Instagram Stories & Me

phone showing instagram

For a very long time, I had a question at the back of my head

“Can one catch up with all the stories that gets piled up on your Insta feed?”

But then, every time I posted a quote or a screenshot of my favorite post from Reddit, I instantly saw a lot of people coming to my stories and consuming my content. This selfless act from others made me take up the 7-day challenge to see every story that pops up on my feed. That’s when I decided to catch up with all the stories that flash on my screen.

Now that I follow 500+ people on Insta this meant that I need to dedicate a minimum of 1 hour a day just to see what people are posting as stories.

I used my lunch hour to go through the stories and initially my reaction was like

“What the hell are people doing here…. except posting crazy selfies and random shit”.

But slowly I began to realize the power of stories:

  1. Instagram stories are very powerful ways of conveying direct messages to your audience which self-destruct after 24 hours.
  2. They are more personal and sometimes when you have too many photos to go through the grid, seeing stories actually helps you to catch up with all the latest things that is happening with the account.
  3. Some story feeds are so interesting that the live polls and the live videos actually make more meaningful than going through each account and checking their photo feed.
  4. I saw that some of the famous Instagram accounts were even running Ads on Insta stories. When I asked one of them, she said the lead generation from one story is more than that of fb stories and an Ad on Instagram.
  5. I also understood that some of them don’t really understand the difference between what needs to be put on their feed and what should not be.

It was also interesting to know how some brands were literally harnessing the power of stories to showcase the brand’s behind-the-scenes videos. It was a great way to interact with their fans and increase their engagement.

I have now stopped scrolling endlessly to catch up with all the photos. I now go through all the stories and interact with my favorite Instagrammers by DM’ing them right away.

This helped me to initiate meaningful conversations with some of the leading Insta influencers in my city.

So, all in all… I can say that the story feature in Instagram is quite interesting. And if you are one like me, who always thought “Why Stories?”, then probably its time for you to ask yourself “Why not see some stories?”

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Are You Well Prepared For The Ups and Downs Of Your Life?

man sitting on a chair

How many of you have purchased high net worth gadgets right after you started earning a decent amount of money by swiping your credit card?

How many of you have bought an insurance scheme/policy just to get some tax benefits without even knowing the payout period and the immediate benefits that it will offer to you and your dependents?

How many of you have blindly followed some article and invested more than 40% of your income into only one mode of investment (either mutual funds or SIP’s)?

How many of you now regret looking back at the choices that you have made?

If you have said yes to any of the above questions, then this blog post is for you.

Financial literacy is one of the most important skills that we all have to learn in life. I am glad that my blogging Guruji @theonlysup introduced the word “financial planning” in my life. So was I wise since day one? Hell No. Inspite of he telling me the pros and cons of not planning your finances properly, I chose to go ahead and fuck up things for my own self. I almost got into a credit card debt of Rs. 25,000 at one time. I was clueless as to how to start managing my money and come out of this credit card trap.

Our education system is so pathetic that we are taught the kind of Math which we never use in life, we are taught the geography of nations which we never visit until we are in our thirties…. and we are forcefully fed so many unwanted concepts that we hardly use in our daily lives.

I wish if every curriculum made it mandatory to learn saving money and to understand the various modes of investing money, society would be a much better place.

  • People would no longer associate the topic of “personal finance” as taboo.
  • People would chart their career choices as per their necessities in life. People would not go ahead and grab that glamorous MBA degree just to slog under some big MNC in order to clear their student loan.
  • People would think twice before buying that eye-catchy credit card which offers some bounty as cashback.
  • People would hound for the perfect method of investing money and calculate the payouts on their own and would be more aware of where to invest how much.

I am going to write a series of articles here on my own experiences with money.

I am going to share my mistakes and my wrong calculations which led to so many hassles at one point of time. I will also share some nice snippets of information if you are willing to know the various kinds of policies that exist in today’s current market situation.

If you are looking at something specific to be answered here, please let me know. I will be more than happy to read, understand and then write about it.

Coming back to my title, “Are you prepared for the ups and downs of life?”

This was a question which was asked to me by my personal finance advisor recently.

With great confidence, I said “Yes” (I mean who the f*** cares)

He then asked, “How much risk cover have you planned for your family?”

I was like “Risk cover? I got some couple of LIC policies and some minor RD’s”

He was having this expression

It was then, my advisor explained me about the various types of risks that one can come across in short span of life, the depreciation of money that happens every year, the various ways of planning our risks, analyzing how much money would be required at what age etc.

He further took time to show me the different kinds of insurance policies that are currently running in the market,  their benefits and why he took a particular policy and why he closed some etc.

I was amazed to see how a guy of my own age is having so much knowledge about all these. With each passing minute, I was feeling ashamed of all the poor choices that I have made over these years.

He then told me about the five common mistakes in financial planning that stops us from achieving our financial freedom on a long run. They are:

  1. Ignoring inflation.
  2. Underestimating expenses.
  3. Starting to save too late in life.
  4. Investing too aggressively or too conservatively.
  5. Investing with the sole motive of saving taxes, without a bigger goal.

I had committed most of the mistakes too early in life where I should have taken a step back and analyzed my needs.

One should always keep in mind that the future is uncertain. Whatever decisions you make today will affect your financial responsibilities accordingly.

  • If you are married, your kids would be affected by your decisions. If you make a good move, then rest assured they will be having lesser debts when they grow up. If you make a bad move, then you will be burdened with lots of financial hurdles in order to secure their future needs.

Another important thing that one needs to keep in mind before taking any insurance product online is that

  • How will this pay my bills when I am retired?
  • Does it give me the option of compounding my principal amount or is it subject to market risks?

If you are still in your 30’s then before buying any product you need to ask

  • How does this insurance product help me secure my finances?
  • Does it offer any protection against medical emergencies?
  • Does this product help me in wealth creation during my retirement years?

Always remember ups and downs are part and parcel of life. There is no running away from them. But the only thing that you can do is to protect yourself from those risks by thinking what’s best for you and taking the right decisions before purchasing any product or policy online. With sites like policybazaar and lots of youtube channels and blogs, it’s much more easy to educate yourself and make the correct choices.

  • Do not fall into any obligation and buy something just because your friend opted for it.
  • Do not buy anything without reading the pros and cons (the lock-in periods, the growth and the payout clauses etc).
  • It’s okay to be late but it’s not okay to never buy any risk protection for your family leaving them vulnerable towards the uncertainties of life.

Everyone at least once comes face-to-face with one or two of the below mentioned financial needs in their lifetime:

  • Short-Term Goals (in your 20’s to 30’s)
  • Wealth Creation
  • Child’s Education
  • Child’s Wedding
  • Family’s Protection
  • Retirement

In my future posts, I am going to cover the above mentioned six major financial needs that people face in today’s world and how to go about them.

Feel free to read and give me feedback on each of them. Alternatively, if you need any clarity on any personal finance related things, please leave your query in the comments section below.

Thanks for stopping by and giving it a read.

— ARK

Why Should You Ride In Rain?

rain country side

It was pitch black and I could not see a thing.

Rainwater formed streamed inside my jacket and made my back wet… The shoes were getting wet as fast as possible. The heavy feeling you get when your socks absorb too much water is very frustrating.

Within the next five seconds, rain was all over me, and I struggled to see past five meters ahead of me from my Bell helmet.

The headlamps of my toy bike were not very effective and well prepared for this heavy downpour. In spite of the raincoat that I was wearing to cover my whole body, the rain tried to slow me down every second. It was like going against the grain each minute.

Some people stopped riding and took shelter under the roofs of some roadside shops. Some even were curious to know what’s keeping this woman riding when the weather is all so bad.

But how do I tell them how much I enjoy riding in the rain!!!

According to me, everyone should experience the joy of riding in the rain at least once in their lives. Here are some of the reasons that I have listed down:

  1. Patience: It teaches you the importance of having patience in life. One cannot simply over speed on the wet roads. You need to have patience and a great sense of alertness.
  2. The joy of Solitude: The joy when you alone are treading your path while others are running away from the bad weather makes it even more thrilling to keep moving. As soon as it rains, most people run for cover. You are left with little or no vehicles on the road which makes it even more interesting to ride all alone and be one with nature.
  3. Nostalgia: Rain brings back the good old memories of childhood. Crossing the puddles and splashing muddy waters all over.
  4. Increase in confidence: Riding in rain or shine makes you a better motorcyclist. Any seasoned rider will vouch for this. It increases your confidence.
  5. Getting out of your comfort zone: You will get outside your comfort zone. All your rainproof jackets show their true colors. And there are too many things to be handled at the same time. When it rains, it’s not just the rain. It’s the visibility that takes a hit. It’s the temperature which becomes too cold. It’s the amount of uncertainty which comes your way. You are very unsure what happens in the next few kilometers.

Riding in rain teaches you the important lesson of letting go of your urge to be perfect in life. You cannot expect a perfect weather all the time. Life is a mix of rain and shine. Without rain, you will never appreciate the shine in your life. You have to enjoy everything when you are on a motorcycle. You cannot resent anything. You have to embrace the storms and keep going.

Do you enjoy riding in the rain? If yes, let me know why!

Dogs or Humans, Everyone Needs Love & Affection


She was just the size of a football when I first met her along with my good friend Shrikanth Kote at Brush and Bones. She was jumping around busy chasing a 10-year-old lab which had cancer.

I still remember how Hemant and Sohini showed me the pup and told her about her issues. Her skin problems and her medications, her food habits, her personality everything…

After the whole brief, they asked me whether I was still okay to adopt her. My answer was “Ab lene ka socha hain tho… I have to understand that all of this comes part of the adoption”. I rest assured both of them, that I am going to take this “Khujli Rani” (Queen of Scabies) to my home forever.

I didn’t inform any of my friends or my mom. I just went and told my house owner that I am going to get a puppy. The house owner quickly agreed unknowing that I am not getting any high pedigree dog, but a normal Indian Pariah dog with too much skin problems.

The day I got her, everyone was having one question on their minds. They had doubts about my mental health and my level of sanity to take home a small pup with little hair on its body and too many rashes. With the effective guidance of Shrikanth, Shireesh Verma, Sohini, Hemant, Kaveri, and everyone it took me very less time to fix this beautiful pup.

Now, let me remind you she was not just a pup. She had a name and a personality. Her name was Tara (which I hated it for quite some time) and her personality was “radioactive”. Controlling her energy levels required me to change my house from the small locality to 14km away from the city. A bigger space meant she had more room to run around and chill. Along with her came several other changes in me, including bringing of another dog “Arrow” into my life. Arrow and she became friends very quickly. This also made two dogs cope up with their loneliness together during my absence during office hours.

From Scabies to her first vaccination. From being bitten by street dogs to she going and terrorizing other dogs. From being that silly Tara to a full grown Mommy Tara, we both have come a long way.

Yes, today as I am writing this, she is sitting next to me and taking rest. She will soon give birth to pups in a day or two. One of the most common questions that I ask every pet owner is that what is the single most memorable event in your life with your pet.

The answers are either too happy or too sad.

One of my friends said, “He will never be able to forget the day he put his dog to sleep”. And then he shared something very interesting to me. He forwarded me a piece of an interview with a vet. The Vet said, one of the most heartbreaking scenes that Vets undergo is that look the dogs have on their faces when they are about to put to sleep. Dog owners never want to see this tragic moment and usually go out of the room, leaving the dog to desperately search for their owners in a room full of strangers. He further urged people to take some courage and be with their beloved canine friends during their last hours of life.

For some reason, the message touched my heart. I was then recalling all the ups and downs that I and Tara had endured all these days. Right from people calling her piece of shit to our owner quarantining my house (because it had a sick dog inside it)…. we both have seen it all.

Most of my close friends never wanted to visit my house because she had scabies. But there she was….. Tara… standing beside me all the time. She was like James Stewart of MX racing world…. who didn’t know that he was black until he started feeling racial discrimination. Tara never even knew that she was hated for the way she looked like. The moment kids started running away from her, she thought they were trying to ask her to run towards them. And that’s exactly what she used to do.

She was there when my mother served me an ultimatum that it’s either the dogs or her in the house. She was there when few of my marriage alliances made faces looking at her. She was seeing all of it. And so was I. We have seen all of it together.

Yesterday, she was panting restlessly and walking all over the house. Someone said the dog knows what to do when it gets the labor pain. We made her bed and gave her all that she wants. But our Tara Madam has her own ways… She kept on running here and there until I had to shift her bed on my bed and make her sleep beside me.

There… right when I looked at her eyes and started patting her… She let out a huge sigh and then drifted off to sleep. Nature has given motherly instincts to everyone. But, during these times, along with the instincts, one needs to also understand that domesticated dogs look for some love and affection from their owners during these times.

Stand by your dogs when they need you. Don’t just shake it off and say “Come on… they know what to do”. Ofcourse, they know what to do. But your mere presence can make a lot of difference for the momma dog, in calming her down (especially when you have more than one dog in the same house). For a dog, which has not seen anybody else in its life other than you, your presence makes a very positive impact. I have had a neighbour who always loved dogs and their company but was too disgusted to clean their plates or make their bed. I used to wonder whether she really loved them or not. Because unconditional love sees beyond the food plates, their vomits or loose stools. Pure love understands the limitations that these four-legged angels come with. You can’t say that I want a clean house without having some fur all over your house.

There are times when you feel like pulling your hair and screaming. But you will endure it easily if you remember why did you get your dog in the first place. With little love and affection, nothing is hard to conquer in this world. Because we all are beautiful souls looking for love and acceptance from others.

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Love helps anybody get up from pain. Affection and attention are two little ingredients that can transform you in ways unimaginable. Acceptance of others weakness and embracing them with love and care are some qualities which build character in a person.

Be kind to one another. And do not take anyone for granted.

“Choose your love and love your choice” – Thomas S Monson.

Why I Support Impulse_Formula & You Should Too

girl reading a book

Recently one of my close friends started an Instagram Account called impulse_formula. One might as well think what’s a big deal in that. With every cell phone provider giving you GB’s of data for free, creating an Instagram account should be a child’s play. We live in an era where there are mere 500+ followers for a genuine MX champion and 3.7m followers for a rescued Siamese/Tabby Mix  Nala Cat  [No offense to Cat Lovers though]

When I asked her what’s the big deal about this account, her response was “I want to help people realize that you can get through tough times with the help of quotes”. Well, I was touched by her statement because that’s what she did to me a few months back. I was actually going through a very tough time, dealing with some broken relationships around me and had started feeling that I was inadequate in life.

It was then I received a call from her accidentally and she lifted me up in few minutes. She had received this quote from her role model. I think that’s what strong people do. They give you space to feel your vulnerability and also make you feel that you are a diamond. They fill you with hope and inspire you to push your limits and come out of your darkness soon.

I would like to mention the quote that she sent to me that day:

quotes on strong women

Each word in the above quote made a lot of sense to me. They took me back to those days when I was in much worse situation and how some powerful quotes had managed to keep my life from getting capsized. One might even debate…. do we even need those fancy words to overcome depression and sadness. My answer is yes. Words are powerful. There are times in our lives, when everything seems like going downhill. Your career, your private life, office environment, your family, finances everything going unplanned. During those times, one does not need sympathy from the outside world. All that he/she needs is some ray of hope in some form. Affirmations and quotes serve the exact purpose.

While many of us might feel that most of these quotes are all cheesy and too much verbose, I can vouch for the fact that some quotes are truly magical. They just lift you up and provide a totally new dimension to your thought process.

They can make you feel that whatever you are going through is normal and there is no need to panic. They can be excellent stress-busters. Quotes at times even act as an excellent spiritual guide when you are dealing with toxic people around you.

Inspiring quotes can help you push your limits. Like this video by Trey Canard – one of my favorite MX champions!

Quotes can heal your scars and bring a fresh perspective inside you.

Quotes can remind you of the journey that you have endured so far in your life.

Quotes bring back a thousand memories that you had forgotten over these years.

Quotes bring patience and clarity to your thoughts.

So, yes I believe that quotes can truly create a difference in all our lives. I wish my friend impulse_formula good luck in her new initiative to bring about a change in hundreds of lives around her. I request all you readers to go ahead and follow her. DM her or tag her with a favorite quote of yours so that it will help her spread the message to hundreds of people who might benefit from your quotes.

Thank you for reading!

Hope you are having a lovely weekend ahead!