There are movies that happen to you. You stumble upon them and are left in awe. Long after the movie credits have faded into oblivion they continue to inspire and engage.

It happened to me recently on a trans-Atlantic trip. The movie – The old man and the gun starring the inimitable Robert Redford.

I will not spill the beans of the story or its plot here in case you have not seen the movie yet (what are you doing reading my drivel – go watch the movie!).

But what I will call out are a few dialogs that are incredible and thought-provoking.

I’’m exactly where I’m supposed to be

Wow! When was the last time you (or me) felt that way? Usually isn’t it the other way around? We would rather be someplace else. Seeing someone else’s success and hoping that it was yours. And the fleeting moments when we do have that sense of calm and fulfillment are just that – fleeting. Why? Because external forces that we can neither influence nor control can invade our calm and destroy the peace in an instant.

If I ever wonder what I’m doing or where I’m going, I just think of myself as that little kid I was. Now, would he been proud of me?

It took me a few retakes to absorb the import of this. It is all about you. Not your parents, friends, the world-at-large that prescribed what success would mean for you growing up. This is your own self as a kid looking up at you and saying – Wow! (or not). And the external forces suddenly fade into the ether. As you are confronted with just little you and big you in an honest dialog of what success and fulfillment really mean.

And the one that literally gives me the goosebumps every time I read this

I’m not talking about making a living. I’m just talking about living

We are so obsessed about making a living that we forget about living. Such a simple yet profound statement. Yes, sometimes life is unfair and we all face adversity at some time. But for those many moments when we are not being tested, are we still engulfing ourselves with a pathological sense of pessimism of what the future might bring or feeling guilty about being happy for the present.

This may be Robert’s swan song in tinsel town. He is certainly leaving on a high note in my book. Thank you, sir, for delivering a spellbinding performance and giving us a reason to really start living, being THE model for our own little selves and goading us to be happy in the present.



    Empathy, Education, Empowerment

    Mine is a typical Indian immigrant story: an Engineer who became an Engineering Manager, who grew antsy and segued into Product Management then rose to VP and SVP. During those years I fancied I was innovating and experimenting, but in reality I was wearing a corporate straitjacket. Constrained by my industry’s insular mindset, I became a slave to the definition of my job. Inevitably, I ended up dissatisfied. So, I did something unusual for a man in my position: I stopped to reflect. I searched my life and talents for what was fulfilling and had purpose. I discovered I enjoyed storytelling to promote understanding. I loved mentoring and helping people become the best version of themselves. Importantly, I realized I was still passionate about the tech industry, particularly the issues surrounding privacy and ethics. Today, I’m pursuing my passions. I like to think of myself as an accelerator of technology and positivity. I’m the COO of UberKnowledge, bringing cybersecurity awareness and training to demographics that are underrepresented in the industry. I speak at conferences highlighting the need for a sharper focus on the ethics surrounding the technology industry.  I write articles and blog posts using analogy to simplify technology trends and complex topics like AI and IoT. I host podcasts with CISOs and other industry experts. The purpose of these is not to sell snake oil or products but to bridge the chasm between security vendors and customers so that the real problems can be solved to make the world a safer place. Underpinning all of these efforts is my belief that life’s purpose for us all is simply to connect. And the best way to do that is through generous and positive gestures.