Product Storytelling: Fusing Reality with Fiction for Maximum Reader Impact

Fiction is either a hindsight version of your present reality or a borrowed version of your past dreams

If you feel a chill when fictitious Robert Langdon unearths a real historical getaway, evades a fictitious armed enemy, and finally emerges out of the cavernous space into the sunlit boulevards of Spanish streets, you know the power fiction wields on human psyche. Throughout this length of article, I will try to explain how product storytelling is no different. It is a carefully concocted story wound around the product features to create the best first impression in the reader’s mind – the best ones being those that blend fiction with a twist of reality. Let’s find out how –

From Dan Brown’s perspective, Robert Langdon is the ultimate product that the readers need to buy. In order to do so, Dan needs to be a textbook version of a door-to-door salesman and ensure that his story hooks the reader from the beginning to the end without putting them off in the middle.

And how does he do that?

By jumping into the shoes of his readers, borrowing a few pieces of trivia from their travel knowledgebase, smoothening the edges of those pieces with raw fiction, and piecing them together to form a clear picture in the reader’s mind. The beauty of this process is that as the reader walks Robert’s walk, as his emotions mimic Robert’s emotions, the story forks into two paths – A & B, where A are author’s words, and B is reader’s imagination. And this is where you come to know that the storyteller has hit a home run – when the reader is so engrossed by A’s story that he wanders into a realm of his own i.e. B.

Product storytelling needs the same force. Talking about the product features is not enough nowadays. In order for the reader to strike that chord so that the product story tempts him to either click the CTA button or buy the product/services, he/she needs to walk your walk and wander into B.

Now let’s discover what elements Dan uses to make the reader walk the walk and wander into B –

  • Robert & other characters are a construct of fiction
  • The historical monuments and other references are a construct of reality

But what bridges fiction and reality perfectly?

When he empathizes with the readers.

Empathy is the catalyst which unequivocally grips the reader and holds him till the very end.

Just like Dan Brown, the art of product storytelling is pretty straightforward and requires three essential elements –

  1. A Product
  2. A Story
  3. A Storyteller

Let’s try and delve deeper into how can you optimize all three to have the best first impact on the reader –

Note: If it’s your product, you already have a story. You just need a storyteller who can put them in words in the most emphatic way possible.


Product – Features, Pricing & Ideal Customer


According to IBEF, IT-BPM industry revenues (excluding hardware) in India is estimated at around US$ 130 billion in FY 2015-16 and is estimated to be at US$ 154 billion in FY 2016-17. Worldwide, the numbers get more staggering. And with artificial intelligence and home automation coming into the picture, 2018 is set to witness a rise in product companies trying to ease processes in lifestyle and manufacturing sector.

Thus, if you are a first-time product entrepreneur foraying into the field of product marketing and henceforth storytelling, you should have a clear answer to these three questions –

  1. What pain points is your product trying to solve?
  2. What differentiates your product from its competitors?
  3. Who is the ideal customer/end-user of the product?

As generic they may seem, a clear definition for all three is necessary. For example, if you’re in the productivity app business, you can’t just take ‘productivity’ as the sole differentiating factor for your product. If you’re positioning your product horizontally i.e. can be used by people and businesses alike across different industry verticals, the chances of getting maximum downloads reduce as you will be spreading yourself too thin. Alternately, targeting a smaller audience from one industry, beta testing their app usability levels, and then capitalizing on the feedback will probably help create more qualified leads and business opportunities.

Still lost? Try out the following tricks to get a clearer picture in your head –

  1. Perform a quick competitor analysis on and the alternate products that fit your product category
  2. Start a Quora thread asking about the problem and discover which tools are people already using for the same purpose
  3. Go to product review sites like softwareadvice, softwaresuggest, capterra, g2crowd, financesonline, etc. to gather reviews of existing software in this category from verified users

Once you have collated pointers from above sources, I would recommend you to sit with your team, hash out the details and come up clear definitions for the following three questions –

  • How will your product help solve prospect’s current problem?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How much time will it take to setup?

Once you’re done, furnish the details to your product storyteller so that the post hits the customer nail on its head. Here is a product post checklist infographic you can share with the storyteller so that all the necessary points are included –


Words in two sections with likes and dislikes

Do’s & Don’ts of Product Storytelling


In order for the storyteller to keep the post alive and interactive, it should subtly express the above points without losing the dramatic edge to it. And that is where you take help of graphics and other social media platforms to ensure maximum interaction.


The Story – Words, Infographic & Video


Now that the product story is clear, the focus comes from visual interaction. Visual stimulus is more likely to keep the reader engaged and has the potential to explain the gist of the post in a few seconds. First-time entrepreneurs have two options to go ahead with this –

  • Outsource the graphics work through freelancers or hire the services of a digital marketing agency
  • Hire an in-house graphic designer

But often, more than half of them get stuck in the dilemma that plays quality with quantity but balances evenly on the money. For the first post, I would recommend hiring a digital marketing agency with whom you can brainstorm the messaging of the graphics with the product as the baseline. You’ll be able to control costs and at the same time ensure that quality and quantity are met adequately.

From infographics to videos, graphics can include a lot of things. And more often than not, they have an entirely different process of execution.

Deep dive into the process of creating a product video from scratch with a minimum budget?


How to create infographics that speak volumes?

I would highly recommend Canva. It has a variety of templates (both free and premium) which you can use to create not only infographics but letterheads, social media posts, and cover letters etc. in no time.

You see the infographics in this post? Yes, they are canvan!


How to Market your First Product Post for Maximum Output?


Once your product story and graphics are ready to take off, the next question is how do you market it to get maximum eyes? Well, I have created a list of a few inbound and outbound methods you can experiment with and analyze results accordingly –

 Inbound methods –

  • Publish the post on the product blog. Use Yoast SEO to ensure optimum SEO coverage.
  • Include the link to the new blog on previous blogs to lead readers from previous blogs to new ones.
  • Curate the blog on Growth Hackers. Start a discussion thread there & share in LinkedIn groups, Slack groups. Try to initiate a conversation.
  • Curate the blog on Inbound. Ask a question there and share on LinkedIn & slack groups. Try to initiate a conversation.
  • Curate the blog on business2community or ezine for better ranking.
  • Curate it on Quora and probably answer a few questions linking the blog there.
  • Import the blog on medium, iamwire, etc.
  • Share it on zest (chrome plugin) (subject to quality acceptance). Similarly, approach high-quality platforms like Huffington/the wire/Forbes/ etc. to get more eyes.
  • Include it in the email signature footer of customer account managers for greater reach.
  • Ask team members to share it from their social media handles
  • Run a drip email marketing campaign which includes a snippet & an infographic for the same.


Bonus: If you have a mascot/icon you can identify your product with, try using it more with every marketing collateral you send.

For example –

email screenshot with Trello and image with emojis

How Trello creates an impact


Too long? Want to pass on the tips to your team? Here is an infographic with all the above points –


Image with 10 Points talking about inbound marketing channels

List of all inbound marketing channels


Outbound methods –

  • Run a paid FB campaign on the series if you have a B2C product
  • Trial Quora Advertisement Run for a B2B one
  • Run a PR on major media outlets


How to Hire the Best Storyteller for Your Product?


With AI chatbots revolutionizing customer support and virtual reality helping war veterans overcome PTSD, there is no dearth of stories today. Some ooze out of tech startups and some erupt from multinational conglomerates. From Tesla sending a car into space to a 13-year-old genius kid from India, there will always be a story. And if rightly told, it can do wonders.

Storytelling comes naturally to few while others learn it organically. Natural Storytellers infuse their storytelling skills with the right product props to woo the audience. Whereas organic storytellers understand your company culture, ethics, product features, and other essentials before the dive deep into a draft.

Natural storytellers are good. Organic storytellers are great. But a combination of both is deadly. Let me give you an example –

A friend of mine working with a law firm recently asked me a question – ‘Why are entrepreneurs on LinkedIn are professing more about the quality of employees they are hiring than the product/services that they are offering?’

My response was quite simple to this –

‘LinkedIn is turning into a storytelling platform quite rapidly. Just like marketers are talking about their marketing strategies, influencers about their triumphs in life, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that entrepreneurs are displaying their hiring acumen by lauding their first hires and advocating about company culture quite openly. By doing this, not only do they connect with the audience more but invite applications from diverse backgrounds which eventually helps them in building a high-performing & quality workforce.’

The top-secret recruiters on LinkedIn take advantage of is that the moment their hiring strategy become common knowledge in the connection base, it breeds a new level of confidence among candidates and substantially raises company’s stakes in the hiring business.

So if you are looking to hire a quality storyteller, you will need to put in a solid effort in making the application process for the job challenging. Here are a few questions you can ask –


Image with 6 points describing the questions to ask to storyteller

How to Hire Your First Storyteller


One Feat: To check the ownership level

One Article: To check the writing style and grammar accuracy

One Ambition: To check motivation level

One Memory: To check creativity level

One Anger: To know the weakness

One Happy: To know the strengths

I hope that with this article, you were able to figure out how to go ahead and kick-start your content marketing funnel in the right direction. If you liked this piece, show me some clapping love I say. Or share it in your professional circles 🙂

If you have any comments to make or discussion to have, leave them in the comments section below.

And of course, if you require my services, please feel free to contact me –


Kartik Dulloo

Growth Hacker | E&C Engineer | Spell-Bee Runner up | Part Grammar Nazi, Part Grammar Hippy | Failing Anglophile

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Nuances in Disguise

Thick Black hair with few strands of white
Poised nose with a wayward stache
Lanky body but strong hands
Fragile heart but unwavering panache
Bourgeoisie clothing with a solemn smile
All this makes me feel right
In myself and the world that I fight
Leaving no space for wrong
But eyes have a sheen unknown
Hard to ascertain what they hold
My happiness or thy misery?
Reigning in the land of unspoken liberty
Lend me your ears
As I try to join together the pieces
Of a puzzle I am yet to close
Hair in a bun with visible golden streaks
Charming nose and creased lipsticked lips to tease
Graceful stance with spotted feet
Ripped jeans with colourful earrings so neat
I confess I admired her toe to head
Afraid a second more & it would turn into a stare
I looked away with great despair
My eyes trying to decipher what lay in those sores
Just when her hands reached to scratch
The itch that’s probably common rash
For a split second, I caught her glance
Her sheen reflected in mine
Happiness disguised in strangely eyes
I saw her look at my feet
She smiled in whispers
After looking at my socks mismatch
I knew I needed a break
Before I get caught in this spell-binding maze
Just when her hair fell in a daze
Drawing criss-cross maze-like affairs
Shielding her from my strangely gaze
She looked away
Leaving the pieces of a puzzle
Yet far from close
Nuances are a way of life
To grasp them is the goal of our lives
Some are bred in unison
Some are bred with ties
But the best?
The best are bred in disguise.

Kartik Dulloo

Growth Hacker | E&C Engineer | Spell-Bee Runner up | Part Grammar Nazi, Part Grammar Hippy | Failing Anglophile

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The Proud Indian Millennial

Since the past couple of days, I often think what to call myself in the ‘general taxonomy’ of people out there in the world. How do I fit in? Where do I belong? Is there a category that I fall in? If yes, can I narrow it down to some pre-defined tags that I can self-attribute to the category that represents my personality? Further, can I pick a name?

A name that is not chosen by my parents.

A name that doesn’t discriminate me on the basis of religion, cast, creed, colour and country.

A name that defines me globally yet locally.

I often get derailed pretty quickly from this train of thought the very moment I start pondering over it. My inadvertent incompetence in taking far too long to come up with this ‘name’ makes me edgy, and I try to push the thought deeper into the recesses of the memory pool, into the partially submerged subconscious, tucked away nicely, I leave it there – to be pondered upon some other time, some other place.

But I confess, the more I try to push it away, the more prominent it becomes. Like a drop of ink in water, it slowly takes a definite colour and settles on the pool surface, completely submerging your other thoughts into its depths.

It flashes unceremoniously at times; in the dead of afternoons when I am working, at 2 A.M. in the night when I am trying to recollect the previous day’s work, and even during morning dump hours when I am thinking about the work to be done that day –

“What do I call myself?”

But today, the train is on track, on time (straight from a night-owl’s watch), and billowing volumes of smokes in all directions – illuminating things in a clear cut picture, lifting the haze off obscured notions, channeling through the right memory courses, shaking hands with its fellow thoughts and shouting –

Carpe Diem! Carpe Diem! Carpe Diem!

And to tell you that the answer to that question finally dawned upon me as a revelation while having a talk with my dad makes me believe more in the above two words.

What was it? You will need to be patient with me. When I usually write, it’s mostly a blend of fiction with reality. But this is different. I am writing about me. So I will need to choose my words carefully if not meticulously. After all, I don’t want to give you a chance to point out the fiction in my reality.

From Callused Palms To Crooked Fingers

I really don’t remember when my palms of my hands lost the calluses they had so abundantly formed. The last time I checked i.e. after an intense game of badminton in Tulsi Baag, I still had them. They were rough and dirty after the game. I remember I used to scratch them a lot. Not because they were itching but to immerse myself in that zone of gameplay where I could think of a strategy for the next one. I think it was an involuntary reaction by my subconscious to a good game. A happy reminder that said-

‘You scratch them calluses real nice to do better in the next game’

I never really thought much about them until today.

They are gone. There is an extra layer of fat on my palms. When I look at them, they look plump and healthy. It’s like fate (mom’s healthy food) decided that I don’t need them calluses anymore.

If I think about it, in the bigger picture of things, it hardly matters. But right now, it bothers me. It feels like there is this part of me, which has been replaced by a newer one – more generic and more mundane. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I dislike it. I just didn’t want the previous part to go away go so soon. Was that too much to ask?

Now what bothers me more is the crooked shape my fingers take when my hands maneuvers the mouse for more than 15 minutes. It looks something like this –

What’s more appalling than that? The little finger seems to twitch all the time, signalling me to somehow scratch the itch that wasn’t there anymore.

I realized that the journey from calloused palms to crooked fingers wasn’t a tough one. It involved some ‘common’ sacrifices and two four-layered paranthas packed for lunch. Somehow, these sacrifices became a part of me, of who I am.

Honestly, I won’t like them calluses now. But I want that little finger to stop itching. How?

It’s like my conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind have spoken their truths and are constantly reminding me –

“This is just a phase. You shall pass. Chill”

Hiding your lies under a canopy of your truths is a devious thing to do.

But I have hidden my callused truth under the canopy of my robust lies and moved on. It was phase after all.

As I write this, I acknowledge the power of time and the leverage that it holds over us. But each time phase brings something new into our lives, which, like it or not, becomes a routine eventually.

** If you are clueless to what you just read makes any sense or not, I would never suggest you to read ‘1984’ by George Orwell.

From The Crying Metro Couple To The Drowsy Working Class Hero

To me, just when the metro goes underground, it feels like the world is the end of the coach you are in, and the fellow passengers are my brothers and sisters trying to sing a song which has no lyrics.

I am a chronic eavesdropper and an adamant observer. As I see my new family for the next few hours struggle, I put myself to use. I try to catch the furtive flicker of dreary eyes, the sound made by careless yawns, the angles made by lolling heads, the words uttered in hush tones, and turn them into the lyrics of the song which captures the essence of their lives (if only in my mind).

One day, a lady entered the metro accompanied by her (assumed) mother and sister. A guy with a medium built, and dressed in casual clothes followed her. They caught my attention almost instantly as they entered owing to their half-puffy half-teary eyes and intermittent breaths. There was a remarkable synchrony between their demeanors. If she looked at him, he looked away. If he tried to do so, the mother and sister looked back sinisterly. This went on for a good 30 minutes until they de-boarded the train.

All throughout the journey, I could feel the control they tried to exude, trying their best not to express their misfortune (if any) to their new family. But they didn’t succeed completely.

What killed me the most was that despite knowing so much about them (or so less), I never would be able to know their names, or for that matter, tell them this

“I think your song needs more than just words. It needs action.”

After them, I saw a routine guy trying to do routine things – yawn, browse and stare. Everything about him was simple. He represented the majority of the family. I didn’t know his name either. But I could tell that his song was getting viral. The number of yawns he could take in a minute genuinely impressed me. And within minutes, majority of the family followed suit. Like I said – viral.

I realized the importance of actions that day. You will become time’s charioteer only when you know how to yield it in its full potential. And in order to do so, you will need to take actions at the right time.

From The Pani-Puri Guy To Underpaid Rickshaw-Puller

My liking to pani-puri as my staple street food has nothing to do with my gender. If you can agree to that, go and read ahead.

My routine says eat pani-puri twice a week. It’s usually a Wednesday or a Saturday. One Sunday evening (I had a craving), I went back to my pani-puri guy and told him to fix a plate. While serving the suji ones, he narrated a story to a guy standing next to me. Here’s the gist –

‘I serve pani-puri to people after looking at their status. If he/she looks well off, I don’t serve the extra helping of khatta pani. If he looks poor, I offer him a complimentary suji puri.

Yes! My curiosity meter dials went berserk. I thought that this guy would definitely know which category to put me in. I tripled my swallowing speed and as my hands lay stretched ready to catch the next suji puri, I put a wide grin and asked him politely –

“To hum kis category mein aate hain?”
In which category do I fall in?

He replied back almost immediately, and with an obsequious frivolity so apparent on his face that I almost choked on the puri.

He said “Sir, app to middle class ho!”
You belong to middle class.

I fake laughed in front of him to be in his good graces. But lost my shit the moment I reached home. Why did laughter roar as wildly as it did? Because without knowing my name, the guy got me to reconsider my quest to find myself a new name.

How important was it to me to find that name? If I even found one, would I be able to stick to it? For all I knew, he spoke a language that I understood well. So why go to the trouble of defining yourself at all?

I found the answer to that question another day later when a rickshaw puller undercharged me – Rupees 10 instead of 20. After my idiosyncratic small talk, I asked him the reason behind such generosity, his curt reply was as humble as his stooping shoulders covered with a ragged piece of clothing–

‘Wo battery rickshaw wale bhi itna hi lete hai”
The auto-rickshaw drivers charge this much only.

If I say I wanted to empathize with him, I would be understating it. I wanted to gift him a ‘battery rickshaw’ so that he could always have a fair chance to bargain with his savari (like every other rickshaw puller) before choking under the guilt of quoting too much.

This troubled me. There was enough underlying friction between man and humanity. With technology barging in, it just becomes worse for both.

Had I not asked his name and birthplace in the conversation that preceded, I doubt I would have been so genuinely affected by his words that carried more weight than he was actually pulling. I gave him thirty rupees, and in midst of basking in part humility and part arrogance, I saw gratitude flash across his face in the form of an imperceptible nod after he heard my leaving remarks –

“Agli baari se 30 manga karo”
Ask for 30 Rupees next time

I realized that in some manner, knowing someone’s name could make a lot more difference than speaking the universal tongue of Internet trolls.

From Over-Socialization To Under-Socialization

There is a certain eerie silence, which circumscribes you, pulls you into a well so shallow that all surrounding noise – the (slow) rhythmic hum of the fan, the whirring AC, the barking dogs in the streets fade away in the background. All that remains is silence. And I – in it.

And as I write it, I realize how far have I come – as a son, as a brother, and as a vivid projection of my own dreams. I am trying to scale myself everyday. Constantly looking for loopholes and cracks through which this new me could slip through and disappear, I try to push myself to the boundaries in all three verticals – work, family, and me.

But it is an ongoing process where the definition of socializing reduces to popping a couple of cans of beer after a long week.

I was aware of the idea of getting lost in a gathering of one’s own thoughts. But I was not aware of the definition of ‘getting lost’. Does it have a limit? Or was it scalable too?

I try to see people from the lens that they themselves wear. After so many years of story building and story breaking, I found it easy. But what I found more difficult was how to define/see myself. Whose lens should I wear? A Kashmiri Pundit? An Indian Engineer? A Delhite? A Mumbaikar?

And then I happen to be present in the company of my dad one fine evening. And lo and behold!

After 15 minutes of talk, I could hear the happy burst and pop of my thought questions being pricked by dad’s answer needles.

I asked him one question –

“Should I look after myself or look after my family?”

He raised his eyebrows suspiciously and asked me twice if I had had a drink that day before answering very cautiously –

‘You are free to choose on that. But take your time while making that decision. You are still young for it’ and then he went back to his newspaper.

Afraid I might have lost his attention, I prodded further –

‘I think I need to make that decision now. My actions depend on it.’

He looked at me, trying to fathom the root of this question, so that he could find the correct branch to water with answers. I think he found it was rootless.

This was followed with a 10-minute speech, which almost made me feel guilty about asking that question in the first place. Here is a gist of it –

“Bid your time with your family. Try to acclimatize with the rules. If you don’t feel comfortable, tell us where did we go wrong and we will try to fix it. But remember, out there, alone, you can very well survive in this world till you have a name and a birthplace. But if you want to win in this world, you will need yourself more than any other title or birthright.”

‘I will need myself’

I slept a good deal that night. After all, I was the proud Indian millennial – a solid cross between western and Indian cultures, a thought-provoking train of motivation and self-respect, I had to write my own story – kartiknama.

Kartik Dulloo

Growth Hacker | E&C Engineer | Spell-Bee Runner up | Part Grammar Nazi, Part Grammar Hippy | Failing Anglophile

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The Routine

Hey you people out there,

This blog is a post-reflection of my failed attempt at blogging every day and attempts to add a few snippets of insight to routiners.

Not only am I deeply disappointed in my ability to keep up to the resolve of writing every day, I am sort of disturbed by the knowledge of being under Routine’s influence to an extent that even now, as I write these words, I can feel it tugging at my sleeves from behind asking –

‘Aren’t you getting late for work?’

Since it has already been a month, I am trying to figure out the possible reasons (apart from a routine) for a literal disconnect so abject. Two things jump right back at me –

  1. Three-fourths my day revolves around finding new ways to get Orgzit into the league of SaaS champions out there. This involves marketing practices ranging from creating videos to writing value adding content.
  2. The remaining fourth goes in travelling and sleeping (among other things).

To get back on point, my literal disconnect stems more from my insecurities to pursue a career in writing than writing itself. It’s not like I am not writing. I have been growth hacking since the past 3 months 8 hours a day. It’s just the vertical I am writing about has changed and become more focused and sharp. So that makes me a bit nervous and confident at the same time.

I have got an arched back, painful neck, and tummy that really doesn’t go right with a goateed-lanky posture. But the food delights have been sumptuous. Subway and McDonald staff on my way to work are soon going to put up a new reward category – ‘Routiner of the month’ and I don’t need to tell you who the winner is going to be. After all, who doesn’t like a 6 foot veggie filed replacement for a gobi parantha in the mornings and a Mc-Maharaja (with Iced Tea) after a tiring metro ride back home.

So my thoughts on a routine are more dubious than ever. But yes, I need to tell you guys about the survey that I had conducted about more than a month ago.

Routine 101 Insights

I got a total of 66 results from the 250 people I broadcast the survey to on Whatsapp.

I am assuming rest were too busy following a routine J

Here are a few insights (which might seem royally commonplace but comprise a few actionable points) –

Though the very first question was quite basic, I expected people to come up with very similar answers. And they did!

I was pleased with myself. It made me think that I relate to a myriad of people out there doing the same thing. But then I scrolled down –

I couldn’t agree more with this guy.


Let me tell you something. You know when we say that the biological clock of flight attendants is all messed up because of the different time zones they keep flying in?

Yeah! Routiners have it no different. I think my drinking habits have changed a lot too. I have started drinking a lot of WATER during nights just after I take a dump. I never understood why my mom is always bent on doing the opposite of this routine in the mornings.

I will go ahead and scroll further –


Yes, the Shit routine is massively universal. I was relieved. I didn’t need to feel more bad about myself shitting at irregular times. Hell, there are people who defined their routine as ‘erratic’ (with whatever amount if importance they gave to this form). I just got my shit erratic. I can live with that.

But the mug up thing hit me hard. That is something really troublesome. So I suppose I can give a few pointers here:

Sometimes you need to stop thinking about what you are mugging up and start thinking about why you are mugging up.

I will go further down –

Know why I highlighted that point? Because there is a number of people who are running around as atheists and wannabe agnostics, but very few who can include chanting in their routine. Now kill me if the person means chanting Bob Marley after a dope session.

Till now, I hadn’t found anything that made me go Wow till I scrolled down further –

Now that’s what I was looking for. Out of the box thinking! I wonder whose lives is this guy/girl saving and how. If you happened to read this, ping me on WhatsApp. I need some lifesaving lessons.

But check out the other answers!

I think it’s safe to say I needed a few additions in my routine. The end of the list was a drag of most epic proportions

But I will suffice to say I got a got a fairly good insight of how these 66 people perceive the definition of routine.

The second question was made in a hurry. No real insights.


I got routine calling me back! See you after another round of questions!


Kartik Dulloo

Growth Hacker | E&C Engineer | Spell-Bee Runner up | Part Grammar Nazi, Part Grammar Hippy | Failing Anglophile

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The day I Put a Price on my Passion

*This blog post will have several more edits. Plausible read when extremely sleep deprived or a prominent resident of Stalker-pur.

Sitting in my room, trying to swoop the cowlick back in order unwittingly, I stared at my computer screen.

The keyboard had an inch of dust coating settled deep on the keys. With every keystroke, my calloused fingertips picked up the dust particles, molecule by molecule, and deposited on my hair as I relentlessly tried to flick that stubborn cowlick again.

I looked around my room, momentarily beamed at my school accolades showcased on a glassless window shelf, and almost plucked that cowlick while trying to push back nostalgia the same memory lane it had come through. I opened up Word and typed –


That wasn’t right. I swooped up a couple thousand molecules more and edited that statement –

It’s been a year since you’ve turned yourself over to the machines.

I didn’t need uppercase. It was getting too mainstream. People furiously trying to make a point on WhatsApp while fighting in a series of UPPERCASE sentences. Lowercases were just fine. More believable and sturdy.

I realized I needed a prompt to write. And that’s exactly how I remembered about the note I saved that day –

Too tired to dwell on what was the context behind that note. Come back here tomorrow if you feel like.


When I opened the note, it was like a barrage of thoughts broke loose taking me a year and a half back.

If I say that it never occurred to me how the ROUTINE was going to be, I would be lying. I knew exactly how it was going to be.

Hell, during college days, when I was back home from vacation, I used to observe people – cheerful, gloomy drowsy, angry, contemplating, shouting, welcoming the new day in all kinds of energy they could muster. What joined them to the hip was this hollow sense of belonging which I could see in their every move – right from the contagious yawn to side-steppers muttering Sorry furtively under their breath. When a person started talking, the one behind him became an eavesdropper, and the rest began the stare-till-you-care game. And this pattern grew steadily till its collective effect made the Metro announcers’ voice stand out, and became the background itself. Every person’s action had an instant reaction. It was like they were a part of a big family where non-routine people could only be guests.

I envied them at that time. For being so into-the-routine. For being ignorant enough to lose conscious awareness and dive deep into a world routine started growing on you.

From the lens of a carefree college going individual, I used to wonder if they willingly sold themselves to the routine or were bought by it.

Just like a sugar crystal dissolves into a steaming cup of tea by constant stirring, did each one of them also join the routine march to become a part of something bigger, something more significant, just because it was sweeter (and safer)?

These questions used to baffle me throughout the journey.

So I used to tell myself something to encourage the kid in me and discourage the adult.

If I ever did become a part of this routine family, I wanted a chance to quote my price.

I broke out of my reverie with my hands still gathering dust and words pouring out like rain.

I think I will be better able to tell you the rest of the tale tomorrow.

Till then



Kartik Dulloo

Growth Hacker | E&C Engineer | Spell-Bee Runner up | Part Grammar Nazi, Part Grammar Hippy | Failing Anglophile

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