Harsh Snehanshu   (हर्ष स्नेहांशु)
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Joined 28 August 2016


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Joined 28 August 2016
30 JUN AT 12:24

On Marriage— % &I can't specifically pin-point at what juncture, it became apparent to me that I don't want to marry in life. It stumps people, especially those who carry this romantic notion that one doesn't know when one might meet someone one might just want to marry. In my case, I already met such people when I was open to the idea of marriage and I screwed up by being boringly obsessed with my start-up. And thank god that I screwed up because it set me on this journey of self-acceptance where my ground state as a single man living alone is way more peaceful than as someone in a relationship. And funnily, most of these people I dated themselves have arrived at the decision to not marry.— % &The core of my being is built on freedom. I cannot be in a situation where I don't feel free. This makes me pretty much unemployable, and explains why I rarely worked for anyone else and have been into startups since college. This also explains why I love writing. Writing makes me feel like the master of the universe. More than power over characters, to make them do anything, I revel in having the detached yet detailed knowledge of each and every thought and action of the characters in my stories. With knowledge as the omniscient narrator, comes freedom. When I see myself in a married setup, I lose this omniscience of the narrator over my own life. I get embroiled in the drama of my own life, losing both focus and clarity. I lose my balance in such a set-up and it's not healthy for either me or my partner.— % &A lot of my beliefs on marriage stem from observing married people in my circle. Barring three couples, most marriages around me are toxic. Toxic because families became oppressive and the husband didn't take a stand for the wife, toxic because either the husband or the wife became controlling and one of them gave in losing their sense of self, toxic because values didn't match: one was a minimalist, the other, a materialist. Sometimes, libidos didn't match leading to frustration. The marriages that are working around me are primarily because at least one person is unconditionally compassionate. They have set aside their ego to love their difficult partner, as they compromise on their dreams for their partner. The rare marriage that's the healthiest among all is one where both are equally compassionate and both support each other's dreams.

I lack compassion, some call it love, that could make me choose people over my dreams. Even if I find someone kind willing to sacrifice for me, I'd be rather worried for their free will and would reiterate they don't need to sacrifice their dreams for me. I can manage on my own. So should they. This happened, too, not too long ago. — % &I remember, in 2014, an old friend and then a UPSC aspirant asked me out to date her. She was fairly confident to get through the mains she'd just taken. Her preparation was solid and she felt time was right to find a partner. She hailed from my home state, and wanted to choose Bihar & Jharkhand as her cadre post qualification to serve the masses of those states. I admired her vision. Things moved fast over phone and in a month's time, we started talking of marriage. Without having met, just on the phone, imagine how quickly that escalated! I didn't have clarity on what I wanted but she did, so I went along. She told me that since I was a writer, I could work remotely and tag along with her wherever
she was transferred as an officer.— % &I told her about my wish to either live in the mountains or by the sea, and stay a month or two in a metropolis like Bengaluru or Delhi as most of my friends and publishers were there. I didn't want to live in Bihar and Jharkhand despite having grown up there. I don't find my kind of people there. Most people there are either too conservative, or right-wing. She replied, "No worry. I'll change my cadre to Delhi."

This infuriated me. I fought with her, citing how could she be so unresolute for her dream, for something she must have been thinking for years. Disappointed, she said I didn't understand love. I said she didn't understand I loved her for her clarity and passion, not because she loved me. Don't take that away from me, I protested. We stopped talking and a few months later, I heard that she got through IRS. She met a fellow IRS officer there and is now happily married (I hope).— % &I'm kind of glad I didn't hurry into marriage at an early age, though opportunities were aplenty. When people marry without getting to know themselves and without knowing how to keep themselves happy, they mostly end up either outsourcing their happiness to their partner or blaming the partner for their lack of happiness. Discovering ways to keep oneself happy, not others happy, is crucial to a happy marriage. My father loves to paint and my mother loves to teach. They are happy because they both are so self-involved and self-absorbed to not need each other for entertainment. Luckily, my parents also married late. Relatively, for their time. Pa was 28 and Ma was 26 when they married, giving each other enough time to discover what feeds their soul, what makes them happy, what gives them their identity apart from professions.— % &Most people my age who got married fairly young, say at 25 or less, are either struggling in their marriage or have already divorced. Even in love marriages. It's not the partner that's oppressive mostly but their family. The partner also becomes the oppressed in such cases, with little or no say against their family, ultimately either giving in or becoming a party to the oppression. The fact they never rebelled against patriarchy in their households becomes the root cause for breaking their marriages. In some cases, there are severe mental health crises which haven't been worked upon for years and suddenly, it's for the partner to handle and take care. It's difficult to be hinged to an unhealed person, especially if they aren't aware enough to be willing to work on their traumas. Marriage is a long commitment, and it's not for someone individualistic like me but for someone family-oriented, someone patient and forgiving, someone like my father.— % &One major reason why it was easy to give up on the idea of marriage is the clarity that I don't want kids. That's the only legitimate reason to marry, in my opinion, otherwise one could always just live in with a partner. I don't want kids for multiple reasons. Financial, political, personal, emotional. You name it. Raising a kid is a costly affair. Good education is heavily guardrailed by the capitalistic edifice. Investing most of what I earn into a child's education isn't financially wise, because it would take away my freedom. I'd have to work for life. I want to retire by 40. Even if I make a fortune, it would restrict me to stay in a city instead of a remote Himalayan village to raise the kid. Second, in this right-wing environment, I don't want to raise a kid. They are better not being born than consume the rhetoric of hate day in and day out. Lastly, having a child is irreversible. You can't undo it. For a person craving freedom of thought and movement throughout life, it is highly restrictive. It feels like a trap. — % &"The only reason one should write is the same reason one should marry: it makes you feel lucky." I read this quote sometime back and deeply related to it. Writing makes me constantly feel lucky. But can marriage do that? Of late, I think it's hard. Especially if you learnt how to feel lucky by yourself, by doing things you love, by turning your loneliness into solitude, by having people who love you and whom you love without wanting to marry them.

In this case, marriage needs to not only make me feel lucky but luckier than how I feel otherwise. Can marriage be more liberating than this joyous singlehood? If yes, applications open.— % &

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20 JUN AT 12:36

All talks of spirituality are bullshit and farcical if one doesn't know how to listen. My primary issue with all godmen and spiritual seekers is this. They are too busy giving gyaan than listening to people. They are too busy talking about spirituality than practising it. Unlike writing, when I write about writing, I'm still writing, spirituality goes for a toss when one is all words, not all ears.

A truly self-realised person, in my belief, won't talk much. They would be too busy exploring their inner self, relishing the inner joy and would exude kindness more than knowledge. The only way to exude kindness is to listen.

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12 JUN AT 23:16

To never refer to old people as बुड्ढा but बुज़ुर्ग.

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11 JUN AT 21:39

KK— % &I thought writing one quote citing how KK underlined my adolescence would be it. Like how most celebrities tributes are. You remember them for a day and next day, you move on. With KK, I have moved back. I only realised how much I loved him after he passed away. I have been listening to his songs again. Old songs and new songs, his songs from movies and albums, his rare videos on YouTube. Everything just compounded his loss. He was the coolest playback singer we had. Period. Nobody, nobody at all lurked near him. — % &In the age peppered with most mainstream playback singers trained in Hindustani or Carnatic, KK brought the first authentic Western style of singing to the industry. Given he had a Western band during his days in DU while he was at KMC, it was natural for somebody like Leslie Lewis to spot him and launch him into the mainstream. His vast range, his falsetto and vibrato, his stable low notes and effortless harkatein in the higher notes (remember that angsty Alvida of the final stretch?) were never to show off how good a singer he was but to be emotionally authentic to the song. — % &I think, to be a good singer, singing is not enough. One has to have a good grasp of literature. That's what differentiates KK or say Jagjit Singh with someone like Sonu Nigam or Hariharan. Sonu and Hari are complete singers, a practised voice with vast range and complete command on sur and taal, but still they sound pretentious. It seems like they are too busy showing off how well they sing, ignoring the sentiments hidden in the poetry. They sing like they are obsessed with their voices. All those needless harkatein often end up destroying the ethos of the song. This is where someone like KK or Jagjit Singh stand out. They realise singing is a medium to convey the emotions contained in the lyrics. They let the lyrics take the centrestage, never trying to hog the spotlight from the song. They become the medium. It is evident from their choice of songs too. Shallow songs don't feature in their discography. Someone like KK will never sing a blah song like Sonu Nigam's Chanda ki Doli. It doesn't go with his style, it's just not his taste. Or should I say he's too cool to sing a cheesy number like that.— % &A cool person is one who knows they are good at something but don't assert it out there. They know that people know. Their not saying it is the coolest way to tell the world, what preserves their coolness. The common knowledge of coolness is what makes them cool. KK was this cool dude, someone who never sang a cover of anybody else's song. Go, YouTube it, you'd not find him singing any Kishore Kumar or Rafi song. Because he knew his style was too original to have existed before him. You don't need to copy when you yourself are inimitable. KK will remain that inimitable singer. — % &I think there's a reason why KK was the destined voice for most Emraan Hashmi songs. In the early 2000s, Emraan Hashmi was probably the only cool protagonist in mainstream movies. SRK has been eternally cool but his big screen presence has always been cheesy, unlike Emraan's, and later, Abhay Deol's and Randeep Hooda's. Emraan needed a voice that complemented his nonchalance, his passionate yet hard-to-get vibe. KK not just gave his voice but I believe he launched Emraan's career, by making him sound way cooler than he actually is, adding his own cool to Emraan.

Even in Beetein Lamhein, KK is not crying but just emoting to every word of the lyrics. It is cool, rather sexy, how he does it. Such was the pathos in his songs that they make you remember your estranged lover even if you were never in love. I felt that when I was this moustached nerd singing KK songs in my grade 11. No cheese, whatsoever, no matter how much he emotes. That's what the epitome of cool is. — % &It's not that we haven't had cool folks in the music industry. Remo was cool, Lucky Ali is eternally cool. Their voices designed for nobody but themselves. They don't fit any actor's, hence, not us. We love them, but they seem otherworldy, distant. Unrelatable. Besides, none of those cool singers have a voice and a range that encompass all emotions of the modern woke man of the new millenium. The new heroes of our days. The way KK songs make us hum along, it turns us—even if for those brief 4 minutes—as cool as he was.— % &The more I'm listening to KK, the more I am regretting missing his concert in my final year in college. He'd come to perform at Rendezvous IIT Delhi 2011. I was busy manning a T-shirt stall of my fledgling college startup back then. I could hear his echoes and cheers coming out of Open Air Theatre. Late at night, when the concert was over, friends walked back and said I missed someone way too cool for a headliner. I said coolly, "Nevermind, I'll listen to him again someday." With unplugged version of Dil Khudgarz playing in the background, I can only think about it with a wry smile. There hasn't been a day since he passed away when I have not listened to him. I feel I took him for granted when he was alive. Now that he's no more, I have lost my cool. It's not just me but I feel all of us have lost our cool. After losing the coolest one that ever sang for us, isn't it justified?— % &

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11 JUN AT 20:42

I wrote about love because I felt I understood everything about it.

In my 30s,
I write about love to try to understand it better.

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8 JUN AT 23:13

is the only way to cure loneliness.

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7 JUN AT 21:49

Paid Content

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6 JUN AT 22:53

YQ Baba to me when I'm too tired to write a musing but I post a meme to maintain the streak.

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5 JUN AT 23:13

On Help— % &For the longest time, I equated help with spoonfeeding. Asking for help was a sign of weakness in my head. I hated asking for help, and more so, hated helping anyone. I would tell them I taught myself everything, right from writing, how to get published, how to start and run a business, how to hire to how to make money with an idea. If I could teach myself everything, armed with nothing but Google and my curiosity, so can you.— % &To some extent, it was right. Google is great, and at times, all we need. I felt this until I realised I cannot do everything by myself. The first such realisation came in the year 2014-2015, the quintessential years of preparation pre-startup. I was a full-time writer at the time, and had all the time in the world to teach myself coding to startup, but somehow it seemed quite an uphill task for me. I signed up for basic coding courses in Udacity and did that with great curiosity. As an engineer, it wasn't too difficult to understand however I figured it needed something else I didn't have. Devotion.— % &Coding turned out to be too immersive to focus on anything else. Unlike music or art, where it can just be a hobby and you can afford to be an amatuer, coding needed you to be impeccable. One mistake and the code won't compile. Becoming a competent coder meant distancing myself from writing, a sacrifice I wasn't ready to do. I had dived headfirst into writing six years ago, and I enjoyed it too much to forsake it. I figured I needed help and that's what prompted me to reach out to Ashish to startup together. He had both the knowhow and the experience that comes with making mistakes for a considerably long time to see the larger picture when it came to building scalable infrastructures. — % &You might think that would have changed me, but no. A year of experimentation later, YourQuote worked and it started growing organically. My cockiness returned, quietly, like a forgotten addiction. When users come without marketing because your product is viral, it's hard to resist the lure of arrogance. I became this brash entrepreneur, unmindful of privileges that came with my pedigree and the healthy economics of family I was bestowed with. I championed not seeking help, not helping on occasions. You are enough, my mantra, no less than a pop self-help guru. — % &My arrogance peaked when in 2019 I refused to help my sister in her career, pushing her to figure everything on her own. Just like I did, completely oblivious of the network that my IIT and YIF degrees spawned out for me, completely forgetful of her mental health, how she was in depression back then. I was so busy doing my "Harship" that I told her I only helped those whom I had worked with and whose work ethic I could vouch for. I started bringing my ego into the picture, citing how I didn't want to put my so-called "reputation" at risk. Little did I know that I had zero or little reputation. Reputation comes when you help someone, not when you build something. Reputation is not about what you do but how you are. I was this pompous prick.— % &Life has its way of getting back to you, of bringing your feet on the ground again. Karma isn't a bitch. Karma is a snake that goes round and round. It circles you until you lose your cloak of pride. YourQuote bloomed and suddenly, its fuel was cut off. We finished most of our funds. Last two years have been the most difficult in my startup years, in anyone's startup years we know.

Abandoned by the investors to survive on the revenue that we generate from the non-paying Indian users, I had to keep my ego aside, and seek help from anyone and everyone. Friends, teammates, mentors, fellow founders, other investors, our users. Everyone came forward. Unhesitatingly. In their own way. Some helped with their advice, some with connections, some with recommendations. None of these folks had worked with me. None of them could vouch for my work ethic. None of them cared about their reputation. They came forward not because I was good but because they were.— % &Help, giving and asking for, is the most underrated quality in this capitalistic world. Newton once wrote in a letter to Robert Hooke, "If I have seen farther than the rest, it's because I stood on the shoulders of giants." It extends beyond the world of money and world of science to the world itself. When you help someone, even if it's spoonfeeding, you prepare them for a newer challenge which you didn't encounter in your time, also much faster. You're developing them faster than yourself. It's not your reputation that's going down but theirs which is going up.— % &When you help someone, even if they aren't able to justify being helped, it still makes them learn. If things do materialise for someone because you helped, they will remember someone helped and carry the gratitude forward. If things don't materialise, they have a new journey. For you both to learn from.

When you don't help, people stop reaching you for help. You miss out on their experiences, their struggles, their learnings, the joy of helping, the joy of seeing things come to fruition, the fulfillment of giving and the fulfillment of seeing someone justify that help to the best way possible. Most importantly, you miss out on helping them once again. And continuing this cycle forever.— % &Last week, one of my friends and former teammates committed suicide. It, apparently, was a matter of debt. He was depressed. Among so many things that one could blame for his suicide, one that stands out for me is my unwillingness to help. In his last few texts to me, he wanted YQ to courier a CPU to him so he could resume his work again, after a long hiatus owing to a family emergency. I had gotten it arranged, and I asked him to send a pickup at an address. When he asked how to send a pickup, I shut him off. 'Google, figure it yourself. I'm busy,' I said. In my head, I was muttering: I hate spoonfeeding. He eventually figured and got it picked up. But I can't stop hating myself for being curt to him before.

I can't stop wondering: had I not been so unhelpful last time, would he — on that gloomy night when he hung himself, have dialed my number for help?— % &

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3 JUN AT 23:58

me




they read me.

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