I first saw Furqan on the day of finals of Master Orator Championship-2017. He was on the stage collecting his prize for winning the Toastmasters Quiz Competition. He looked dapper with his 6-foot frame in a trim suit.
Later in the day I met him personally and he was very very amiable. Very humble, calm and composed, he has a certain charm in the way he speaks which you won’t forget for awhile.
And then back home I went through his profile and his blog and damnnn he’s killing it.
A little fact: He solves a 3×3 Rubik’s cube under 15 seconds!!
Dancer. MJ Fan. Speed Cuber. Orator. Photographer. Blogger. Sketch Artist.
All packed into One.
Let’s see what he’s got to say today. Trust me this will be a blast!!!!
Greetings Furqan. Before we start digging into your brain, tell us a little about yourself.
Well, you have got everything covered so what do I have to say?
I was born in Riyadh, KSA( Saudi Arabia). I spent most of my childhood there. Thanks to my parents, I had a wonderful time. My parents brought me up here to India when I was 10 years old. Since I continued schooling in my hometown Kurnool, I had been an introvert all this time. Never been hanging out much since I don’t have any brothers, video gaming alone on PC, living life in solitude. But stepping into the fields I find interesting made me feel that I like socializing with people who I find real, simple, humble. So maybe that makes me an ambivert.
Even in college today, I like being nice to people around but I still am the one who spends his time alone. I learnt not to depend on anyone.
In my free time, I draw sketches. Or sometimes I write rap lyrics.
Apart from all this, I’m also a sapiosexual person.
Will you share with us some of your favorites? Would love to hear them
Coming to my favorites… I watch anything except Bollywood.
Now that doesn’t mean I’m a Hollywood freak, but I do watch movies that are riveting and exhilarating. I’m a superhero movies fanatic, especially the Spider man universe. I’m so crazy for Spider man, I can tell what a spidey movie is like when compared to the comics.
(I can tell all the faults from each spidey movie, except for Spider-man Homecoming because it’s the right spidey movie they ever made. I would kill anyone who would say that Tom Holland’s Spider-man movie isn’t right).
Everybody likes superhero movies, but if I also tell you I like watching movies like The Unknown, you’ll know what other tastes I explore.
My favourite TV series so far are Marvel’s Daredevil, Sherlock, Friends, Suits and the best to make you laugh…Mind Your Language. Sherlock is the one I would re-watch over and over.
Coming to Music, I’m a big fan of Micheal Jackson (MJ), I listen to his tracks mostly.
I also listen to Linkin Park, Eminem, Alan Walker and some old ones like Backstreet, Lady Gaga, Spice Girls, N Sync.
There’s nothing better than older music, you know. Regardless of Cheap Thrills, Shape of You, Despacito, my all time favourite is Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal. 🙂
But sometimes too much music can also ruin you. That’s why I have a filtered playlist of selected songs on my phone.
I don’t read books. I know how a person gets engulfed and immersed when he/she starts reading. I would want to feel that magic but I nevertheless procrastinate. The best book series I’ve ever read was the Harry Potter ones. Harry Potter is love, Harry potter is life. I read a couple of Chetan Bhagat’s but gave up on his because love stories are not my kind.
Video gaming is what soothes my time. I mostly play electrifying games like the Ubisoft ones. FIFA is always amazing, but Player vs Computer isn’t as fun as Player vs Other Bad-ass Player. Now, since my life is spent in solitude, no more FIFA like I used to when I lived in Hyderabad.
Fuqran stayed in Hyderabad for two years during his time in Intermediate.
Wanna know my favourite Youtubers?
Alex Blanco Dancing
The Baigan Vines
and of course…
Did I miss anything in your hobbies or did I get it all covered :P.
How did it all start? All the activities and interests.
The whole of Internet is right in your hands. It all started with me searching how to moonwalk on Google back in 7th grade. I still remember that moment. The most wonderful thing I ever found was googling and then learning what you want to.
Why wonderful? Because that’s the best thing I usually did when I get bored. There’s a blogpost by me that delves more about me developing my interests and how one can do something similar. You just have to get bored to learn a new thing. After all, in all these interests you mentioned I’m still an amateur.
I always wanted to dance ( I actually do but its not more than a teen maar) and give a stage performance but the only thing holding me back is fear of embarrassment. You’ve learned to dance like Micheal Jackson on your own. What was the process and journey like?
Actually, I’m a badminton freak. It keeps me fit and healthy. I wanted to continue coaching but the stadium I went to was getting renovated. Couldn’t pull off much budget and time even after it’s renovation so I had to give up badminton. This was in my first year. So the next best thing I thought I could do to keep my body working was dance.
I know it gets embarrassing to dance. It happens with anyone if it’s their first time. The moment when I felt embarrassed the most was when I walked on to the stage, held the hat and waited for the music to start. But only if you knew what you are gonna do for the next 5 minutes on stage, it will allow you to feel a little comfy. What made me comfortable was that I knew the MJ feels since the very first time I moonwalked in 7th grade. So dancing to what you actually like will most certainly help. I watched MJ videos for numerous times until I got the moves compulsively on my own. When I got them wrong, I always went back to the tutorials on YouTube. Take a look at my video on YouTube. This was my last attempt at impersonating MJ but differently:
But after all, it was all for fun. I’m no dancer. It’s only MJ impersonation. It’s a proof that anyone can do anything just with a little hard work and internet in your hand.
Can you walk us through your first stage performance?
Before the dance, during the dance and after the dance.
Though I first danced at my Fresher’s party, allow me to explain about my experience at my first dance competition in college which was much later but with a bigger audience, so that you all can understand better.
Before the dance, I was excited to see how people are gonna get surprised with what I was gonna do. Something that nobody knew about me.
During the dance, I was confused if I might turn up into a laughing stock or someone admirable for the evening. But too much thinking can kill your dancing. So I did what I did.
After the dance, the crowd was chanting and hollering, I couldn’t help myself. From there on not only did I know how it feels to entertain people on stage, I also learnt how one can rule the stage just by knowing what one’s gotta do. Make your reason when there’s a stage.
I got to take this quote down
Make your reason when there’s a stage.
Days after that dance, it felt really great to be popular around the campus. Being given the name Michael Jackson of our campus in my first year is cloud nine to me.
Imagine the ecstatic ism of a young boy right from his first year in college. 😀
You’ve performed in front of a large audience, be it dance or giving a speech. What goes in your mind during that time? How do you handle the negative background noise in your mind? Any tit bits for a beginner?
Just like dance, you practice your speech. Without any practice, without any preparation you can’t do anything on stage. You go blank. And that’s how negative background noises in your mind happen. Just like I said if you knew the purpose of your presence on stage, everything will be fine. Believe me practice has magic. Which means, by practicing you don’t practice your speech, but in fact, you also practice your way of speaking. Keep doing that and next time you will be able to do an impromptu speech without hesitation. Trust me, it worked with me, I tried giving speeches on random things in my room out of boredom.
I would like to re-iterate what Furqan has said. I believe that Confidence is Preparation and the more you practice, the more you are confident.
From experience at the MOC 2017, I learnt many things. I flunked at the Semi Finals but what I started doing after the flunking is that I re-watched the videos of World Champion’s of 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014. Re-watching helps you become better. Comparing their speeches with yours, you identify flaws in your speech, script or body language. And every single time when I watched a Toastmaster’s winning speech video, I would get a new insight from it.
I would suggest you to watch Mohammed Al-Qahtani’s speech for as many times as it would take you to understand what his message actually was , closely noticing his little gesture in the end.
Now moving on to Photography. What interests you in photography and how’d it all start and how is it going right now? Though there are many photographers, most of them don’t get it right. Dime a dozen. What are 3-5 things a photographer should keep in mind.
You don’t need to own a DLSR to take pictures. I never did own one!!
It all started 4 years ago when one of my friends who had an iPhone clicked pictures of focused lights and flowers. So I started to explore my camera too. In the early days of photography I usually did macro shots. Instagram motivated me more. While exploring instagram I followed photographers who did mobile photography.
Now you don’t need to own a professional camera to do photography, because now everybody owns a Oneplus or an Iphone, if not that, at least a mobile with great camera quality. Mine is a 3 year old one so some of my pictures do suck even today.
What one can to do to level up his photography skills is this:
@Every Time adding filters to your pictures won’t be necessary. This isn’t BARBIE WORLD. I use Snapseed app on my phone to level up contrast and saturation. A little sharpening and done. Your picture is ready.
@Look for moments. Look for something that stands out. Risk for it and if not perspectives, click in the best angles possible. Even mobile camera have the availability of grid lines. To click perspectives, in my case, the object or background must be aligned with the grid lines on your camera. Grid lines are also useful for different ways of clicking. Try googling Rule of Thirds. I bet you can UP your instagram feed with this.
@If you see something like a place, or something more of a background like sunsets, add subjects. It can be anything, from a toy car to people.
@Always explore your camera when you click pictures. ISO’s and Aperture modes will help you know how to click pictures at night and in daytime.
@Do you find something on your table? 45 degree angle view or birds eye view photography would be the best for pictures of food, your assignment with a laptop, etc.
Whoa!! I think I could write a whole blog on it.
Haha!! Eagerly waiting for it Furqan
If you could only share 3 pictures taken by you, what would they be? And why only them?
These two were my first best pictures from my first time trying out Photography.
These two were clicked at Qutub Shah Tombs.
This one hits a lot of nostalgia. I was in Hyderabad.
You don’t know how much of effort I had put in this. No touches, no exposure setting. No filters. It’s raw.
Here are a few perspectives from Indian School of Business. Thanks to my friend Samreen to act as subject.
And here’s the pictures of stuck at home photography, indoors and outdoors.
And here are some of the best I clicked in my college. Look for perfect timings.
I couldn’t choose the best three, but I chose the best to show what I did so far. If only a true a photographer judged my pictures, he would know where I am.
Now moving on to what I think is the kernel of Furqan – Speed Cubing. Walk us through your Cubing Journey Furqan.
Cubing is a passion. When I learnt to solve one, I put my everything into it. Once you get into it, it becomes an addiction. At the start, I took my cube to school, to other places. Even today I would cube in car when I travel. Even the ones I taught also went along cubing everywhere. For me, maybe boredom got me there, but it takes a lot of practice to become a sub-15. One has to memorize over a 100 algorithms, each of which takes a shortcut depending on the conditions to end the solves. There are different methods to solve the rubik’s cube, but I bet every cuber out there has definitely stumbled upon the beginner’s method at first. If you wanna become a Speedcuber, learn the Fedrich Method. It’s the most popular one. How do you think these world records happened?
It’s been 2 years and I have been to only one competition so far. I still plan to visit one again and this time do my best. Cubing had surely got me some cool cuber friends. I have a dream to stand among this country’s top 100 cubers. It’s hard, but dreams are meant to be that way. Always aim for the sky!!
Cubing competitions are where you compete and set your mark at Nation Record, Country Record, World record. You get rankings according to your personal best solve at a competition and also according to average of 5 solves of that competition. It’s been a year since my first competition and this time I wanna unarguably update my positions. 🙂
Good luck on that Buddy!!! Wish you the Best.
All these things about you, they really inspire me a lot. I’m a big fan of Charlie Munger’s Mental Models i.e using the learning from one area and implementing in another. Can you tell us how each of your hobbies has brought a positive change in you and how it has affected other parts of your life.
I think I can take my cubing thing here. I’m not really good at planning, but cubing gives me the idea of how I could inspect certain real life scenarios. People think I’m weird but I do like to find details about any upcoming scenario.
Because how can I solve the cube in time when I don’t inspect the cube?
If I don’t inspect, how am I gonna make the solution to the first part of a condition?
Same applies to real life events. When you are inspecting something, you are actually looking ahead. You learn how to be decisive thinker. You learn to build a foundation for a program or an event. So before the initiation of anything, you acknowledge it’s condition first.
A tricky question – if you could only continue with one hobby, what would it be and why?
That make it tricky obviously. I would love to continue speedcubing – never gonna give up. But it’s public speaking that I’m serious about right now. I can implement my cubing skills in here. I could try delivering my messages regarding my speedcubing experiences. Because there’s life in a rubik’s cube.
Reminds me of something said by Tim Ferriss. When given two options, ask – why not both. Very smart, Furqan 😛
Are there any favorite failures of yours. One which might have hurt back then but in retro respect has resulted in your growth?
I remember breaking my own friendship with someone. Though I think it could be his mistake of not understanding me, I take it as my failure. The next time there are worse people coming in my life, I could be mature enough to be soo nice to them, they might find their own mistakes before they break down with me. I learnt that 10% conflicts are due to difference in opinion. 90% of conflicts are due to wrong tone of voice.
Digger deeper now Furqan. Where do you see yourself in 5/10/20 years from now?
I wish I could tell you but I don’t want to say. You’ll see for yourself. 🙂
Also it would be lovely if you could share with us some things from your bucket list.
I dreamed of becoming that Badminton player who would reach olympics and represent my country.
I always wanted to see myself at the Britain’s Got Talent stage sometime, not just because I would dance. There are many things I could try- Like Beatbox and Cubing, beatbox and dancing or cubing when rapping. Mix matching things up.
I also want to win the World Championship of Public Speaking. And if possible, the youngest Toastmaster International winner so far.
And I would also love to travel to Istanbul and London.
You’re in your 3rd year now. What advice would you like to give your juniors? And if you had to start again your Btech life what would you have changed?
If I was a junior again, I would put myself into exploring more than how much I did so far.
If it was cubing, I would have done everything to visit all of cubing competitions because who knows, my personal best could have been somewhere else and brought me a renowned position.
Fellas, when there’s an opportunity, run for it. More the opportunities you miss, the more you are gonna regret.
Keep going after what you are passionate about. I would also take good care of my academics since the start because too much of distraction has left me poor at it. If you enjoy the pleasures of your life and build that false pride in your heart, I’m sure life is gonna knock you down any moment.
One last thing. Open up with your teachers at college. Be friendly. Miracles will happen.
Resonating with Furqan, one big regret I have from my school and college is not interacting enough with my teachers, juniors and seniors. If I had to do one thing right again, it would be this.
If you had one extra hour of free time every day, how would you use it?
I could be watching an episode, a movie or I could probably do speedcubing. I would mostly do untimed solves or practice an algorithm to improve muscle memory.
And if ever I had the equipment to make YouTube videos, that would be all.
Better equipment, a better YouTuber.
Name one thing you are super proud of.
Solitude. Because there’s no sharing in it. 😀
Unexpected answer. Loved it nevertheless.
Any favorite tools, apps, hacks etc which have improved your quality of life?
There’s an app called WifiKill. Once connected to any WiFi, this app allows me to access the number of devices connected to it. What’s fun, you can view their activities.
What’s more fun, you can block them from accessing the Internet. Tried this with my teachers and classmates at college (Not anymore, got bored). 😛
Another app I use is Elevate. It gives you games that help you improve writing, reading, speaking, listening and maths skills. I use the pro version of this app so that I can access any game I want.
To avoid eye problems, I use Night mode app. When lights turn off, Night mode is on.
If you knew that you would die one year from now, what would you change about the way you are living now.
Help and Teach people.
Because there’s a saying that the best amongst us are the ones who teach or help others in their hardships. I would be glad and kind enough to teach someone who lacks knowledge or skill. Better to be that way everyday because who knows, I could also die tomorrow. Life is a test.
Takes hat off!! Bow
If you could hang a motto or saying in every home in the world, what would it be?
Your talents are amazing. But your character can do wonders. It’s more appreciating.
Reminds me of a phrase from Meditations. A book by Marcus Aurelius. “It can only ruin your life only if it ruins your character” – Marcus Aurelius
Last one for now :p . What do people never ask you what you wish they did?
“Can you be my mentor?”
“Why do you not take selfies?”
I think Furqan would be more than glad if you would like to talk to him regarding anything mentioned in this blogcast. Don’t miss out on a good conversation with him 🙂
At the end of his post, I linked his facebook profile. Feel free to message him.
Any closing words for our audience. Can’t get enough of you.
There are two types of muggles.
The one who strive to become wizards of a field with passion and mastery, and the other who sit back and think all their lives believing they are muggles.
Who are you?
If you have know Harry Potter, you would know how powerful the above lines are.
Find Furqan on:
XXX THE END XXX
Thanks for reading so far. If you loved this format of interviewing check out my other two blogcasts.
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And lastly, thank you for your time 🙂