tiny whispers, an endless series of selfish conversations that rarely include you or the work you do.” It’s up to you to initiate that conversation on something that really matters to you: to not just wait like the billions out there for things to happen, and make it happen yourself.

What is marketing really, then?

Well, marketing is really just a will to change. Unfortunately, over time, people have assumed that marketing is advertising. Now, is it, really? The argument may have been having some weightage a couple of years ago when the internet was flooded with content and people had a lot less busy lives. “The magic of ads is a trap that keeps us from building a useful story.” Marketing is so much more than that. It’s about not let your creativity stay within and unleash it into the world for people to see, comprehend, and relate. It’s about designing your own creation to be imprinted on the sand of time. In a world filled with spammers, tricksters, and coercers, you deserve to be extraordinary and you are. You just need to feel what your audience is feeling.

The other kind of marketing, the effective kind, is about understanding our customers’ worldview and desires so we can connect with them. It’s focused on being missed when you’re gone, on bringing more than people expect to those who trust us. It seeks volunteers, not victims.

Your Crowd, Your People

Now, all that’s left to ask is whom are you serving? “It’s easier to make products and services for the customers you seek to serve than it is to find customers for your products and services.”

Find an existing problem and provide your own unique solution to that. Notwithstanding how bizarre or freakish it may seem to you, if it is something you think would help your audience and putting all the self-doubt aside, if that is something that really makes you happy, just do it already, human! “[…] build something that people would miss if it were gone, something that gives them meaning, connection, and possibility.”

As Seth puts it: “time to stop begging people to become your clients and time to stop feeling bad about charging for your work.” Now, go fly off to your workstations and create something binge-worthy. Tell your story to the world, ensuring that it’s the one that would sweep them off their feet.