100521 – Meditations

A friend lost his father yesterday. This is a note to self about how I feel. Please read with caution.

7:42 AM. I had one of those sleepless nights. To a point that I even played chess at like 2:40 AM when I couldn’t get sleep. Last night, I know why I couldn’t sleep. I was hurting to start with. The COVID injection that I took has made my arm useless. There’s no body ache per se but the lower back hurts more than the arm. Plus, under the garb of eating comfort food, I have been putting crap into my stomach. As a result, there is thus perpetual pain in my stomach. And I am left feeling pukish all day long. I am hoping this would get better during the day.

How I feel is not important. There’s another thing that I want to log. A dear friend’s father passed away due to COVID. He was in the hospital and was getting good care but apparently, he couldn’t see the pain and suffering around him in the ICU where he was admitted. He sort up gave up the will to live.

Fuck!

When I heard it, I was so numb that I did not know how to react. Honestly, I had not met him ever but the friend is one of the most creative minds that I know of. I’ve studied with him, spent substantial time with him, had made multiple plans to do multiple things with him (all in the content space), even lived at his place when I was in the US for the first time. Even though his house was tiny and I had my parents and my sis with me, he accommodated us. Like a good friend.

Damn! I don’t even know what he’s feeling right now. Thanks to my parents, even though I am nearing 40, I have always stayed away from these vagaries of life. I don’t know what it means to lose a loved one. I know at some point in time I will have to face the loss. I can’t even think how it would feel. Last time another friend’s father passed away, I had similar feelings – of confusion, of not knowing how to console the friend and his family, of not being able to fathom the loss, of not being able to speak at all. It was unreal.

This time, no, I am not better prepared. I am as shocked and clueless in terms of how to talk to him and be that shoulder. I don’t know what to do to help him. I mean what can help someone who’s lost his father? Damn! I hate this chakra of life and death. I know this cycle is needed but the pain it causes is so so useless.

This also reminds me of my last trip to the ICU. This was in 2017 (or may be it was 2018) and I was getting my nasal polyp operated upon. It was a fairly simple routine and I was in a private hospital with a comfortable room with an attached loo and an attendant 24X7. After the operation, I was kept in the ICU for about 12 hours and I think those were the worst 24 hours of my life. Since I was recuperating from anesthesia and my nose was blocked. That meant that I had to breathe in through my mouth. And that meant the entire mouth, the nasal cavity, the lungs, and all that was as dry as the Sahara. At a more expensive hospital, they would have given me tubular oxygen but we couldn’t afford that. And thus I was literally dying of thirst. I remember getting in and out of consciousness. Each time I could open my eye, I remember begging for water. And the attendant not allowing me any. She wouldn’t. She knew her job well. Plus, in the ICU, there was no one but the medical staff. And I was a mere patient pestering for water. A case number. A nuisance.

I remember, I even told them that I want to give up if they cant give me water. But I do have vague recollections of me reminding myself of Man’s Search for Meaning and other such motivational things. I kept telling myself that I could be suffering on the outside, I could be subjected to all the bodily pain, but on the inside, in my head, it is up to me to remain unbreakable.

Somehow I got thru. But I know I could last because I was there for all of 12 hours. Any longer, I would’ve given up.

I promised myself that day I will do whatever it takes to never go to a hospital again. Thankfully, I havent had to. I have continued to not take medicines and let my body heal myself. I know the lifestyle I have, I will probably need a doctor soon. But for the time being, I am ok.

Coming back to the friend, I just hope he tides through this. The loss is irreparable. This COVID crisis has made us humans immune to suffering – there is so much around us that we have accepted to live with it. It’s a good thing for the human race in general. But it’s a terrible terrible thing for individuals that have to face the loss. Like I said, I am unable to even fathom how to talk to people that have had to see a loss. I am not brave like that. It sucks.

I just hope that the day gets better as we go along. And the coming days too.

Over and out.

090521 – Meditations

An inane update from a day that went past like a breeze. In other works, I slept through the day!

8:00
Just woke up. Must have slept some 14 hours yesterday. To a point that I am having a hard time opening my eyes. I mean my eyes are anyway getting fucked, thanks to all this sitting in front of a screen all day long. The left eye is especially bad. I think I need to add a distance to the screen. Or may be the distance is adding on the strain? Will check with Kunal and figure out.

So in some good news, I got the first shot of the COVID vaccine. I got Covaxin, not that I had a choice. I took it around lunch yesterday. Here is the Twitter thread that I wrote about the process etc. I am told that I may show some symptoms of the disease but so far I feel ok, except for some soreness in the arm I got the vaccine in. Guess that would go in a few days. I am hoping the second shot (due in about a month) would be as comfortable.

The getting of the vaccination slot for this COVID vaccine has been such a harrowing experience. To a point that I had almost given up. But then like other things, it’s a matter of luck and doggedness. Of course, the celebs seem to be getting these slots east and have spotless sofas to park their asses on when they get the vaccine.

To be honest, I actually did not want to take the medicine – I mean, the vaccine is super new and no one knows of the long-term effect on the human body. One of my friends that understand medical science told me that this could be a foolish thing to do – you know, inoculate the entire world with something that we have no experience with. What if that ends the human race? But then more and more evidence starting pouring in about the benefits and advantages. Plus, to be honest, I had the FOMO about not taking it when others I know took it. Plus, if this vaccine allows me to travel around freely (if not outside, even in India), why not? I can’t be at one place, you know.

So that. Let’s see how today goes. Depends on how my body copes up with the vaccine.

Oh, I am starting with a Keto subscription from next week. Even if it’s expensive and I cant afford it. I want to give a part of the coming week to not starve my body. And I have firmed up in my head that I need to move on from this house. I will start the search. The tenets of the places I want to live at remain the same – spacious, higher-floor, newer-building, close to a Starbucks, unfurnished (apart from ACs and Wardrobes). I am ok with Thane or Borivali etc. The days I need to be in the middle of civilization, I will shack up with friends. I have a few bachelor friends that are sprinkled around Mumbai where I can go shack up on days when I need to be in a city. These are at Andheri, Ghatkopar and Worli. The Ghatkopar one lives in a chimney, so I may not live with him.

But the point is, I will lean more on friends. And if nothing else, I have a friend that runs a chain of youth hostels. I can always use that. I can request him to give the room to me for cheap.

Guess this is finally a step in the direction of becoming a nomad. If only I had the money, I would probably live in a hotel for life! Sigh!

Oh, I will take the search easy. I will not make a hasty decision.

So that’s about it for the day. For most of the day yesterday and the day before, it did not irk me that I have lost that the data that is literally my life’s work and all that. Guess what’s gone is gone and subconsciously, I have accepted it. I am hoping that in the long run, I don’t regret that I needed something and that is not longer available. Time shall tell.

With that, it’s over and out. See you guys tomorrow. Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 147
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 60
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0


080521 – Morning Pages

A longish update on nothing in specific. Just made a list of things that are clouding my head.

7:38.
Woke up about 10 minutes ago. I had literally passed out. I was tired. The day was exhausting af but I did everything that I want on a perfect day. So that’s cool. I ate things I love (a lot of carbs and ice cream to end the day). Spoke to AD, SJ, and even mailed PM. Attended the inaugural session and the first session at docedge – learned so much. If I manage to attend all sessions (which I am hoping to), I can see my life change! Did some work. Got some others to do some work. Walked some (almost 9K). Was tiring. By the time I went to sleep, I was exhausted. I probably slept well. I woke up at around 3, I had some water and then I slept again. So that.

Ok. Strangely I dont know what to write!

Lemme list of things that i am thinking on.

A. It’s VK’s birthday. Wished her. Been one of the closest confidantes. Unassuming, non-judging, stable in the head. Grateful to have her in my life. Got access to her because way back in 2009, took a shot out of my league. Here is the email that I sent her (that probably started our relationship)!

Screenshot of my first email to VK.

As I re-read this email, I realised that I dont recall half the things we talked about but I must have been damn impressed with her to have sent her that email.

Oh, the coffee shop thingy that I mentioned in the end, in 2009 when I quit CLA, one of the ideas was to start a chain of coffee shops. Like every other (pseudo)creative person. 12 years on, I am not any wiser. The coffee shop is a dream. Lol!

B. I’ve got a new person on board at C4E to help me with a project. She must be 30 and while it’s early days, she is a million times better than I. In terms of being responsible, orientation towards work, always-on thinking, and more. I would love to have more people like her on my team.

But then, early days. Let’s see how things pan out with her. If it works well, I will change my hiring thesis to getting people that are in late 20s, early 30s (rather than early 20s). Oh, btw, this reminds me, there are some incredible 16-year olds (16!) on Twitter that are doing some amazeballs work. I need to invest in them and get them to work with me! #note2self

C. While writing this, I realized I do not have boundaries between work and personal life. Which is ok, for the time being. The realization dawned on me when I was trying to figure what to write. While I was thinking, I kept reading about things that needed my attention. I kept checking the Cowin app / website for vaccination. I continued to think about all the work that I can do. Etc etc.

D. Last night evening, I was so exhausted from a computer screen that I decided to not look at it only! That’s new, if you ask me. I ended up seeing shit on my phone. Am I burning out?

E. I’ve found a new thing to trip on and kill time with. Infomercial videos. Ordinary people watch shit on Netflix. Extraordinary people read. Legends watch Taarak Mehta. People like me watch infomercials. I am a big fan of Vince Offer. He’s up there for me, along with people like Shekhar Sumar!

I mean see this Slap Chop video and tell me that you don’t like him!

Even though I don’t have a kitchen, I want to stop having a boring life and I want to order all the Slap Chops that I can imagine! I want the nuts. I want the linguini and the bikini! See it to believe it!

Wait. Here’s a #parkedIdea. Can I make a documentary on the lives of these infomercial stars? Should be interesting. No?

So yeah.

Ok, need to get on with the day. See you guys on the other side. Over and out.

Oh, here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 146
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 59
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

070521 – Meditations

A deeply introspective post on life, the aspirations and the meaning. Just because I lost all the data on a phone! Lol!

6:33.
Yet another one of those nights where I did not sleep well because of the AC snafu. Too hot without an AC. Too noisy with the broken one. Will try and get it fixed over the weekend. Must get tattooed all over my body to not move into an old apartment.

Anyhow. So, yesterday was an extraordinary day. For a few reasons. Lemme talk about three two of those. By the time I wrote the first two, I forgot what the third was ;P

Here we go.

1. Lost data on my phone

So I broke the screen of my iPhone a couple of days ago. When I got the guy to fix it, he somehow wiped the iPhone clean. You know, factory reset. And that means that all data on the phone went up in the air. Poof. Gone. And for some reason, went with it all the backups on iCloud, gDrive, and all other cloud services.

And I lost data from over the 10 years!

This included (and not limited to, I will get to know of the exact extent in a few days once I start missing things)

  • Photos, that I would be stubborn and foolish to not back up
  • SMS history. This is not so important if you ask. I mean who uses SMS anyway?
  • WhatsApp chats, with some 3000 contacts over the last 10 years. In some of these chats, I had “starred” things like addresses, important dates, conversation points, proofs of financial transactions, embarrassing pictures (no, not nudes), jokes, plans for the future, ideas to work on and I don’t even know what all. I hate that I’ve lost my conversation history. I no longer remember who I was angry with and who I needed to take revenge from 🙁
  • Content on various WA groups. I had made a lot of groups with various people where I would share things that needed easy access. There was this group called ‘SG Self’ where I would send myself reminders and important links, files, conversations that I needed to archive. That’s gone. This is the one that I regret the most! To a point that I could’ve cried for this.
  • Notes. While I seem to have some on iCloud but there are some that clearly weren’t. Like there is this note that I had that had all addresses – Mumbai house, Delhi home, office address, Bank address, friend’s addresses, etc (for easy reference), and this note seems to have vanished. There was another one where I had listed all the domain names I own. That is gone as well. But some are there. So not sure.
  • Tags. I used WA as a full-fledged personal knowledge system! Every message worth saving, archiving, reflecting, to be worked on, and all that, I would tag them in a private chat. You know, #parkedIdeas, #toDo, #toThink etc etc. All those are now gone!
  • Apps. I had some 400 Apps on my iPhone and all of those are gone. I probably did not use 90% of those. But there are some that I needed for work – authenticators, calendar, Teams, Zoom, etc. Had to get those. The bigger challenge was to log in to all those accounts with a hundred OTPs (you know, 2FA).
  • In-App data. There were apps like Nomie, MoveX, and more that had data that was not backed up ever. That’s gone. Damn. Not that I needed it but I had plans that at some point in time in life, I would use the data from over the years and analyze. May be this is the sobering I need and a reminder that I need to act on things now, rather than procrastination.

Other things like emails, contacts and documents that resided on the cloud within applications and services is safe.

The greatest relief is that all the contacts are safe. I mean, you are as good as your phone book. No, emails dont cut. I still believe in the power of handshake. The friendly nod on a Zoom call can never replace a firm handshake.

So that.

Lemme reflect on this a bit. Let’s see where I reach.

So, this is the first time when something like this has happened to me. Otherwise, most times when I have stared at a potential loss of data, I am really meticulous. I’ve mostly been able to retrieve things. I mean I have lost tabs often (I have thousands of tabs open all the time on my browser and it invariably crashes) but a full-scale phone wipeout has never happened. This was definitely a new experience.

When I realized I’ve lost the data, to be honest, I went through the stages of grief – I was angry > I went into denial > I was sad > I accepted > I started the recourse. I was even anxious.

But surprisingly, all this happened in like 15 minutes!

It then became more of an irritant than painful. I did not know I could be this indifferent with the loss of my digital assets. Guess it’s a good thing that I get over things fast. I think I am super inhuman about things. May be I’ve become emotionally detached from outcomes?

And if I am bereft of any emotions, why am I even alive?

I mean, in my life, it’s these digital things that are important to me. I’ve never had any tangible assets that I cared for. I am not much of a hoarder. I plan to move to a minimal lifestyle. Convenience (and not attachment) guides my actions and decisions. Comfort often trumps emotions. Social constructs sound like unnecessary obstacles. The digital world and online strangers have been my solace in absence of any deep friendships that for some reason I just didnt develop couldn’t create. I would probably die an anonymous and a lonely death. I better be rich when I die or the story of my life would read pathetic, if it’s even worth telling. Lol. And when I am gone, will someone write such a long blog post (if blogs exist at that time and Tik Tok has not taken over the world) lamenting about things related to me? It may not be a bad idea to fake my death to see how people react. #parkedIdea 😀

Anyhow. I am nudging towards a rant. The point being, I lost a lot of important data yesterday. I don’t even know the extent of damage – I will probably discover it over the next few days. This short post is my attempt at reconciling with the loss and moving on. This is my mourning ritual after an irreversible loss (thanks, Anjum Sir for opening my eyes towards it).

2. Chose myself over work.

I got selected for a month-long, immersive workshop on Documentary Filmmaking. This means that I have to attend almost three hours of sessions almost every day over the next 15 odd days. And these sessions are planned bang in the middle of the day. And these would conflict with my work.

Normally, I put work over everything else. Even my family.

But this is one of those rare occasions when I decided to my colleagues that I need to attend the workshop and I would unavailable.

From what I expect of them, they would understand and things should be ok. But in case they don’t, I will choose the workshop over them, if I have to. So let’s see how it goes.

I start today. I can’t wait to take this (yet another) baby step towards becoming a filmmaker. I don’t really have any other ambitions apart from (in order) seeing my writing come to life, entertaining people, and making money while I do the first two. I mean I don’t want to be an actor or something. I definitely don’t want to be famous for the sake of being famous. I just want to have an audience for my thoughts, ideas, rants et al. And this audience has to nudge towards action after they listen to me. And this audience has to give me feedback and help me learn more and become better. And this virtuous cycle has to repeat till we reach a point where things like organized religion are scoffed at, where science takes precedence over blind faith and chasing individual success is celebrated.

That’s all I ask for, from this life. For whatever it is worth. I mean the true meaning of life is to create meaning for others. No?

Oh, I have to put this on paper.
I got selected for this just because I took a shot that I knew was out of my league. I know that of such 100 shots that I take, less than 1 would work out. But when they do work out, they return handsomely!

The lesson for the day is?
Take more shots that are out of your comfort zone. And out of your reach. And even the ones that you are DAMN SURE you wouldn’t get. After all, you will miss each shot that you don’t take!

May be the answer to the frivolity of life is to keep taking shots? And then go through the emotions on the basis of outcomes.
You are preparing to take the shot? Get excited and lose sleep over it.
You get it? Rejoice.
You don’t? Console yourself.

Get the drift? Do tell me the next out-of-league shot you’re taking.

And to end this, here’s streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 145
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 58
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

I am being damn inconsistent with things.
Need to pull socks!

That’s it for the day.
Over and out.

060521 – Meditations

A longish post on things like COVID, house, iPhone and more. Little dark and depressing. Read at peril.

5:43. I woke up with a combination of a weird pain in my stomach (I suspect it’s the chana masala I had for dinner) and even more weird sounds that the AC made throughout the night. The AC at my place, on a normal day, sounds like Bane. It has its moods. It can be incredibly quiet. It can be incredibly loud. And it can be that tease that wants your attention all the time but would never give you the action.

And now that I am up, I better make use of the time. If nothing else, I can get done with the morning pages before I dive head-on into the day ahead. I am not sure what all do I want to write. But let’s try.

A. iPhone snafu.
So I broke the screen of the iPhone (this is a 2018 X). This is at least the second time that I have broken a screen on this one. Last time, it was last year, around this time (and during another lockdown) that I broke it. I am tempted to buy a new phone (I’ve been using this for 3 years now and it’s time for an upgrade; I want. Not need.) but I think I will get this one fixed. That’s anyway not the point. The point is that I don’t have a usable phone. And I feel helpless without one. Lemme try and think why is that and may be make a list.

For starters, all my work is dependent on the phone – coordinating, taking feedback, giving inputs, conversations, and so on and so forth. I use a variety of tools – Whatsapp, MS Teams, Phone Calls, Emails (in that order) and while I use a laptop for these, I am also dependent on a phone – you know, multitasking and all that. Without a phone, I was ok more or less for a large part. Except for Whatsapp. And I have to admit, I felt very very restless without access to Whatsapp. No, I am not missing anyone in particular. No, I don’t have any important messages coming my way. No, I am not impaired in my ability to work or get things done. Just that, something felt missing.

Then, I check the phone multiple times a day to get OTPs and other such 2FA applications (authenticator etc). Thankfully, I did not need to use a lot of those yesterday. May be today, once I am ordering my food. Or if I get logged out from any of work related things.

Finally, I think with an Internet connection on and a working laptop (about 4 months old), I was more or less ok.

But then I have to get the phone fixed. It’s the constant companion that I wake up with, that I sleep with, that goes with me to almost all the places you can imagine except the shower. It’s a thing that I carry even if I am not carrying any money on me. Or even the house keys. Now that I don’t have a phone, I realize that when I do have a working phone, I feel not just connected, but also empowered. When I hold an iPhone, I have that Thor’s Hammer, Arjuna’s Brahmastra, Iron Man’s Jarvis, and the Crypton from Waqt Humara Hai!

So that.

Oh no, I cant do an Android Phone, even if they are now far better, faster, sleeker, sexier, cheaper than the iPhone.

B. Done with Byomkesh
I’ve seen binged on all 32 episodes of Byomkesh Bakshi. These episodes were my companion over the last month or so for every time I had to eat or I had to let my mind wander.

For the uninitiated, Byomkesh is India’s answer to Sherlock. A detective that uses deductive reasoning to solve seemingly complex crimes. Each crime is seeming complex to solve, there are no clues on who’s done it or how the crime’s been done. And yet Byomkesh comes in, observes people, dips into his infinite pool of knowledge, and comes out with that thread that when pulled unravels the mystery.

Of course, the production value and direction and acting wouldn’t survive in the world we are in, the stories are so interesting that you are willing to ignore all those. Like I did.

I really wish I had the talent to write such simple and yet deep short stories. Brevity is not my scene. Must try and develop that muscle.

C. Tentatively started to look for a house at Thane and Borivali
So yesterday I started to look for a cheaper house. And since I want a lot of space, I need to move away from epicentres. So it has to be Thane or Borivali. This time when I take a house, I will make sure it is not an old building. In fact, I have to be the first or second tenant. And I dont want any old, rickety, tired white goods. And I need the place that has a Starbucks within a 2-Km radius. Rest I dont care about. Once this COVID thing is over (another 6 months I am hoping), I will move back to an epicentre. Or I would have moved to Goa by then. Or I would have left the country for good. I mean I don’t know where I would be in six months. But today, I know that I need to live with peace and I dont have that right now.

Let’s see what I actually do and if I actually make the move.

D. Scared about COVID
Some really good friends, the ones that take more than all the precautions required have got it as well. To a point where I am thinking, how is it that I am the only one left unaffected. Lemme illustrate with another example. If you opened my phone log and looked at a list of 20 people that I speak to most often, EACH of those (or their VERY close personal connections – wives, kids, parents, etc) have been affected. I feel like an anomaly to not have contracted the disease. I am wondering how. May be cos I live alone and the only person that comes into the house is my help? May be cos when I go for walks, I mask up, properly with the nose and all covered and maintain distance in case I encounter others around me. May be I’ve already had a minor strain and I have antibodies. I don’t know. But I know that it’s a matter of time before I get it. And with COVID, you don’t know what it would do to your body. Someone I used to play poker with passed away at 32. And I have heard of 90-year olds recovering. So, I don’t know. I think this is the first time I have felt fear. I don’t know why. But then, I think this too shall pass.

So that’s about today I guess.
When I was reviewing what I wrote, I realized this piece reads like a rant of a depressed and sad man. I did not intend it to be. I merely wanted to log thoughts in my head. But then, who am I to control whatever takes birth from me? May be at some point, it will tip. I will stop seeding these thoughts. Let’s see where it tips.

In the meanwhile, here’s streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 144
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 1
  • #noCoke – 57
  • 10 mins of meditation – 3
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 1

Over and out.

050521 – Meditations

Update on things clouding my head. There’s nothing new but usual suspects – life, house, money!

7:04. I’ve been up for a bit now. Actually, I didn’t sleep very well. Why? Well, among other things, I had a coffee yesterday. Iced Americano. After some 55 days. Can’t say I missed the taste but I did like the idea that it could be helpful when I have a lot of work.

No, I don’t plan to get addicted to it again.

It shall only be had on days like yesterday when things on my plate overwhelm me and I need additional help to come up with superhuman effort and knock things off my todo list.

And I will try to have it later than 6 PM. Yesterday I had it at around 8 I think and I was as wide awake as an owl till about 2. And then I had to force myself to sleep.

In other news, in another action item yesterday, I got back on Twitter and Instagram. And I plan to stay active. I may not post too much but I will offer and extend some morsels of help as and when I can. If nothing else, I will support others that are. It somehow dawned onto me that while I am unable to help, and I suck at offering a shoulder, I need to do whatever little l can. Even an iota of help could be useful at this time. Individuals across the world have shown what compassion and willingness to help can do when regulators and policymakers and governments fail. I have now seen the power and impact of an individual’s action. It reminds me of that aasman me soorakh line…

“कैसे आकाश में सूराख़ नहीं हो सकता, एक पत्थर तो तबीयत से उछालो यारों” – Dushyant Kumar

If I could get something tattooed on me, it would be these two likes from Dushyant Kumar. Apart from “this too shall pass.”

#note2self – I must make it a point to read some of the Hindi poets that are no longer around. They’ve some incredible work. I mean I am a fan of late Rahat Indori’s work, especially the way he would narrate his work. Must spend time on listening to some old ones.

Ok. Moving on.

I also saw this post by Rana Ayyub where she talked about how life is sudden and you may not get time to say goodbye etc. I am inspired and I have decided to write an email to every person that I have hurt wanted to apologize but did not have the courage to. I know some of those chapters were closed long ago and my apology will probably bring back bad memories for those people. I will thus be careful and ensure that I am mindful before I send. I will write those nonetheless, even if I don’t send them. I mean, I am sure I will remain safe in this pandemic but you never know what happens next. So I do not want to leave this world without closing some of these conversations. No, I am not premonitioning my demise but I want to not leave without saying a bye to people that have shaped me – in a good way or a bad way. So that.

Oh, how can I even forget talking about this? In fact, I had to start with this. Yesterday Bill and Melinda Gates announced that they are ending their marriage of 27 years.

27. Years.

This is the second person that I look up to that has done this (first is Jeff Bezos. He and Scott were married for 25 years). Both Bill and Jeff have been idols for long. Their marriages were #lifeGoals for long. The wives played such an important role while these guys were on the road, building their businesses and all that. I’ve in fact wanted a partner like that. That supports my maddening ambition. Or vice versa (become second fiddle to someone as ambitious). But this announcement just broke my heart. The last time I was this sad for one of my idols, it was probably when Steve Jobs passed away. For some reason, I was not that affected by the cheating and divorce scandal of Bezos.

Anyhow, if I had any faith left in the institution of marriage, this was probably the last nail in its coffin. I mean Bill and Melinda were married for 27 freaking years. They were my ideal couple – make a lot of money and then use the rigor of business in doling out that money to make the world a better place. Plus they are old. I mean Bill Gates is 65. Melinda is 55 something. After 27 years, you probably know so much about each other that even if some doubts creep in about the impending cracks in the marriage, you probably fix it beforehand. You know, it’s messier to separate at that age, especially if you are a public figure. It just reduces the impact that you can have.

Damn you never know what happens behind closed doors!

Someone actually put a tweet out yesterday that said that out of the top 10 richest people in the world, only 2 have not been divorced (Mark Zuckerberg and one of the Google Founders!). Is there a correlation? If there is, I am glad that my plans of not marrying in the first place will not tip the numbers in the list. Unless more people enter the list when I am there. Lol! King of wishful thinking, Mr. Garg.

Also, today is the 5th. When I had to give my landlord notice if I did not want a messy exit from this house. I had wanted to do it for two reasons – a, get to a cheaper place and b, try and move to Goa. Even though I know it’s tough to live and work in Goa, I wanted to have a base there. I know that I will not have the network that I have here. I know that things are moving online and people are ok to meet on Zoom but I am super ineffective on Zoom as it’s been proven a million times already. So that. In one line, I am in that limbo that I’ve been forever.

One option is to move to Thane or something and then use hostels or friend’s couches when I need to be in Mumbai. I will save on the rent, live at a distance that allows for chance meetings and such connections. I don’t know. This inability to decide obviously stems from the inability to spend money and that’s something that I need to work on anyway.

I think this is about it. Have a long day ahead that starts early. Time to move on with things. More tomorrow. Here’s streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 143
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0. Had one yesterday after 55 days!
  • #noCoke – 56
  • 10 mins of meditation – 2
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

040521 – Meditations

Had to wade through brainfog to be able to get these 800 or so words out. May not make a lot of sense.

7:07. Been up since 6:30 or something.
Wait, I need to spend less than an hour on this.

So, yesterday was weird. I started at around 9 and worked till about 8:30. Post that, went for a walk (and was on work calls even then) and was unnaturally tired while I walked. So tired that after just about 3000 steps I wanted to sit at someplace. No, not sit. Lie down. In Shavasana. However, since I was on a call, I endured for about 5000 steps and then I just couldn’t continue. I gave up.

I then hailed a rick and asked him to drive me around. Lol, poor man’s car ;P

The guy took me to Juhu Chaupati and then I asked him to take a U-turn. The ride was weird and good at the same time. I think I saw the life beyond the bylanes of Andheri after a while. I am the kind to anyway not step out beyond a certain radius, the lockdown has made me even more contained. At least for me, despite all my privileges, it is getting increasingly difficult by the day to live a life in a shoebox. Us humans were not designed to rest in one place. We are hunter-gatherers. We are colonizers. We are supposed to meet people and thrive. We are social. We are animals that need other animals – both stronger and weaker than us. The ones that are stronger scare us, inspire us. The ones that are weaker allow us to justify our existence. But in isolation, in a lockdown, when all you have is you and your thoughts, it’s impossible to be what we are supposed to be. Damn, I hate this.

Now I know what solitary punishments feel like. I at least have the freedom to move in my house, what if its all of 120 sq ft big? In a jail cell, you probably are in a stinking crowded room that’s half this size without any comforts!

While I was thinking about this in the morning, a character popped up in my head. It may sound autobiographic but imagine a regular person that sort of flips in the head because of the lockdown. To continue with his sense of adventure, he hacks together a sniper gun and starts knocking off people at random. And since he is on a higher floor of a high-rise in a country like India, he remains hidden and inaccessible.

No, I dont know what happens when he’s eventually caught. I did not think that much. But at least he gets to a sense of purpose! Lol!

Anyhow. Coming back to yesterday. The other thing worth noting is that I felt bloated for some reason. Probably this is why I couldn’t walk around in the evening. May be, I am eating a lot of crappy food? I can probably keep a log in terms of what I ate – yesterday, I had Dosa, Idli, Ice Cream, and Sandwiches. All these things were ordered (I don’t have a functional kitchen) and are super-high with carbs! May be that’s causing the stomach to inflate like a balloon?

Thing is, I’ve always had the guts of steel (thanks to growing up in a lower-middle-class part of Delhi) and I could digest whatever came my way. But I guess with age, I am becoming a soy. Maybe it’s all the seating on a cheap plastic chair for hours to get things done. Maybe it’s stress? I don’t know.

But I can fix things that I think are causing this. I think I will get back to eating less and eating lesser carbs. At least I won’t feel knocked up. So, will order today.

PS: I could workout as well but then I know I cant. I can walk for hours. I can do some yoga but I cant work out. It bores the hell out of me. I dont know how people go thru it.

In other things, I started reading Chuck’s Consider This and I am hooked already. To a point that I did not want to put it down, if not for work. I can see that I will fall in love with reading all over again if I can finish this book. I mean this book is more on writing than on anything but it still is written like a typical Palahniuk style!

Moving on. So one of the things that I decided yesterday was that I will get ready early enough and start with work. I did that and I think I did a lot yesterday. I just didn’t end on time – I think should stop “working” at 8 hours dot. Let’s see if I can.

I had also decided that I will not sleep during the day. And if I am sleepy, I would walk to the nearest Starbucks or Blue Tokai and grab a coffee. Yesterday, I wanted to but I could not find the time or opportunity to do so. By the time I did get the time, I did not feel the need. So that worked out. Let’s see how it goes today. I suspect I will need it. I have a lot to do and I don’t have a lot of energy – I feel drained even though I’ve just woken up.

Oh, I’ve also observed that the days I am groggy (the way I am today), the words for the morning pages don’t flow. This one was a struggle to write. To a point that I had to take frequent breaks. And still, I am not happy with the outcome. Ok, it’s almost 8. Need to get going.

See you guys on the other side. Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 142
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 55. I plan on ordering some today.
  • #noCoke – 55
  • 10 mins of meditation – 1
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

030521 – Meditations

Inane updates from an inane life of an insignificant man. Talks about films, coffee and random things.

6:16. Lemme dive right in. If you remember the post yesterday, I made a promise that I will attempt a 72-hour fast. I am proud to say that the promise lasted all of 72 seconds. As soon as I hit publish, hunger pangs started to bug me and I waited like a dying man to have the Swiggys and Zomatos of the world open up. And as soon as they did, I ordered enough to feed a baraat. Sigh. I will never have six-packs. I will never climb Mt. Everest, even if they put an escalator.

In other news, I attended a session on the life and work of Satyajit Ray yesterday, thanks to Jai Arjun Singh (do read his fabulous blog). While I did not understand half the things they talked about (apart from Felu Da, I haven’t consumed anything from Satyajit Ray), I could see that there were some 100 people in there, each smitten by Ray and his life and his work. There were people that were inspired by his work, that had gone to infinite lengths to consume things that Ray had created. The best? There were people that felt a personal loss when Ray passed away. Wow!

The other thing that I got to understand that he was like a lone genius that had a team of other geniuses working alongside him. The guy could write, direct, run a camera, sketch, design, paint, doodle, and whatnot. If he’s not a polymath, I don’t know who else is.

I am inspired. Must attend more such sessions to know more about the lives and work of more such maestros.

So that.

The other thing I need to fix is the damn lethargy that I get shrouded by all day long.
I don’t know if it’s the stale air that am breathing in this house?
Or is it the boredom set in by working from home?
Or may be it’s the age. You know, that simple!
Or is it the lack of actual, physical, 1 on 1 interactions with people?
Or may be it’s the lure of easy accessibility to a bed yoga mat.

I don’t know what it is but this has to stop.

I am thinking every time I feel lazy and feel like stretching myself, I will go walk to the nearest Starbucks (there are 4 Starbucks outlets in the 2 KM radius of where I live, so I can choose which one do I want to walk to; and I can walk to a different one every day) or a McCafe (there’s one less than a KM away) or the discovery of the last lockdown – Blue Tokai (again there are two, both about 3 KMs away!).

I know I will OD on coffee but at least I would not sleep randomly. If anything, I will probably stop sleeping all these hours.

And the deal is that I can not order in. Even if I am getting large discounts, I will place the order and collect from the cafe.

I hope that unlike the 72-hour fast thingy, I am able to do this one. This sounds more plausible. This has components of everything I like – walking (will help the 10K count thingy), coffee, taking breaks, interaction with real people. So let’s see how that goes.

Actually, must admit, I don’t like coffee as much I like coffee shops but this walking to a coffee shop and getting it home is the closest I can get. Let’s see how it goes.

Ok. Remember that NFDC competition that I wanted to send an entry to? Well, they have extended the deadline to the 17th. I have another 14 days now to submit an entry. Lol! Not that I don’t have the time – I waste way too much time with these morning pages (I don’t know what end these pages serve), sleeping, and in general moving about. May be I will push myself. Maybe it’s a sign! May be I will limit the time I spend on these morning pages to just about an hour. The thing is while I write this, I tick other tiny things off my lists – responding to important emails, planning the day (for example, on today’s list of things, one of the agendas is to write a letter to one of my earliest penpals (PD)). Plus, I sort of wake up. The engine in the head starts to crank up slowly and I get ready for the day. So I like this time. But may be I will reduce this to strictly an hour. The next hour, I could spend on thinking about the book, walking, maybe working? I don’t know. Let’s see. Let’s experiment from today itself. As soon I hit publish on this, I will get ready and get in the work mode. And start with the book. Or the script.

The final thing that I want to talk about today is a combination of a few things. I was talking to SG2 last night and she reminded me of this tee-shirt that read something like, “ek zabardat toofan aaye aur uda de chuppi ki dunia“. Couple it with what’s happening in the country (you know, people dying and lack of apathy from the government). And then on top add my inability to help – I mean I have not moved a single muscle in this crisis to help others. If anything, I have been an escapist. I have shut all conversation channels where people are sharing their pain and anguish. Not that I don’t care but I am unable to offer a shoulder or even blurt out a line of sympathy. It overwhelms me – I did not know it would. But it did. And still does. The only good thing is that I am not triggered per se. I am functional, in whatever way. I am onto things. But I did not do shit for people that are suffering. Ok, before this becomes a rant and self-flagellating piece, lemme come to the point.

I will no longer remain on the sidelines. Enough of being chupp. Enough of inaction. I may not be an effective ear or shoulder, but I am an awesome brain for sure. So that shall be used. I dont know how or why or when. I will figure out and act.

So yeah. That’s it. It’s 7:21. I’ve been up for more than two hours now (woke up at 5ish) and I have been on this page for more than an hour. Let’s get going. Lemme get ready and start acting. Till about 10, I own my time. Will probably work on the book / script. Let’s see what I start with.

Here’s the streaks for the day.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 141
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 1. Did 10K yesterday.
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 54. I plan on ordering some today.
  • #noCoke – 54
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

020521 – Meditations

Inane updates from an ordinary life. Skip if you wish to.

4:27. Woke up 5 mins ago. I know this is freakishly early for most people but I have wanted to be up at this hour all my life. In fact, I want to be up at 4. The time when they asked us to wake up when I went for Vipassana. It’s rare that I am up at this hour, to be honest. Most days it’s between 6 and 7.

I am not sure what to write. I have been in and out of sleep last night. I was in the bed by 9:30 but I think I slept at 10ish and that too, was interrupted. I kept checking the phone and in sleep, tried to play chess. Oh, wait. Lemme delete it. I spend more than an h our on it everyday. Not worth it. Done.

So, today I am up because I have a podcast recording at 7:30. I actually made the mistake of accepting it. I sort of took it as a challenge in upmanship and agreed. Next time on, I will say no unless it’s one of those heroes. Nothing can, nothing must interrupt my morning. #note2self. I thus just have an hour or so before I need to go and do prep (research, etc). Here we go.

Have to log in that today’s MG’s birthday. She’s one of those rare ones that I care for. May she lives long and prospers. I will not be able to meet her, thanks to the lockdown but my wishes remain.

Next, over the last two days, I ate to my heart’s content. Way too much ice cream (Apsara’s > NIC > Naturals if you ask me). Parathas, Rice, Maggi, Upma, and all that. I was craving some great dosa. Had an ok one. A dosa can’t be had at home. You have to have it at a restaurant when it’s hot and cooling down fast. And you are trying to eat it faster to catch the crispies before they get soggy. But in the times we are in, that’s the best I could do. So that.

Today on, I am attempting a 72-hour fast. Before getting back on a low-carb diet. Not that I lost weight while I was on it over the last 15-20 days but at least in my head, I felt great that I was doing something about eating better. That’s all there is to life. Feeling great in the head! Let’s see how many hours do I do this time around. I typically tend to give up at around the 50-hour mark.

In other news, I am still tripping onto music from Murshidabadi Project. Specifically this one.

Oh, yesterday was yet another day when I did not shower till about 12. Thing is, I start with morning pages, and then I slowly start with work, and before I know it, it’s 10. And then someone or the other wants my attention and next time I see the clock, it’s 1. The day just goes by. So, today on, I will ensure that I shit-yoga-shower-powder-meditate before starting any work. I may not be able to do so today (you know, the recording at 730) but I will try for a shower for sure. Let’s see.

Next up, youtube played Chaap Tilak by Ustad Farid Ayaz and Ustad Abu Muhammad Qawwals. This. Loved the mehfil and their group. I never knew I would become such a fan of Hindustani music. But, I am. Also, this track is 47 minutes. The time that I have to write this piece. I in fact these longish tracks as my Pomodoro. There is this 24-minute track by Ustaad Shujaat Khan. I play that when I need to focus for 30 minutes or so. So that.

Ok, time for some serious things. While this is not a review or goalsheet per se, I have to move the needle. So in the month of May I have HAVE to ship one of my projects. I have to do 10K steps even with the pandemic raging. I have to get one more client for my work. I have to put in place building blocks for a startup for sure. Enough of this service business. Need things to be scalable and independent of me.

That’s about it. Need to rush. Here’s the streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 140
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 53 (will start on this next week)
  • #noCoke – 53
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

Slacking on most things, except this morning note. Need to pull my socks pants.

010521 – Meditations

Quick, short post on what’s clouding my head. Little confused and little all over the place.

8:12. I woke up a while ago. Heard some music. Saw two short films (The Gift and Who are you?). I’d recommend them highly. Really really good stories told really well. While I was seeing, I could relate to them at a human level and I had a tinge of envy – I wish I had made those. Every time I see something amazing, for some reason, I want to be the person that played a role in its coming to life. I don’t know why. I don’t know what in me makes me pine for such things. Anyhow.

So, we are on the first day of May. That means one-third of 2021 is over. Time to review the month and the quarter gone by. I know I am will not fare well but I’d love to do a review of sorts and see what I am failing at. May be next weekend. There’s a lot that needs to be done today.

Lemme talk about something that I have been thinking spotting for a few days. For some reason, everywhere I see, everything I watch, each conversation I have tends to tell me to work on the next book. I am sure this is not the first time I’ve had these strong signs but I think this time around, I think I will action!

I mean look at the signs – so strong and yet no action. Here are some…

  1. The day before I wrote about a friend wanting help with a book.
  2. Last night I saw a film and it used revenge as a minor hook.
  3. A bunch of kids that I gave some 10-15K to help produce their short-films came back with a poster and I realized that they need a lot more than money if they have to do well.
  4. Who are you? The film that I spoke about in the beginning.

So that. I must action.

Also, a new idea popped into my head. I mean new for me. Not new to the world. In fact, I tried to work on that idea with GD and Shatru way back in 2010 or something. I don’t even recall when it was. In one line, the idea is to create a library of characters, assets, literary work, assets, etc that can be monetized over the long term. It’s like planting a sapling that will start giving fruit after 100 years.

For example, I commission a few young kids to write edgy characters, plots, and stories. We release those in the world and let them take their own routes and evolve into a life of their own. And at some point, create a larger, more mainstream piece. Look at Raj Comics. They have this insane library of characters created by Pran and others. They can now monetize by creating such amazing content. Marvel and Disney have shown the way already with the way they are going. I love what Legendary does.

I did attempt it with TRS, PPP, and others but I realized I couldn’t control their destinies. I mean I am not a control freak but I believe platforms can do a lot more if I was in the driver’s seat. I am not the driver by design. I wanted to do multiple things. But this inability to move things is frustrating. I think the next thing I put together, I will want to be there. Let’s see what that is.

Anyhow. I am on a 100-year plan to create something that is larger than me. I just hope it plays out.

Let’s see how that happens. May be I will raise capital for that. But then, who’d invest patient capital to create things for that long? Know anyone?

In terms of more immediate things, I think I will get going with the second book. Something that I have been sitting on my ass for I don’t know how many years (7 if you are curious). So that. Lol, I am still “thinking”. Of action. #facepalm! Kya hoga mera.

Thing is, I know why I am not acting on the book. I need immediate feedback. I need to see progress. I need to see traction. The book is like, you know, takes a year to write and then months to see how it will pan out. On other things, I can see immediate output, experience immediate feedback, tweak if I have to.

The other things that I indulge in give me all these. And thus the things take longer to deliver get delayed. Plus Dal Roti. Sigh.

Plus, the other thread is conflicting interests. I like teaching (whatever little I can share). I know I like writing. I know I like helping others. And I know I want to have a lot of money. But for some reason, I haven’t been able to find a thing that marries all these. I mean have done independent things in each of these buckets but I haven’t found one thing that brings all these together. So that.

So the conundrum is – wanting long-term things, wanting to drive things, wanting dal roti, wanting to teach, wanting to want a million things. Lol.

Ok. Super jumbled in the head. Will pick this again tomorrow or something. Abhi need to get on with the day. A lot needs to be done. #toThink

Time to start the day. Here’s the streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 139
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 52
  • #noCoke – 52
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0.
  • Surya Namaskar – 0. Have missed this for 5 days now.