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Reflecting on January at C4E and Outside: Letters from the 20-year-olds 

Reflecting on January at C4E and Outside: Letters from the 20-year-olds 

The C4E team is a smart, interesting mix of experienced folks and 20-year-olds brimming with energy that’s more up-to-date. While that’s a fact we share quite often, we want to do more. And that’s why, this year, we’ve all decided to share snippets of our lives, at work and outside, through the lessons we learn each month.

So, welcome to the January edition of Letters by SoG (Shoulders of Giant), shared by Vaishnavi Singhal, Anshika Kushwaha, Aditi Agrawal, and Siddhi Deshmukh. Each of them works on different things at C4E and our extended projects (design, strategy, content, you name it!) and yet, shares a similar autonomy and excitement for their work.

So, here goes.

1/ Vaishnavi Singhal / @creatiwittybae

The first month of 2023 was great. I spent the last week of December and the first week of January with my favourite group of people, meeting people I’d been working with for a year but had never met.

Learning 1:
There is something wholesome about people and good breaks — they never waste your time. They only fuel you to do more.
I received my calendar! My calendar, which I created for Decoding Draupadi. Something about holding your creations feels like magic. Physical products > digital products. The calendar worked out just perfectly for me. I got validation, compliments, and further projects from people who received them.

Learning 2: Everything that goes out in the world under your name is your business card.
During my two weeks off, I noticed a pattern: I seek experiences. I consider it a good day if and only if it evokes some thought or emotion. For example, I’m not a big fan of cafes, but I LOVED Versova’s cat cafe. I would have never felt this love if not for cats. I loved every moment spent at the Urban Art Festival. I have a special love for Khyati Trehan’s work. Nift alumni doing great things fills my heart. I had my birthday dinner at Haveli Dharampura, and the Indian heritage architecture and aesthetics are so stunning that I would probably like to die in a space curated like that.

Learning 3: As a designer, I would love to create experiences revolving around Heritage for sure.
This time I returned from my trip to Kolkata with a life lesson: I know it’s impossible to live with my family all the time, but we promise to see each other every three months. No excuses will be accepted. The moment I came back, I had a lot of to-dos to complete, which was only possible if I used most of my time, and here I learned the next lesson: Everything is possible to complete by the deadline if you just sit down and work.

2/ Anshika Kushwaha / @akforthevibe

I procrastinate. A lot. And I am extremely embarrassed about it.

When I list out my life goals today, I say things like “I want to be a UN representative, I want to be a sustainability and feminism leader, I want to be a reef cultivator, I want a certain $140 Million house and whatnot.” But none of these can wait for my ‘Oh, I will watch 10 more episodes of Gilmore Girls now and start working at night because I know I work better then – AND THEN NEVER REALLY GET WORK DONE’ kind of tantrums.

I used to believe it was because I know myself well and work around my so-called systems. But my Jan epiphany has been that I am a deadly combination of smart and lazy so I come up with the most creative ways to fool myself out of consistency and hard work, and not feel bad about it.

Had I not started doing things now – and trust me I do a lot of things – I would have taken another whole year to learn about myself. So I am glad I was able to figure out my stupid habit and start pushing myself towards a solution. I have often had sad-girl-hours about inconsistency but I never noticed a pattern, so that.

Now, I have learnt how I bullshit. And I have learnt to call it out. So, what is my solution to my Creative Bullshitting problem?

Here’s what seems to be working for me, as of Jan 27, 2023.


I had christened my absolutely unhealthy lifestyle – My System. (Those framing lectures in college really helped, yes.) Midnight caffeine, glorification of laziness, staying up scrolling all night, Netflixing the day away – you name it. You see, I don’t have big problems but I stick to my little ones hard.
So, I broke my system once and for all.
I made a schedule for myself as I used to during my school days. I actually follow it this time. I have a fixed bedtime/wake-up time now: you’d expect a 20yo girl to have that. My friend started a No-coffee-after-5-pm rule with me and I stick to it on most days. I exercise every day. I solve sums in the morning. I micro-journal before I go to bed. I have not had any junk in 3 days now – and while that is really hard for me, I plan on testing my limits. Now that I write it, it all seems so obvious. Maybe that’s the problem with all people – they don’t do the obvious.


Kaushik gifted me a set of Austin Kleon books for Christmas. They had whole chapters on making to-do lists, to-definitely-not-do lists and the like. Lists are not new to me, I have always been the one to bask in the glory of an all-checked to-do. I think it’s more about starting the day right (aka following the Schedule we just discussed) that gets me in the zone to do more. And once I start getting things done, the list just gives me perspective on what the day holds and how I can not afford two extra episodes of House of Cards for lunch.
The thing about lists is being able to find the perfect balance of

  1. Can I humanly get it all done? Vs Is it too little?
  2. Will I lose my sanity till I reach the end of this list? Vs Am I only doing the easy stuff and still procrastinating on the grunt work?
  3. Should I be happy about what I got done? Vs Should I beat myself over the unchecked boxes?

I am still figuring it out. On some days, I do it well. On some days, I let crippling anxiety take over. Between these highs and lows, I am truly learning more about my actual work systems.

Forced boredom

I am a high-energy kid at most times. I am doing something, I am playing with something, I am fiddling with something – something is always up. You can never text me “Wyd” and be disappointed in my reply. I think it’s because I am very curious – and in constant need of mental stimuli. I’ll read, I’ll observe, I’ll paint, I’ll dance – you get the drift. How the high slowly fades into grogginess, I do not understand. But it does on most days. And then I’m simply lazing, struggling to just be – in more real words, procrastinating.

However, I have found my perfect workaround. I bore myself.

What’s that? Whenever I find myself lazing from tab to tab on my laptop, getting virtually nothing done, I shut it. Then I set a 30-minute timer on my phone. In these 30 minutes, I disallow myself from doing anything at all. No phone, no book, no scribbling, no speaking, no art-creating, no music, none of it. I can either take a quick nap or just hear my thoughts speak. If I nap, I am re-energised. If I choose to hear my thoughts, I am mostly thinking about work and work-like ideas. But the catch is that I can not execute them. Hell, I can’t even note them down. That small restraint makes me eager to get back to my table. So the moment the 30-minute timer thing goes off, I jump back to my laptop and enter Paris Geller mode. I am loving this.

My friends at C4E asked me what I learnt this month. Well, here it is.

I learnt more about my problematic habits and figured out some solutions to them. They work for me today. They might not be 10 days later. But I am a curious cat, I will figure it out.

Bye now.

3/ Aditi Agrawal / @The_gooofy_kid

Lesson 1 – Know when to quit/take a break.
In the last week of last month/year, I decided to take a break from something that I had been doing for the past whole year and when I conveyed that to my team (which was amazing and supported me without as much as a frown). The next week was filled with uncertainty and ambiguity for me, my tasks at work are a big part of my identity and when I found myself in this new state of not doing what I was previously doing I felt anxious. But I explained to myself that these few days of uncertainty are far better than doing something that I am not enjoying.

So if you are afraid of quitting/taking a pause from something because there are no certain answers on the other side of that decision, don’t let that be a deal breaker. Be afraid and still do it.

Lesson 2 – Progress is never going to look the same over a period of time.
The next few weeks were filled with me dipping my toes in various ventures and fields to figure out what my next calling would be. Not to mention the end-term exams that I had to attempt in the 3rd week of the month which I was completely unprepared for. All of this made me feel very lost and unsatisfied. Although I was doing something or the other the whole day, it felt like I was stuck in a place, not making any progress.

But the days passed, I gave exams, and I figured out what I want to focus on work-wise at least for the next few months and in hindsight, it was all because of the small work I was doing daily. They all compiled to make these successes. Thus it’s a reminder to everyone reading that success in different weeks and months or even years is going to be nothing similar to those in others.

Lesson 3 – You are 18, don’t worry, act stupid. This is what you’ll remember.
The things I wrote above are important and should be paid attention to, but at the same time every now and then in this very competitive world, I need a reminder to act my age. I am 18, and with all that I want to achieve I sometimes ignore what I should do and that’s to let go and have fun sometimes.

I write this as I am on a trip with my college friends that we planned and are paying for. And I am probably going to get a tattoo on this trip, my first one.

Okay, that’s all for now.

4/ Siddhi Deshmukh / @sidddisH2Obaby

It has been hardly a month or so since I became associated with C4E, but it has been a very interesting time. I was privileged enough to meet most of the team at C4E and hang around, joke, work, and brainstorm with them recently at the company picnic. I learnt quite a few things during my time here.

Learning 1: Build a niche for yourself.
In my first interaction with Saurabh, he enlightened me about the importance of having a niche, a brand, so to say. Especially in content writing, having a niche will help me get higher pay because of the sort of expertise I would be having in the niche topic I choose for myself.

Learning 2: Networking is everything.
Although I already knew this one, after meeting the C4E team, I realised how small my network still is. It is important to put myself out there and meet people, talk to them, and advertise yourself to them.

Learning 3: I have come a long way.
I participated in the brainstorming discussion during the C4E picnic which made me realise one thing, that I have come a long way. 2017 Sid would have never said a word in such a social setting.

Learning 4: The Power of Talk
Read this really amazing article called ‘Power of Talk’ and learned a lot about linguistics and how men and women converse in different tones. You may read the article here.

Learning 5: Anti-Hero
I am famously known as the ‘anti-hero’ here and I love it. The people are C4E are very warm, welcoming, quirky, and amazing!

That’s it from Sid, the Anti-Hero for the month of January!


That’s about it from the 4 rockstars.
Do reach out to them and share a pat on the back if you liked it!
Until next time!

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