The Price I paid for Perfection! And how I came out of trap with ‘inspired delegation’

This article is a candid sharing from Vertica Dvivedi from being a ‘perfectionist’ to learning ‘perfectionism with delegation’. Many of us are trapped with the beautiful shackles of perfection which one takes pride of. While this article is not against being perfectionist, it wants to show how obsessiveness in perfection harms someone.

Are you a perfectionist?
Do you strive to be one?
Does flawlessness fascinate you?
Do you think perfectionism leads to excellence?

If any of these connect with you, we were on the same side once.
The idea is to walk you through my journey from just ‘being a perfectionist’ to ‘perfectionism with delegation’. I learnt that being quintessential is only one element of advancement and not the soul of it.

Now when I look back, I remember how fanatic I was about taking everything onto me for the sake of ‘the finest and the best’ [which I so wrongly thought can only come from me] until I realised that this is actually an issue, closer to illusion, and only piling and delaying the work. Back then, the fear of ‘What If’ drove me hard:

  • What if, if the final produce has some errors?
  • What if, if I don’t do it and regret it later?
  • What if, if the tonality goes off the way?
  • What if, if it does not sync with readers’/clients’ expectations?
  • And, so many similar ‘What ifs’.


And then all these ‘What ifs’ silently dragged me to the sweet & addictive world of PERFECTIONISM, a trap, fatal possessiveness, and the greatest myth ever that no one could do it the way I can.

It took me a while to face and accept that while perfectionism is not bad, balancing it with delegation is essential. I think that the pain and price [personal and professional] I paid for perfectionism drew me closer to my purpose. My WHY became bold and in the driving seat. Why am I in this business and where is it leading me to? A clearer ‘WHY’ also gave me the much-needed wisdom and impetus to peel the illusive crust of – being a perfectionist.

We all, the artistic genre, irrespective of the domain we operate in are prone to being Atelophobic – phobia of not being good enough or imperfection.

When I started to practice the lesser known, yet humongous power of ‘inspired delegation’, results were an eye-opener in the right sense. Today I operate with an attitude of: equip – delegate – empower and the outcomes which the team tosses surprise me. Have reset my mindset to – shall be able to do anything but not do EVERYTHING.

My not-to-do list has become equally or may be more important than the to-do list. 

Our work and life should be to strive for the ‘acceptable perfectionism’ and the ability to strike that ‘ideal balance’.

My pursuit to find and fine-tune this symmetry is on and I will keep it fuelling with a combination of “Perfection + Inspired Delegation.”






What not to do if your things are stolen while traveling abroad?

What not to do if your things are stolen while traveling in a foreign country?

  • How my money, passport & phones were stolen in Milan

  • Precautions & Care you must take

  • The Do’s & Don’ts if you become a victim of theft in a foreign land


Have you ever become a victim of theft?

I can tell you for sure that losing your passport, cards, money & phones (even the professional camera, a lot of data, drives & more in my case) while traveling abroad is extremely painful. It’s like you are left with nothing all of a sudden one night while far from the apartment– no identity, no money, no way to communicate!

If not for Madhu who was traveling with me, I didn’t even have the address of the apartment or a few pennies to make a call!!! This was my situation while traveling in Milan recently.

I went there for Salone del Mobile exhibition. The 2019 fair was visited by around 3.5 lac people from 181 countries. Milan tops the list of cities where Indian designers visit. As per a report by Corriere a few years back, Milan leads in the number of thefts, with close to 7800 complaints per 1 Lac of residents, followed by Bologna, Florence and Rome. During the fairs, foreigners become the easy target of such miscreants.

What happened to me can happen to thousands of other people thus I decided to share my story in order to save others from such harassments.



Like every year my eyes were filled with dreams about the latest designs we will see at the Salone del Mobile, one of the finest design exhibitions in the world. Heading a publication which is among the few magazines of the world that cover self curated exclusive content from the fair, this was my 5th year at the fair. With the usual ‘unusual enthusiasm’ myself and Madhu started out to hunt for the best to come in The Editors Choice – 100 Designs from Milan for Surfaces Reporter.

After a satisfactory day, we decided to take the train, expecting to reach the apartment in the next 20 minutes while taxi would take more than an hour. Even through the mad rush, one scene caught my attention. A beautiful girl, might be in her 20’s was pushing her way through in the opposite direction of the crowd while weeping ceaselessly. I just hoped all was well with her and her loved ones.

Her pain was visible that touched me even in those few seconds of my observation. My heart prayed for her and hoped all was well. Little did I know that our paths would cross again, very soon.

The rush was unbelievable. I stood near the door holding one of the bags and supporting the other with my leg. I had turned to take something out of my bag when Madhu asked me ‘where is your other bag’? In split seconds, I saw the person who was just behind me jumping out of the train with my bag. I could do nothing as the train door got closed and it speeded away. Totally lost, my mind was going back & forth calculating the amount of loss that happened. In utter shock, I looked at the people around, who were sort of quite normal with my loud scream and the innumerable times I uselessly pushed the door button in the running train.

We got down and I tried to collect myself. Sitting on the steps I counted my blessings before counting the total loss.

My mind asked me a question, “What if I was all alone?  Realising that Madhu is there and fortunately her card is safe, we will find out a solution quickly. After planning the ‘how to manage strategy’ we started on our mission to complete the formalities.


TORINO, MILAN (9 – 10 PM): 

At least 15 people were waiting to register their complaints. All were victims of theft in the last 3-4 hours in Milan. We saw tensed & long faces of people sitting there waiting in anticipation of some good news. We were one among them too for a short while until we realised it was futile to expect any good news soon.

I shed the victim tag and replaced it with the tag of a journalist. Excerpts from my observation:
  • We were surprised to see the same girl sitting there who was ceaseless crying outside the Salone fair. See how life makes a full circle. Her bag was snatched while she was walking outside the fair. She was Turkish and couldn’t speak either English or Italian.
  • Three girls from Russia were still not able to make out how and where their bag was stolen. The friends were on a holiday. One of the girls was crying non-stop. Well, no one interrupted her.
  • A Chinese group was talking ceaseless, looking really disturbed.
  • Another woman and man from India entered looking very hopeful of finding the purse of the lady that was stolen while they were enjoying coffee. After sometime, their faces didn’t exhibit the same brightness.
  • An old lady was sitting alone in a corner with her face turned away. My heart prayed for her.
  • Two men were standing at the gate. Their bag was stolen from the hotel room. They requested for a Spanish form to file the complaint.
  • I was curious to see how a man was doing some rotational movements with both his hands and whispering to himself. Someone there murmured ‘aura cleaning.’



  • Foreigners are targeted
  • 70-80% thefts were targeted on women
  • High traffic areas are selected for thefts specially trains during rush hours and tourists spots, shopping areas around Duomo
  • Visitors of the design fair are high on target


The Do’s & Don’ts WHILE travelling:

  • Do not keep all the important things in one bag.
  • Better to keep passport, cards & money on the inside pockets of your jacket or in a sling bag.
  • Avoid trains in rush hours if you have multiple bags.
  • If in train, do not stand with your bag near the gate.
  • Be careful if anyone stops you to talk in the street or station. Someone might be trying to distract your attention for helping a companion to steal your bag.
  • If you are carrying a backpack, make sure to hold it on the front side for safety.
  • If you are visiting Milan for a holiday, take more precautions if it is during a period of important international exhibitions. Thieves are most active at that time.
  • Avoid responding to vendors in busy places. There might be thieves in disguise.


What you should Do?

  • Visit police station. Write the FIR clearly with proper mention of things stolen. Mention the phone & email to contact you back.
  • Someone told us to report the loss by emailing to However, I suggest get the FIR from the police station first.
  • Take the copies of FIR, photos, and copies of passport to the consulate and get an EC (Emergency Certificate) done for travelling back to your country.
  • Send notifications to the bank to block the cards.
  • I enabled the ‘Find my Phone’ and set it in lost mode.
  • Change the passwords of apps, bank accounts & emails.
  • Check with the Travel insurance and file for the claim.
  • It is important to get back to business at the earliest so take actions that help you to recuperate. I booked a new iPhone XR, informed business associates, postponed some meetings, cancelled overseas tickets of recent travel, and ensured my office is active in reducing hassles.


What Not to Do or avoid doing?

  • When you lose things, Do Not lose your mind.
  • Situations are not under our control, but precautions are.
  • When you lose, Do Not miss the lesson
  • Do Not waste time. The time to mourn over the loss of things should be postponed to time after some important formalities are done.
  • Do Not focus on what’s gone. Focus on what’s remaining.
  • If you are reading this just after losing some valuable things in a foreign land, Do Not stop here. Collect your mind and collect your resources.
  • Do Not spend time informing people unless they are of any help.
Collecting sympathies do not help where actions are required.
  • Do Not take safety lightly. Take actions to avoid misuse
  • Do Not reply to any email informing about your stolen things unless you verify it.
  • Do Not think it cannot happen to you again 🙂

Though the incident was quite unfortunate and it disturbed my plan in Milan, we did try to make the most out of the trip, both professionally and personally. It was a good trip except for this incident. Madhu’s presence actually saved me.  Here are some of the photos from Milan (what do you think: were these clicked before or after my things were lost? 🙂


One of my friends asked how I felt having no money, no identity and no phones with me all of a sudden in a foreign land. My response was, ‘nirvana’. I did feel out of the world for some time! Well, did I have any choice other than to turn the wounds into wisdom?


Vertica Dvivedi

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Please note: My intention is to help others to be aware and take precautions. No city is good or bad, just the situations are.


7 Global Trends in Design

Currently in vogue and some emerging

For myself and my team working for Surfaces Reporter Magazine India, exploration is a part of life. Daily, we come across many new ideas and designs. Some just pop in and out, while a few not only create a lasting impression but also evolve with time. There are ideas that enter the design world like a simple trend and eventually become a part of our life. In this article, I have explored a few quirky trends like ‘Minimal Design Maximal Art’ and ‘Mix but Do Not Match’. Among the rest of ideas, some have the potential for massive advancement, especially, ‘Biofacturing,’ ‘Technology & Design for health & wellbeing,’ and ‘Self Sustainable Homes’ which are currently at the nascent stage of development.

1. Biofacturing

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Look how the chairs are growing on trees (Photo- Full grown)

Manufacturing with bio-products along with nature to grow materials and objects is known as Biofacturing. Products are grown to meet the requirement with minimum waste and maximum use. Today, the world is burdened with landfills of waste and materials that need recycling and reusing. Biofacturing eliminates the need for all that and creates products with a negative carbon footprint. Good examples are the lab-grown bio fabrics.

An interesting natural designer product is my favourite ‘Full Grown’ furniture. Gavin Munro’s products are grown just like normal trees, shaped to perfection, and then cut out to be a functional piece. Likewise, Eric Klarenbeek in The Netherlands is experimenting with 3D-printing of mushrooms. Once it is full-grown and dried, it turns into a structural, stable and renewable material.

2. Minimal Design Maximal Art

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Large art in plain setup

Minimalistic has been running as a trend for a long time. Some people in between experimented with ‘maximalism’, especially in the hospitality sector, to create differentiation, however minimalistic still tops the chart. This time in Salone del Mobile. Milano, I observed a lot of minimalistic design setups with art becoming the centre of attraction – basically, art doing the talking for the interiors. An important aspect to note is that art may not be just for the sake of art but relevant functional objects/designs which are serving both the roles. Minimalistic continues to be in, while with it maximalism is making a re-entry, puncturing to make a place within a minimalistic design.

3. Self Sustainable Homes OFFER Infinite possibility

Casa-Ojalá-would-be-transported-by-truck-and-assembled-by-the-architect's-team (1)
Casa-Ojalá-would-be-transported-by-truck-and-assembled-by-the-architect’s-team Photo: IB Studio – Filippo Maffei

A Roman poet Horace once wrote:

“This is what I prayed for,
A piece of land – not so very big,
with a garden and, near the
house, a spring that never fails,
and a bit of wood to round it off.”

Those words though are from 30 BC, about 2000 years ago, still, strike a chord with what human beings ultimately seek in life. Nowhere in the poem has the poet talked about extracting the maximum. Extracting the maximum from work, life, nature are the outcomes of modern competitions and measurements of today’s success. The words ‘not so very big,’ and ‘a bit of’ touches my heart and tells volume about what the world needs to stop and notice. Thankfully, designers are addressing this issue with ‘design’.

This project is by Ar Beatrice Bonzanigo from IB Studio which shows a transportable home with 20 different configurations. Look at the amazing possibilities it has opened up. This customised house occupies 27 sqm and is designed to be placed just anywhere.

I am feeling so ‘fixed’ after looking at this super ‘flexible’ home design. This patented project has two bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, a living room and even a terrace! Solar panels and rainwater management for water completes the setup.

4. Mix, but do not Match

Chairs-depicting-the-personality-of-their-owners---standing-out---but-in-collaboration (1)
Chairs standing out individually but connected together to form a set

An exciting trend indeed! I witnessed various designs which compel you to stand and watch for some time as you find something is out of place initially. For long we have been seeing a lot of mix and match, be it in designs, patterns, colours etc. But this time, I saw people are mixing, but not deliberately matching. Amidst chaos, you see harmony; your eyes align with the design, and you feel “It’s ok. In fact, it’s different and good!” I am keen to try something like this!

Somewhere even amidst chaos, you see connectivity and harmony as individual elements or as a collection of different designs; your eyes align with the design, and you feel “It’s ok. In fact, it’s different and good!” I am keen to try something like this!

5. Technology & Design for Wellbeing & Health

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Technogym-Village A large area dedicated to wellness

Two years back in Milan, the work of a young boy caught my attention. If you pass through his designs, you may not even stop. However, if you see what his furniture can do, people working in the corporate world are sure to find some solution to fitness at work. As I traversed through the beautiful hallways of Salone del Mobile 2019, I was glad to see that the trend is picking up well. Thankfully enough, design and technology are connecting and crossing paths in our lives for the better.

“A Place for Being” by Google presented an exhibition recently citing “scientific proof that design is important”. It makes a visitor to wear a wrist band which is capable of recording the brain reactions giving different physiological information about levels of well being in different design space.

Gym equipment manufacturer, Technogym, who is the official supplier to the London 2012 Olympic games, has opened ‘Technogym village’ with a large area dedicated to wellness, physical exercise and education related to wellbeing.

Punjab and Haryana occupy top slots when it comes to burning agro waste. As per NASA Earth Observatory, 7-8 MT of leftovers are burnt after the harvesting season. Several diseases like asthma, bronchitis, retarded nervous system, and cognitive impairment are the result of inhaling harmful gases. A young startup from IIT-Delhi, Kriya Labs is working on using technology to reduce pollution levels in India by making cutlery from agricultural waste. The world is looking at technology with hope – the point where engineering & creativity meets.

6. Why Waste

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A fish skin clutch collection using ocean food waste (Elisa Palomino)

If humans want to survive, the eco-friendly solution is to
consume less. As designers and creators, we need to
find a positive de-growth.Philippe Starck

This year is about going many notches deeper and taking sustainability and waste management most seriously. Students and researchers, while focusing on ‘how to fix’, are emphasising on ‘how to not abuse at the first place.’ The trend is to focus on contributing rather than extracting.

Designers are trying to use waste in a meaningful, functional way, for example, by creating lights, furniture and even clothes & accessories out of waste. Manufacturers are using waste as raw material wherever possible. However, interestingly, the focus is shifting from ‘how to use waste’ to ‘how to not waste at all.’ If waste at all happens in designing, then it needs to be used wisely. For instance, it is good to create a flower vase out of the waste of another product, but we need to think, now what happens to that flower vase after it wears down? How this waste is to be reused or recycled; how the cycle is to be completed – these are the issues that designers are focusing on now. ‘Going circular’ is the trend that I am referring to here.


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A Plant Mat

Just like IoT (Internet of Things) is permeating every sphere of our lives, I would say, the design fraternity is gearing up towards ‘Plant of Things.’ We have been recently witnessing much greenery in facades, rooftops and more. However, what is new? Designers are going a step further – they are trying to bring green to life within and with products! Be it furniture or wall decors; they are trying to make them more alive with plants. The trend is to make plants an indispensable part of our lives, through objects of daily use, such as making ‘moss’ a part of our office table top. Wow! For another project, Matilde Boelhouwer in his concept for Liveable Earth’ designed a beautiful collection of artificial flowers that can convert rainwater sugary which can act as food for insect pollinators in emergency requirements. This kind of care for nature where design is used to address the very basic need of pollination and food for insects is observed for the first time. Way to go!


Author – Vertica Dvivedi
First published by – Surfaces Reporter magazine, May 2019

NOTE: The images are selected from various sources, some for the purpose of reference only.