Guest Blogposts

Awesome people. Even more awesome stories. Because we all have something inspiring to share.

This guest blog post series is another experiment in inspiring action and the goal is to get 12 (or more) interesting and successful people to share something personal from their life. When I invite people, I just give them two conditions, that it should be personal and inspiring. And boy, is this stuff powerful. Hope you have as much fun reading it, as I had compiling it and putting it together. Enjoy.


1. What do IIT professors talk about when they talk about running. 

kaveri trail marathon

In this post, Pee a.k.a. Kenny, a professor from IIT Madras (she blogs here) shares her view on life and running. She is also my mentor/role model/running-partner since 2009 (we became friends when I first took her course at IIT). She’s the reason why I started running and blogging. Needless to say, without her guidance and friendship, my life wouldn’t be half as awesome. Having seen faculty at two world-class institutions, I can confidently say that I’m very fortunate to have met a professor like her. Don’t take my word. Read on and tell me you don’t think she’s crazy…



2. My Everest

the lion and the crab


Who better to follow in the footsteps of the awesome Pee, but The Boss himself. Much has already been said about The Boss here. A man, who has believed in perfection all his life. His life is ruled by logic and reason. And after almost a lifetime of such pursuits, which have taken him from Chennai to New York and then back, he talks about the thing that matters the most to him in life..



3. Art and Lungs of a Runner –  by Rishi Bhatnagar.

Art and Lungs of a runner - saad bhamla -Rishi BhatnagarIn this post, Rishi shares his view on sketching and running – the two passions of his life. Bhatnagar is a research assistant at the Stanford Med School and is one of the most disciplined and humble people I know. He’s also the fastest runner I’ve run with and regularly kicks my ass on our campus runs. After Pee, Bhatnagar is the one person I’ve run the most races with. And running a race with him – from trash talking and pepping up before the race ,to singing at the top of our voices in his car on our way back, (medals still dangling from our necks) – is an adventure in itself. Plus, who likes to go run races all by yourself. That’s what a running buddy is there for. Read on for a glimpse into the crazy mind of an ultra fast runner..



4. How Football Changed Me by Sahil Bhagat

How Football Changed Me - Sahil Bhagat - Saad Bhamla

Sahil Bhagat, is a grad student in the Management Science & Engineering (MS&E).He is one of the most happy go-lucky people I know and one of the few people who came to Stanford directly after graduating from D. J. Sanghvi in Mumbai. IMO, that’s pretty badass because it is insanely difficult to make it to a top US school without an IIT or a BITS tag. You should keep an eye out on his blog because he plans to publish the story of his journey from Mumbai University to Stanford University – and boy, having heard it first-hand over a late night of gupshup, I can tell you it is pretty inspiring. In this post, he talks about one of his passions – football – and how it completely changed his life..


5. To Nerd or not to Nerd ? by Fadl Saadi

Richard Feynman - caltech

 Fadl did his undergrad at Stanford and is now pursuing his Ph.D. at Caltech. Fadl is one of the funniest and most outrageous people I know – and the first undergrad I became friends with at Stanford. Sharing a common name and both having spent a good part of life in Dubai, we got along very well. The fact that he hung around with a cute Indian girl, gave me all the more reason to become his friend. I recently visited him at Caltech when I was there for a race, and was mildly amused to see a transformed Fadl – from the chilled, carefree Fadl to a more mature and apparently nerdy one. Read on, to find out the story of a person who has had the privilege of experiencing not one, but two amazing academic cultures.



6. From Peace to Piecewise Continuous by Atish Parekh 

gyanam paramam dhyeyam - IIT Bombay

Atish Parekh is a dear friend from way back in 2005 when we were both attending the same coaching class (PACE) for JEE. He was one of the smartest guys in the class. One of my goals at that time was to get higher marks than him on the tests. But it never happened. Not even on the JEE exam. And we would pull each other’s leg about this all the time. He’d outshine me in some areas and I’d excel in some others. And for the last seven years or so, we have had an ongoing friendly rivalry – He did his Bachelors at IIT Bombay in Chemical Engineering and I did mine at IIT Madras. He is now on the  pursuing is PhD at Purdue, and I’m at Stanford. And never has it been so awesome and wonderful to compare and observe each other as we grow and pursue similar interests, albeit in two parallel universes. Read on, as Atish reminisces about his life at IIT Bombay as an undergrad and how somethings never change, no matter where you go.


7. The Secret to Acing Your Exams by Jim Wang

Acing exams_bhamlaSo far on my blog, I’ve consciously avoided using quotes from religious texts mainly because I didn’t want this blog to be one of those blogs – ones which quote hadiths and Bhagavad Gita. Just because they have various interpretations and it would distract from the original goal of this blog. Plus, there was a more rationale theme I wanted this blog to reflect. So, with this guest blog post, I change that unwritten rule. And the trailblazer for this change is Jim Wang. Jim is a first-year grad student who has just passed his pre-qualifying examinations for his Phd and has joined the Bao Research group. He talks about the role of confidence in taking exams and how for him, his faith played a major role. Personally, for me, the topic of faith and belief is very close to my heart, and hence I think it does wonders in terms of eliminating stress. Keep an open mind and hope you enjoy this wonderful article by Jim.

8. My Plan is not to Plan by Surbhi Maheshwari

Calvin Hobbes-happySurbhi is one of those girls who’s always happy-go-lucky in life. You know how everyone has a default facial expression – a neutral face when they are not expressing anything and is just the way how their face is – it could be sad, serious or expressionless. Well, Surbhi is one of those fortunate ones with a smiling default expression. I swear, look closely and you can see her eyes twinkling. A fellow blogger, she writes beautifully – from poems to amusing experiences from her life as a corporate professional. In this post, she talks about following one’s heart..



9. Living My Dream by Lakshmi Saligram

stanford university main quad lakshmi saligram saad bhamlaWhen Lakshmi Saligram sent me this guest post, it sent my spirits soaring – Ah, what a beautifully written article. Lakshmi – a true Bangalorite, in heart and spirit – completed her undergraduate studies from R.V. College of Engineering (RVCE), Bangalore, India. It is not uncommon for people to assume that only IITians go to Stanford – which couldn’t be far from the truth. And Lakshmi is a testament to that fact. And one of the kindest souls I’ve met at Stanford. She recently graduated from the Management Science & Engineering (MS&E) program at Stanford and is headed to bustling Chicago. In this post, she talks about following her dreams and discovering herself.


10. Future Novelist in College by Tonya Vrba

journalism-building University of IowaIn this post, Tonya Vrba, a journalism  major from the University of Iowa shares her story about writing. Tonya is one of those fortunate people who get paid to do what they love, and boy, Tonya does her job well – from passion to feminism to online dating – her work covers a lot of ground. Her blog is quite interesting too. In this post, she talks about how her experiences during her childhood shaped her passion for writing and the challenges she faced on following her dream to become a journalist. More than anything, I’m thankful to Tonya for breaking the stereotype of only engineering guest bloggers (each of the previous guests is an engineer) and giving me a chance to glimpse into the world of a journalist.

11. The lucky prospective’s dilemma: Every grad school is good! by Gigi Lin

UT austin clock tower

I met Gigi last year, when she visited Stanford as a prospective student during visiting weekend. Gigi chose Stanford among the many schools she had gotten admitted to. And she shares her perspective (and dilemma) of choosing the right graduate school.








(tentative list for 2012)

  •  AKL – Role model, visionary and passionate scientist.
  •  Genya – friend, fellow partner in crime.
  •  Nick – greek god.
  •  N.N. – best friend. lawyer. politician. worlds greatest.
  •  Basa – curious professor. the most enthu cutlet ever.
  •  Swat-cat- Ms. smarty pants.
  •  Ludwig. – quiz master. funny as hell. fellow runner and blogger
  •  MJ – first blog reader and steadfast blog fan.
  •  (open)
  •  GGF – The Man. Advisor and the most famous scientist I know.
  •  S.S. – crazy mumbai girl. trying to do it all.
  •  AB – the only supporting member of my extended family.
  •  PR – half swedish, half mexican. fun guy.
  •  (open)