280221 – Morning Pages

A longish post about thoughts on a car, events, friends, relationships and alcohol. Read on.

8:04 AM.

Hello, World! I have a lot to say. I hope I get the words. Though I am tired (physically) and exhausted (mentally), I want to try and pour things that are clouding my head. Most of these would be recurring themes and ideas – this text would be an exercise in finding arguments for and against that narrative. I have often done these brain dumps in the past to let the load off my head and they’ve been helpful. What comes out is more of a blog than anything else, but it is immensely helpful!

Here we go. As always, in no order.

A. I couldn’t publish morning pages yesterday. I knew I wouldn’t be able to. I had a lot happening. But I knew that I could easily write a couple of paras and upload those. But then I couldn’t even do that. I mean I wrote a para and I thought I had published but I realized late last night that I did not hit the publish button. The streak of I don’t know how many days (well over 60 easily) was broken 🙁 Damn!

B. At Spotlight, the monthly start-up pitch event at The Podium, for the Feb edition, we hosted Roshan Abbas to give feedback to some start-ups. This was the second in the series of such events and the interactions have been so so good. Listening to a brain like Roshan Sir give inputs on startups from relationships, ed-tech was such a learning experience. He said a lot of things that I intuitively knew were right. And he said a lot of things that I think I don’t agree with. Irrespective, I think it was time spent well. Need to somehow scale it and take it to bigger scale.

More than just advice, he was VERY very candid and offered these startups introductions to other angels, HNIs and even people who could work with these startups! This in itself is worth the time spent!

I also must mention that at some level, Roshan Sir is the next step in evolution for me. I mean he is from a communication, events, and marketing background. He has set up multiple companies and has run those parallelly. He has had an exit. He is an angel investor and enabling people to do more with access to capital and connections. He continues to work harder than most of his peers and continues to push himself. Sounds EXACTLY like how I want to live my life! Reminds me of that Kabir couplet…

Sai itna dijiye, jaame kutumb samaay,

main bhookha naa rahoon, sadhu na bhookha jaaye

By Kabir

So that.

C. Event. Last two days, I helped a friend manage a wedding event in Goa. While weddings is new to me and I have only done a handful of these, I realized, I love being on the ground lot more than making presentations. I mean given an option, I would be on the ground, in shorts and tees rather than being in a boardroom with a jacket on.

Since this was one of those events where I was detached from, a few things struck me as an epiphany. Lemme try and talk about those.

1/ This was an intimate wedding with just a handful of guests in the audience, each a friend or family. I loved the joy on their faces and general happiness all around. For once I felt human and I thought maybe a wedding is worth an ordeal only to make your family happy. The other thing is the realization that I’ve never had and will probably never have a group of close-knit friends that I saw yesterday. I’ve always been an outcast, dark-horse, odd-one out. The one that is ignored conveniently and forgotten easily. Even in the romantic relationships I’ve had, I’ve not been the person that got attention. Which is ok. Just that when I see such gangs, I pine for my own. And I don’t know how to fix this. I have done almost everything it takes to be able to make friends but I dont seem to have any left.

Of course I do have people that I can lean on. And have leaned on when the going was tough. It still is. And I continue to lean. But I feel most of my friendship and interactions are transaction-based. More on this some other time.

This tweet by Ajeet Sir caught my eye and I realised that maybe lockdown has made me a tad more detached from people!

No, I dont know how to fix it.

Do I want to fix it? Yes! I would love to have people that care for me as an individual and not as a designation. I need people to empathize with what I am going thru and not just label me as someone that doesn’t return calls. I need to feel loved and not left out of conversations and not taken for granted.

And yes, these expectations are not unfounded. I believe in long-term thinking and reciprocity. I do all these for my people. And in exchange, I don’t expect them to go out of their way to accommodate me. Just a simple, respectful, non-judgemental conversation would do. But I hardly get even that.

And yet…

I think I should title this post ‘rant about unrequited love and friendship of a lonely 38-year old man’.

2/ The entire events industry runs on a very simple sub-contracting model. The end-user of service hires a professional. The professional contracts things to multiple partners, each a specialist into certain trade. The partners further sub-contract it to the service providers. These service providers then use temp staff to get things done. More often than not, the dreams of the client are fulfilled by people that they don’t even know exist. Imagine a mason making a five-star hotel and that very mason being denied entry into the hotel. Imagine a carpenter making the grandest facade for your wedding and he is stopped from even taking a picture of what he created.

From a dream that the client has conjured in their head to the execution that happens on the ground, there’s this well-defined food-chain. And at each step, the respect that that person gets and the money that person makes goes down. To give you perspective, if you are spending 10,000 bucks on an event, the guy who actually puts the flower on the wedding mandap gets paid 10 paisas. Paisa. Not Rupees. From a kitty of 10000 bucks. Of course, there are multiple layers, and the value added at each layer is immense but the guy at the bottom gets paid shit. And worse, gets treated like shit. That level of people are so degraded that they themselves stop believing that they deserve more. If not more, then respect.

The sad part is that the entire industry operates like that. Lower you are on the value chain, worse you are treated. Even by the ones that are just a notch above you.

When you do events and meet people who come from as far as Bihar and Assam and more to work on events in Goa and are paid minimum wages and are treated like shit, your heart goes out and you question things. Of course, you can question all you want to, the answers are non-existent.

3/ Oh, this was one of those rare events where I did not have Diet Coke or Red Bull or even Coffee. What am I becoming?

D. Now that I am talking of vices, lemme talk of alcohol. Yesterday, I saw yet again how alcohol fucks your capability to think. It, of course, makes you lose your inhibitions and makes you do things that un-do-s all that you have worked for. I mean imagine a full-grown man making a fool of himself, in the middle of a party, just because he is drunk!

What’s the point of such “losing inhibition” and “letting your hair down”? I have always struggled to find an answer to this question. To a point that I have sort of given up. I just know that making a fool out of myself, because I am drunk is not for me. I am happy to be a fool in the way I think, the way I operate, the way I work etc. Those foolhardy things allow me to go beyond what I am doing right now. They help me grow as a person. They polish me, you know.

But being unable to walk, puking all over yourself and then “blaming” it on alcohol is not my thing.

I know, I know. I am being super judgemental here. I mean it’s their life and they can do whatever they want to. I get that. I also get that some people may want to feel free. I know that most people do not operate in their natural state on a day-to-day basis and this casual alcoholism helps them find an escape. But then the escape has to be a thing that makes you better. You know, how about you hit a gym if you want to feel the change? Write something? If you want a communal experience, how about you go dance? Join a volunteering organization? I hope you get the drift.

Anyhow. So after the incident last night, I promise that I will not have alcohol ever again. Even if its a very very special occasion. I am trying to stay away from coffee and coke. I shall stick to lime water and coconut water and other such things. Just need to figure out what I would have at a Starbucks ;P

E. For the last couple of days, I rented a car to get around Goa. I had to. You cant manage an event and not have a car that doubles up as your shelter when you are tired, your dumping ground when you have to lug things, your companion where you pile your anguish out. And since this was one of the most unorganized events that I’ve been a part of, I was running around a lot. I would have spent a large part of the day in the car yesterday.

But then, that’s not the point.

The point is a car. I realized my love for cars and roads and navigating and driving and seeing new places. I have to have to have to get one. I have had this dream that the first car I buy would be a Merc. I know I am very far from that with what’s happening at work. But I will make things happen and get to a car this year. #note2self #lifeGoal.

F. Fitness. Lol. I start smiling every time I use this F word. I mean really. Fitness. Lol. I have this note that I wrote to myself in 2012 (almost 10 years ago) where I promised that I will be 30″ by end of that year. I am nowhere close. I want to climb Mt. Everest. And I have a hard time walking 12 steps.

Sigh.

Ok, by mistake I linked to this video from Men of Honor. I am going down that Rabbit Hole where I want to make movies and inspire others. Wait. One thing is clear. Each action I take has to leave others inspired. The realization that Silver lining 😀

Ok, that’s it for the day, I think. Good to have poured out.

Nothing on #book2. Will start soon.

270221 – Morning Pages

Ladies and gents, there is no morning pages today. Managing an event and thus no time to write in the morning. If I get time during the day, I will edit the post. I know this does not count as a morning page but I wanted to keep the streak going.

I really wanted to talk about rejection. I got two of those this week. Both from the world of filmmaking. So that.

That’s it. Nothing more. I know this doesn’t count as a morning pages post but for whatever it’s worth, this is it.

PS: Wrote this on the phone on 27th and published on 28th.

260221 – Morning Pages

I talk about two interesting things. 1, Goa and home. 2, optionality. Read on.

8:22. The balcony at Rajesh Sir’s house, Goa. Back here after 15 odd days.

A funny thing happened yesterday. When I came here after a month, for some reason, it felt like homecoming. I am not kidding. I am not the one to get attached to places etc but this time, the house felt like home. Maybe because I was here at a time when a lot was happening in my life and I did not know what to do. A lot is still happening but this place was my solace in the toughest time. I am so grateful that I have him in my life.

Moving on.

I need to take a big decision about what I want to do in life. I have a couple of options where I can exchange my time for money, make ends meet and get back to some sort of stability. While all these things sound great on paper, I know that in the long-run for a 38-year old like me, these things don’t add up. Plus, salary is addictive.

One of the things I am thinking about while making this decision is Naval’s riff on optionality. He operates in a way that allows him to maximize optionality. As a salaried person, the odds of you increasing optionality go down. Unless you are like Rajan Anandam where you, by design, need to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and those backgrounds help you do more.

When choosing things for myself, I need to work towards creating optionality. Now, what creates optionality? Well, things that allow you to do more than what your job entails. If you are a doctor, there are fairly limited things that you can do. I mean you can treat people and heal them and all that but that’s that. Unless you are an exception that can, may be, write. Of course, as a doctor, you’d have a good life but that’s that. If you are a coder, on the other hand, you can create a thing like Bitcoin that allows you to live a life independent of your practice. Similarly, if you are a senior executive with some pharma company, you are limited to doing what your JD entails. If the company were to shut down, where would you go? Of course, if you are paid a bomb, you can invest tiny parts into businesses that have the potential of growing into larger ones. That creates optionality. In fact, subconsciously, I have lived all my life in a way that I have an option open in terms of what I want to do.

So that.

What else. Yeah. Fitness. Last few days I have been feeling unwell. I don’t know whats causing this but I need to fix it. Maybe its the food. I think I need to get either a balanced meal from someplace. Or get a kitchen. Either way, I need to fix it. Want to add workouts but I dont think I will ever be able to. I know Everest will require me to be fit and all. But I think till I figure out other things, fitness will probably take a backseat.

Guess this is it for the day. This context switching is not for me. I don’t know how other digital nomads do this. Need to learn.

With this, over and out. See you guys on the other side. Now that I am back in Goa, hope things will move better. And no, no #book2. Will start that once I settle in.

PS: Funny how narratives on these morning posts have changed from meaning of life to survival. Guess that’s life!

250221 – Morning Pages

Finally a post where I pour my heart out. This has become more of a blog than morning pages. But that’s cool. Read on…

7 AM. I am writing this on a train. And in patches. The intention is to publish this once I land in Goa. Because I cant rely on the Internet in train. Train. Lol. You know, how you don’t learn from your mistakes? That! The last time I traveled by train (Goa to Mumbai), I decided that I will not travel again on a train. But here I am. 

Sigh. 

So I am stuck in this metal box for the next few hours. And knowing the internet situation, I think I will remain offline. Luckily, I could tether onto patchy internet to be able to write this.

Since there is no one to bother me and no deadlines to catch, I can write at peace. And may be with some depth.

Lemme see what all needs to be talked about. Here we go.

Mumbai vs Goa
I am still on the fence about where I want to be.

The trip to Mumbai has been rejuvenating and I love the idea of meeting people face to face. There’s something about a handshake that a Zoom call can’t replicate. The conversations are deeper, the thoughts clearer, the focus unwavering! This trip, I met some people that I haven’t met in a while and the conversations and ideas that flowed in these meetings were, for want of a better word, fascinating! Oh, I crave for such chats and I missed these!

The other thing that I realised while I was in Mumbai is that the power of ecosystems is irrefutable. I bumped into a few people that I would have never met on a Zoom call or a twitter timeline. I got into a few open-ended conversations that may create opportunities. Some ideas were thrown around that allowed me to think more that what I thought was capable. I think, if not for places like Bangalore, Mumbai or Silicon Valley, we would not have any of the great content (films, TV shows) that we watch to kill time!

Most progress happened because people could collaborate with each other and come up with new things. This collaboration may not have happened if we were not in the same place.

On the other hand, Goa offers me a fresh start with whatever skills I have. I get to make new friends, learn new things, experience new challenges. The time I spent at Goa has given me some understanding of what to expect if I live here. What to expect? Intermittent connectivity, laidback attitude, incredibly warm people, eclectic bunch that is very creative and of course, in general, a better life. The challenge is that there’s no work here. So that’s that.

Work has started to pick up. I have a couple of gigs that I am working on. Both, thankfully, can happen from anywhere we have Internet. So that’s cool.

I also have a couple of opportunities to work as a full-time employee with a couple of startups. I have been thinking about those. On one side, there is a stable month-on-month paycheck. On the other is lack of freedom to do all the things that excite me. To me, this freedom is FAR more important than the money coming in. But then like I am told, money allows me to move things and I like movement as much as I like my freedom. You see my conundrum? Damn I dont want to settle!

WIP vs Settled.
Yesterday I met Anuabhb for drinks (believe it or not) and he told me that I need to change my mindset from “wip” to “settled”.

Lemme define these.

WIP is when you are trying to figure out where you want to be and what you want to do. Settled is when you know where you are headed and how you are going about things. While I know where I want to be, the path I will take to reach there is not clear to me. And while technically I am settled, I am still WIP.

At the time, it sounded convincing and I agreed. But the more I think, the more I realize that settling is not for me. Sorry, Anubhab! More on this on our chats.

Personal Board
The other thing we talked about was a personal board. This is very similar to the Mastermind group that I’ve often talked about and failed at. I will action this March onward.

I will do this at two levels.

a. I will make a group with a few like-minded people (like-minded is growth oriented, trying to grow and do more) where we would hold each other accountable and help each other grow. I am not sure how this would pan out and how many people may want to share things openly. But Anubhab has volunteered to help me kickstart by being a part of it. So, there’s two for sure.

b. I will form a personal board. I have thought often about this and I think its time to put this in action. I mean I do have some people that I use as board but I haven’t formally put that in action. Plus, whatever little I have in life, most of it has come to me because of these mentors.

Right now, to engage these mentors and seniors, I send them an occasional email where I send updates about what I am doing. I think in the next update I send to these, I will ask if any of them wants to be on my public personal board.

Public – I will make their names public. And I will make a WA group (or Telegram or Signal or something) so that I could engage with them deeper.

Let’s see where it goes.

Happy Birthday, Steve
Yesterday was Steve Jobs’ birthday. Steve has been a hero for a long long time. I really really wish I could’ve met him. No. I won’t know what to do if I did meet him but it would have been cool.

And yes, I dont really worship heros no more but Steve is Steve!


With that, this is the wrap-up for the day. Not really morning pages per se. But a post nonetheless. Over and out. See you guys tomorrow.

Wasn’t able to put my thoughts in a coherent manner with all the throwing around in the train. May be tomorrow.

240221 – Morning Pages

Quick, dirty (and hopefully complete) post for the day. Read more to know who I hope it will be complete.

9:30 AM

This is not the first thing I am doing. This is not even the second thing. I am some 10 KMs away from where I live. I’ve just finished a meeting and gearing up for another. Fuck time is such a precious commodity! I need to end this by 10 AM, irrespective of how I am doing. Even if it’s mid-sentence, I will hit publish.

So morning pages. Lot to talk. No time. Will make bullet points. Let’s see how it goes. And how many I can capture.

Yesterday

  1. Fairly ok. Sleepless. Don’t know why. Could be coffee. Could be stress. Don’t know. Will figure it out with some experimentation.
  2. Did not goto a Starbucks yesterday. This is the first time since I came back to Mumbai that I have not stepped inside a Starbucks. Trying to quit coffee. I am perpetually tired and sleepy and the neck hurts. Growing old is no fun.
  3. Washed clothes after ages. Even in lockdown, when I was at a fancier place, I would just shower with my clothes on (really) and that would take care of them. Plus since I was not stepping out, I did not have a lot of clothes to worry about. Now, I do. Sigh. Need to fix the Mumbai vs Goa thing and then the house decision.
  4. Went for a walk at the beach with DK. Walked after a while. Met her after a while. Was good fun to see people as young as 26 being so sorted in the head. Wish I were like them when I was younger.

Things I am thinking on?

  1. Work seems to be picking up. Not a lot of money but I am being busy for sure. Am making it in the worst way possible – by loaning out my time but that’s that. Till I get back to acchhedin, this is how it’s going to be. So let’s put our head down and do it.
  2. What else? Ok, I don’t do a great job of writing when I am rushed ;P
  3. Goa. Going there tomorrow. Even though I will be working, I am actually looking forward to the “trip”. I don’t know why. No, I still don’t know where I would end up living (Mumbai or Goa).
  4. The sad part of lockdown is evident now. Non-stop calls with no breather is not cool at all. Screentime is peaking like Everest! Here’s a screenshot from my primary laptop. This does not include phone calls, calls on the phone, thinking, and all that.

That’s about it. Over and out.

I hope I can stop having coffee! Today’s day 2. I am at a Starbucks and I am already tempted!

Ok, its 10. Publishing. In whatever shape it is in. Over and out.