Define or Defy

Category: Blog_Cast

Blog Cast with Gautam Pothineni



How I know Gautam Pothineni (or Pondiman as he is fondly called) deserves a separate blogpost altogether. Check it out here 🙂

But if you are a lazy bum to do that, Gautam is working as an Assistant Manager at Grant Thorton, one of the Big 6 Accounting Firms. But he is more popular in the world of endurance sports. His exploits in the running scenario of Hyderabad(and outside) is well known. He recently finished 4th in the Hyderabad Runners Club Run of 21.2 km.

Well then, this blog cast will definitely give you a shot of adrenaline. Let’s get started!


Starting with something which introduced me to you. Cycling. Can you walk us through your fitness journey. How you started? How you could maintain the consistency when many others falter with the same 🙂

Well this is a long story! I used to be a huge sports maniac during school days. My schedule was something like cricket practice in the morning, then school, gym and then basketball practice in the evening.


But then I shifted to delhi for college, new found freedom and I kind of lost my way 🙂 Late night parties, too much alcohol, cigarettes and some other stuff, shitty food habits and within a year I went from a decently fit 80ish kilo guy to a humongous 105ish kilo fatso.

College Diaries

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One positive thing during this entire phase was it never affected my studies. I was done with my CA-IPCC and moved to Hyderabad for my 3 year internship. Getting back to stay with family, the late night parties and alcohol reduced relatively but I was still a heavy smoker and ate a lot (read: Biryani!). Then one fine day after my CA Final exams, I was sitting idle at home waiting for my results to come for a couple of months. I was around 115 at this time with a bulging stomach and unable to even climb a floor of stairs.

Something clicked then. It was different from before. I had tried to join a gym previously, get back to the routine but it just never happened. But this time was different. I went for a 3 day trial class at F45 and I got my ass whooped after every 45 minute session. I loved that feeling though. It reminded me of my cricket and basketball days. The amount of sweat and effort I used to put into training. I just continued with f45, reduced smoking but my diet was still off though. Then came the 4 week challenge at f45. By then I got the hang of the classes, I was shedding kilos and I really wanted to be fit by the end of the challenge. My parents were very supportive during this entire period. That 4 weeks i just hit it out of the park. I was really pushing myself at the gym. I completely stopped smoking, I had my diet under control (thanks to my amma 🙂 and I won the challenge by losing 9.4 kgs in 4 weeks with a body fat loss of around 5%.


Week 1 of f45 Challenge:

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Week 4 of f45 Challenge:

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During this phase, Albo the head trainer at F45 introduced me to cycling. It started with renting bikes from HBC and going on sunday rides. My first ride must have been 15-20 kms and it felt like the biggest achievement of my life then. Then the bike affair (TBA) opened under f45 and I got talking to Gokul. You have no idea how much I used to bug him. I started renting bikes from TBA, got talking to Gokul, used to ride frequently but it was still at the 50-60 km level.

*I used to do the same. Bugging Gokul a lot with questions.*

With Albo


With Gokul

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One fine day, Vandana who used to take our running interval sessions at f45 called the trailblazers said let’s do a brevet. I didn’t even know what a brevet meant then. So I pinged Gokul. He sat me down and explained me what a brevet is and then I asked him do you think I can do the 200K brevet and he said yes you can! So I decided to enroll for the night brevet without having any experience of riding in the night or riding more than 60 kms, borrowed a friends hybrid, bought some bare essentials and went for it. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. I gave up completely after 70 kms. But then the night set in, the traffic reduced and I managed to reach the u-turn point. I somehow managed to complete it in 11 hours and 10 minutes to get it done. The rest was history. One thing led to another and I ended up completing the SR series that year. I think it was 2015-16. That entire series wouldn’t have been possible if it was not for the support received from Gokul and the riding company from George and Hemanth throughout the brevets. I know, way too long this was!

With Vandana


Coming to the consistency, I believe it all depends on our perspective. This fitness thing, be it running, cycling, gym whatever isn’t something special I do. It is exactly similar to something as simply as waking up and brushing teeth twice a day. You don’t say you are consistent at brushing every day right 🙂 Fitness is the same way. It is a one hour investment every day on your body and soul.

*That’s it Folks! Anything we set our mind to, has to be backed by our daily efforts*


You’ve come close to a sub 3h30 min marathon. Congratulations on that!
Whenever you are running a marathon, what are your emotional states throughout the race?

Thanks a ton! 3 hours 38 minutes and 37 seconds to be precise 🙂 And trust me, that is no where close to my best, wait till the end of this year and hopefully all the work pays off. Running a marathon is a roller coaster man. To sum it up in a phrase its life in a day. You obviously start off really happy and excited about the day ahead, but then you hit a low point somewhere down the line.

I try not to pay it much heed. I distract myself by wishing strangers, thanking the aid station people, giving high fives. I keep telling myself no one is forcing me to do this, I am doing this for the experience of it and that’s what keeps me going.

 During Airtel Hyderabad Marathon 2017



You’ve recently been awarded the Best Improved Runner for 2017-2018 at the Hyderabad Runners Club Awards. How has the journey been with HR so far?

I never believed much in awards before. But it was an amazing feeling to get recognised. It gives you the confidence that you are going in the right direction.

Coming to Hyderabad runners, they are a great bunch of people who love running selflessly man. There have been so many times when people have just come ahead and gave advices and supported me. You should start running with us regularly!




*Can’t wait to do that eeeeeeeeee. visibly excited me*

You’ve set some high goals this year. How are you getting physically ready and more importantly, mentally ready for Comrades in June?

For starters I have hired myself a coach. His name is Nate Houle from Forca Running. Super nice guy 🙂 From a physical perspective, there are no magic workouts. The goal is just to be consistent with training, eating and sleeping for the next two months and I will be ready. From the mental side, like i said in the previous question I choose to do this, no one is forcing me to do it. So the goal is to be happy, smile through out and take it one step at a time.

*This was something Gautam repeatedly kept saying during my training regime. And later on while reading the book ‘Born to Run’, it echoed the same. Running should be for the joy of i 🙂 *



Can you mention 3-5 things which give you 80% results for 20% of your efforts? Some things which many people overlook?

I am a huge believer in the 80-20 formula. Instead of mentioning 3-5 things, all i want to say is do the basics right. It is the simple things we often ignore and it’s the simple thing that often matter.

3 simple things – Train consistently, Eat healthy and sleep well. There are no shortcuts, magic workouts or fad diets. These shortcuts might give us immediate results but will have an adverse impact on our longevity.


What do you think one should keep in mind while just entering the world of endurance sports?

One should keep in mind that endurance sports is an extremely intense activity that takes a toll on your mind and body alike. It is important to be patient and adopt a slow and steady approach. Also, the most important thing one should keep in mind is to enjoy the activity!


Can you also share with us some of your other hobbies and interests?

I love talking to people if that can be counted as a hobby :p On a serious note, I listen to a lot of podcasts and try to read a lot of books and of course binge watch tv series. Not to state the obvious but i love to trek and explore new places on foot. I am getting a lot into reading about nutrition, environment conservation and trying to live a minimalist lifestyle and leaving as less a carbon footprint as possible.


Some clicks from Rupin Pass Trek



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You’ve cleared your CA finals, one of the toughest exam in India. How did you approach it. And any advice for the takers?

I don’t think it is as tough as people make it out to be man. I would recommend people not to follow my approach. I am one of those people who just can’t study for months and months together. I prepped for 6 months before my CA finals and applied the 80-20 formula while studying. I don’t think it is practically possible to cover the entire syllabus, it is humongous! So i just concentrated on 60% of the syllabus which i felt like would cover 90% of the marks and I got lucky and it worked 🙂





You’re working as an Assistant Manager in Grant Thornton and you are just 24. How was your approach in your corporate life?How do you deal with office politics, peer pressure, etc?

I have never thought much about my corporate life. I just go there, complete my work and come back home. I am lucky to have an amazing Manager and Partner who support my endurance activities and help me maintain a really good work life balance. One thing I have always tried to separate my work from life. I believe that is essential to maintain longevity and quality at work as well as relationships at home.


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You’ve been doing daily meditation practise for a month now. Do you see any noticeable difference? Any words of advice on this.

Yes, I have been using headspace for a month now and I have noticed a huge difference already. I am more calm now and I am able to control my emotions in a better way. The 10 minutes every morning has become a part of my life now.


*I’ve tried meditating on a consistent basis for a lot many times but I have failed so far. Kudos to you Gautam for such commitment*


Do you mind giving us a sneak peek through your bucket list?

I don’t have a bucket list with respect to life. I have a list of goals and races with respect to running i would love to do though. Post Comrades, I really want to concentrate on the marathon distance and attempt a sub 3 marathon this December/January. Post that I have always been attracted to mountain ultra trail races. At the beginning I was really fascinated with these international races but I want to explore the Indian subcontinent first. We have such amazing trails and races here. There is one race though, that is a lifetime goal for me. I want to be at the start line of ‘Western States Endurance Run 100 miler’. I don’t know when, I don’t know how but I will give my best to get to the start line and then try and run it competitively some day.

Coming to cycling, I intend to do the TFN in the next 2-3 years and I would love to do the RAAM solo someday in my life if the time and budget permits 🙂

I also really want to spend some time on building a platform and creating awareness on the benefits of being on a plant based diet, living a minimalist life, reducing my carbon footprint on the earth!

*Talking to Pondi, Billy Yangs podcast with Ann Trason podcast and reading Born to Run; all this really had an impact in my thoughts about my ecological footprint too. Much food for thought needed here*


Gautam, can you name one thing you are super proud of?

I am proud of the fact that my parents are proud of me right now 🙂


Family picture.jpg


Another thing I could relate with you is self development. You’ve consumed your share of podcasts and books. Can you share with us 5 resources (audio/video/books) which had the highest impact on you and shaped your way of thinking.

What got you here won’t get you there – Book

How not to die – Book

Rich Roll Podcast

Life in a day – Movie on youtube by Billy Yang Films

Clare Gallagher – She is an ultra runner who is very vocal about environment and wildlife conservation


What are your favorite 5 tools/apps?

Well, this is easy!

Strava, for obvious reasons :p

Apple podcasts

Instagram – This can be a powerful learning tool and influencer if you use it correctly

Netflix – I don’t know what will I do without it

Books, books and books!


Whom do you admire the most? In what ways does that person inspire you?

My parents man 🙂 I have seen the struggles they have gone through. I have seen the effort they have put in to raise me. They inspire me each day, every day.



And also my girlfriend Natasha. Kids our age today have this tendency of feeling that their life sucks and they have all the problems in the world. But she has gone through so many things at such an early age man. She never lost her way though. She knew what she wanted and she made sure she achieved it. This is just the beginning of her career and I am extremely confident that she will be super successful at what she wants to do. In fact I keep telling her 5-6 years down the line, she will be so successful that I will leave my job and be a house husband and just chill in life 😛




Gautam. You’ve been in a relationship for almost 6 years. What do you think are the 5 most important things which make or break a relationship?

Just two things man! First you have to genuinely care for the other person. If you care for her/him that is more than enough to have a healthy relationship. This second one is a very basic thing but i am still trying to get better at it – Listen well!


Do you have any favorite failures of yours. One which seemed to be frustrating when it happened but in retrospect helped you in one way or another.

No specific failure as such! I love failures though. It helps you learn a lot about yourself and helps you strive to not make the same mistake again.


Last question to end this Blogcast 🙂
What do people never ask you that you wish they did. And can you answer for the same too?

Hahhaha! I always wish someone asks me out for a dance man. Somehow everyone including my girlfriend thinks that I am bad dancer!


Hehe!! That was a funny unexpected response. Hope the ladies are listening.

That was an amazing and gripping Blogcast for me Gautam. Thank you for your time and patience 😛

Good luck on all your future runs and endeavors. You definitely must have ignited a fitness spark in at least one reader. Until next time!!


And Hey Guys, if you loved this format- checkout other Blogcasts on this Blog and do follow. ( No one gives a fuck about this line these days. Hope you have 1 left :p)




Gautham meets Gautam a.k.a Pondiman ft Marathon Training + Blogcast Intro

This was back in December 2016. The time when I didn’t know anything about Bicycling Clubs/Brevets.

After cycling 8-10 kilometers to my friend Vishu’s place a couple of times, I decided to up the distance and cycle 26 kilometers to Swathi Peddi’s place. A total of 52kms to and fro. This was a huge distance to me back at the time and a couple of friends were even worried about this and I didn’t let my parents know too. Huge deal back then!
( There’s been so much of change now. When I told my mom I was planning on running to my college she asked me on which day I was planning to? 😂😂)

So armed with a backpack with bottle and snacks, I started off to Swathi’s place on my Hero Razorback. It took me around 2 hours 10 minutes to complete and it wasn’t a piece of cake. As soon as I reached I had this victorious feeling. I was ecstatic and euphoric over my new achievement. None of my friends had done it before and it made me feel all the more special.

After some small talk, Swathi mentions that one of her colleagues had recently completed 600 kilometers on cycle.

My reaction back then

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My inflated sense of achievement went for a toss. How can one cycle 600 kilometers??

That feeling was always at the back of my mind. 

The next month I went to a Charminar Ride with Hyderabad Bicycling Club. My first ride with the HBC Folks. This followed with at least 2 rides with HBC every month. Most memorable was the Mango Ride. That was the first time I remember pushing my limits. This ride gave me the confidence to do my first 200km Brevet- one which I completed 7 minutes late after the deadline and gave a speech about it here.

By this time, I was already following Gautam’s exploits in the running world. The week before my first Half Marathon, I approached him for any suggestions he might have. He just said ” Eat well. Sleep well”. I approached him again for any pointers during my first Super Randonnuer (SR) – a series of 200, 300, 400, 600 kms on cycle.

In an year, one complete circle from wanting to do 600 kilometers to actually doing it;  a journey filled with new friends and buddies, memories and pushing my limits, it was one of the best years I’ve had.

With the last day in my undergraduate nearing by, a thought of doing a run to college occurred. Exactly 42km- a full marathon. By this time I had an idea that one should not jump into any endurance activity without some pre-planned training regime. Again, I reached out to Gautam if he thought this idea might be feasible. Though skeptical and worried about injuries, he gave me the belief that it was definitely possible. He advised to take a final opinion from Gokul, the man behind The Bike Affair along with Krish Basu. Even Gokul  said it was possible with the caveat being more focus on the race day tools and running form than on the physical preparation.

So this was when I asked Gautam if he could check my running form. And that following morning was the first time we met in person after months of online conversations.

Doing a 5km KBR loop with Pondi Express



Some takeaways from the Meet:

  • I had an okay running form. Not much to worry about as of now. Should focus on it after the marathon.
  • Race day clothing, hydration plan and route mapping are very important.
  • I was having a stiff shoulder while running. A couple of drills would help me correct that.
  • Apply vaseline to toes and sensitive areas to avoid blisters.
  • Don’t  gulp down water as it might hurt in the gut after a while. Sip it slow.

After the meet Gautam took the time to form a training plan customized just for me.

Training Plan.PNG


I followed this with a bit of slack in the last couple of days which led me to postpone my day of run by a week. But, finally on 6th April, 2018 I completed my run- My First Full Marathon. And most importantly, without any injuries (so far :p)

When starting off something, one might get a lot of doubts-silly at times(most of the times actually). And it truly feels good when the person you approach replies back to you. Gautam Pondi was that person for me. I kept asking him questions but he always replied back with the same enthusiasm with his trademark smiley 😬😬😬

Podcasts, Books, Running, Cycling – I share the same interests as his name(except the extra H). He’s epitome of perseverance and determination with a child-like smile.

Enough of the fan-boyism. I was completely gripped with his responses for the Blogcast. Hope you are too. Head over here to check it out!!!








Blog Cast with Mohammed Furqan


I first saw Furqan on the day of finals of Master Orator Championship-2017. He was on the stage collecting his prize for winning the Toastmasters Quiz Competition. He looked dapper with his 6-foot frame in a trim suit.

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Later in the day I met him personally and he was very very amiable. Very humble, calm and composed, he has a certain charm in the way he speaks which you won’t forget for awhile.

And then back home I went through his profile and his blog and damnnn he’s killing it.

A little fact: He solves a 3×3 Rubik’s cube under 15 seconds!!

Dancer. MJ Fan. Speed Cuber. Orator. Photographer. Blogger. Sketch Artist.
All packed into One.

Let’s see what he’s got to say today. Trust me this will be a blast!!!!

Greetings Furqan. Before we start digging into your brain, tell us a little about yourself.

Well, you have got everything covered so what do I have to say?
I was born in Riyadh, KSA( Saudi Arabia). I spent most of my childhood there. Thanks to my parents, I had a wonderful time. My parents brought me up here to India when I was 10 years old. Since I continued schooling in my hometown Kurnool, I had been an introvert all this time. Never been hanging out much since I don’t have any brothers, video gaming alone on PC, living life in solitude. But stepping into the fields I find interesting made me feel that I like socializing with people who I find real, simple, humble. So maybe that makes me an ambivert.

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Even in college today, I like being nice to people around but I still am the one who spends his time alone. I learnt not to depend on anyone.

In my free time, I draw sketches. Or sometimes I write rap lyrics.

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Apart from all this, I’m also a sapiosexual person.


Will you share with us some of your favorites? Would love to hear them


Coming to my favorites… I watch anything except Bollywood.

Now that doesn’t mean I’m a Hollywood freak, but I do watch movies that are riveting and exhilarating. I’m a superhero movies fanatic, especially the Spider man universe. I’m so crazy for Spider man, I can tell what a spidey movie is like when compared to the comics.

(I can tell all the faults from each spidey movie, except for Spider-man Homecoming because it’s the right spidey movie they ever made. I would kill anyone who would say that Tom Holland’s Spider-man movie isn’t right).

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Everybody likes superhero movies, but if I also tell you I like watching movies like The Unknown, you’ll know what other tastes I explore.

My favourite TV series so far are Marvel’s Daredevil, Sherlock, Friends, Suits and the best to make you laugh…Mind Your Language. Sherlock is the one I would re-watch over and over.

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Coming to Music, I’m a big fan of Micheal Jackson (MJ), I listen to his tracks mostly.
I also listen to
Linkin Park, Eminem, Alan Walker and some old ones like Backstreet, Lady Gaga, Spice Girls, N Sync.
There’s nothing better than older music, you know. Regardless of Cheap Thrills, Shape of You, Despacito, my all time favourite is Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal. 🙂

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But sometimes too much music can also ruin you. That’s why I have a filtered playlist of selected songs on my phone.

I don’t read books. I know how a person gets engulfed and immersed when he/she starts reading. I would want to feel that magic but I nevertheless procrastinate. The best book series I’ve ever read was the Harry Potter ones. Harry Potter is love, Harry potter is life. I read a couple of Chetan Bhagat’s but gave up on his because love stories are not my kind.

Video gaming is what soothes my time. I mostly play electrifying games like the Ubisoft ones. FIFA is always amazing, but Player vs Computer isn’t as fun as Player vs Other Bad-ass Player. Now, since my life is spent in solitude, no more FIFA like I used to when I lived in Hyderabad.

Fuqran stayed in Hyderabad for two years during his time in Intermediate.

Wanna know my favourite Youtubers?
Alex Blanco Dancing
J Perm
Mango Street
The Baigan Vines

and of course…

Jay Shetty.


Did I miss anything in your hobbies or did I get it all covered :P.
How did it all start? All the activities and interests.


The whole of Internet is right in your hands. It all started with me searching how to moonwalk on Google back in 7th grade. I still remember that moment. The most wonderful thing I ever found was googling and then learning what you want to.

Why wonderful? Because that’s the best thing I usually did when I get bored. There’s a blogpost by me that delves more about me developing my interests and how one can do something similar. You just have to get bored to learn a new thing. After all, in all these interests you mentioned I’m still an amateur.

( The Blogpost Furqan talked about. Please do check it out. It’s worth your time)

(Something similar happened with me regarding my hobbies and interests. Check this one out too.)


I always wanted to dance ( I actually do but its not more than a teen maar) and give a stage performance but the only thing holding me back is fear of embarrassment. You’ve learned to dance like Micheal Jackson on your own. What was the process and journey like?


Actually, I’m a badminton freak. It keeps me fit and healthy. I wanted to continue coaching but the stadium I went to was getting renovated. Couldn’t pull off much budget and time even after it’s renovation so I had to give up badminton. This was in my first year. So the next  best thing I thought I could do to keep my body working was dance.

I know it gets embarrassing to dance. It happens with anyone if it’s their first time. The moment when I felt embarrassed the most was when I walked on to the stage, held the hat and waited for the music to start. But only if you knew what you are gonna do for the next 5 minutes on stage, it will allow you to feel a little comfy. What made me comfortable was that I knew the MJ feels since the very first time I moonwalked in 7th grade. So dancing to what you actually like will most certainly help. I watched MJ videos for numerous times until I got the moves compulsively on my own. When I got them wrong, I always went back to the tutorials on YouTube. Take a look at my video on YouTube. This was my last attempt at impersonating MJ but differently:




But after all, it was all for fun. I’m no dancer. It’s only MJ impersonation. It’s a proof that anyone can do anything just with a little hard work and internet in your hand.


Can you walk us through your first stage performance?

Before the dance, during the dance and after the dance.


Though I first danced at my Fresher’s party, allow me to explain about my experience at my first dance competition in college which was much later but with a bigger audience, so that you all can understand better.

Before the dance, I was excited to see how people are gonna get surprised with what I was gonna do. Something that nobody knew about me.

During the dance, I was confused if I might turn up into a laughing stock or someone admirable for the evening. But too much thinking can kill your dancing. So I did what I did.

After the dance, the crowd was chanting and hollering, I couldn’t help myself. From there on not only did I know how it feels to entertain people on stage, I also learnt how one can rule the stage just by knowing what one’s gotta do. Make your reason when there’s a stage.


I got to take this quote down

Make your reason when there’s a stage.


Days after that dance, it felt really great to be popular around the campus. Being given the name Michael Jackson of our campus in my first year is cloud nine to me.


Check out this google drive link for my fresher’s performance.

Imagine the ecstatic ism of a young boy right from his first year in college. 😀


You’ve performed in front of a large audience, be it dance or giving a speech. What goes in your mind during that time? How do you handle the negative background noise in your mind? Any tit bits for a beginner?


Just like dance, you practice your speech. Without any practice, without any preparation you can’t do anything on stage. You go blank. And that’s how negative background noises in your mind happen. Just like I said if you knew the purpose of your presence on stage, everything will be fine. Believe me practice has magic. Which means, by practicing you don’t practice your speech, but in fact, you also practice your way of speaking. Keep doing that and next time you will be able to do an impromptu speech without hesitation. Trust me, it worked with me, I tried giving speeches on random things in my room out of boredom.

I would like to re-iterate what Furqan has said. I believe that Confidence is Preparation and the more you practice, the more you are confident.

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From experience at the MOC 2017, I learnt many things. I flunked at the Semi Finals but what I started doing after the flunking is that I re-watched the videos of World Champion’s of 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014. Re-watching helps you become better. Comparing their speeches with yours, you identify flaws in your speech, script or body language. And every single time when I watched a Toastmaster’s winning speech video, I would get a new insight from it.

I would suggest you to watch Mohammed Al-Qahtani’s speech for as many times as it would take you to understand what his message actually was , closely noticing his little gesture in the end.



Now moving on to Photography. What interests you in photography and how’d it all start and how is it going right now? Though there are many photographers, most of them don’t get it right. Dime a dozen. What are 3-5 things a photographer should keep in mind.


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You don’t need to own a DLSR to take pictures. I never did own one!!


It all started 4 years ago when one of my friends who had an iPhone clicked pictures of focused lights and flowers. So I started to explore my camera too. In the early days of photography I usually did macro shots. Instagram motivated me more. While exploring instagram I followed photographers who did mobile photography.

Now you don’t need to own a professional camera to do photography, because now everybody owns a Oneplus or an Iphone, if not that, at least a mobile with great camera quality. Mine is a 3 year old one so some of my pictures do suck even today.

What one can to do to level up his photography skills is this:

@Every Time adding filters to your pictures won’t be necessary. This isn’t BARBIE WORLD. I use Snapseed app on my phone to level up contrast and saturation. A little sharpening and done. Your picture is ready.

@Look for moments. Look for something that stands out. Risk for it and if not perspectives, click in the best angles possible. Even mobile camera have the availability of grid lines. To click perspectives, in my case, the object or background must be aligned with the grid lines on your camera. Grid lines are also useful for different ways of clicking. Try googling Rule of Thirds. I bet you can UP your instagram feed with this.

@If you see something like a place, or something more of a background like sunsets, add subjects. It can be anything, from a toy car to people.

@Always explore your camera when you click pictures. ISO’s and Aperture modes will help you know how to click pictures at night and in daytime.

@Do you find something on your table? 45 degree angle view or birds eye view photography would be the best for pictures of food, your assignment with a laptop, etc.

Whoa!! I think I could write a whole blog on it.

Haha!! Eagerly waiting for it Furqan


If you could only share 3 pictures taken by you, what would they be? And why only them?


These two were my first best pictures from my first time trying out Photography.

These two were clicked at Qutub Shah Tombs.





This one hits a lot of nostalgia. I was in Hyderabad.

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You don’t know how much of effort I had put in this. No touches, no exposure setting. No filters. It’s raw.

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Here are a few perspectives from Indian School of Business. Thanks to my friend Samreen to act as subject.


And here’s the pictures of stuck at home photography, indoors and outdoors.


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And here are some of the best I clicked in my college. Look for perfect timings.


I couldn’t choose the best three, but I chose the best to show what I did so far. If only a true a photographer judged my pictures, he would know where I am.

Very Cheeky!!


Now moving on to what I think is the kernel of Furqan – Speed Cubing. Walk us through your Cubing Journey Furqan. 


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Cubing is a passion. When I learnt to solve one, I put my everything into it. Once you get into it, it becomes an addiction. At the start, I took my cube to school, to other places. Even today I would cube in car when I travel. Even the ones I taught also went along cubing everywhere. For me, maybe boredom got me there, but it takes a lot of practice to become a sub-15. One has to memorize over a 100 algorithms, each of which takes a shortcut depending on the conditions to end the solves. There are different methods to solve the rubik’s cube, but I bet every cuber out there has definitely stumbled upon the beginner’s method at first. If you wanna become a Speedcuber, learn the Fedrich Method. It’s the most popular one. How do you think these world records happened?

It’s been 2 years and I have been to only one competition so far. I still plan to visit one again and this time do my best. Cubing had surely got me some cool cuber friends. I have a dream to stand among this country’s top 100 cubers. It’s hard, but dreams are meant to be that way. Always aim for the sky!!

Cubing competitions are where you compete and set your mark at Nation Record, Country Record, World record. You get rankings according to your personal best solve at a competition and also according to average of 5 solves of that competition. It’s been a year since my first competition and this time I wanna unarguably update my positions. 🙂

Good luck on that Buddy!!! Wish you the Best.


All these things about you, they really inspire me a lot. I’m a big fan of Charlie Munger’s Mental Models i.e using the learning from one area and implementing in another. Can you tell us how each of your hobbies has brought a positive change in you and how it has affected other parts of your life.


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I think I can take my cubing thing here. I’m not really good at planning, but cubing gives me the idea of how I could inspect certain real life scenarios. People think I’m weird but I do like to find details about any upcoming scenario.

Because how can I solve the cube in time when I don’t inspect the cube?
If I don’t inspect, how am I gonna make the solution to the first part of a condition?

Same applies to real life events. When you are inspecting something, you are actually looking ahead. You learn how to be decisive thinker. You learn to build a foundation for a program or an event. So before the initiation of anything, you acknowledge it’s condition first.


A tricky question – if you could only continue with one hobby, what would it be and why?


That make it tricky obviously. I would love to continue speedcubing – never gonna give up. But it’s public speaking that I’m serious about right now. I can implement my cubing skills in here. I could try delivering my messages regarding my speedcubing experiences. Because there’s life in a rubik’s cube.

Reminds me of something said by Tim Ferriss. When given two options, ask – why not both. Very smart, Furqan 😛


Are there any favorite failures of yours. One which might have hurt back then but in retro respect has resulted in your growth?


I remember breaking my own friendship with someone. Though I think it could be his mistake of not understanding me, I take it as my failure. The next time there are worse people coming in my life, I could be mature enough to be soo nice to them, they might find their own mistakes before they break down with me. I learnt that 10% conflicts are due to difference in opinion. 90% of conflicts are due to wrong tone of voice.


Digger deeper now Furqan. Where do you see yourself in 5/10/20 years from now?


I wish I could tell you but I don’t want to say. You’ll see for yourself. 🙂


Also it would be lovely if you could share with us some things from your bucket list.


I dreamed of becoming that Badminton player who would reach olympics and represent my country.

I always wanted to see myself at the Britain’s Got Talent stage sometime, not just because I would dance. There are many things I could try- Like Beatbox and Cubing, beatbox and dancing or cubing when rapping. Mix matching things up.

I also want to win the World Championship of Public Speaking. And if possible, the youngest Toastmaster International winner so far.  

And I would also love to travel to Istanbul and London.


You’re in your 3rd year now. What advice would you like to give your juniors? And if you had to start again your Btech life what would you have changed?


If I was a junior again, I would put myself into exploring more than how much I did so far.
If it was cubing, I would have done everything to visit all of cubing competitions because who knows, my personal best could have been somewhere else and brought me a renowned position.

Fellas, when there’s an opportunity, run for it. More the opportunities you miss, the more you are gonna regret.

Keep going after what you are passionate about. I would also take good care of my academics since the start because too much of distraction has left me poor at it. If you enjoy the pleasures of your life and build that false pride in your heart, I’m sure life is gonna knock you down any moment.

One last thing. Open up with your teachers at college. Be friendly. Miracles will happen.

Resonating with Furqan, one big regret I have from my school and college is not interacting enough with my teachers, juniors and seniors. If I had to do one thing right again, it would be this. 


If you had one extra hour of free time every day, how would you use it?


I could be watching an episode, a movie or I could probably do speedcubing. I would mostly do untimed solves or practice an algorithm to improve muscle memory.

And if ever I had the equipment to make YouTube videos, that would be all.
Better equipment, a better YouTuber.


Name one thing you are super proud of.


Solitude. Because there’s no sharing in it. 😀

No automatic alt text available.

Unexpected answer. Loved it nevertheless.

Any favorite tools, apps, hacks etc which have improved your quality of life?


There’s an app called WifiKill. Once connected to any WiFi, this app allows me to access the number of devices connected to it. What’s fun, you can view their activities.
What’s more fun, you can block them from accessing the Internet. Tried this with my teachers and classmates at college (Not anymore, got bored). 😛

Another app I use is Elevate. It gives you games that help you improve writing, reading, speaking, listening and maths skills. I use the pro version of this app so that I can access any game I want.

To avoid eye problems, I use Night mode app. When lights turn off, Night mode is on.


If you knew that you would die one year from now, what would you change about the way you are living now.


Help and Teach people.

Because there’s a saying that the best amongst us are the ones who teach or help others in their hardships. I would be glad and kind enough to teach someone who lacks knowledge or skill. Better to be that way everyday because who knows, I could also die tomorrow. Life is a test.  

Takes hat off!! Bow


If you could hang a motto or saying in every home in the world, what would it be?


Your talents are amazing. But your character can do wonders. It’s more appreciating.

Reminds me of a phrase from Meditations. A book by Marcus Aurelius. “It can only ruin your life only if it ruins your character” – Marcus Aurelius


Last one for now :p . What do people never ask you what you wish they did?


“Can you be my mentor?”

“Why do you not take selfies?”

I think Furqan would be more than glad if you would like to talk to him regarding anything mentioned in this blogcast. Don’t miss out on a good conversation with him 🙂
At the end of his post, I linked his facebook profile. Feel free to message him.


Any closing words for our audience. Can’t get enough of you.


There are two types of muggles.
The one who strive to become wizards of a field with passion and mastery, and the other who sit back and think all their lives believing they are muggles.

Who are you?

If you have know Harry Potter, you would know how powerful the above lines are.
Find Furqan on:


Instagram: He’s got amazing pictures here




Hey There,

Thanks for reading so far. If you loved this format of interviewing check out my other two blogcasts.

First one is with my Best Friend.

Second one is with the arguably the best Computer Science Student of my Batch.

If you loved the writing, do follow the blog by clicking on the follow button at the bottom of this page.


And if you have any friends who Likes

Photography or Cubing or Dancing or Micheal Jackson or Sketching

Do Share this Blog Cast with them. They’ll definitely love and appreciate it.
And lastly, thank you for your time 🙂


Best RegardsGaucho



Blog_Cast with Swathi Peddi

An Article at one of the Big 5 firms in the world. A Chartered Accountant in the making. Astronomy enthusiast. Closest friend and Confidant. Music aficionado. 

Apart from all of these, a beautiful person inside and out. That’s Swathi Peddi for you 🙂

So, Swathi tell us a little about yourself which has not been covered in the intro.

To begin with, the introduction is hugely exaggerated. I am flattered anyway. A little bit about me.
I have always been a person who spends more time with family than friends. I am designed that way and I’m really blessed to have a loving family. My cousins are the closest people to me and I had some of the best moments in my life with them. We make a great team, don’t we?

Like you have already mentioned, I am an intern at Grant Thornton LLP currently pursuing my Chartered Accountancy course- boring? I know!



  • I am an amateur doodler. There is an application called ‘Sketches’ which has a wide range of pens and tools to work with. You definitely need to check it out.
    Sketch.jpg       IMG_5296.JPG
  • I love to read books; every free hour at office is spent on one. Fiction- (crime and legal) and young adult reads are my go to genres. When I read, I am completely immersed into the imaginary world which the author creates and I can be whoever I want to be. Be it an 1800s ballroom finding my ‘prospective groom’ or a prisoner on parole; anything and everything no bounds whatsoever.
  • Typography is something drawing my attention recently.
  • I enjoy cooking and baking; a stress buster for me. Unwinds and loosens me up.

Awesome!! Now tell us some of your favorites

My favorites and likes?

  • Actor/ Actress – None.
  • Band/ Artists  – Breaking Benjamin, Imagine Dragons, One Republic, Green Day, Linkin Park, Coldplay, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Radiohead, Snow Patrol, Maroon 5, Avril Lavigne, 30 Seconds to Mars, Adele, Bullet for my Valentine, Ed Sheeran, etc.
  • Food – I love everything which has to do with food. I have a sweet tooth, doesn’t mean I compromise on savory. I find solace in home-made potato bread rolls, garlic bread and classic lasagna.
  • Color – Black, just like my soul *evil laugh*
  • TV Shows – I binge watched two seasons of Jane the Virgin, and I absolutely adore the show. Telenovela rocks!! How to get away with murder, Person of Interest, Gilmore Girls are some of the very few TV shows I followed. As a kid, I watched a lot of The Discovery channel and Travel & Life Channel.
  • Movies – I am a sucker for rom-coms and thriller/mystery genres. Some of my favorites would be – Pretty Woman, Pride and Prejudice (love the book too), The Holiday,  Orphan, The exorcism of Emily Rose, The Exorcist, The Prestige, Batman Series, The Silence of the lambs, The Shining, American Psycho, Gone Girl. I have watched only a handful of movies and there is a long to-watch list waiting for me to strike them off.
  • Youtube Channel– Boyce Avenue, Kurt Hugo Schneider, Nicole Cross, Taylor Davis, Jess Greenberg.

You are a big music fan. What does Music mean to you? And if you had to recommend only 5 songs, what would they be?

Music. It is something I can’t imagine my life without. It is my escape.
When I have something on my mind and I need to stop thinking about, I switch on to music.
If I have nothing on my mind, music inspires my muse.
I have some chores to finish? I play music.
Okay, I think I made my point.
*feels victorious*

There goes a saying that you can tell all about a person based on their playlist. I don’t believe that. My playlist doesn’t tell you my story. So, don’t judge me now. You asked for my top 5 songs? That’s so cruel, you  are trying to make me choose.
*well that’s how life works right. Can’t choose everything*


I am taking the liberty to tell you my top 10 in no particular order:

  • Demons – Imagine Dragons
  • Fix you – Coldplay
  • Snuff – Slipknot
  • Creep – Radiohead
  • Chasing cars – Snow Patrol
  • Boulevard of broken dreams – Green Day
  • My immortal – Evanescence
  • Iridescent – Linkin Park
  • Daylight – Maroon 5
  • When you’re gone – Avril Lavigne
  • Snow – Red Hot Chilli Peppers
  • Through the trees – Low Shoulder
  • Shake it out – Florence and the Machine
  • Make you feel my love – Bob Dylan /Adele
  •  Strangers in the night, Fly me to the moon – Frank Sinatra
  • Dreams – Flewtwood mac
  • Phantom of the Opera

I exceeded 10, didn’t I? Can’t help it.

*What are you waiting for. Queue them up in a minute. You’ll definitely love them*


Swathi, you’ve cleared one of the most selective exams in the country- IPCC. Lot of hard work and dedication is required. So, walk us through your preparation and struggle. Any advice on study strategies?

Honestly, I did little until the last three months. I had all brains to crack the examination without preparation. Well, that’s what I thought for many months but then I had to get back to reality. Luckily it didn’t get out of hand.

The last three months was a real test. I woke up at 4 o’clock every morning and tried to get 8 effective hours of study every day. Perseverance and Implementation is key for anything. Never give up. Always look back at all the moments of preparations and push yourself till the very end.


That’s Inspiring. Moving on…what is your primary goal as of now? Where do you see yourself in 5/10/20 years from now.

This feels like a job interview *sweaty palms*
I have some short-term goals – Academic and Non-Academic.

Qualifying CA-final in the very first attempt, a girl can try you know!!

Getting consistent with my fitness and diet would be at the top of my list too.

Pursue Business Administration from one of the best Business Schools.
*she means M.B.A folks*

Leave GT!!!! (can’t wait to do that)
And where do I see myself in 10/20 years? That is for you to see. Surprise, surprise!!!


I always admired the fact that you are so empathetic towards the less privileged. What are your thoughts on this?

An untainted and younger version of me dreamt of establishing an Orphanage. Call me cynical, I can’t help but think it is nearly impossible in the current scenario given my resources. But, I promised myself to adopt at least two kids and raise them as my own. My part will not end with just providing them a roof but also give them all the love and care which my family gave me. And also a part of my earnings will go to an orphanage each month.

You’ve worked in the corporate world and that too in a big company like GT. Any takeaways from your experience?

One thing you should remember, be it in a corporate or anywhere for that matter- always mind your *own business*. DO NOT GET INTO OFFICE POLITICS. No one is your friend, NONE! The white sheep could turn out to be a sly fox. But it has also been a great learning period being surrounded by such experienced people. Getting such an exposure at a young age is non-comparable.

Now lets dig deep into your brain. If you had one extra hour of free time every day, how would you use it?


I would invest the time to learn a music instrument- a Cello to be specific. Have you watched Tina Guo play? I’ve never seen anyone playing a cello with such intensity. She looks fierce and scary. She turns me on to be honest!!
*Well some girls gave me a similar compliment. (laughs hysterically)*
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Tell us how do you handle peer pressure?

One thing most people do in a corporate is trying to fit in. There is always peer pressure, living up to certain standards to get acceptance.
I’ll share one incident with you. All my colleagues were having hookah at a party. They asked me to try and I denied the first time. But the second time, I gave in.
Did I like it? NO.
In fact, I hated everything about it.
Did I ever do it again? NO.
Why not? Because it was not worth it.
I was accepted anyway and they never forced me to do it. You don’t have to do the same things as your friends to be in the squad.



Whom do you admire the most? In what ways does that person inspire you?

My brother has always been the biggest inspiration for me. One quality I love in people is being passionate, be it about science, cycling, dance, music, etc and my brother is very passionate about chemistry and medicine. He is currently completing his Ph.D from USC and a budding scientist. His areas of research include cancer and tuberculosis. He is very modest and unpretentious and also a great cook too- he keeps feeding his friends every weekend.

If you knew that in one year, you would suddenly die, would you change anything about the way you are now living?

If I were to die in a day, I would change my cautious ways. I have always been a caged bird. I would try and do a new thing every day for next 365 days. Strike off my bucket list.
A look at my incomplete Bucket list:

  • Go watch the Aurora Borealis, the Artic Cathedral;
  • desert for star gazing;
    Star gazing.jpg
  • go to a concert of any of my favorite bands;
  • audition for a singing competition (I know I suck, want to do it anyway)


What message would you put on a billboard for millions to see?


Your pieces aren’t lost, they are scattered around you. Search and you shall find them.


Last question for the day. What do people never ask you that you wish they did 😛


You want to have some more cake?


That was a wonderful session Swathi. Any closing words to the audience?

Please subscribe to for the blogger is amazing 😉

*HAHA!! These weren’t my words*


Hey there, this was my first Blog_Cast episode. I’ll be doing a Blog_Cast every week henceforth and this would go on till the end. Please do subscribe to my blog and don’t miss any updates.
Thank You!!!!



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