Stoa Digest #33: A stream of Delight,
and a memory of slight.
Warning Note: It is a curse of the Interweb & Substack, that images cut our Digest off in your inboxes from the fun ending - so for the full edition of this Digest - click here.
✍🏼 From an Alumni’s Editorial Desk ✍🏼
An outtake by the man of the most lit Zoom chats: Mr. Ujwal Ratra, himself.
“Hasti ke talatum me pinhan the aish o tarab ke dhare bhi,
Afsos hami se bhuul hui ashko pe qanaat kar baithe.”
Translation: “Within the distress & worries of daily life are also streams of delight & joy, It's us who miss those streams & only get content with the tears/distress.”
One of my happiest childhood memories is having a kulfi every day after school. Kamal kulfiwala used to visit our street at 1:30 pm every day with a cart full of malai kulfi. After a day of school, a kulfi was all I needed & desired.
We often reminisce simpler, happier times.
The last exam before the holidays 💃🏽🕺🏽
Your first bicycle 🚴♀️
Summer holidays & the daily ice creams we ate 🍦
Your first job 👩💼
The first time you fell in love (or maybe not) 💓
This list may have invoked happy nostalgia
But with the kulfi in my heart & mind, I have a wish & an ask.
I wish, for both you & for me, that simple times are not a thing of the past.
I wish simpler times ahead for you.
I ask you (& myself) to look for simplicity.
For all core truths are simple.
Simple truths to health? Eat natural, eat less, exercise.
Simple truths to wealth? Spend less than you make, save some, learn more to make more.
Most of our pursuits are for these two & we continue to add complex layers to both.
Life will throw abstract problems at you. Why would you want to add more? Acknowledge abstraction & learn to thrive in it, by choosing simple paths out of it.
If it’s simple, it encourages action. Only if you act, do you solve the problem.
Contrarian to how it sounds, the simplest path will mostly not be the easiest one.
It may not also be the most rewarding in the short term.
But I know you don’t fear the uneasy & you play the long game!
I am sure if you help me with my ask, my wish for you will come true!
As I started with a couplet by Shakeel Badayuni, I’ll end with another of his couplets. This isn’t related to the topic but the simple truth here is that I like it -
“Har cheez nahi hai markaz par ik zarra idhar ik zarra udhar,
Nafrat se na dekho dushman ko shayad vo mohabbat kar baithe.”
Translation: Nothing is at the centre/where you'd like it to be, it keeps on changing. Do not hold grudges against someone/your opponents, maybe tomorrow they'll start loving you!
Here's the complete gazal for you.
So the next time you are contemplating anything, ask yourself what’s the simplest path & then start walking.
We launched a small change to one of our Discord channels.
Help Me Out.
For those of you that missed the announcement, here it is. But in case you dont want to click through on a link, we have three emojis open to use for all members of the Stoa Community:
Warning: these are the emoji names, but they’re only available on Discord on our server!! (Go try typing them out on a discord DM - or anywhere on Discord)
:o: signifying an “open” request
:closed: signifying a “closed request”,
and :waiting: signifying “awaiting a response”
We’d like every message to have “Status: -insert relevant status emoji-”
with the message following it in the next line.
But we get that this might be more tedious, so we’ll even accept if you just use these emoji as reactions to your request so we know what the status of your request is.
✨Glow Ups ✨
Here are a couple of our fellows who have been hustling with the Career Success team to improve their experience at their day jobs too.
Ramasamy has found his way after much hard work, into a role in the Growth space with Blowhorn.
Apoorva Sahu has moved into a Program Manager role with OneCare
🥳 🎂Birthday Parttaaayy! 🥳 🎂
1st Feb - Pallavi Gupta, Divyansh Goel,
2nd - Pranay Nanda,
4th Feb - Ashwath Raju C V, Lokesh Jain
6th Feb - Amogh Pachpor
🔦Fellow Spotlight 🔦
What’s your journey through & post college been?
“Honestly, college wasn't much of a learning experience for me - I learnt more from my experiences during that time. A lot of my side projects were started in college, even thoughI should been paying attention to “studying”, I didnt, I just pursued a lot of interests and built lots of things.
Within a week of joining my engineering, I realized it's not my cup of tea. So instead, I just worked on things I wanted to.
Back then I used to be morbidly obese, and weighed like 120 kg, but lost about 40kg of weight within the year. The gym owner actually was so impressed with my transformation, he ended up sponsoring me for a fitness certification, that made me a fitness trainer at his gym.
Post which, for a year what I used to do was leave for college but go to the gym and train people, and had a ball of a time doing it - and changed 25 people’s weightless journeys as a personal trainer.
After a year, things got really monotonous, and I wanted to try out new things and started taking internships. I joined a two room startup and started as only a sales intern, but I was pathetic at it, I was so bad that they actually ended up firing me within two weeks.
Post trying a couple more times, I put my trust in myself and took a chance and started my own company. It was called GraspItUp, was a B2C company and handled artefacts and bits of interior designing that we did for two years, but we ended up shutting it down.
Luckily, we were fortunate we started in college, but by this time companies had started to come for placements, and my parents were like, “Okay, I think you need to focus now”
Something I had done in college on the side was learnt to code, and wanted to become a web developer, but the day I got an offer letter was the day I quit coding.
Because I just asked a stupid question to myself, “Do you see yourself coding in the coming five years?”
And I was like, hell, no.
You(anyone) just did it. I did it to get a job.
So I quit coding overnight and tried my hands at a bunch of different courses -
This was when the pandemic started.
In fourth year, we saw an opportunity to start another venture, that was called DocDigi, where we aimed at connecting patients with doctors digitally at the onset of the pandemic.
We just basically did it, because we didn't have classes or anything like that. We did it for six months and it didn't really scale up. That’s when ZS happened.”
What is the transformation story though?
“That's a funny story. Well now, at least….
Back in 2016 I had just graduated school and we decided to go to Worlds of Wonder - the water park.
It’s a water park so, I had to take off my shirt, and made myself the subject of a lot of mockery and humiliation.
I still remember that day was 28 May.
All I remember thinking was just one thing & remember crying myself to sleep that night.
I had a dream, that was my friends saying, “He's the fittest guy in the room” -
that one dream changed everything.
For the next month, what I did was I actually took this commitment to the next level. I was swimming, I was running, I was playing football.I was going to the gym.
Because the two months were really empty for me.
College hadn’t started and I had the time.
I pushed so hard, I ended up injuring my back - but I never regretted even a minute of how hard I pushed myself.
I don't regret it at all. I’m actually very proud of it!
I was always obese.
I had always been obese.
I never really played sports, but during this transformation I started playing football and just loved playing it.
Even ended up getting selected for a Zonal team in my region.”
How have the last few months been for you, having gone through Stoa’s third cohort?
“For me, honestly, the last six months have been life changing as part of it has brought in a lot of behavioral change in me. I used to be an introvert, so connecting with people, random people over the internet has been a nightmare for me.
I’m no extrovert now, but a person who is actually looking forward to move out of their comfort zone and talk to people, to know their stories.
I won't call myself extrovert at all. I still, like, keeping me under the hood. Also, the biggest tangible thing that I received out of Stoa was just
falling in love with learning,
falling in love with reading,
falling in love with solving problems.”
What has the journey of moving to a company like Ultrahuman been?
“2-3 months ago, I tweeted out a thread that was a basic comparison between Ultrahuman, BurnCal and Cult, which opened so many doors for me.
I've been consulting with a few fitness startups since then.
What Burnt Cal is doing is really fundamental, right?
They are actually making sure that people remain accountable to their fitness goals.
UltraHuman on the other hand, is taking it to another level, they are actually helping you get insights out of your current fitness regime.
Lesson being, my fitness regime can be really harmful for me, but can be insanely good for you. Things like that, that you can only know when you have a device tracking your data all the time.”
What’s something you hope to still be doing in a couple years from now?
“I definitely want to remain in the Fitness & Health industry.
It’s finally taking off in India, and I have the opportunity to contribute to it, and improve the lives of many more, so I'm very excited by the prospect & opportunities for fitness in India.”
What do you think is your life purpose?
“Personally I want to make sure that people don't die or suffer from diseases that can be prevented. I want to promote simple changes that can improve your health by a great margin.
Things like intermittent fasting, drinking a lot of water, having a 10-15 minute walk after your meals. I just want to promote simple changes to make sure that people don't allow themselves to have easily preventable diseases.
This is why I’m really strict with my father, mother and brother.
My father lost like 30 cases of weight in the last two years.
My mother lost a lot of weight, and actually reversed her type two diabetes along with it.
My brother lost like 40 kg of weight
First we were all obese, and now we’re one of the fittest families in our apartment building.”
Twitter Gang! 💬
Angelin wrote about what it was like for her to experience Improv over Orientation weekend!
This week on Discord: Best Discord Messages This Week
You’ll find all the community bantering on this, because apparently the Thread Police got too much, so to defeat it, we now banter in a thread.
Drop your Calendly into this thread, and feel free to book up time with others from this thread!
This Tuesday we have Anurag Srivastava running a session on “Building Resilience - talking about how he has maintained his cool, calm and serenity through the havoc that has been the last 3 years.
On Thursday we host our good ol’ Gup-Shup sessions, come talk to some new people and meet people from the Community - put Ishaan & Shonik’s networking session to practice!
🍺 🍻Show someone some gratitude, buy them a beer!🍻🍺
Not enough to get you interested? Let’s try again.
How often has someone told you, “I owe you a beer” only to proceed to forget they do?
Well, you’re in luck, my friend, because NEVER AGAIN.
And if you’re looking for a way for a friend to owe you beer, Shonik has you covered there too, with a 101 ways to get them to owe you a beer!!
Find IOUBeerBot on Product Hunt and give them a review and an upvote!!
💪🏼Taking Fitness global one small step at a time!
Utpal could take many small steps in his fitness-building journey, with our help, check out TenacityHQ here! 💪🏼
🪙 How confusing have you found the Web3 space? Well, that’s what Saxena Saheb thought too, so he made Wagmipedia to initiate us! 🪙
For Stoans by Stoans ✍🏼📚⏯
We missed out on recommendations of Books and Movies this week 😢
Blogs & Resources 🤓
Meme Wars 🥲
This week’s shiny new winner of Best Meme goes to …………
Mr. Vignesh Kannan for hand-making this one, as opposed to second-hand sharing of content from a different platform 🥲
To end, we’ll leave you with this:
There was much music shared in the last week, so we tried to not switch the vibe up too much, but there’ll be more next week, dont worry!
🦁 Don’t forget, the more you give,
the more you get with this Community! 🦁