Rejection, running & humor!

We all dread rejection. And failure. But sometimes, rather most of the times, the price you pay for not getting ready for rejection is way more than getting rejected itself. I have just stated something which is common sense but I doubt it is put into “common practice”. What I want to share here is that rejection is good for you. I am not talking about the “mistakes are good, failure is the stepping stone to success” theory that we all know. I am taking about the lighter side of rejection. And the future of rejection that can be extremely different from the present.
Without getting into detail, I can assure you that I have got rejected many times in different fields of life. At all ages. Sometimes even in things that I am supposed to be good at. You would have too. Nothing new. I have walked into interviews thinking I am gonna crack it only to be told “We will get back to you”.

There are a couple of funny incidents from my past that I would like to share regarding interviews and rejection.I find them funny now: back then I was “daypressed”, i.e. depressed for a day. Depression and the “I am depressed” syndrome is a topic for another day, but it does deserve some space. Back to the incidents.

The first one is when I had just passed out of college, had an offer and got another interview scheduled at a big company. Big on the outside. After getting grilled on C programming(which is something I didn’t like) for about 45 minutes, and probably not looking “needy” during the interaction, I came out and sat in the reception area. Since the interview had laster for a decent 45 min, I was confident that I have made it through this round. I had that “virgin” confidence that you have initially after passing out. After about 5 min the pretty lady at the reception gently waved at me and asked me to come over. I confidently went to her only to be told “You may leave now Abhishek! We will get back to you”. This was the first time I had come across this omnipresent rejection line, and took the statement literally. So I asked her “When?”. She did not have an answer and managed to say next week. I obviously went back with pride only to realize next week that I was rejected. Someone out there had the guts to say it to me over phone that I had not made it past that round. Since I had no past of love-life/ girlfriends by then, this was the first time I felt truly “rejected”. One was the actual rejection of not getting selected, since the salary was 1.5 times of the other offer I had. The second reason was the real one. During that 5 min period that I had waited in the office lobby, I had foreseen some friendship/romance with the pretty lady and had planned few things as well. All in vain. It was a double blow to me.

Looking back at and sharing this incident right now gives me more joy and fun than the “daypression” I had gone through back in 2004. At the end of the day I feel good that this “rejection” happened to me. Only that we fail to realize this fact at that point in time. Trust me these incidents happen for a reason. First up, they get your confidence level in the right zone & secondly so that you have stuff to laugh about with others.

Another incident is related to running. I mean “running”, the sport. I started running kind of seriously in 2009. Amateurishly, but seriously. One of my friends Naveen had run the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon in 2009 and had finished it. He somehow motivated me to register for the 2010 edition of the race and I did. Although I knew that 42km was a monster of a distance, I did not train for it as much as a first timer should have. So I had not done any long runs. I did not know how the world felt at km 28, 30, 34 etc. The longest distance I had run on whim was 26km at the Bangalore Ultra 2007 and had got fever for a week post that. And cramps. Without knowing that those were called cramps. But I did run(well, walked most of it) the 2010 mumbai marathon and took some 5 hr 38min to finish it. My friend Naveen who had encouraged me took around 6hr 20 min. When we reached the finish line, we were bruised. More mentally than physically. Our “male” egos had been crushed since many females(of all ages) had “overtaken” us during the run. One good thing that happened as a result of this ego-crushing is that the male chauvinist in me died that day. We realized that it’s all about how much you put in and not about your gender. That’s one amazing thing you can learn from running.
So we trained better next year. We ran many 32km runs and would not miss our runs for VIP relatives as well. Saturdays were our long run days. We used to do 40 loops of the Queen’s park at Cubbon park. One loop being roughly 800m. As a result of which we did way better at the 2011 mumbai marathon. Naveen took 4 hours & I took 3:56. Not sure whether we were elated, but we were definitely relieved. Although Naveen had taken 4 more minutes than me, he somehow got more accolades. You know why? Because he had improved from 6:20 to 4 Vs I from 5:38 to 3:56. That temporarily “daypressed” me. You know what I wished at that point? I wished I too had taken more time the previous year. That why did I not do worse last year. This year’s performance would have looked rosier.
The point I am trying to make is that it doesn’t matter. You never know how your mind can conjure up reasons to feel good/bad.

Rejection or failure is just an event. Be happy and proud of your successes, but make sure you laugh off your rejections. They can be very funny, albeit later. Have some patience for the humor though. It will come.

11 things to DO & DON’T to have an awesome TCS 10k, Bangalore

The world’s richest 10k road race, the TCS 10k, Bangalore is less than a day away & this time around I sense the biggest enthusiasm and participation compared to previous years.
The last few days before any major event(sports or otherwise) are crucial. Although for most of the experienced runners this is common knowledge, having some prior experience of making these mistakes, here are 10 things you can do/not do to make the TCS 10k  2014 a memorable experience:

1)DON’T pick up/buy new shoes/running gear to run the 10k in right before the race day. Run in shoes and gear you have already run in, no matter how little you have trained. If you haven’t trained at all & this is your first 10k, do whatever you want!

2)DO eat light the night before the run. You will love the feeling of a light stomach just before the start of the run. And you will enjoy your run. More.

3)DON’T run too much the previous day before the race. Keep yourself rested. At the maximum, run an easy 4km. Make sure you stretch post the run.

4)DON’T worry about timing too much if you are a beginner. Time your run, get competitive, but don’t worry about it. If it’s not too good, worst case don’t post in on Facebook! There will be many more races and 10ks you will run, so make sure you enjoy the run and the feeling of “healthy” competition.

5)DON’T try new food or drinks on race day. e.g. don’t try Redbull on race day without having trying it in practice. Stick to a banana 30 mins before the run, it’s enough for the 10k.

6)DON’T get into the “carb loading” mode for a 10k. Carb(carbohydrate) loading is for marathons & longer distances, not for 10ks. One chocolate bar or a banana should be fine.

7)DO understand and respect the fact that there will be runners faster than you. Make way for them. Be receptive to someone coming from your back and if they are faster, let them go. If you are using headphones, be extra careful since you may be blocking some runners without realizing it.

8)DO take a lot of selfies and pictures with you friends and running buddies. You will regret later if you don’t take enough. I mean prior to and after the run!

9)DON’T run too fast initially. No matter how well or under prepared you are, run the first km to get into a rhythm.

10)DON’T drink too much water during the run. You will feel heavy. Have little sips of water before & during the run.

11)Sprint the last 50 or so meters. This will make you feel like a champion & come back to this run better prepared next time!

Have a great time!

Who is the badass Indian of the decade? Why?

Answer by Nuthan Santharam:

Arunachalam Muruganatham,
Inventor and social entrepreneur,
Invented a low-cost sanitary pad making machine.

  • Drop out at the age of 14.
  • Began to experiment his low-cost sanitary napkins on his wife, sisters.
  • His family thought he had gone mad when he began his experiments.
  • His wife, mother left him. Sisters started avoiding him.
  • He was passing out free pads to college girls and collecting their used napkins for study.
  • He had a storeroom full of them. His mother left him and packed her things to move in with his sister.
  • He looked for female volunteers who could test his inventions, but most were too shy to discuss their menstrual issues with him.
  • He even tested it on himself, using a bladder with animal blood, but became the subject of ridicule when the "sanitary pad" was discovered in his village. First man to wear sanitary napkin.
  • It took him nearly two years to discover that that the commercial pads used cellulose fibres, derived from pine bark wood pulp.
  • Finally, Invented a low-cost sanitary pad making machine, and has innovated grass-roots mechanisms for generating awareness about traditional unhygienic practices around menstruation in rural India.
  • Muruganantham's invention is widely praised as a key step in changing women's lives in India.
  • Muruganantham's machine creates jobs and income for many women, and affordable pads enable many more women to earn their livelihood during menstruation.
  • In 2006, IIT (Madras) awarded the first prize to Muruganantham in a contest for innovating for betterment of society.
  • He has also given a TED talk.

View Answer on Quora

Minimalistic running for beginners and everyone

Minimalistic lifestyle is promoted by many nowadays, with many bloggers writing about it. Leo Babauta, the famous blogger at has written many posts on this topic. Check out for some of them.
I have always been a minimalistic runner & have some thoughts and perspective on minimalistic running, which I want to share.
I could sound a bit biased which is intentional so that beginners realize that it’s simple and easy to become a lifelong runner. Or a runner for life.

Firstly, what is running? By its very nature, running is minimalistic. You need some space to run, and some kind of footwear(that too is not mandatory) to help you not “feel” the ground too much. Although many of us are now taking to barefoot running, and though it takes time to adjust, there is a certain “freedom” they say they experience. Afterall, running is about feeling free. It’s primarily all about the “freedom”. Everything else is secondary. Nike even has a line of shoes labeled “Free”.

What else do you need?

What is “non-minimalistic” running? For me, everything more than basic light clothing and a pair of shoes & socks is extra. I know that some people love to listen to music while running or exercising, so a basic ipod(the smallest one) is good for them. I ran my first “long” run in Dec 2007, at the first edition of Bangalore Ultra. The distance was 26km and I knew it would take me around 3 hours to finish it. Prior to that, the only thing that I had done continuously for 3 hours was writing engineering exams. And sleeping, another minimalistic activity which I never had any challenges to combat.

That’s the only run I used an iPod in, repeating songs that made me feel good and deviate the mind away from the pain, a pain that one is generally not used to initially. But as they say, try listening to the rhythm of the body. Once you get used to that, you will not need external music to “distract” you from the boredom or pain you experience while running.

Some aspects of the body music to listen to: breathing pattern & footsteps. We generally start breathing shallow while we are running, listening to the breathing pattern can fix this. Listening to your foot striking the ground can tell you how well you are gliding. What’s gliding? Gliding is the opposite of banging your foot on the ground. Gliding is not something you start doing from day one, but you need to be aware of the fact that banging your foot is wasted energy + risk of injury.

Gliding is minimalistic: you achieve more by doing less.

When I started running, I had shoes that were atleast 1.5 times heavier than the ones that I use now. It was a Nike then, it’s a Nike now. Talking about minimalism, when you start running the focus is on getting regular and picking up the habit. Hence spending too much on expensive shoes initially is not wise.  Comfort is the key.

What else? A watch probably to time your run, but sometimes it’s wise to run without a watch, enjoying the run “freely” rather than stressing about timing.

Running is easy. Let it be!