Gym 102 : Heartbeats!

Today I was surely beating at 160 BPM at the functional training . It is the intensity which I am afraid of. Are our hearts designed to pump at 160 beats per minute for 45 minutes straight?  I can’t really imagine the scenarios during our evolution where we apes were forced to go through such strenuous situations. That’s why our resting heartbeat ranges from 60-80 BPM. (May be , I am no scientist) We lived in groups and mitigated the threats of predators to a greater extent relative to our dumb counterparts.

Let us look at other animals.What is the resting heartbeat of a medium to small dog? dogs rest at 100- 140! Ruby throated humming bird beats at 600 BPM! Is there any correlation of heart activity and consciousness ?  more conscious beings need less action and hence have lower beats (do they live longer? again I ma no scientist). But I feel they have a greater control over their surroundings. As a matter of fact Big dogs beat between 80- 100. There is some correlation with size too.

Guess what, a standing elephant beats at 10 beats per minute! 

I believe we humans have a huge spread when it comes to BPMs. We are agile, we are more diverse than any other species on this planet. Yesterday when I was at a movie theater I saw my Fitbit showing me that my heart beat was 58!

I just googled and Ussain Bolts resting heart rate is 33!



Dumb ads in movie theaters

If you are in India , there is a good chance that you will get to see the following ads at the beginning and during the interval.


  1. Government ads : Ads on Aadhar , Leprosy , Smoking and Tobacco kills.
  2. The quintessential Vicco.
  3. Lux Cozi: Apna Luck Pehenke Chalo.
  4. Lyra Leggings : Where Parineeti Chopra maintains a diary titled ” My Life , My Lyra”
  5. Manyavar : Virat and Anushka 
  6. Some local ads.
  7. Oxemberg, J.Hamstead and brands which use white models in the ads to sell western style but made in India clothing. 

If you have seen all these ads then you might have also understood the common denominator here : They are all dumb!The government ads haven’t changed since last two decades. Other ads simply bombard the brand names on to your ears so that you hear them loud and clear on the Dolby Digital system.

But here is the good part : Despite of being trite, formulaic and stupid these ads simply win. I was able to remember all the ads and could mention them in the list above. How many ads you remember when you see them on a TV? you just tend to forget them unless they are really really creative.

So the ads played in a movie hall are dumb because they simply can afford to be dumb. Imagine watching Akshay Kumar on a giant IMAX screen and hearing him beating the goons to black and blue. Who wouldn’t remember him saying

” Jiske Collar Andar Dollar Ho usse panga nahi lete!” (No one should mess with a guy who wears Dollar(inner-wear brand)  under his collar)





Gym 101: Salt in my eyes

I felt like there was salt in my eyes. My eyes were burning. It was my own sweat filled in my own eyes. For the past 30 minutes or so , I was doing stuff that I wasn’t really supposed to do or never ever intended to do. I was in the circus of functional training:  a self inflicted pain which I decided to gift myself just because there was a discount in a gym located at a walking distance from where I stay.

A day before I felt like I am going to die. I was almost on the verge to pass out during an intense session. I was blacking out. I quickly pressed two fingers against my carotid and noticed my heart was beating slow . I was wondering why it was not beating fast? it should right? to give that oxygen supply to my hungry and fatigued muscles.  I was feeling breathless. Was my heart going to stop? or was it telling me to go slow?

But I was fine after a few minutes though.I was given an electrolyte and was told to have two Bananas and Coffee 40 minutes before I arrive at this circus.

Here, a group of 5 people are commanded to jump , lift, stretch and run.  It is a mix of strength , endurance and stamina training: welcome to the world of Multi- Fit. No more treadmills and standing in queue for your turn to use some intimidating work-out machine.

Today I skipped the routine. My muscles are a little sore but tomorrow let me see what I witness more.

Home : Buy or Rent ?

I have always been a staunch supporter of renting. And I was very logical about that. And my simple contention of renting vs buying a home was that the monthly EMI will be at-least three times higher than the monthly rent you pay. Adding to that, instead of owning a real estate you can invest the surplus money (after you pay rent) you got into equity. Equity will beat real estate in long term.

But beyond logic and finance , a universal thought pervades inside me; debt is an unnecessary stress inducing element. Avoid it wherever possible.

Having said that, it is foolish to imagine people logically weighing options to buy or rent. Most of the rent payers do so simply because they don’t have the money neither the income to service debt. Most of the people buy a home driven by emotions. Some have surplus money and are very sure about their future cash-flows.

But again, beyond logic and finance, buying or renting is simply a choice. People who buy a home want to anchor themselves at one place. They are driven by emotions of owning their own home, decorating it to their taste and calling it their own.

But hear this, the reality of real estate is that people rent from those who buy. If there are no buyers there would be no renters. If everyone wants to rent then the builders who build homes don’t really have a business case for building homes. Builders take the risk to build homes in a hope that they would liquidate them for immediate returns.

The bottom-line: Buy or rent a home? it really doesn’t matter. It depends.


What is the cost of learning?

Indian organizations are spending more than ever on learning interventions to enrich their human capital. The Indian L&D industry stood at $1 billion in FY 2018. That is a far cry from its potential when we compare it to the L&D spends of some of the developed nations of the world. American companies alone spend around $100 billion on learning and development. The global L&D market stood at $240 billion in FY 2019.

Indian organizations certainly do understand and appreciate the need for updating their workforce but they become reluctant when it comes to finding out the return on investment or ROI of such programs. L&D expenditure then becomes a discretionary spend. And very few have a good answer to address the elephant in the room ie ROI of learning programs. Neither I am trying to offer any perfect answer for that question here. So don’t be disappointed. But I will give a powerful analogy to get a different perspective on the matter. Read on.

For a change, just question the question. Why you really need to attach a cost-benefit logic for learning? but most of you will quickly refute saying that why not? learning has a cost which clearly reflects on the P&L sheet. Who pays for the trainers and venues?. Alright, but what about the benefits?

So instead of asking why you really need to attach a cost-benefit logic for learning? , a better and more profound question would be: why accounting doesn’t really account the benefits of a learning program? That’s because no one has taught the accounting function to do so.

But here is a more logical way around this puzzle. If you are not able to figure out the quantum of monetary benefits of doing learning or training intervention then simply find out the cost of not doing it.

I will describe an analogy here.  I was thinking of  joining a gym a few days back. Now going to the gym is above and beyond what I usually do for staying fit. I have a very regular running routine. I at least run 3-4 times a week. Running is almost free. Spending on a gym for me is a discretionary spend.

Gym is a cost. But before I went on to rationalize the fee I am going to pay for the gym, I pondered upon the simple question of the cost of not going to the gym. For me the cost of not going to the gym was pretty straight forward:

  1. Missing out on strength training exercises which would eventually make me run better and longer without injuries.
  2. Missing out on the motivation and drive which comes from watching your peers working out.
  3. Missing out on proper training from experts.
  4. Missing out on a more robust routine.

and the list went on.

Now coming to the justification of ROI costs for organizations which are indecisive and reluctant about their spending on learning. Managers should find the cost of not spending on learning interventions first. Think of what would happen if your senior leadership doesn’t develop the necessary coaching skills to groom and develop the next line of leadership? Well, your cost for searching talent pool from outside would increase sharply. Now considering that reality, think of how much would you like to spend on learning program for your senior leadership which would help them develop coaching skills.

For me, the cost of not going to a gym outweighed the cost of buying a gym membership. And hence I bought a 1-year membership. I will realize the benefits of this expense at the end of the year. So next time you are indecisive about spending on learning intervention for your team, ask one question: what is the cost of not spending on learning?

Of Job Hopping

You have only been serving your present organization for a year , why you are seeking a change? 

I usually don’t have a good answer for the obvious question above. I wish I could answer this question with the following arguments:

A. How does that matter? Maybe my current organization is not so good at retaining me. 

To which I assume , I will get a counter argument:

But I see you have switched 5 organizations in a matter of 8 years. You have never worked for any of them for more than 3 years.

A more complicated answer for that counter-argument would be:

I am a millennial and my tenure at any organization concludes when either one of the three events happen:

1:  I am simply fired. Yes! the overwhelming pressures of work and ever rising expectations of employers are making it toxic for me. There can be also a mismatch between what I can provide and what the employers wants. That is perfectly fine! Haven’t you fired a domestic help for he/she not meeting the standards you have set?

2: If I see the value the organization is adding into me is diminishing. This value could be monetary or any other intangible metric (general well being and lateral growth).

3. If I see that my role is limited. I could do more but there is no scope for it.

But here is a more logical and elaborate answer :

Life is short. The years you are going to work for a living for someone else are very very short. Trust me, the dynamic wave of economy will not think twice before destroying the sand castle of patience , perseverance and hope you are building on the foundation of a few skills, working for a single organization for over a dozen years. Take risks , unsettle yourself and get new experiences and skills. Why do x for y number of years? can you not do x , y and z ?

Having said that , I respect perseverance. Show perseverance in relationships. Enduring relationships pay. Show perseverance in doing stuff to maintain your good health. You have been running for 15 years? that is something. You have been writing for a blog for 10 years? awesome! You have been consistently learning how to program better for last 4 years, that is beautiful.

Working for a single organization for donkey years under the fear that you might be rejected for who you are is not really not a wise thing to do . There were times when people worked for PSU’s for 40 years. But times have changed. Organizations are getting flat. If you see no lateral growth, there is no point of sticking to that workplace.

Having said that, show perseverance in your dominant skill. Musicians practice for years before their big break for multiple media and production companies. Doctors practice for years before they practice at various hospitals. Cultivate that one skill which is always going to work for you.

The Old Big Man and The Sea


A large bald man was sitting in front of us, facing us but stoically staring at the sand. He was not facing the sea where everyone was facing. He scratched his shoulder and continued staring at the sand. His pot belly was red and tanned. His hands and shoulders were freckled.

20d1e40d-7adc-4620-a28c-7add39e383bb.jpgThe white hair on his chest told a lot about his age. Maybe 60 , maybe 65. Maybe he was peeping into his past. The many many years which went by. And here he was all of 250 pounds on the beach. Looking bored and pensive. Or maybe he was thinking of just heading back to the hotel and having a shower. Maybe some sleep.

The sun was high up, glowing like a ball of fire in pristine blue sky. I wish the water were that blue. But the Arabian is somehow not blessed to be blue. It is some shade of green but not blue. On our right was a middle-aged lady. Quietly sleeping on her recliner. A open book that she was reading was pressed to her belly by her right hand. Her left hand was protecting her purse. Her mouth was wide open, as if she were dead. But I could hear her mild snoring.

Our Man suddenly got up and started walking towards the sea. His tall and heavy frame slowly entered the water. Soon he was dealing with the waves hitting his lower body. I could see his hairy back slowing lowering down in the green water. He spread his fat arms to splash the water in a playful manner. He looked like a sea monster , a leviathan lowering his torso in rough waters. In the next moment he just started floating. Perhaps all that excess fat was helping him to float. Maybe his thick legs were doing all the work beneath the water. We could only see his bald head floating like a volleyball.

He was now very far from where we sat, floating towards the deep sea.His head still visible. He slowly disappeared from our sight. I tried to trace his head, I jumped from my recliner ran towards the sea. Stood there scanning the horizon.The old big man was nowhere to be seen. I slowly walked towards my recliner, my friend convinced me that they (foreigners) are good swimmers , don’t you worry.

At a distance a speaker wailed : strong undercurrents , we repeat strong undercurrents not a good day to swim. Few hours later we packed and started walking towards our parked vehicle. On both sides there were Tattoo shops , artifacts and souvenir  shops  buzzing with activity.  Then there were bars with tourists conversing. They were mostly of Russian or east European ethnicity. I could make that out since menu boards on display outside the shacks were also translated in Russian.


Tourists were just relaxing having their beers. There were hardly any youngsters. These Russians were old. Mostly retired people traveled all the way to explore the poor mans paradise, Goa. And out of nowhere my eyes caught a familiar face amongst all the unfamiliar old faces. Our big old man was happily drinking his beer.