History of the bugs that I have caught.


I would speak, even when I’m not spoken too: I have had various bugs in the past. Once upon a Time it was the Toastmasters and Public Speaking bug. I would use every possible opportunity to speak in public. Toastmasters was a great platform for that. And when I joined Toastmasters, I was infected. I got the Toastmasters-bug. The spirit of the Dubai Toastmasters club was simply outstanding. You couldn’t come out of a meeting feeling excited and all-charged up. Man, I get a high just thinking about it.

But like all bugs, it comes and it goes. After several years of being an active Toastmaster, the magic wasn’t there for me anymore. The meetings were just as good. But something in me changed and I felt that I had to give my time elsewhere.

In the long run

i had been a chubby kid all my life. My trousers just kept getting wider and wider. I hated exercise. I would wonder why would anyone want to put themselves through hours pain and exertion. Yet I loved the image of being lean-mean exercise nut. Finally when I outgrew every possible trouser that I had with me when studying in London. While travelling on a London Tube, I came across this easy-peasy schedule that Nike printed. It said that just follow the schedule and I’ll be able to run 10 Kms by the end of three months. Wow. Me chubby, tubby Arif would be able to run 10 Kms at the end of three months. And all i needed to do was exercise like 3 times a week. I mean like, hey, why not, worth a shot. I hit the pavement the next morning and since then I’ve not looked back. I have run 100’s of Kms. I had got the running bug and it was AWESOME! I registered for races, and completed them. I paid huge bucks (while on my measly articleship salary), and subscribed to Running magazines all the way from UK and US. Would peer through every page statistic. I have run Bangalore roads in the dead of the night, and Dubai’s streets in the afternoon in the peak of summer. I ran so much that I injured my knee. Yet I continued running.

The bug is not as infected as it used to be. I am not consumed by the thought of running. And it’s several years since my subscription to international magazines have expired. Yet the hangover continues. Even today I do an approximate run of 5Kms almost every day. Whenever I travel, I always travel with my running shoes. Here’s a travel-tip, the best way to experience a city, is on runner’s foot at 6:00 Am in the morning when the city is waking up.

The GTD bug

This bug my blog-readers would be familiar with. I was obsessed with GTD. Every moment I was online, would read up about it. In my car I would hear all possible lectures and podcasts on it. And every possible chance I would get I would speak to others about it. I did not even spare the Maulana who accompanied us on Hajj. Even him I tried to convert him into a GTD enthusiast. I was not successful with the maulana, but to some extent I influenced my father, my brother and several of our staff at Vakil Housing. They didn’t much of a choice as I would stand behind them at their work desks and would be spewing the various processes of GTD, pushing them to implement it.

Other Misc bugs:

There was the blogging bug and the Spirituality/Sufi bug, each of which had taken my fancy for a significant time and then moved on.

and now it’s the Sketch Notes bug

We all take notes. We’ve done so from school. My note taking evolved from plain linear notes like this, to mindmaps like this. Yet I was always fascinated by sketch notes. Notes that involve both text and pictures. They look so cool, one wants to revisit them and most of all it’s so much fun just creating such notes. Each note is a work of art. I never knew how to take down such sketch-notes. Till I came across the following online seminars:

Doodle Revolution

Visual-Notetaking 101

Sketch Noting Techniques

That was it. I had that all familiar feeling again. My heart began racing, I was getting feverish, it was like falling in love. Yup, I was catching yet another bug. Now every possible meeting that’s what I do, I sketch-note and it feels awesome. And here are some recent sketch notes that I have taken.

The Moral of the Story is
You know when you’ve got the bug. It’s when every possible moment, that’s what you want to do. The good news is, a bug is a healthy thing. A very VERY healthy thing. It should be encouraged, nurtured, so that it blooms into a Virus, maybe even an epidemic, so that it has the maximum number of people infected.

Whenever I have caught the bug, I have emerged as a stronger, faster or simply a better me. And sure after a while the bug passes on, yet the after-effects linger infact they stick with you for a lifetime. Pay attention when something catches your interest which is beyond a mere fancy. Infact each time you have a bug, it’s a gift from the gods. Go all out. The energy that is generated with a bug, is beyond human strength. It comes from a realm that is beyond our five senses. It permeates into our world and it’s the chosen few that it reaches. Make the most of it. Cause it’ll last only for a short while. Invest every possible resource you have to make the best of that bug. It doesn’t have to be a hobby like the one I listed above. It can be a bug for family, entrepreneurship, and believe it or not, even your job. Thank the gods, load your weapon and go out your guns blazing.


  1. In my house there is no bugs` problem but when I when I stay in the hotel there is more trouble because of bugs. This article must be sent to hotels by health inspectors and watch them.

  2. I have felt the same way about running – I started much the same as you, and ended up running my first half marathon 5 months after my first day of running masha’allah. You are absolutely right about running being the best way to experience a city – I have done exactly what you have in several places I was visiting for work, and must say that those runs were amongst my most favorite.

  3. Sketching or doodling with a purpose is a bug I have caught as well. I find am able to concentrate more effectively during long meetings by turning my notes into sketches. The key points are also the ones I tend to emphasize with drawing. Thanks for sharing your drawings. It’s like sharing your thought process. Very personal but also very interesting to see.

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