Important Few vs. Trivial Many

If any of you don’t know this, heres an interesting food for thought – population distribution in most phenomenon in life follows a distribution curve commonly known as the Power Law. What is this Power Law you ask? Well, it is a functional relationship between two quantities, where a relative change in one quantity results in a proportional relative change in the other quantity – one quantity varies as a powerΒ of another. If that dint make much sense, here are some variations –

  • Hurricanes & Earthquakes : Most hurricanes and earthquakes fall under a very small range of severity (Richter scale) and very few fall outside that scale
  • Population Income : 20% of a countries population’s contribute to 80% of its economy. This is also called Pareto’s Law
  • Profitability of customers & products : Only a small number of customers contribute to most of a products profits
  • Distribution of volume on traffic lanes : Most of the traffic is usually concentrated in a small number of lanes. Remember how the lane you are in always feels the one with the heaviest and slowest traffic. Its kinda true πŸ˜‰
  • Questions from students in a class : Only a handful of students in any class ask the most questions and most students prefer not saying anything at all (this one’s my fav :D)

All these are proven by scientific studies and observations. Some other variations also exist like Nielson’s Law, Zipf’s Law, Benford’s Law, Lotka’s Law….but they all essentially say the same thing.

This might be worthless information but I find it really interesting to think about in spare time and apply to various situations.

For example, with friends. I know quite a number of people who claim to have over 10 contacts whom they call “Best Friends” or closest friends but when they need a shoulder, they always go to those same 2 people – the important few out of the trivial many πŸ˜‰

Notice in the future when you ask a group of people for a favor, how many you asked and who/how many respond and use it to filter out your important few out of the trivial many.

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Only when you ask

I had written this post some time ago. Time n again, I am tested on this and not once have I been let down. Whenever I asked, I have received. All of us have kept quiet countless times, unsure of ourselves or our demands and expectations, and lost out on a great opportunity as a result of that. I stopped doing that several years ago. Why? Because I realized this is what my life will be if I don’t ask. I wont get anything for free, nobody is going to “spot” me and give me my big break, no one is going to play fair to me because they should, because thats the right thing to do. No. Thats not what is going to happen to me. I cannot live with leaving my growth in someones else’s hands. I want control of it myself and not leave it on chance or other ppl’s moral choices.

And this is when I decided I am going to always ask for what I want, or aspire, or expect.

I went to audition for a small part in an international play last month for fun. I had no expectations and just went because I am always curious to experience new things. A few days after the audition, I got an email congratulating me on getting the role. I was ecstatic! But only for a day.

I reread the email in peace the next day and realized the rehearsals and performance schedules were extremely demanding. It would mean non-stop work for 14 hrs. straight, including my day job. It seemed impossible and unnecessary. Why should I put myself through this? But then I have always loved theatre so much! This back and forth continued for 2 days.

Finally, I decided I’l try taking this on but not for free. Its too much effort if I am not going to be fairly compensated. So I asked a few friends around and everyone echoed the same thing – ‘Oh I don’t think they’l compensate you since you don’t have any professional background in theatre or acting or any kind of art. They’l say this will be a learning experience for you, kind of a break. You should consider yourself lucky to get this opportunity. ‘

Hmm. Well, I am lucky to get the role but dint the production needed me too? Of course I auditioned and surely, the director would have chosen me for a reason? Its a barter, a give-n-take.

So, as usual, contrary to everyones suggestion, I sent out a reply to the director with my expectations. It was a very straightforward simple email, expressing my concern that I will give him my best and all the hours they needed, but I need to be properly compensated for my time and energy.

No reply for 2 days and I accepted the defeat. Maybe I crossed a line, may I did not. But I did what gave me peace and I was okay with the consequences. I wouldn’t have enjoyed that experience anyways with that thought nudging me every day.

A few days later I get the directors reply that I will be compensated with $$$. Yes Yes Yes!!! And it was a good amount too. But now that I got the confidence, I did some math. As it turned out, that amount wont even cover my travel cost to the rehearsal studio, let alone anything extra. So with renewed energy, I sent back my reply with the simple factual concern. And again, a few days later, the director assured me that I wont have to make any expenses from my pocket wrt travel costs and the production will make arrangements around that.

Now thats what I call a WIN!

So folks, its good to learn from other’s experiences and suggestions, but don’t be afraid to carve your own path. And never, ever, ever, be afraid to speak up and ask for what you think is fair.

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Getting the Groove of Busy!

Ever had so much happening around that it feels overwhelming? Yeah, we have all been there. But I had been there, done that and was happy to get back to a more balanced routine. But you know what they say – Life happens while you are busy planning.

I have always been a little on the hyperactive end of the spectrum; trying my hands at multiple experiences, things, activities. Doing one thing at a time bores me to no end, be it work or play. I am always my best when I have more than one tasks on my plate. But this, the time right now, is really testing my limits. After a long time.

I have work going great, lots of good projects, with studying happening in parallel to upgrade my skills at work, along with managing a social group with around 30+ members with weekly events and such, and now playing a part in an international play! Can this get any better? Nope.

This new experience is quite demanding and is definitely going to take a toll on me but I’m sure I can handle this. I just need to find my groove back of doing 20 things at one time instead of 10 πŸ™‚

Because when life throws news experiences and learnings at you, you don’t complain or quit. You jump right in and make the best of it. Be your best productive self. Of course if at any point, I feel like quality is getting compromised with quantity, I drop some of it from my plate and move on. Because, lets be honest, busy doesn’t always mean productive. I want to do multiple things but not at the expense of focus and attention.

So lets not just be busy, lets be productive!

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Being Curious!

Every now and then I think I need to attune myself to being a little less excited about every single thing happening around me. Is it a disorder, a problem, an issue? Not really. Its just exhausting, even to myself! But then, every time I discover or experience or learn a new thing, I conclude its always worth it.

I went to an A Capella college showdown competition this weekend and boy, was I blown away by the talent! I consider myself fairly musical and am always exploring global music trends and types. I have known about a cappella for a few years now but only through mindless exploratory hours over the rabbit hole we call YouTube πŸ˜‰ ;you know where you go to watch one video at 9PM and end up hungover red-eyed at 2AM. That dark place, yes. But it was one thing thoroughly enjoying those rhythmic videos and another getting goosebumps watching that performance in front of you. I literally cried at one of the performances, it was that good. And I am so glad I spent my Saturday evening enjoying these soulful renderings.

Another thing giving me so much joy these days is going back to school. Well, not in the traditional sense, as in attending a brick-n-mortar college but the equivalent of that in recent times. Yes, am taking an online course. Its a completely technical course but I am loving every minute of it! I had tried online learning a couple years back and hated it. Infact I think I dint even complete that course. In my defense, the course was not designed to engage the audience and was quite verbose. It dint fill the gaps of not having a face-to-face interacting environment with anything equivalent or interesting. But I guess we’ve come a long way in these 2 years. Because the course I am taking now is an absolute delight! It has frequent checkpoints to keep the learner engaged and the lessons are full of examples rather than only lengthy texts and formulas. I might even debate its better than a classroom.

So I guess I shouldn’t suppress my excitement about life and curiosity in general to keep exploring and learning and experiencing new things at every chance I get!

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Loaded Baked Sweet Potato – My Way

In my attempt to eat healthy, I always pick produce I have never cooked before and try to make something tasty out of it. This time it was sweet potato. My sister used to absolutely love it as a kid! In fact, we used to receive buckets of sweet potato from my grand parents home after Diwali pooja. And all for her!

I have never liked sweet potato because there was only one way I saw it cooked back home and I dint like the taste of how it turned out. So this time I scoured the web for a new and original twist to cooking sweet potato and landed at the right place with a twice-baked loaded sweet potato recipe. I have modified this a little for my preference. So lets see how this went.

Ingredients –

Sweet Potato


Preheat oven to 350. Wash and clean your sweet potato for any dirt. Rub it with some oil and put on a baking tray. Bake it for 30-35 mins or until it turns soft and tender. Mine took 40mins in total. I turned it midway for even cooking.

While it bakes, prepare the stuffing.

Stuffing ingredients –

Diced Bacon strips

Thinly diced onions

Thinly chopped Green onions/scallions

Roughly chopped coriander

Diced cucumbers

Diced green peppers/capsicum

Cook the bacon until all fat is rendered. Turn off the heat and add onions, scallions, coriander and peppers. The heat from the released fat will cook the veggies and also retain their crunch. You can go wild here and add whatever veggies or toppings you’d like in your stuffing.

Once the sweet potato is cooked tender, let it cool down a little. Cut out 1/3rd of the potato from the top and scoop out all the flesh in a bowl. Also take out some of the flesh from the 2/3rds portion but make sure to leave some around the skin so as to keep the shape intact when we bake it for the 2nd time.

Seasoning ingredients –



Cheese blend

Mixed herbs

Mayo/Sour cream

Mash the flesh so as to not leave any lumps. Add all seasoning ingredients and mash together. Now add the cooked bacon and veggies and mix lightly. Add a few drops of lemon juice and mix again. Your stuffing is done!

Fill the stuffing into your 2/3rds of the baked sweet potato. Top it with some cheese. Bake again for 10-15 mins or until the cheese melts and the potato is heated-up throughout.

You could garnish with some coriander or scallions before serving but I was too tempted to wait πŸ˜€

And thats how its gone in minutes!

It turned out absolutely fabulous! So much better than I expected πŸ˜€

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Being Mindful of Individuality

One of my friends had a big argument with her betrothed (reading English classics these days ;)). Among the myriad of issues, a few revolved around their expectations of each other in terms of their lifestyle.

Although friends come to me very easily to confide, I am very cautious about giving relationship advice. I have learnt the reasons over time but its surprising how easily others forget and get carried away while dealing with other peoples issues.

  1. Every relationship is unique – I might be someone’s best friend of years but no one can claim with absolute authority to completely understand their friends equation with their spouse. They might have a unique history that you are not aware of and there might be events not in the purview of your knowledge. Theres a lot going on when two people are together and every minute of their time together forges some new information.
  2. Every person has multiple distinct personalities – No, this is not a disorder. Most people’s behavior change with change in the audience. They appear to act differently in front of their friends than as they do with their families. Personalities also change with different groups of friends or between close family and relatives. Similarly, with spouses. Its confounding to accept this realization but its infact true that you never really know a person. No, not even your parents. So how I view my friend’s nature could be poles apart from how her partner assesses her.
  3. Every story has another side – This ones easy to identify and even easier to forget. People always tell stories portraying them as the victim. Its nothing criminal, just human. Thats how we are made to think. Its important to visualize the problem from a neutral ground and find perspective. More often than not, just empathizing with how the other party might be feeling gives a fresh angle to the whole issue.
  4. Individual is always before couple – Forgetting this fact is most common with my girlfriends. We forget everything about the individual and all our advise is based on how to save the relationship. We have been compromising so much for so long that at times, no one realizes that the pitfalls we take to save our relationships end up making us the most miserable souls. Many times, its compromise with our freedom, other times its compromise with our wishes. Almost always, its compromising our individuality.

So the next time a friend comes to you for relationship advise, remember its only your opinion on the matter and theres a good chance your assessment is absolutely trash. Make them aware to take it with a pinch of salt. Be cognitive of the fact that not all relationships are meant to be and its not fair to guilt someone into it.

But also, sometimes all your friend needs is for you to lend an attentive ear.

P.S. – Dont confuse Individuality with Being Special. No one’s special. Thats just a way we are coddling kids these days.

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Reclaiming my Space

So I got this message in my MeetUp Inbox the other day –

Kapil 9:19 PM
Sent from Desi Connections – Raleigh-Cary-Morrisville
Hi Priya, This is Kapil, 39 yrs, Raleigh/Cary area looking for finding life partner. In case if you looking to find , then you can message me back. Thanks.

Infact, it turned out this dude had sent the same message to all females in that particular group, without ever having met them or spoken to them, without knowing if they were single, engaged, married, divorced, straight, gay, uninterested or anything else. Basically, saw a female looking name and attacked the inbox.

This isn’t new. Every female gets atleast one proposal every week on MeetUp. Only, this ones language is better. Annoying proposals on MeetUp is so common that most times we don’t even join mixed groups so as to save ourselves the hassle. I had the same thought when I got this message; to leave the group because the frequency of such unsolicited msgs was increasing day by day.

And then it hit me. Why? Why should I be the one leaving the group? Why should I have to tolerate this stupidity? Why should I ignore these lewd messages? Why should I have to deal with the consequences of someone else’s actions? Why should I give away my space?

So this time I decided, NO! Enough is enough. If these guys don’t know what MeetUp is for, its their fault. They need to educate themselves, take responsibility of their actions and be answerable to the consequences as well.

I posted this msg on the group –

Issued in Public Interest.
Mr. Kapil – If you don’t know, MeetUp is not Tinder/ or whatever hookup app is trending these days. I have had enough of this so the next such unsolicited msg I or any of my friends receive from any guys on this group will be posted here with the perpetrators name.

You would imagine guys would take a cue and stop. Instead, another guy responds back with – “that was rude. he wasn’t asking for a hookup. he is looking for a life partner. if you’re not interested, then just say so or ignore. have some empathy. everybody wants to be loved.”

I was appalled at how much liberty guys give themselves. This person wants over 50 females to empathize with a stranger on the web and ignore his unsolicited message instead of agreeing that its easier for that 1 guy to not broadcast a template proposal to over 50 females. So I should keep getting my inbox flooded with atleast 1 msg everyday and ignore them because I need to empathize with those guys sending lewd messages since they haven’t found love yet. Wow, bullshit level infinity!

Now it was my turn. I thought and thought and thought. Was I being judgmental? Was I being rude? Was I being inconsiderate? As many times as I tried, none of these ringed true. Because this isn’t the first time this has happened. Our inboxes are flooded with such romantic grandiosity which I dint even subscribe to! So finally, this is how I reclaimed my space –

“There are specific meetup groups and other platforms to help people find love. I did not join this group to become a database for people to send me proposals and open my inbox to over 100 guys. Contrary to what you are dreaming, this is not a dating group. Open your eyes, look around, think before you act and stop with the ridiculous excuses to your stupid actions.”

P.S. What was this guys gameplan anyway, I am more interested in that! That he would send this romantic message and girls would respond excitedly to this stranger on the web saying she’s also looking for a life partner and they should definitely hookup? Hmm…over-optimistic thinking much?

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