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Posts about gratitude (old posts, page 4)

The Nicest Thank You Note, Ever

Thank you notes like these only make you fall in love with the folks who do the work.
And make you want to support them even more!

Thank you, Dan Carlin.
For all you do.

Brittany Durbin
5:26 AM (4 hours ago)
to me


When people ask us how we fund our operations around here, I usually tell them about our “global street performer” business model.
A long time ago I realized that there's probably not a whole lot of meaningful difference between what I do and what a violin player who finds a nice location on a street corner somewhere, opens up his/her violin case and begins playing does.
We are both relying on “passers-by” throwing a few coins into the instrument case (or baseball cap as the case may be, haha) to keep us going.
Of course, I work a very busy, global “street corner” (virtually speaking, right?).

I want to thank you for taking the time to both listen to the work that we do, and to contribute to our ability to keep doing it. It's a cliché, but we really WOULDN'T be able to do this without the audience's help and support.
Not just in terms of finances, but also by telling others about the shows and spreading the word to help us grow the listenership. You all have been awesome.

So thank you from all of us (and from the other listeners who enjoy the work as well, but can't afford to help right now).
If everyone did as you did, we'd never have to stop doing this.

So, a thousand thanks. I hope we always live up to your expectations.

Warmly as Heck,


P.S. If you enjoy what I write, go subscribe

Au Revoir, BPW

Michel de Montaigne was a year younger than me (thirty eight), when he inscribed this on the wall in his library …

In the year of Christ 1571, at the age of thirty-eight, on the last day of February, anniversary of his birth, Michel de Montaigne, long weary of the servitude of the court and of public employments, while still entire, retired to the bosom of the learned Virgins, where in calm and freedom from all cares he will spend what little remains of his life now more than half run out. If the fates permit, he will complete this abode, this sweet ancestral retreat; and he has consecrated it to his freedom, tranquility, and leisure.

While I am not weary of my service, I am no longer still entire.

You have been witness to the turmoil in my life, the past couple of years and my own physical breakdown the past couple of months.

While you have been ever gracious towards me, I feel I no longer can serve you to the best of my abilities.

And so the time has come for me to say, Au revoir.

I’ve had the good fortune of serving BPW in various capacities ever since its inception. I’ve had the good fortune of working alongside so much bright talent. I’ve had the good fortune to learn from some of the best mentors ever. I’ve had the good fortune to pass on my knowledge too.

What I imagined to be a short term assignment turned out to be a seven year long adventure, full of crazy making, delight and plenty of ups and downs, joys and sorrows. And now that I’m broken, I have to turn my ship homewards and recover. To, Montaigne-like, retire to the bosom of the Muses and spend time in calm and freedom, if only for a short while.

Abbas & Sada, you’ve trusted my judgment You gave me free reign and let me do my own thing. Pretty much what anyone dreams of when they think of work. Thank you for being such amazing folks to work for.

Vinay, you were big brother, tightwad, crazy ass director and generous patron all rolled into one. You gave me so many opportunities to learn and grow. The best thing I could say to you instead of Thank you is that I learned so much! I never had to worry, because I know you always have my back. It’s been a joy working alongside you. I am ever grateful.

Vijay, you’ve been confidant, keeper of secrets, healer of wounds, and a daily source of inspiration. You taught me how to sell. And then you taught me how to lead. And then you taught be how to be a good human. I have no words.

I’ll also take a minute to specially thank baby Bonika, Kuldip, Vaibhav, Dheena, Shini, Tanay and Santosh. I will never forget Bangalore! You trusted me, gave yourselves wholly to me, and did some of the best work of your lives, when you let me serve you as manager. I see you grow now, I see you spread your wings and I feel so proud.

There are far too many folks to mention here and I’m tearing up. I thank you all! I love you all!

To close, I’ll paraphrase Enya and pray we do meet on some other shore …

A thousand dreams you gave to me You held me high, you held me high And all those years you guided me So I could find my way

So let me give this dream to you Upon another shore So let me give this dream to you Each night and ever more

76 & 40


This birthday is my first without Daddy.
And so this post today, because I want these words out of my head and heart, before they overwhelm me.

Dad & I have birthdays immediately following each other (the 25th & 26th.)
All my birthday memories are inextricably linked with him.
Him being indulgent with his firstborn.
Him holding me close and sharing his cake with me as I grew.
Him taking care of me and letting me crawl into his lap to say our prayers on cold mornings in our small drafty house.
Him being patient with me during my crazy headed years.
And always waiting for me, for our shared birthday cake.
Me loving the fact that I could share my cake with him as I grew.
That I could take care of him, like he did me.
That I was a sterner dad to him, than he ever was to me.

And now for the first time, in 40 years, I do not have a hand holding mine and I feel utterly bereft.
While the Bible and the Stoics remind me that dust indeed I am, I’ll forever be indebted to God, that my father was my rock.

Dear Uber

Since my emails to you result in this

We’re unable to respond to conversations that have been closed. Please note that your message has not been received by our support team.

And I really need to say something to your reply closing my original issue, this is my post!

Here’s my orginal text to you from within the app

Amount Of Cash Paid To Driver : 500
Share Additional Details : THIS IS NOT A COMPLAINT. My driver was very helpful and brought me home in rain and traffic conditions with lots of patience. He was however running low on gas and was getting slightly apprehensive. I on my own accord offered my directions to a gas station, once he dropped me off and willingly gave him Rs. 500 since he was low on cash. (I have also paid for the trip via my credit card) So if you can adjust that for me, please do. Else, I’ll just consider it my good deed for the day. Regards, Mario Jason Braganza
Sent by Jason B. on Friday, July 20, 2018 at 3:42:12 AM

And this was your reply, which somehow ticks me off when you deign to tell me


Thanks for writing in Jason,

I reviewed your account and can see that your chosen payment method was your VISA XXXX. As a one-time exception, I've added INR 500 Uber credits to your account. You can see them under the payments section of your app. Please note that there is no need for you to pay in cash to the driver partner on a non-cash trip. The same is expected when you request rides for your family, friends etc. The trip fare is inclusive of tolls/parking fee and any other charges if applicable.

To avoid similar issues in the future, always make sure that you don’t pay with cash if you’ve already selected another form of payment.

We appreciate your understanding.

Well, you see that’s what ticks me off.
You decide something is one thing despite me expressly telling you it’s the other. And then you presume to lecture me on what I should so.
So you see, I do need to reply.
And since I cannot reply to that mail, I’ll post it here on my blog for posterity.

> To avoid similar issues in the future
Helping people and being human is not something I wish to avoid.

The driver was helpful and young and apprehensive.
He went out of his way to reach me home safe. I helped him back without his asking me to.
If your drivers can do so much, is your back-office so loathe to employ humans and look at exceptions and deal with them?

If you can help me, well and good.
If not, don’t.

> As a one-time exception
While I am thankful for the refund, I don’t need your charity or condescension.
I managed to travel before Uber was around and I’m quite sure I’ll be able to, even now.

Mario Jason Braganza

Like Seth Godin points out in a post he’s just published, a day before

The thing is, “garbage in, garbage out” is lazy.

It’s lazy because it puts all the onus on the user or the environment. It lets the device off the hook, and puts the focus on the system, which, the device creator points out, is out of his control.

It’s one thing to make a sports car that runs beautifully on smooth roads, perfect tires and premium gas, but it’s a triumph of engineering to make one that runs beautifully all the time.

It’s one thing to organize the DMV so it works well when every person reads all the instructions, fills out the forms perfectly and patiently waits their turn, but it’s a generous act of customer service and organization when the system is resilient enough to work with actual human beings.

The extraordinary teacher adds value to every student, no matter what their home is like. She sees possibility and refuses to settle or blame the inputs. Isn’t that the way we’d like every professional to see the world?

The better mantra is, “garbage in, gorgeous out.”

That’s what we hired you for.

(updated later same day to include a reference to Seth’s post)

Happy Mother’s Day, Mummy!


A day late, but Happy Mother’s day Mummy!
Aunty L made me forget yesterday :)
Better late than never though!

I could not have asked God for a better mummy than you!
We love you for all you are and all you do!

Writing Day 16 – Thank you James Tanton!

I recently subscribed to the The Great Courses Plus, so that I could bring myself up to speed on the Math needed to do my 12th standard exams.

All these years, whenever I’ve tried to teach myself trigonometry (or other people have tried to explain it to me) it has always been an exercise in frustration, followed by the general exhortation to just mug it up.

My brain sadly is not wired that way. I can and I will mug it up.
But I do want to know what the first principles are, so that I have the ability to derive what I need.
I need to understand.

Professor Tanton’s Geometry course was this eye opener for me.
I thought him slightly pretentious in the beginning, when he repeatedly says, he doesn’t know what the answer is … and then goes on to figure it out.
A few lectures in, though, and I’m suddenly a rabid fan of the approach.
Prof Tanton puts himself in my place and with glee, figures things out, just like a new learner would.
I find myself pausing the video, when he says he does not know and then try to figure it out just like he would (or rather he would, that I would … by slowly reasoning and being ok with mistakes)

His love for the subject shines through all he does.
There are ropes and knots and hand motions and sound effects (shoom!) and boards and screens and ugly drawings (just like mine) and folded pieces of paper and tiles and he bounces between all of them to explain stuff and make his point.

Here’s what I’m talking about.

This is one of my later classes, and I’m barely halfway through.
In fact, I’m at the point in lecture 18, where he tries to explain how to sum up two sines.

So why the gratitude rush?
Because Prof Tanton just lit the biggest light bulb in my head, and gave me my biggest a-ha, I’ve ever had in a long time.
Lectures 16 & 17 explaing circle-ometry, naturally leading into the basics of trigonometry, suddenly made sense of so much stuff for me.
All the advanced algebra I’ve been doing, the basic calculus I’ve been learning suddenly just “clicked!”

And there’s another reason.
He showed me that genius is not the norm for doing maths and science.
Persistence, slow methodical work, gentle reasoning and practice will get me there.
If James Tanton PhD. Mathematics, Princeton University, 1994, & Mathematician in Residence at the Mathematical Association of America in Washington D.C. does it this way, so can I.
He’s made me fall in love with maths.

And for that, dear Professor Tanton, I’m eternally grateful.

Not to toot my own horn, but Prof Tanton responded :P


So God Made a Dog …


God said, ‘I need somebody strong enough to pull sleds and find bombs, yet gentle enough to love babies and lead the blind.
Somebody who will spend a day on a couch with a resting head and supportive eyes to lift the spirts of a broken heart.’

So, God made a dog.1

  1. I don’t know the actual source, but I saw it here, years ago 

Portraits – Pooja – 2


“One day the sun admitted
I am just a shadow.
I wish I could show you
The infinite incandescence
That has cast my brilliant image!
I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely or in darkness,
The Astonishing Light
Of your own Being!”

— Hafiz