HG, 40, is a First generation Indian American from a small town in Georgia. He talks about traveling to see the natural wonders of the world before they’ll all disappear, and he explains his answers with a heavy dose of humanity. When you read out his answers, keep in mind his gregarious laughter. Here’s the transcript of my face to face interview with him.
Heart: Are you a foodie?
HG: Yes! (Laughs)
Heart: What kind of foods do you like?
HG: Everything really. I mean, I think we try cooking everything, we enjoy eating out everything. We’re vegetarian and especially with nutrition being what it is these days, you know, we’re always trying to find nutritional ways to cook and things like that. So, yeah, we definitely cook a lot. Its interesting though, when I need a home cooked meal, we fall back to Indian. Like on a weekly basis, I’d probably say 4 days out of the week, we still eat Indian food. We have Mexican night, we’ve pasta night, sure, but that’s more for when we’re lazy. (Laughs)
Heart: Soul nourishing is always Indian.
HG: Yeah, I am South Indian, so, for me its rice and sambar. For my wife its khichdi, so it actually works because we have two comfort foods.
Heart: Were you born here?
HG: Yeah, I was born outside of Atlanta in a small town. My dad came in 1969, and relevant to your food thing, he was a vegetarian in India, but when he came here in ’69 being a vegetarian and a bachelor was very difficult. So, he actually began eating meat. Then he got married in 1972 and my mom came in 1973. So, in the house my mom cooked and she never ate meat. But, when we went out, even when I was being raised, we would eat meat, you know. I ate meat and I loved it. Lobster tail, um, you know the whole nine yards. There were no lines. When my brother was 13, he wanted to have his Upanayanam (A rite of passage ceremony for a Hindu boy) done, but one of the vows was to be vegetarian. So, my dad said “If you’re doing it, you should do it right.” So he became a vegetarian, which forced my dad, “Well, if my son’s doing it,” you know. (Laughs) So, he became a vegetarian and I was just the kid who followed along. So, we all became vegetarians then.
Heart: Wow, interesting. Favorite restaurant?
HG: Taco Bell. (Laughs)
Heart: That’s crazy. Why isn’t a Taco Bell on every street corner in the world?
HG: (Laughs) Have you read that article about Taco Bell and Indian Americans?
HG: There’s a Taco Bell article about Indian Americans. Because as Indian Americans we want something where there’s not just one vegetarian option on the menu. You want something where there’s variety. For fast food when you can substitute beans for everything, then you can pretty much get anything on the menu. And you can have something that’s just spicier. So, Taco Bell and Indian Americans are like a mating kind of thing. (Laughs)
Heart: That’s too funny. Have you tried Uber Eats?
HG: Oh yeah, we’ve used Grubhub. Its a food delivery service, they go and pick up food from certain restaurants and deliver it to you. So, there’s an additional 5$ charge.
Grubhub’s been around, we got into it when we were in Boston. Its pretty big up there. Its not as big down here (in Atlanta) but it allows us to get food from different places that don’t normally deliver. So, yeah.
Heart: Do you have a lot of vegan friends?
HG: We dabble with veganism. So, our line is we don’t drink milk and we don’t eat cheese in the house. In our home, no milk, cheese and eggs. The only sort of hazy line is yogurt. Yogurt, it still has benefits, right? But, outside the house, its tough. So outside, we let it slide a little. And the kids enjoy, they should be able to enjoy that stuff. We actually went vegan for 2 years when we were living in Boston.
Heart: So, is it easier up in the north to be a vegan?
HG: Oh no, no. Its not any easier. (Laughs) I mean, there’s just one vegan pizza place and even that, its not so amazing. I’ll tell you one thing. I became lactose intolerant, yeah, and it took a while to redevelop that ability to sort of process lactose. And that is sort of the side affect of going vegan that I didn’t want. It was horrible (Laughs) So, from that on, we sort of dabble with it and not go full on with veganism.
Heart: I’m glad I asked that question. So, back then when you were growing up, was there veganism? I want to understand when its mainstream craze started.
HG: Its funny, because the only reason why I knew about it was because, when you tell people you’re vegetarian, they’re like, “Oh, are you a vegan?” Then I had to know what vegan was. (Laughs) So, that was the only reason why I knew what vegan was. But, even then I used to say, “No, I’m not vegan. Those people are crazy.” (Laughs)
But the funny thing is, again going back to eating Indian food 3 or 4 times a week, Indian food’s already pretty vegan other than yogurt and paneer. And paneer is not part of my daily life, so.
Heart: Yeah. Even now meat and cheese are out of reach of the everyday people in India, so its pretty much, as you said, vegan for all practical purposes. So, do you binge eat?
HG: (Laughs) So, I don’t have a lot of vices but food’s my vice. Some people drink when they’re stressed, I don’t do any of that. But, I eat sweets, like you can’t imagine. So, that’s my vice.
Yeah. (Laughs) So, you wake up at 10’o clock, or 12’o clock, you want something sweet, and its out there for me to reach it.
Heart: People always open up about binge eating, which I feel is sort of refreshing in a way.
Heart: How do you keep up with news? Or do you even keep up at all?
HG: Interesting. Yeah, I do keep up with news. I listen to NPR in the morning. Um, my wife’s a political junkie, so MSNBC’s always on.
Heart: So, now I know your political leanings.
HG: Yeah, now you know our liberal leanings. (Laughs) So, um, and I read articles on Google Plus and Facebook. Whatever’s showing up on your feed, you know, things like that. Yeah, those are probably my main outlets.
Heart: For Facebook news, is there a chance you might get carried away at the comments section or do you just take that news and plug it in the search box to do your own read?
HG: (Laughs) So, no, like I subscribe to WSJ, NYT, no not subscribe, but I follow WSJ, NYT, the Economist, things like that on Facebook, you know, so their articles pop up on my timeline. So, its not just what my friends are sharing, its also what these news outlets are sharing. So, then I read these articles that are popping up.
Heart: OK. Any guilty pleasures like Youtube or Comedy Central? Don’t tell me fidget spinners for entertainment.
HG: (Laughs) No, no, that’s interesting that you bring that up. I’ll touch on that. But, no I’m a podcast junkie. And I listen to a lot of business podcasts. Have you heard of Side Hustle?
HG: Have you read that book, “The $100 Startup” or “Born for This”?
HG: OK. There’s a guy Chris Guillebeau, and he came up with this idea around his own life. Just like, to start small things around your life. He just started selling things on eBay. He started importing Jamaican coffee and selling that locally, things like that. You know, small things and nothing has to make a million dollars. Right? So, his goal’s to make 500 bucks a month and make these small little things and some things grow and some things fail, no big deal. Right? That’s his sort of idea with the 100$ start up. And he has podcast now called Side Hustle, for people who’ve normal jobs, who do something on the side. People grow stuff and sell it. People are physical therapists and they teach people how to do physio therapy. Some people build websites. He had a workshop in Atlanta recently and we went to it. Yeah, these are the kind of things that kinda occupy my time.
Heart: And our world’s moving towards a gig based economy, so this is line with that.
HG: Yeah, absolutely. And he’s like, if it grows, it grows. But, its your side hustle, you still have your day job, you still have the main thing that’s bringing in the money. You don’t spend 40 hours a week on that. Its something you’re doing on the side.
Unfortunately, I’m not a person who does a lot of things, I can’t dabble. My personality is such that if I enjoy something, I’ll do it. 40 hours a week or forever, you know. (Laughs) I’m going to research on it. I had a lot of hobbies in life, but honestly I had to shut myself down. Because my hobbies take over my career, so I can’t dabble, I’ve to be all or nothing, right. And so, for my entire corporate career, I’ve thrown pots, I’ve done digital photography. I’ve had my own dark room, I’ve done gardening, wood carving, camping, hiking, I’ve done so many things, but I shut it all out; you know, I can’t do all that because I’ve to focus on my career. Career’s my hobby, I’ll do it a 100 percent.
Heart: What was that thing about throwing pots?
HG: Yeah, at the pottery wheel. You put the clay on it. The action is called throwing. So, its called throwing pots.
So, you mentioned fidget spinners. I do end up getting really involved with what the kids are doing. I mean its weird, they were playing Pokemon Go and I started playing with them, you know. And they started playing Minecraft, “Oh, we can network, oh, we can build this world?” (Laughs)
Heart: What about comedy? Anything on Netflix?
HG: Again, going back to I can’t dabble in things. (Laughs) So, my wife controls the remote. Whatever she has on, I end up watching. I don’t end up watching comedies a lot, but we watch a lot of drama. What’s that thing about the White house, yeah, House of cards. My wife watches Veep, so that one’s comedy. I watch Game of Thrones.
Heart: Do you go to Music festivals?
HG: We do go, but with kids its harder, like the other day, we have a friend, she’s first generation like us, and she has a masters in music from Harvard. She’s also a math teacher. She studied Indian Classical music but she has also studied Jazz. So, we have gone to listen to her a few times. She was at Eddie’s Attic with two other Asian artists, and one was Filipino and the other one was Japanese American and so went to listen to that. The thing is that kids were allowed, because she also teaches a song writing class. So, all of her students were there to play the songs. So, kids were allowed, I mean, we were allowed to take our kids to Eddie’s Attic, its difficult otherwise, its a bar, you know.
We’ve been to some concerts. We’ve been to see Jerry Seinfeld, we’ve seen, who’s that lady who did the red carpet, she died.
Heart: Joan Rivers?
HG: Yeah, and that other guy who yells a lot in his act.
Heart: No idea. Does your phone abuse you? (Laughs)
HG: Um, I don’t think so. But from the outside it looks a little different. I’m not one of those people who’s anti technology. Even for my kids, I’m not anti technology. I believe its the world we live in. I don’t believe I’m a huge social media person, I mean if we go on trips, I’ll post pictures and stuff like that. But, I’m not addicted to social media, I’m not on it liking everything. Yeah, so I don’t think so.
Heart: But kids these days can’t seem to have a decent conversation if they have their devices in their hands?
HG: The thing with the kids though, sure, do we have those situations where we’re talking to them and they’re not listening? Yes, we have those situations. The thing is though, I’m not upset with what they are doing on the Internet. What I feel is that its a lot of YouTube but the channels that they watch are actually all right, they do a lot of crafts and so I’m OK with what they do. They do get addicted to it, its much more appealing medium. But, from that perspective, like when I was growing up, if you were into a good book, you were addicted to that book and your parents talk to you and you’re not listening, your parents were like, “He loves that book.”
But now we’re like, “He’s learning from his computer.” And we’re not OK with it. So my wife and I sort of argue about this a lot. I don’t necessarily agree that this is bad, I do agree that we have to teach them to have a healthy relationship, because there are things that are… , he’s playing Minecraft and not listening to me, sure you get upset, you know. But, I don’t find that to be the case with my kids. Its You Tube mostly.
Heart: My only issue is the missing pockets of silence, where they’re not consuming anything.
HG: Yeah. (Laughs) “Go outside and play.”
Heart: How do you keep up with trends? You’re growing a beard, so you must know that’s trending.
HG: Interesting. Yeah, I’ve to say I’ve not put a lot into that. If the trend may hit me, it hits me, eh. (Shrugs shoulders) But, I don’t go seeking it. I’m 40 years old, I don’t need to be a trend setter or anything. And fashion, I’m not into at all. (Laughs)
Heart: Top 3 acronyms?
HG: Yeah, I’m an old school texter, I type everything out. I don’t use any OMGs or anything like that. Honestly, jeez, it might be some technology jargon, you know, like DOS. (Laughs)
Heart: You’re such a geek.
Heart: Top 3 apps you can’t live without.
HG: My Google inbox – Email. Um, Evernote. I use Evernote a lot. When you’re self employed every receipt matters and I work in real estate, so, I need to know if a light bulb’s out or this faucet’s leaking, I take a picture and put it on Evernote. I use, what do you call that, OneDrive a lot. Yeah, its Microsoft’s cloud, so it integrates directly and everything from Microsoft Office you can directly save to it. And its cross platform and so all my files are immediately available on all platforms. Anything that I download immediately goes to the downloads link on OneDrive.
So, all my files are there, so if I am processing leases, my stuff’s always available. So, yeah, pretty boring. (Laughs)
Heart: Yeah, you’re not one of those “OMG, I can’t live without my Snapchat,” kinda people for sure.
Heart: A lot of people it seems consume upwards of 5 to 7 hours of time on social media on a daily basis.
HG: I would definitely say, 1 hour tops. To me, you wake up in the morning, you know, go to the bathroom (Laughs), that’s my 15 minutes. And maybe while I’m cooking dinner, waiting for something to boil, then I check my feeds.
Heart: Beauty routine or weight loss tips. Sorry, I ask everyone. (Laughs)
HG: Oh, I wish I had a weight loss tip. Um, I’ve tried the juicing thing. And I’ll be honest with you, that’s the only thing on which I’ve ever lost weight. I’ve not been able to keep it off, but I juiced for almost 3 months one time.
Heart: No way.
HG: Yeah, I did it for 5 days a week. That was my rule, so, I had Saturday and Sunday to look forward to. And so I was like I can do whatever I want Saturday and Sunday, I can eat anything and so I could manage 5 days. Saturday’s coming so I should be OK, type of thing. (Laughs)
Heart: 3 months is a great commitment.
HG: Yeah, I lost 28 pounds. But it came back, it didn’t come back fast. It came back probably over 8 months. Yeah. So these days, I eat good, I’m healthy, up until like 4’o clock. (Laughs) You know, so I can get through breakfast, get through lunch, no snacking, I’m good until like 4’o clock and then when the day starts to wind down it starts to get.. Dinner might be OK, its all the other things around dinner, there’s the before snack, there’s the after snack, its the late night snack. So, yeah.
Heart: That makes me think about my day winding down around food. So, humanity or spirituality?
Heart: Is there God?
HG: No, there is not. Yeah, I grew up extremely religiously, we grew up in a small town, so all spirituality was inside of the house. And my parents didn’t grow up spiritually, maybe religiously and ritualistically, but most of it was singing bhajans, that was pretty much the extent of it until I was like 11 or 12. And we were always Sai Baba devotees and that’s heavily bhajans. And so that was pretty much what I was, even through college, even getting married. I was hardcore, even like, I didn’t look for answers, I prayed for answers, you know. To the degree that I heard other people tell me, “I don’t study for tests, I pray for tests.” You know and they were making A’s. I was like, “Wow, I should be doing this!”
That’s how strong my faith was. But, I had some bad experiences with some things that are too deep to delve into for me. I got to a point where I would sit and meditate and I couldn’t. I never got into deities, none of the deities had mattered to me. But, I believed in spirituality and my practice that I had laid my foundation couldn’t be practiced anymore because of those events. So, that led me down the path of you know, well, I had such blind faith, it was such a powerful mechanism, I would go around and tell people, “You don’t need explanations for these things. You don’t need proof,” because blind faith is that powerful.
I sort of proved myself wrong with some of those incidents. So, I realized, “Hey blind faith is wrong. You do need explanations to understand. You need full disclosure on all these things.” Having blind faith on a deity or an idea is not as powerful as we make it. So, going down this path, I’ve come to the conclusion that, “Do I believe in being a good person? Yeah.”
But beyond that I don’t believe in anything else but me focusing on being a good person. And in all honesty, that itself is hard enough. On a daily basis, for you to get through the day, without hurting somebody, without vices taking over, without getting angry, or doing the things that’re best for humanity, recycling when you’re supposed to recycle instead of throwing them in trash, you know, getting through a normal day doing everything right is hard enough, right? Without having to worry about Karma, and what’s this action doing to me in the after life, and where do I come from, sort of things. (Laughs)
And those things, I understand the sort of mental exercise behind all those things, I get it, but taking such a highly lofty idea and translating it down into how its going to change me on a daily basis, I don’t find it necessary, you know. And as long as my goal of living every single day as a good person is making me better day to day, I don’t find that I need anything else.
Heart: I’ve seen you helping your parents around the temple?
HG: I’m only there for my parents. I’m younger than them, OK, they can’t keep up with the things that they need, especially a lot of it is in the technology environment, I’m there at their house very often making Word documents and Excel spreadsheets because those things are not commonly understood by them. Even sending an email with an attachment in a certain way or somebody sends them a Dropbox file with links, they don’t know what to do with those things. So a lot of it is helping them getting things managed, you know. If my parents weren’t at the temple, I wouldn’t be at the temple, my kids wouldn’t be there. And my parents know who I am, they know what I believe and what I don’t believe, and they know all of that.
Heart: As an Indian American, is there a handicap to life in America?
HG: Is there a handicap to life? Um, I teach my kids there isn’t. (Laughs) You know, I can’t pin point a handicap. And yeah, I don’t think any Indian American can say that there’s a handicap anymore. There are Indian Americans at the apex of every career trajectory in America, whether be the CEOs, journalists, lawyers, they’re everywhere. We are ubiquitous.
Heart: But, what about when you were growing up 40 years ago in small town USA?
HG: Yeah, OK, the funny thing was my parents would have conversations with me and tell me, “Hey, you know, they’re not gonna pick you because you’re not white.” And I would disagree with them, you know. I didn’t believe them. “The world isn’t what you think it is anymore.” And we would have these conversations, and they would stick to their guns and I would stick to my guns.
Now-a-days I would say that, being in corporate environments and things like that, I think you run up against people who are comfortable with what they’re familiar with, right? I think its the familiarity, I don’t think its out right racism, its not an outright, “I hate these type of people or these stereotypes.” I think people relate to what they already are.
And even at a low manager level, managers hire the same, women hire women, men hire men, white hire white, black hire black. You know, whatever it is, I don’t think that’s wrong in anyway, I think you are just creating your own work environment as a manager and you want to be able to work with people who you can work with, and whether its conscious or subconscious, it is what it is. Do I agree with it? No. I think there’s a strong agreement for having a diverse work environment. But, these are the sort of commonalties of life, right?
Heart: Great answer. So, have you had moments like, “I actually don’t give a F*** about this” while navigating life?
HG: (Laughs) Yeah, I have. I’m probably not very good at it, I’m a pretty outspoken person. Um, and yeah I speak my mind, and it probably didn’t serve me very well in the corporate environment. But, now that I work for myself, I speak my mind, you know. (Laughs)
Heart: So, is there irony?
HG: Of course, there’s irony. (Laughs) I think the word exists because its exists, right? Um, yeah being put on the spot to come up with ironies is a little hard. But, yeah, even like daily life dealing with my wife, there’s a very strong women’s movement right now and so, that stuff definitely comes home. But, I’m already pretty much the stay at home dad, and when it comes home, its sort of weird, I’m like, “I cook dinner 4 or 5 times a week, I pick up and drop off kids every single day, I work from home, yeah, what else are you complaining about? You’ve pretty much flipped roles.” (Laughs)
Heart: (Laughs) I love this. How much of work is your identity?
HG: Um, a large part.
Heart: Is it because you’re a man?
HG: Um, yeah, I think so. That’s one of those old ideals that people are sort of trying to fight and let go off, but I think, for me it sort of fits. And for me, it goes back to hobbies and things. Whatever you’re gonna do, you wanna want to do it you know. Beyond work, its family, work or family. And if you’re going to make family your life, then its pretty much your work then. What’s really the difference? We go to work because we need money. Then you better make it your whole life, because guess what, its an economic world.
Heart: Why did you make the switch to doing real estate from a corporate career?
HG: Um, honestly, after I did my MBA, I really felt that my mind had been opened to sort of questioning all of these things and to think about every aspect of an organization and the business and the economics in the market, and so I wanted to question and about these things. And from that perspective, when I worked at [redacted], I was in Finance or Marketing the whole time I was there. In either of those roles, I felt pigeon holed, “This is what you’re supposed to think about, you should not think about this, like operations or whatever.” And that had sort of bothered me, “I want to see the whole picture.”
And also I had the entrepreneurial itch. I was always coming up with ideas, I couldn’t execute them because I had a job, you know. and I was 37 and I thought before I turn 40, I should atleast try. I might try and fail but atleast I should try. And so yeah, we already had one rental property and I started working out a deal while I was still at [redacted] and finally quit on November 22nd, 2014 and November 23rd, I bought 5 houses. And I just got to work.
HG: Yeah, so the number of houses goes up and down, I think right now I’ve 10. But back at [redacted] I’ve sort of left the door open, I told my manager, “I’ve got this itch, I’ve to go scratch. I’ve to give this a shot. I might fail and I might come back knocking on your door. And if I’m going to come back to the corporate world, I’ll come back here, because I enjoy it.” Its a giant company, its based out of Atlanta, and I move around the company? Sure. They were like, “Of course, we will totally have you back.” Of course, the job has to be there.
Heart: What’s the farthest you’ve traveled from home?
HG: We’ve traveled a lot. Even growing up we went to India. How do you measure farthest? (Laughs)
Heart: That’s the problem with men, now I have to bring a map and measurements.
HG: (Laughs) No, I’m not talking geographically. Is India farther or is Kenya farther based on the rotation of the earth?
We’ve been to Japan. I strongly believe that nature as we know it, will be severely decimated by the time our kids will grow up. And so, every trip we take is an Eco trip of some sort, the only things I want to show my kids are nature. In Trinidad, we went to see the sea turtles, in Costa Rica, we went down the rivers, we’ve been to the Vieques Island in Puerto Rico, we went on a Safari in Africa and the next trip we’re thinking is Iceland, and so when they grow up a little, in 3 or 4 years, we want to shoot for the Galapagos. Yeah, I mean everything nature. Man made structures will be there, they can go see those later. The pyramids are not going anywhere as far as I am concerned, so. (Laughs)
Heart: Great ideas. So, how did you meet your wife?
HG: College. She was friends with some friends and we were friends for 2 or 3 years before we started dating.
Heart: So, you were allowed to date?
HG: (Laughs) No, is not a question. So, I think if my parents had their way, they would’ve arranged my marriage. There was a lot of upheaval about it. Because she’s not the right caste, she doesn’t speak the right language, all those sort of things definitely came up. The funny thing is though, I dated a few people before I dated her, and honestly I sort of got tired of it and I even told myself and other friends, “The next person I’m dating, I’m going to marry.”
Heart: (Laughs) I guess you went into the next relationship with that frame of mind.
HG: Exactly. And the thing is, people look at me weird when I say it, I kind of arranged my own marriage. To the degree that, my dad’s a doctor, her dad’s a doctor, my mom ran my dad’s office, her mom ran her dad’s office, and we both grew up in small towns in the South, she grew up in Alabama and I grew up in Georgia. Honestly, I think that’s what arranged marriages get to, do our families have the same thinking, and can they get along, type of thing. So, we’ve the same socio economic ideas, same sort of “This is what Hinduism is in America” sort of idea, we both have the same political ideas. So, it all goes together. I love her family, our families have dinner together, there’s no friction there, it works really well.
But, that friction was there immediately because, again my parents were apprehensive because they didn’t know them. My dad actually called his older brother at that time, my grandfather had passed away, so my dad’s elder brother was sort of the head of the family. And my dad called him and apologized that I was going to be marrying a Gujarati girl, who was not our caste or whatever. And the funny thing is, and this kind of shows how India moves faster than Immigrants here, my dad’s eldest brother said, “I thought he was going to marry a white girl.” (Laughs) And so they had sort of let go and so yeah, from then on it became easy, and now my parents love her. My mom actually has said, “[redacted], I don’t think I could’ve picked a girl as good as her.” So yeah, it was rough at first but now its great.
Heart: I think the part about the caste system was actually to allow people from the general area and socio economics to mix together, but unfortunately, society has morphed it into something that’s completely unnecessary. So, how focused were you in college?
HG: No, I was not and I’ll tell you why. Because the thing that I was focused on was spirituality. And it completely shot my Grade point average. I was so involved in organizations like “Hindus council” and “The Sai Youth Organization” and things like that, my grades suffered immensely. And, so to graduate, I sort of had to put all that to the side for the last 2 years of my college. Honestly, you know kids who are going to college, when they ask me advice, “No, you’ve to focus on your education. Sure, you can be social. You need to be networking, yeah, because you need to know how to interact with other people. But, you don’t need to be the president of the “Hindu American Association.” Forget all that.
I was not a big drinker in college, I have no opposition to alcohol, but to me it didn’t hit in college, it hit me before college.
HG: (Laughs) So, I’ve never used drugs. Again, I don’t have any opposition to it. Those times in my life, I was just scared to death. The fear had been put in me strong enough that I didn’t want to and anyway, those weren’t the people I hung out with anyway. I can only remember 2 times I was actually in the room when drugs were being used. Um, from that perspective, it wasn’t around enough for me to dabble with, for it to become my vice.
Heart: Most of it is the environment we chose to be in.
HG: Yeah, exactly. So, those things never touched me.
Heart: What leaves you shaking your head?
HG: (Laughs) You know that job interview question they ask you, “What’s your greatest weakness?” My answer is, “I don’t do well with mediocrity.” Like people who can’t get their own job done, or people who are just slow, people who don’t pay attention to detail, drive me nuts. People who get other people to do their work for them, and my other big one is I hate gossip.
Heart: Come on, for us women, our entire empires are built on that single idea.
HG: (Laughs) I know, I get it. The thing is I’ve been in so many situations where opinions of other people’s character have been set before they’ve even been met. My wife and her girl friends are doing this sort of thing and it drives me bananas. I’ve been in situations like we are sitting with one of my wife’s girl friends and later that same evening we’re supposed to have dinner with her in-laws and she’s bad mouthing her in-laws right now at lunch. You know, how am I supposed to walk into dinner now, I already hate your in-laws.
Heart: Can we wrap up with one proverb that has led your way in life?
HG: The one that has stuck with me since Kindergarten, when you’re learning cursive, they make you write certain proverbs. And one was by Benjamin Franklin. It helps me put myself to use.
“Lost time can never be found again.”
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Fair question. To find out how everyone else is able to live this unlivable life. And most importantly, to get back to having conversations with our fellow earth dwellers while prodding each other with deep questions.
What’s the point?
These interviews might show us that we are all people who are exciting, heartbroken, crazy, lonely, and thriving in some way and the same way. These interviews might inform, entertain, compel, touch, impact and inspire.
What’s a manifesto?
A public declaration of personal lessons, dreams, aspirations, opinions and goals.
These people are like you and me, common folks. Moreover, why wait in line to snag celebrity interviews? Eh?
This is not an opinionated survey of the human survival landscape. It’s a snapshot of their life in the now. To each his own.
Can I sign up to be interviewed?
Have a pulse? Sure, then email us at: email@example.com.
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The Anonymous Manifesto
The Anonymous Manifesto – Interviews And Discussions With Regular Folks Who Are Giving Life’s It’s Best Shot
The Anonymous Manifesto The Anonymous Manifesto is where strangers tell their stories anonymously. We’re all fabulous in our own little ways, aren't we? And since our world is getting pretty condensed, this social experiment might expand our combined horizons....
The Anonymous Manifesto – Ep. 38 – The Tigers in the Midst of Us
SS, in her 50's from Aurangabad, India, never went to school for a medical degree. Yet, a few years ago, she managed to deliver a baby girl in the middle of the night in a moving train. Last month, when we found ourselves face to face for the first time, she told me...
The Anonymous Manifesto – Ep. 37 – Diamonds On Her One Hand And Dirt On The Other
CB, originally from Iran, invites me into her home in Los Angeles one evening. She seems to have kept her roots alive because the home feels like a modern house version of a small Persian empire. The rugs, the carpets, the tea cups and even the pillow cases have an...
The Anonymous Manifesto – Ep. 36 – Joining the Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison Club
* PK, was two days away from her 27th birthday when I met her. "I'm entering the Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison club," she says as I wished her. She had come to the States as a 12 year old girl from South Korea in 2002. She talks about her love for reading and writing,...
The Anonymous Manifesto – Ep. 35 – Conspiring with the Universe
* SD, in her 40's, has a goal of removing money from the world. She is a meditation teacher and a Consciousness Creator. She lives in India with her husband and daughter and is working on her life's goal of raising the level of human consciousness in the...
The Anonymous Manifesto – Ep. 34 – The Original Vietnamese Boat People
* KH, in her 60’s, fled Vietnam after South Vietnam fell to the Communists in 1975. Her journey to America is not only filled with the horrors of daily terror but also the remarkable kindness of strangers. It took her family 3 years before they could escape out of...
The Anonymous Manifesto – Ep. 33 – On Your Tomb Stone Only The ‘–’ Matters
* AN, in her 40's, from small town, Alabama, is a restaurant worker with a heart of gold. She is raising 5 children, 2 hers and 3 her sister's. Two of the 5 children are autistic and one has a gifted level IQ. We discuss her philosophy, "On your tombstone you've your...
The Anonymous Manifesto – Ep. 32 – Having Nothing To Lose At 32
* JJ, 32, never took music lessons a single day in his life and now writes his own songs and performs all around the world. His goal as he puts it, is to "move your soul". A two time cancer survivor, JJ has not been afraid to readjust his dreams based on how his...
The Anonymous Manifesto – Ep. 31 – Connecting Science and Religion at 13
* SP, 13, from Georgia, talks about life as she enters into high school. She talks about her passion for Science and Religion, and how one day she hopes to have all answers for religion based on Science. When you read her responses, its difficult not to wonder if...
The Anonymous Manifesto – Ep. 30 – On Being a United States Navy Seal and Living on the Side Walk
UR, 60, looks years older than his real age. As you read along you'll know what his name is, but I think in his case, its really cool to know his real name. He's a United States Navy Seal and he's homeless in Atlanta. At the cross section of Peachtree street and 10th...
The Anonymous Manifesto – Ep. 29 – Leaving the Light on for Those on Their Last Leg
DP, 69, originally from India is a retired Medical Oncologist who writes poetry in Hindi in his leisure time. He talks about his childhood trips to the nearest big town, which would take his family from dawn to dusk in bullock carts and two trains. He talks...
The Anonymous Manifesto – Ep. 28 – Making America Home
* KP, in her 60’s, had just returned from a trip to India 12 hours ago when I ambushed her for an interview. She lives in a small town in Alabama with her husband who's a retired Medical Oncologist. She talks about her childhood in India and her journey to becoming a...
The Anonymous Manifesto – Ep. 27 – A Wild Child From Fiji Rewires Her Mind In America
* MV, in her 40's, was born in the Fiji islands to Indian parents and moved to the States when she was 16. She talks about her beautiful childhood on the island, her move to America in her teens and her quest for becoming the best version of herself while helping...
The Anonymous Manifesto – Ep. 26 – A French Woman’s Muse: Food and Photography
* AA, 37, invites me into her house in Johns Creek, Georgia, on the day of our meeting where there's a Carrom board to the wall in the living room. The living room and the adjacent dining room have a sparse yet cozy European feel to it owing to the fact that AA's...
The Anonymous Manifesto – Ep. 25 – Meditations on the Mind, Intellect and Values
* PS, 70, is a life long student of Spirituality. She has studied the Bhagavad Gita for 45 years and talks about the importance of realizing our 7 original divine qualities, the relationship between Anger and Desire, and how our happiness doesn't have to depend on...
The Anonymous Manifesto – Ep. 24 – Beating Loneliness, Mistakes, and Kids Into Shape
* SHVM, 25, is a quintessential village boy whose name fits the stereotypical multi-syllable name all of us Indians are accused of having. Inspite of living in America for just 3 years, he already has tips for us on how to beat loneliness and live communally, how...
The Anonymous Manifesto – Ep. 23 – Traveling Far Enough To Meet Himself
* CW, 33, has German ancestry and has plans to visit atleast 50 countries before he turns 40. He tells me about his childhood after his parents divorced when he was 7, the poverty and instability that followed, his strained relationship with his mother owing her...
The Anonymous Manifesto – Ep. 22 – She Has Einstein for a Pet :)
AG, 13, lives with her family and her dog Einstein in Atlanta. Her father is from Mexico and her mother is from Peru. I ask her about her her favorite foods, her idea about church and her social media life. You’ve to read every word of hers fully keeping her...
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