An unedited quickie on how I am doing, what I am thinking and where I am going.
9:59. This is not the first thing. I had thought I would write this from a cafe where I have my aaloo puff from. I knew that it opened at 9. And I was there by 9:01. But that was shut. One of the staff members waiting outside told me that they’d open at 10 today. Why? Just like that. Then I thought I would go to the CCD and write from there. Google says it opens at 9. But no, even by 9:30, even the shutter was down. Lol. And then I started to look for places that I could go to and write from. And I found none. I mean there were a few places that I could sit and eat. But I couldn’t write from there. That’s Goa. Not been designed for working. But then, no complaints. Such are things. Such is life.
So, coming to morning pages. I’ve realized that I take almost 2 hours every day to write this. Which is ok. As long as I have something to say or something to write. But with Podium getting more serious, I need to start getting serious about time. So, hereon, I will wrap these morning pages in 30 minutes. Including the part, I write for book2. I know I wouldn’t be able to get in much but such is life. Need to balance work (lol), reputation (podium), and hobbies (writing and morning pages).
It’s 10:20. I started this at 9:59. So I have another 9 minutes. Let’s see what happens in the next 9. Lol, I hate this self-imposed random pressure.
Ok. Lemme think about what I want to write about. Yeah, the Goa Miles thingy. The other day, some local taxi guys beat up some drivers that are on Goa Miles. For the uninitiated, Goa is probably the only place in India where Uber or Ola is not allowed. Because the local taxi mafia is so strong and influential that it has kept tourists harassed. To find a solution (thank God to whoever it was), they came up with Goa Miles, an app-based taxi service (like Uber and Ola). It works like a dream (but can be unreliable) and makes the drivers a tad more accountable. The local taxi guys refuse to be on the app. People like me that respect respect (not a repetition) and reliability more than money have moved to Goa Miles and in-process denting the business of local taxi guys. To a point that they are now angry. Lemme park this here.
I also met this DOP yesterday that has setup Goa Talkies. He had similar stories to share. Locals wanting “outsiders” to not work hard and in process make the locals more accountable and hardworking.
I have seen the same thing play out in Mumbai as well. Leave alone Mumbai, even in various pincodes, if someone from “‘outside” comes and does some work, everyone comes up in arms. I dont know why people dont see that in the long-term they are fucking things for themselves and their ilk? I mean you will probably be dead by the time repercussions start hitting you but what about your offsprings?
Because of these two, I am actually reconsidering my move to Goa. I cant think anything short term and if in the long-run, I am at the mercy of mafia, I’d rather be elsewhere. I dont have the bone in me to fight things out. I am often taken for a ride (remember that podcast snafu?) but I let it pass. I believe life’s way too long to get attached to things.
I think this detachment is what gives me the power to do a lot more things than what I think I can. And this also takes away the power to get emotionally invested in things and deliver. Sigh. Why arent there any easy answers?
So, the other thing that dawned onto me is that these morning pages are making me an introvert. What this means is that everything that is on my head and I want to talk about, I just dump them here and when I talk to friends, I have nothing to talk about. And since I dont consume popular culture at all, I dont know what to talk to them. Neither am I educated / opinionated etc etc. So I dont know what to talk to people about. And I have realised since I dont have anything to talk to them, they stay away from me. Sigh!
In other news, I am going to Mumbai tomorrow. I hope to be back on the 20th. In the week I am in Mumbai, I hope I get to meet friends. I also plan to dispose off a lot of things. Need to get lighter. Including books. Even if I haven’t read those. Wait. No, not books. I may get them to the library I want to create at Goa (among other things). If I create it! Oh, I am taking a train. I may rationalize it by saying a million things but I wanted to save money. A flight is 3X expensive. And the 10 hours that I will be enclosed in the metal box for, I’ll probably get some things done. Let’s see how the journey goes.
Finally, I have finally moved to the M1 as my primary computer. And thanks to the cloud, am cool with data and all. I have two issues though. A, since this is a shiny new machine, I hate it when I see a speck of dust on it. But then for someone who’s a road warrior like me, dust is part and parcel of life. And B, nothing seems to tether to it! No hotspots, no Bluetooth headphones. I don’t know what’s wrong. I’ll see if that’s a universal thing with M1 or it’s just me.
Chalo, with that, its over and out. And it’s 10:45. Lol!
Random update from a day where I finally had access to the Internet. Yay!
8:21. Just woke up. I think I have more coffee and egg-fried rice in my system than I have blood or spleen. I mean just yesterday I had 5 black coffees that were darker than my darkest thoughts and tasted worse than a generic dish at a Michelin Star restaurant.
So today I shall start with #freewriting for #book2. Or else by the time I come to it, I would be done with the dance on the keyboard! Here we go…
Coffee. The elixir of life. For her. For him, it was Gin. They were high on things as different as that. And yet they found sobriety in each other’s company. They made an odd couple. Wait. They weren’t a couple yet. They probably would never be one. Both had too much baggage from too many relationships over too many years. They knew that they like each other’s company and despite all odds, they seemed to be wanting to make it work. Both of them did things that were uncharacteristic for them. Rujuta would bite her tongue. Chintan would try and speak up. When Mrs. Gomes saw them like that, she knew either the relationship would end in a magnificent doom or they would flourish and spawn generations that would sing songs of their love!
Their coming together was as unlikely and as unpredictable as their eventual separation would be.
Rujuta had landed up at Caravan Serai by mistake when she heard the music waft to her ears as she was strolling on the beach. If not for that acoustic Hindi set by Jay, she wouldn’t be there. Once she was in, she was charmed by Mrs. Gomes and the ship she ran. She had to know more about her. At first, she had not even spotted Chintan perched onto a corner, lost into his papers. Mrs. Gomes had to tell her about another writer hanging out at her place. She was not in the mood to handle flirtatious comments from a middle-aged man. Especially from those self-proclaimed writers that were mere bloggers than real writers. She did not have a problem with that but the pretentiousness that came along was a put off to her. So she remained polite and feigned interest and just when Mrs. Gomes was to make the introduction, she faked a phone call and eased out of earshot.
Chintan had strayed into Caravan Serai in search of Gin. He found it surprising that no one seems to have perfected a Gin and Coke. I mean how tough could it be to pour 30 ml of Gin in a can full of Diet Coke? It was more robotic and impersonal than flipping a burger at a Mcdonald’s! And yet no one seemed to do it well. Plus most people found the combination weird. Gin was mostly had with Tonic water. The Brit decided that and the rest of the world had followed suit. Not Chintan. He wanted it with Coke. And he hated when people would double-check with him. Udita didn’t even bat an eyelid when he asked for a Gin and Diet Coke. That was the first check. The height of the bar table and the barstool with a high backrest was the next. And the unobtrusive staff was what sealed the deal. After weeks of search, he had found a place where he would pen his magnum opus. It was about time he got his ass moved on it. He had a point to prove and no time to lose.
Good to have written something for #book2 after so many days.
And here’s an idea. I don’t know if I have thought about this earlier. How about I call the place I create in Goa Caravan Serai? Fuck that would be incredible! #note2self
Now, coming to morning pages, the journal.
Here we go…
So, I finally have the internet on the phone. Both the phones actually – Vodafone and Jio. I feel so connected and so empowered that I think I can change the world. There is spring in my step, optimism in my tone, and general excitement that I cant express in words! All thanks to this new place that has a mobile phone tower on top of it. Even the number of tweets I sent out yesterday is a testimony. Fuck, I did not know that an Internet connection could be so important.
The other thing is that this place has a balcony and I realized how much I love having one. Last time I had a house that a balcony was three or four years ago. What a balcony it was. It was on the 24th floor and overlooked the Godrej factories. I could point the camera at anything at any time and I’d get a fabulous picture. I’ve love heights all my life. Must strive to get to the top of a skyscraper. No, not so high that I can’t make out the signs of life underneath. But enough to be able to spot things. Like a 30th floor or something. Lol. Here is a picture from that, from my archives!
Apart from that yesterday was pretty ok. I was mostly holed up at the place am staying – I had internet! But I still had to step out to get things done. I just can’t work from where I live. I need that “motion” to move to a different place to work. And the new place am at, it’s kind of far from any of the coworking spaces in Goa and thus had to rely on good old cafes. And guess who all came to rescue? CCD and McD! These were the two places that were open, empty, had comfortable seating, even an AC. I got some writing done as well.
Oh, writing. The book am editing, it was a struggle to write a tiny para. It took all I had and yet I could not finish it! It’s not writer’s block per se. It’s just that I was at a loss of, well, words. Lol.
As I write this, I played some Harvey Specter playlist. Yeah, there’s a thing like that. Which works fine for most days. But I realized that I like that music that I can sing along to. Especially when I have to work, I need music that I can hum along to. And while I was searching for music on youtube (thanks to the Internet that’s working :D), I realized that I’d love to write some music, make films. No, I am not a director material. May be I am. I don’t know. But I like how these visuals on the screen and the sounds and other things that accompany it make me want to take a plunge. Plus, these images and visuals can be so provocative that you could move mountains! Sigh.
Anyhow. So I recorded a podcast yesterday. This was with a marketer that sells AR and VR solutions to large businesses. While there was nothing new that I did not already know, I loved talking to him. I must get back to it. The effort it takes to research, record, edit, publish and market is insane but I think it’s worth it. See this tweet for example with the lessons I learned from him.
Each time I do a recording, it allows me to meet a lot more people than I already know. Plus that’s proof of work and that allows me to approach more people! Must get back to it full-steam! Oh, btw, today on, I start a “full-time” gig at The Podium. I have decided to focus on and give all of 2021 to The Podium. Akshay has talked me into doing this and I think I can support him for sure. He is clearly the wiser among the two of us. Unless something large and radical comes my way. Let’s see how this goes. And no, Podium is still in investment mode and that means I need to find work to pay for my bills. So, here’s the thing. Help me get work that I can do as a freelancer. Marketing. Content. Writing. Editing. You get the drift.
And the last thing before I sign off for the day is that I finally pushing the Goa guide. It is here. The response so far has been very encouraging. Let’s see where it goes from here on.
Over and out for the day. See you guys on the other side.
Random updates from how I spent yesterday and what I plan to do today. Nothing special. Skip if you want to.
8:32. I write this without any internet. Sigh. From the place where I moved in (as a temporary accommodation). So a lot will probably get typed. Let’s see when I publish it.
A funny thing happened yesterday. I was trying to post a photo on insta for my aPicADay thing and I realized that I did not have enough pics from Goa to post! I had to find an old picture and upload that! On one side, that’s a shame. On the other, it’s a great thing that I am so involved in my day-to-day life here that I am not bothered about clicking pictures! You see, each thing in life has two ways to look at 😀
Brings me to the trip to Mumbai. Irrespective of what I choose to do in life (in terms of staying in Mumbai or Goa), I need to get rid of things from the Mumbai house. This means the bookshelf, the writing table, the guitar etc etc needs to go. More on this when I actually get around to selling those. And no, I am still not decided on the Mumbai vs Goa decision. I even chatted with V yesterday a few times and she always had a great perspective to share. Even though I was curt with her when I talked about things, she simply said, chase the money and forget the rest. Fuck it was so simple! She asked me to continue doing whatever you are and depending on where you get the money opportunity, take that. Why couldn’t I think of this? Why did I have to impose this deadline and fuck my head? And no, this is not being passive about things. I will chase the money opportunity aggressively and then see what happens. So that. SG2 also offered a great solution. She said, go live in Mumbai for a month. See how it is and how you like it. And then take a call. Again, a super wise input. Must have thought about it!
Anyhow. Onto the next thing. I have a crib about the M1. Nothing seems to be tethering on it. I can’t connect Bluetooth headphones. It does not pair with phone internet easily. The thing is, today is the day when I thought I would shift to this completely but if I cant tether seamlessly, I will have a tough time. Will find a solution.
Also, I am back to recording a podcast today! No, I decided that Akshay will remain the face and I will be the mere producer and behind the scenes guy. But one thing lead to another and then to one more and thus I am forced to record. So lets see how it goes. If it goes well, I may consider hosting another show. No, I am not excited about it. But then, I am not sad about it either. Like I said, let’s see how it goes.
The other update on the podcast front is that we have THE Roshan Abbas as the judge on the next edition of Spotlight! In case you wish to register, use this form – podm.in/pitch. All thanks to Akshay and the incredible work he’s doing. I am so so so lucky with people, its not funny!
Oh, I did publish my Ultimate Guide to living and working in Goa! Do read it and let me know what you think. Hemant, Pradeep, and others have been helping me by pointing out typos. I need to find more people like them to help me with these projects!
I think that’s about it for a quick morning page. To be honest, not happy about how this is going (I am merely journaling how I’ve spent my day or how I plan to spend it). I do get some revelations once in a while. But not sure if this is what I supposed to write each day. Plus I am lagging on book2 as well. I mean, I am not doing #freewriting for #book2 today either 🙁
Will need to fix it. Sooner than later.
And that’s about it for the day. See you guys tom.
Your ultimate guide to remote working from Goa or even work-from-home while in Goa. Insider’s dope, tips, and opinions. Do not miss if you are considering WFH / Remote Work from Goa.
Version control: V0.1, last updated on 20 April 2021
So, if you are my generation and have seen your share of Bollywood, you would know of Dil Chahta Hai. Or if you are from the one after mine, you would know Dear Zindagi. Both these are probably at the top of the pile of those films that have drilled the romanticized idea of the small coastline of Goa in our heads. Mention Goa and you start thinking to dream of a better life.
The images that come to your head could carry from the Vegas of India cliche (complete with its “what happens in Goa stays in Goa”) to that of a sleepy town littered with parties (and the characters and shenanigans of these characters at the parties) to lip-smacking seafood (Recheado anyone?) to dilapidated castles on top of hillocks (some of these are now hotels) to tourists teeming with frenzy as if they’re gonna die after this trip (not just from India but from places as far as Israel, Russia, and the UK) to, of course, beer cheaper than water!
At least these were the ones that came to my head. Blame it on a million trips that I have made to Goa over the years. My trips primarily were to give all my money to those poker players and rake to casinos floating in the Mandovi.
So anyhow, thanks to the lockdown and WFH getting acceptable, moved to Goa in early Dec 2020, to live and work from here, and see what else the state has to offer. I had a million doubts and a thousand questions and a hundred apprehensions before I moved to Goa. But I took the plunge. Literally.
What I saw was predictable, interesting, surprising, refreshing and more. And thus the prompt to write this guide.
So, here we are. In this Ultimate Guide to Remote Working from Goa, I will talk about what it takes to move to goa and work from here. Plus with the aftermath of COVID-19, remote jobs are increasingly becoming acceptable and people wanting to live and work out of Goa will need reliable, honest, first-hand information. This is that nifty handbook for those people. And for digital nomads and road-warriors and others that may want to work out of Goa.
Oh, standard disclaimers apply. See a list toward the bottom of the post.
There’s a lot to talk about Goa if I want to do an honest and comprehensive job of helping you decide. Lemme start with these three. In each, I will try to ask a question and the answer to that question will probably help you decide where you want to be once you decide that you want to work in Goa.
1A. The North vs South Divide
Simply speaking, think of Goa as a straight line (it is NOT but just think of it like that for the time being). See this image.
Assume that Panaji (aka Panjim) is the midpoint. Panjim is the capital city and like every other state capital, it is like any other – traffic, highrises (not really as high as the ones we have in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai), fast internet (really!), ample public transport, etc. But if you choose to live in / around Panjim, you might as well live in Mumbai. Or Bangalore for that matter.
💡 Hat-tip – Read the section on Internet below.
North Goa (Candolim, Calangute, Anjuna, Morjim, Mandrem, and beyond) is where most tourists (Indian, foreign, etc) hang out. With-in the North, I’d advise you to stay away from Candolim, Calangute, or Baga.
But places like Anjuna and Vagator are very very livable. In fact, if you want to meet and network with interesting people, you have to check these two out. You’d also get access to the sea.
🌟To me, one of these two is the perfect place to live if you are in Goa to work. But this could be my bias as well.
Oh, most Indian tourists do not venture beyond Anjuna. If you go further north, you’d only find foreigners (and Indians that are more foreigners in their heads than the actual foreigners are). So that could be a good place to be if you want to be in the North and yet stay at a secluded place.
If you are ok living in the interiors with a limited sea view, you will like it at Porvorim, Saligao, Parra, Assagao, Siolim, etc. These are not north per se but for our simplistic map, these could be. And within these, I love Porvorim (a city and yet not a city) and Assagao (essentially a forest on a hill).
South Goa is where we have all the secluded, spaced out, sparse and clean beaches in Goa. This is also where the peace of mind is. Food also, in general, is better in the South, if you ask me. And because these are secluded and spaced out, you typically have holidaymakers here (and not the tourists that seek action of water-sports, dance clubs, etc). If I were to choose a place to be on a holiday, I’d pick South Goa. If you want to work in Goa, I would NOT recommend South Goa. But if you have to live and work in the South, I’d recommend looking at places like Palolem, Utorda, and Majorda. There’s some semblance of life there.
Oh, there’s also what I call the North-East Goa (though locals don’t call it that). Which is essentially Mapusa, Moira, Aldona, and thereabouts. This part is fast emerging as the hub of creative kinds. More on this later.
❓ So, the first decision you need to make is, what part of Goa do you want to live in. Panjim? North? South? North-East? I would recommend North.
1B. Natives, Locals and Migrants
If you are going to spend some time in Goa, you need to be able to understand people here. No, a section of a blogpost can never ever do justice but here’s an attempt.
Natives of Goa are people that were born in Goa, grew up in Goa, live in Goa, have ancestral roots in Goa, have houses in Goa, and plan to be here. Most of these would be in professions from fishing to politics to even heavy industries. These are the ones that of course have the claim over Goa as a place. Everyone else is a guest. And thus needs to conduct themselves as guests. You are a guest as well even if you are moving here lock, stock, and barrel.
Locals of Goa are the ones that have some Goan connection (parents from Goa, close relatives in Goa, married to Goans, etc) and are now living in Goa. In my limited experience, these are the people that have created flourishing businesses here and thus give employment to natives, locals and migrants.
Migrants in Goa are people like me. No connection to Goa. Hail from other places. Now living in Goa. Most work in businesses ran by natives or locals. Some are entrepreneurs that have set up businesses. Some are freelancers. Most are creative, freelancing, solopreneurs – musicians, dancers, yoga teachers, chefs, writers, photographers, etc.
As you start living here, you need to understand who’s who and then conduct accordingly. The natives typically do not like migrants coming in. They blame the outsiders for spoiling nature and the culture. They blame the outsiders for leaving too much mess on the beaches and causing other such nuisance. To be honest, they are probably right. But then, free market. They can’t stop the influx. The migrants (like us need) to understand that as mere “outsiders” we can’t really do much without support from natives / locals. And sooner we start respecting the locals and natives, the better it is. For everyone.
1C. The Good and The Bad
While the entire guide is about good and bad, I want to save time for you by making this nifty list. Each of these would be expanded eventually.
The Good part of working from Goa…
Goa is home to so much creative talent and prowess that it boggles my mind that we are not the world-leader in creativity! Plus this creative crowd is always in flux and is moving around (within and out of Goa). This means that there is no dearth of interesting people that you can jam and network with. This to me in itself is a big big draw to Goa.
Goa is probably as cosmopolitan as it gets. Really. Just that it’s a tad different than the cosmopolitan-ness that people from big cities are used to. You may not see a lot of fancy clothes but you would definitely see some really eclectic opinion that would make you take note.
Goa offers some of the best food that you’d have anywhere in the country. No, I am not a foodie at all. So, can’t comment on that.
The Bad part of working from Goa…
Nothing is reliable here. Internet, people, electricity, roads, weather, stray dogs. Even people who write long posts on coworking in Goa 😉
If you are hoping to create a business here, unless you have a few crores, you would find it tough. If you have ready work from elsewhere that you want to deliver while you live in Goa, you can consider moving. But if you are hoping to setup something from scratch, it would be tough.
More details as we go along!
1D. What I will NOT talk about in this guide…
I will NOT talk about anything that tourists may want from Goa.
Things like best places to party, best venues to do sundowners, cheap shopping locations, tips on watersports, touristy places, Instagrammable locations, etc. I will NOT talk about the history of Goa, the weather of Goa, the culture of Goa, and so on and so forth. There’s enough and more on it.
2. So, why work from Goa?
This is the smallest part of the write-up and in this tiny, biased part, I will try and convince you to come work from here 😀
If my experience of the last 2 months is anything to go by, if your work allows you to work from remote locations, you MUST not miss the opportunity of working out of Goa! Heck, if I were the activist kinds, I would have met the government here in Goa and try to create a program inspired by the mayor of Miami!
I mean, imagine waking up a few miles away from the Arabian Sea and the winds from the sea and squeaks from the seabirds as your alarm clocks. Imagine the quaint vibe, apparently delicious seafood (which I have no clue about – I am a vegetarian eggetarian), and very very affordable options to wine and dine. Now, top it up with scenic exuberance and rich culture that Goa anyway has. And if you need the final push, imagine an opportunity to jam and network with all the eclectic, creative, free souls that call Goa home!
Why would you not work from here? Life is anyway short and if your work allows you to live and work out of Goa, please do make the move. Even if it’s for a bit. Here are more details for you…
3. The Pros and Cons of working from Goa
Of course, every place has its share of good and bad. While I can fill in reams of pages on the good parts, there are numerous downsides as well. The decision is a personal one but if for you the advantages of working out of goa outweigh the negatives, come join me 🙂
Here we go on the good and the bad, in detail.
3A. Some good things about working out of Goa!
Personally, I have found that living in Goa allows me to be more creative and free. You know how Hemingway said, write drunk and edit sober? Goa is allowing me to do that! I am drunk on the talent of others. And I am sobered by my limitations as an individual. Wow! Poetic! Here’s a “rational” and sober list.
⏩ Goa is probably one of the most vibrant places in the country with a lovely confluence of cultures. There is a diverse community of creative people from almost any discipline that you may imagine. You can whip up the frenzy and some crazy ideas with them. And yet Goa offers you endless opportunities for a slow, lackadaisical, laidback, and serene life. In one line, I’d say Goa exudes a heightened sense of quietude, even with all its cultural exuberance. There’s something for almost everyone.
⏩ If you are a music aficionado, apart from a thriving live-gig scene from across the genres (I can’t even count how many restaurants and bars offer Hindi and English covers), Goa probably has the best EDM and Hip Hop scene in India. Lately even Folk is taking the small state by storm. Plus there are so many traveling artists. If music is your thing, do check out Gypsy Gigs by a friend and mentor, Nupura.
⏩ If you consider yourself a connoisseur of architecture and history, after your work, you may go visit all the grand cathedrals, worn-out churches, and crumbling forts that Goa is adorned with. The architecture here is a melange of rich Indian tradition and strong European cultural influences. I’d say history is every day, a living, breathing part of Goa. Even a regular Goan house has so much to offer that you’d be left amazed. Do share some pics 🙂
⏩ If you love to eat, you’d have a ball. Think of a kind of cuisine and you’d find it here. You have a plethora of options that throw all the right jargon. Organic, vegan, paleo, keto, hand-pulled, machine-made, free-range, cruelty-free, not tested on animals, safe for babies, fished with love and I don’t know what else.
If you like to cook, local markets offer a wide assortment of fresh catch and some of the most stunning fruits and veggies. There are farmer’s markets where home chefs, locals, and small business owners sell their produce. These can give any such market anywhere in the world a run for their money. Goa is anyway known for its chilies (Aldona), Bananas (Moira), Watermelons, of course, Cashews. Plus coconut is as “local” to Goa as it is to anywhere else. You would find a wide range of coconut curries, hand-pressed oil, and even sweets here. I am told fish pickles are really to die for. Then there are numerous bakeries, each proud of their Pois and Puis. The local staple of Ras-omelet-poi (chicken gravy without pieces, omelet, and local bread) is as flavourful as it sounds. The samosas and the egg-puffs I have had here have been the best ever. I just had two samosas from this kiosk outside Las Viegas at Saligao. You have to try him out.
No, do not even hang out around the tourist traps that claim to offer culinary delights to the celebrities and rich kids that come to Goa on vacation. Ok, maybe once or twice for those Instagram pictures to make your colleagues jealous. But not more than that, please. No Thalassa. No Antares. No Sinq. No Cabana. No Martin’s Corner. Please. PLEASE. P L E A S E!!
⏩ Of course, if you are the touristy kind and like to do the things that tourists do, there are flea markets (I could not spot those this year though) at Anjuna and Arpora. There is the Dudhsagar waterfall. There are spice farms. There are river cruises on Madovi and even on the Sal. There are sanctuaries and wild-life reserves and water-sports (Scuba, Snorkelling, Surfing, and more) and paragliding and surfing and whatnot. No, I am not the right person to talk about these as I stay away from them as much as I can.
⏩ As I end this part, here’s a thing that I love about Goa. People. They are the friendliest that I have ever seen anywhere in the world. If you stay for a while, you can make friends with local establishments and claim a few spots that comfort you enough that you start calling them home. I found mine at NickyM’s and they make the best burgers ever. Do try them out.
Wow! That’s a lot of good! The point remains, Goa is amazing if you want to work from here.
3B. What makes working out of Goa a terrible idea?
While most of what you experience here will keep you hooked, a few things might become an issue…
⏩ To begin with, something as basic as uninterrupted electricity is a challenge here. Power cuts are quite commonplace in and around Goa. While for the most parts (at least in the Northern, touristy parts of Goa), they last a mere few minutes, power cuts could take up hours to recover. I am told the situation goes grimmer during the monsoons. As if irony gods were listening to me, while writing this, the power went and came back a few times.
💡 Hat-tip – Wherever you decide to live, do ensure that they have a power generator or an inverter for backup.
⏩ Internet is a pain in the ass. Mobile Internet is a bigger pain. I have a Vodafone and a Jio connection and yet I couldn’t get see that magical word that starts with 44G for the uninitiated. It goes down the drain when on the weekends tourists throng into Goa. Even the broadband at various co-working places tends to be tardy. More on co-working places in Goa in a bit.
I am told that you need to have two connections if your work requires heavy use of the Internet.
Since I published this, a few people have reached out to me with their experiences. Here are some…
From a reader on Facebook…
asdad Ok..so i am a software engineer and need fast internet 24×7. So, i selected panjim. Internet speed is 250mbps, which is more than what i used to get in bangalore. Also, panjim have miramar beach and dona paula. You are not away from beach. You should add this point…if internet is must, then panjim n dona paula are safest option.
Even bsnl broadband is very reliable here
Via a comment on Facebook.
From another reader on Facebook…
you wrote that the internet is not reliable for video calls. i’ve been on different forums on reddit, facebook where some people say they get good internet and do webinars, and others say it is very unreliable, as you said. for example, an acquaintance living in socorro said he does webinars and has no problem. he has an ethernet express connection. some people on the reddit group for goa have good experience with G Wave in south goa. so going by all these reports, my impression was that internet should be ok, particularly with ethernet express in north goa, hinterland villages like socorro or aldona or such places, which is where i thought i will shift to. do you think one should count your experience as one among the others, or is what you write based on a wider survey of different connections and different people’s experiences, etcetera?
Via a comment on Facebook.
Lemme respond to this one.
For this piece, I spoke to more than 20 people before writing this. I have got mixed feedback on the Internet. While it may work once you get it installed at your place (I would still not count on it), but when you are out on the road it will be a problem for sure! So that.
Update. 20 April 2021. I am told by people that have moved to Goa in recent times that the Internet troubles for them seem to be waning off. Higher demand from about 50-thousand odd “migrants” has made the Internet companies up their game. Phone connectivity remains a challenge though.
I haven’t been able to talk to any of those film companies that are in Goa to understand how they operate. Once I do, will update. Also, this sounds like such a simple problem to solve, and yet no one’s been able to figure this out!
💡 Hat-tip – Do NOT move to Goa unless you know where you are going to get your internet from.
⏩ Then, commonplace, mundane things such as getting your computer (or even your ceiling) fan fixed are a hassle in Goa. Goa simply does not have enough handymen that do such specialized work. And the ones that are here, you need to court those like you court a romantic partner. No, you can’t bribe them with extra money. Easier is to become a handyman by yourself with such things.
Maybe a business opportunity? And lemme give you an example. I had to get a new charger for my laptop (a MacBook Air) and I just couldn’t find a shop around me that would have one. I had to order it on Amazon and wait for like 5 days before it came in.
⏩ I am told monsoons are bad for people who are not from here. The sea goes berserk, almost all the shacks (and restaurants) close down till around the end-August, the rains do not stop for days and wild-life (insects, bugs, frogs, crickets, enthu tourists et al) becomes a regular fixture. Most things that keep you engaged after work tend to shut down and the place leaves you with very little to do. No, I have NOT experienced these first hand – I have only come to Goa as a tourist during monsoons and have not lived here.
Oh, power becomes even more erratic. Plus, apparently, there’s a big snake menace in Goa in the monsoons.
💡 Hat-tip – If you plan to be here around monsoons, get a raincoat. And a snake stick. Please.
⏩ I must mention that Goa has a big mosquito menace and stray dog problem. There are way too many of these all across the state. The strays are not neutered and thus the population. I hate this the most about living in Goa. Of course, most people like to pet dogs and feed them and take care of them and all that. But not my scene. It sucks.
Here’s a “collection” of dogs in Goa.
💡 Hat-tip – Invest in mosquito repellant sprays, incense sticks. And if not that, get ready to burn coconut shells or lemongrass sticks. And please carry a stick or something to shoo the stray dogs away.
⏩ As I end this, I have to say that unless you are a regular in the party circuit or you enjoy loud, upbeat music at all times, Goa might come off as intrusive after a while. Especially if you are in North Goa – it’s perpetually teeming with high-spirited tourists and party-goers at all hours. You’d find it hard to find a spot that you can take some quiet time off at. Even without the tourist season, every café and beach shack blare loud music tirelessly on their speakers all the time. At 7 AM, at the afternoon when the sun makes it unbearable to be in Goa, at 9 PM and even at 2 AM as the last of the tourists stumble back to their homes.
Ok that was a long list. Phew!
4. What all do you need to think about before you move here?
I call this The Move To Goa Decision Matrix. Lol!
There are quite a few important decisions you have to make if you are planning to work out of Goa for the long term. Here are some questions that you need to find answers to…
4A. North Goa v/s South Goa
I touched upon this briefly in the introduction but one of the first things to decide is the part of Goa you want to live and work from. North. South. North East. Panjim. To be honest, the choice is yours and a lot of it depends on the kind of person you are.
If you are into a high-spirited life and you like other people around you, you ought to be in North Goa. I recommend North Goa. Really.
Within the North, you need to decide if you want to be around the water or away from it. Plus you would need to identify the part within North that has other people of your ilk. It is imperative. So much so that I will say it again. And make this bold.
In the South, while the beaches are nice and clean and secluded and all that, for someone that wants to work and chill after work, south is NOT the place. I know I will get hate emails on this.
Panjim is a lot cause. It’s a city. Rather live in Bangalore. Mumbai. Why would anyone live in Panjim? Really?
4B. Work from Home or Co-working Spaces?
I am the kinds that needs to step out of the house to work. Even when I am in Mumbai, I need to go to a Starbucks to work, if not a co-working space.
So in Goa, even though I have access to a fairly comfortable house (thanks to Rajesh Sir), I had to have a co-working space to work out of in Goa. And that’s the first thing I did once I moved here.
Similarly, you need to ask yourself if you are the kind to get work done from home. Or you need the ambiance and vibrance of a public place like a co-working space. Or even a cafe for that matter.
In fact, the cafe guys in Goa, in general, are very very kind and nice. They don’t bother you much, but the chairs are not comfortable. My back’s already arched like a bow!
More on co-working later in the piece.
4C. Does your work require video calls?
If your work requires a lot of video calls, PLEASE do know that the Internet is NOT reliable here. You WILL find yourself in a precarious position quite often. It gets embarrassing after a while. My team now knows that if they have planned for a video call, in all probability, I would be behind a grainy connection.
No, not even the co-working spaces I’ve been to offer a reliable connection (except the Design Centre at Porvorim and Clay on most days). Plus, at the co-working spaces, there are hardly any “telephone booths” where I could lock myself in a quiet chamber to take these video calls. I found the Delhi / Mumbai co-working etiquette missing here in Goa.
Update. 20 April 2021. Repeat. Internet seems to be getting better.
4D. What kind of work do you do?
I am a freelance writer (and editor), a marketing consultant, a podcast producer (and host), and an events producer. Most of my work is management, coordination, and working in isolation. Most of my data is on the cloud (and data gets synced when I get internet).
So, if you are like me, you’d probably get by. So, if you are a coder, designer, writer, photographer, etc. you would largely be ok. However, if you need constant, uninterrupted connection, you will be stuck. So if you are in support, extensive team management, or more, you’d find it tough.
So yes, in one line, remote work is possible in Goa but only for a select set of professions. I mean if Lucky Ali can live in Goa and release a damn new video on the Internet, who else would face the challenge?
Oh, and if you need gyaan on getting things done, Notes For Growth may be your answer.
4E. Some approximate numbers about expenses in Goa (aka Money)
In my limited experience, living in Goa is cheaper compared to living in Mumbai and Delhi. From what I know of friends and their expenses in Bangalore, Chennai, and Pune, Goa is comparable. I don’t know about Kolkatta and other metros.
In Goa, the best part is that you could be price or a pauper, you can find something that would suit your budget. You can get accommodation at Rs. 400 per night (at hostels) to Rs. 4 lakhs per night (at presidential suites) and everything in between. Of course, these two numbers don’t add any value.
So for comparison and context, you can rent a “good” 2 BHK house in Goa for about 20K a month in most of the areas where you’d want to live. I know people that pay 30K for a villa with a yard and three floors. And I know someone that pays 18K for a villa bang in the middle of the forest. And someone that pays 21K for a fully-furnished swanky 1BHK. And someone that pays 1.5 lakhs a month for a 3-bedroom. So that.
In terms of food, you can eat well for about 80 bucks per meal (at those Udipi joints), and then if you want to pay more, you are free to go to those fancy places, that are aplenty in Goa. My meals are at NickyM‘s and each meal is about 200. In case you go there, say that you are Saurabh’s friend and they would extend a 10% discount. Promise.
I did not pay an electricity bill. But I am told it’s about 500 bucks. I did not have an internet line at home but if you were to get it installed, you’d pay a one-time installation fee (most times this can be waived if you are taking a long-term connection) and your monthly bill would be in the 1500 ballpark. This would be enough to do video calls and stream Netflix. But reliability would remain a question.
Here’s a quick table.
Rent for a “decent” 2BHK House
A “regular” meal
Petrol per liter (as on 5 Feb 2021)
Utilities (electricity, help, water etc)
A quick comparison on cost of living
*Update. 20 April 2021. This seems to have jumped all the way to 50K in the recent months even though we are staring at the fag-end of the “season”
If I’ve missed something, do ask me your questions and I’d try to respond to the best of my knowledge.
5. A guide to ‘living in Goa’ as you work from here
So in case you do decide to work from here, you need to start thinking about living here. And life here is kind of different from any other place I have lived at (Delhi, Gurgaon, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai). Here are some thoughts. Divided into sections.
You have tons of options. So many that it’s impossible to capture those all. Here’s my attempt.
Hostels. Goa is probably the place in India that started the hostel experience revolution. From dorms to private rooms to entire apartments to gigantic villas to even forts. You can have your pick.
BnB. There are tons of people that have spare bedrooms and they let these out for long-term (and short-term) rentals. I am planning to do this myself! You can get to live with some interesting people here. How to find them? Well that’s a question even I don’t have an answer to. May be create a matchmaking service for people like that?
Co-Living. A better hostel, a lesser hotel. A communal living experience. You know, how you have in hostels in colleges? That. You create a community of doers and tinkerers and all that. Entry is via some gatekeeper (CAT score!) and each person has to behave and each person is responsible. I am thinking about this. Like a residency for creative people. Admission via gatekeeping. For people who are serious and not just flirting with the idea of moving to Goa. That. Let’s see.
PS: I am told Nomad Gao (not a typo) is a good option for people that like co-living. Though I haven’t been there.
Rental Houses. Simple. You know, like you’d rent out at other cities in India.
5B. Getting Around
No. You do NOT want to get a car here. You need a two-wheeler. A scooty. You can rent for a month-long lease at 4K kinds (negotiate hard). I pay 6K a month because I got it at a time when there were a lot of tourists.
💡 Hat-tip – PLEASE keep a litre of petrol in the boot of your scooty. Petrol Pumps are kinda sparse. And no, don’t buy from those road-side kiosks that sell petrol in upcycled bottles. They sell a mix of piss and water and turpentine oil that couldn’t keep a fire going for its life.
Some people prefer small cars (Tata Nano or Maruti Alto) but I still recommend a Scooty.
There are bike taxis (called pilots) that you can use. You can identify these with their yellow mudguards. But they have designated spots as pitstops and you can only hail them from there. Unless you are lucky and you can flag someone. Plus there is no rate card per se. so, it comes down to what you can negotiate with them.
If you do need a car, you can rent via GoaMiles (though local taxi operators hate this. They say it dents their earning. I say it makes them more accountable. One of those never easy to settle debates).
Or you could use local taxi guys. They are all over the place. Especially around popular tourist areas, famous restaurants, and other hotspots. You would spend a little more but you would be far more peaceful.
5C. Spending money
You need to use GPay a lot. Even though you may try to explain that Paytm, BHIM, and other apps also use UPI, people will insist on GPay. To a point that they would tether you to their wi-fi networks.
No, the credit cards don’t work. The ones that accept will do so reluctantly. And will charge you a 2% markup. Unless you are at a 5-star (in that case, you don’t need to read this guide!) or an establishment ran by someone who thinks longer than making money from tourists in just one season.
5D. After Work
After you are done with work, you have like a million things to do here. You can explore the wilderness, meet other creative kinds, other folks that are trying to find themselves hers. You can connect and network with the ones from your ilk. There are classes on everything from scuba to yoga to dance to cooking to marital arts to even brewing wine!
My favorite thing to do is go stare at the sea. Like this one.
🌟 The best thing you can do? Find a co-living, co-working commune. I really want to create one. Does anyone want to partner up?
6. The ultimate comparison and guide of co-working spaces in Goa
This is something that most people seem to ask for. Lemme make a list of a few places and how I look at those. Some disclaimers…
This will only include the places that I have personally been to.
There are a few that I have heard a lot about but I haven’t been to. I have included them but have refrained from giving a comment.
Plus there are some places that are not really co-working spaces but offer what you need for work. Including those here as well.
Before I dig in, the good part of almost all co-working spaces here is that there is good power backup. The bad part is that the Internet is not the best. Even with their leased lines. Oh, most of these offer a great vibe, have a brilliant community, and create so many opportunities to meet new people! So, when I look at a place to work from, I look at the following…
Ambiance (Have they put any love in putting the co-working space together?)
Internet (How fast, reliable is the internet connection?)
AC (I need AC if I have to even breathe. Even if I were in Antarctica, I’d ask for one!)
Seating (I need a comfortable chair and a table at the right height).
What kind of people does the place attract? Hippies? Creative kinds? People whiling time and merely wanting to hang out? Etc.
Money is money.
FnB (Can I order food? Coffee? How good it?)
Access and accessibility (How far are they from civilization?)
So, here is a list with the pros and cons of various coworking spaces in Goa. I tried to embed the table here but I could not. 🙁
But if you are lazy, easy reference is…
Design Centre (Porvorim – map) for undoubtedly the Best Internet in Goa. They charge 400 bucks for a day pass and 6000 for a month-long plan.
Clay (Anjuna – maps) for the best community and the vibe. They charge 500 bucks for a day pass and 10000 for a month-long plan.
NickyM’s (Baga-Calangute – maps) for the best hospitality. This is more of a cafe. So there’s no commitment per se. But you’d want to keep the tab going. No?
Royal Enfield Garage Cafe (Baga – maps) for the best view. However, this is also more of a cafe than a co-working place.
There are more that I have tried and worked out of. Here’s a long list. I’d leave you with a few shots from Clay (which is gorgeous, if you ask me).
And one from Royal Enfield Garage Cafe.
Do let me know what coworking do you go to. And what you find interesting there. I will add to the list.
7. Making the move…
So, now you know the goods and the bads of Goa. You know your work can happen from here. You know of the co-working spaces. What next?
Let’s say you are ready to make the move. Now, how do you do it?
So, in easy steps…
Come here for a month. To start with. It would help if you have a local contact. I am happy to be the contact, in case.
Carry two different mobile phone connections. It’s a pain to get a Jio mobile phone connection here. The others (Vodafone, Airtel, etc) work when they feel like.
Live at a touristy hot-spot so that everything that you may need is easily available. You may not like it. People may smirk at you. But please do this.
Inform your work colleagues that your access and availability would be limited.
Take a month-long acco (insist that it has a ready Internet connection – it would be tough to get it installed for just a month), preferably close to a co-working space (in case you need better connection, ambiance, etc)
Talk to others that do your kind of work (code, films, writing, etc) and identify a location that offers you access to others of your ilk. This will be important to get you to start feeling at home.
Get a house for yourself. Insist on basic furnishing (unless you are rich) and get paperwork FOR sure. You would need it for things like mobile phone connections, Internet, etc.
Get immersed with the locals and natives where you take your house. Even if you are an introvert. This will help you become a local and not just remain a tourist. This is the most common mistake migrants make when they move to Goa. They don’t mingle with the local community. You HAVE to. Especially in Goa.
That’s it I guess.
8. Miscellaneous info about working from Goa
This part has things that I could not fit in other places. While these may be minor, some people may want to know more about these before they make the move to Goa.
8A. Staying fit while in Goa
A lot of people I know are as anal about their health as they are about work or money or other things. In Goa, there are plenty of options for that. From long walks to running on the beach to yoga classes to even fancy gyms (aka fitness studios) to massage parlors to swimming to dance, you have it all here.
The best bet would be walk / jog on the beach. But do keep a stick handy for them strays.
8B. Safety in Goa
Beaches are more or less safe at almost all hours. Actually, Goa in general is safe when it comes to petty crime. I have been routinely leaving my helmet perched on the scooty and it is yet to go missing!
No that does not mean you let your guard down. Just keep your eyes and ears open and you’d be ok.
The cops are friendly, the locals keep to themselves, the shack owners may want to fleece you with overpriced food but they want the beaches to be safe. They’ve understood that it’s in their long-term interest to offer safety.
Of course there would be a few unscrupulous elements but that’s everywhere in the world. My rule of thumb is, give respect and you shall get it!
8C. Finding work in Goa
Let’s say you move here. And for some unfortunate reason, you cant continue with your work. What do you do? If you are like me that don’t have any sellable skills (writing, designing, singing, photography-ing, hustling et al), how do you find meaningful work?
Well, they say that Goa is like a village. Everyone knows everything about everyone else. And I have seen that in action! Numerous times. So much so that I am cursing myself for not knowing how to make connections at these villages. I suck at networking 🙁 You will need to find your place in this village to get work!
The best way to get work in Goa is through closed networks.
Some Facebook groups are very active and people from the community share all sorts of opportunities. I recommend Offbeat Goa. Do check it out. I know someone that knows the lady that started it. I have met her just once, that too for like 0.2 seconds and thus I don’t have a personal opinion per se. But If gossip is to be believed, she’s an incredible woman. #note2self: need to make friends with her.
In terms of the kind of businesses, there are film companies (famously, Anand Gandhi’s Memesys Lab), event agencies (C4E Goa :D), design companies, social media agencies, production labels, alco-bev companies, and more. And of course, there are traditional businesses like mining, shipping, trading, etc. And FMCG, auto, finance, etc. Of course restaurants, bars, shacks, etc. So, there are jobs for sure! Quite a few.
But then there are more takers than that. You’d have to work hard to land one. Really.
Plus salaries are a fraction of what you’d expect in places like Mumbai. So that.
Oh, a word of caution. If you have decided to move here for good and you can’t find the kind of work that you really want, please be a tad flexible. I’ve met writers that have become bartenders, guitarists that have become travel bloggers, event managers that are now chefs, and so on and so forth. You get the drift.
PS: I am considering if things don’t work out, I will probably run a cafe here. I hope I get enough to support all the bachchas that I have 🙂
8D. Medical Care
This is something that I found lacking here. Even though Goa has a few medical institutions like GMC and Manipal, I found even the first-aid kinda lagging. But again, luckily I haven’t had the need to go visit a doctor.
But if you have any medical conditions or young children or old parents, I will not recommend the move.
8E. Going back from Goa
In case things don’t work out and you have to move out from Goa, I am sorry that it did not work out. Here’s what you must do. In bullet points…
Take back cheap alcohol. Of course, there is a limit to a number of bottles you can carry back 😀
PLEASE do tell me why you’re going back. It will help me update this page.
So this it is. For the Ultimate Guide to Living in and Remote Working from Goa. Hope this was helpful and told you things that you already did not know.
9. In the end…
This comprehensive guide is from my experience of working remote from Goa for 2 months. I work as a brand planner and marketer and gross generalizations are my bread and butter and I could be biased. So, read with a pinch of salt.
Plus, the way I look at things could be different from the way you look at em. So that!
For context, I am 38, M. Single, and no kids. So please be advised.
I am lucky that I know a few people that know Goa really well. Special mention to Nupura and Rajesh Sir. Both these are super-connectors and have helped me meet more people. These connections helped me get around fast and understand nuances better. Further, Rajesh Sir and VISCOMM allowed me to live at their home while I looked for more permanent accommodation. And Nupura chaperoned me around in the first few days and showing me around the “village”
NickyM‘s for the free Internet and the warmest hospitality I have experienced in all my travels across the world.
Riyanka for helping me with a draft of this one. She is among the best writers I know of. Do reach out to her if you need someone.
And everyone else that made me feel at home in Goa. And every one that did otherwise.
Oh, if you come to Goa, say hi! If you need something fixed for you while you are here, lemme know. I know someone that probably knows someone 😉
And if this guide helps you make a decision, do let me know. I am very active on Twitter. And do tell me how to make this better!
Over and out.
P.S.: One more thing. Do point out any mistakes – factual or otherwise in the piece so that I can make this better.
Nothing special today. Just a rant. And a post that I just did not want to write – blame it on laziness and general ennui.
No, this is not the first thing I am doing. Not even the second. Am showered, powdered, and at a coffee shop already. I’ve just placed an order for a black coffee and a sandwich. No, I don’t like such a “healthy” breakfast but I felt like ordering. So, gave in. Anyhow. Onto morning pages. I am still doing this before I get any work done or have any of my thoughts interrupt how things are going.
So, last night, I slept at a new place. This one is a serviced apartment and they had a Medimix to bathe with. I saw it and a million memories from the age-old travels to popular touristy and religious places came back. As a kid in a middle-class family, I think we traveled a fair bit. If nothing else, we went to places like Haridwar and Shimla and all that. Most times we stayed in cheap hotels, dharamshalas and other such places. Of course, these were nice, familial places and always had a variation of Medimix or Lux or one of those bathing bars. Even in trains that we used to travel to reach these places had these paper-thin soaps. Fuck that paper soap was a thing. It like a tiny book with soaped pages. You could tear one, wash your hands with it and see it disappear with the lather. Man, what days!
So coming back to the new place, it’s actually not bad and I think I can live for the rest of my life in serviced apartments.
Brings me to the all-important question. Mumbai vs Goa.
I don’t know the answer. I like it here and I don’t want to miss the opportunities I can potentially get in Mumbai. Living in Goa gives me that reset button that I’ve wanted for a long long time. But Goa doesn’t give me the kind of opportunities that can fix the puraane paap. So that. There are more things am thinking about. I even made this big-ass mindmap and yet I don’t have an answer. It sucks to be in limbo. But, it’s cool. Life’s a game. Let’s play.
The other thing that am thinking about is that maybe if I can find a way to support my kutumbKabeer famously said, “Sai itna dijiye, jaame kutumb samaay, main bhookha naa rahoon, sadhu na bhookha jaaye“ and myself, I will transition to becoming a full-time writer. No, I am yet to prove myself with writing. Plus I am not sure if I have the talent to do so. I don’t even have content or a body of work that helps me establish myself as that. I have famously failed at selling #tnks as a script to.
But then, I can try! I can take a million shots and see which one sticks. No? Let’s see.
What else? What else? Lemme make bullet points of things on the top of my head and make a list…
I am in Mumbai in the next week. I have a couple of IRL meetings. So, if you are in Mumbai and want to meet me, lemme know.
The poster of the next short that I helped come to life is out! I loved to see my name up there on the poster. More than anything else, it sends a message that I am around to support indie filmmakers. Yay!
I drove a friend’s car yesterday in Goa and I hated it. I thought I would never say this, but I did. Maybe its the roads here, maybe its the traffic. Maybe cos I haven’t driven in a while?
I worked from Design Centre yesterday and on the way back I thought things and for some reason, while I was riding, I had this surprising clarity of thought. I could even un-layer a few things that I was thinking on. I can’t seem to get this clarity when I am walking. Or running. I think it’s about using your body in some mundane chore and that helps your mind be active enough to start thinking on this. You know, how people go in those dreamy states? Must go on more such rides.
An old contact resurfaced and offered me a job. I am not sure if I want to work for someone else. But then Kabeer and Kutumb! Sigh!
That’s about it, I guess. No, there’s no #freewriting for #book2 even today. I know I know I am being tardy. I am sorry 🙁
PS: Happy Birthday, Arti. I couldnt do half the things that I have managed in the last few months without you around.
In this one, hidden in between a few rants are a couple of lessons that I learnt at a party. Need to take action on those.
7:34 AM. This is not the first thing am doing in the morning. Spent a good part of my time packing my things. This may be the last post from the place that I called home for 2 months (I came here on the 6th and I am leaving on the 5th) and whatever I have been able to write, do, think, evaluate, etc has happened from here. I will forever remain grateful and in debt to Rajesh Sir.
This means that I will have to start spending on accommodation and that’s something I dont want to do. Especially when I dont make as much as I would want to. So, either I let go of the Mumbai house and then take a house here. Or I get back to Mumbai and stay there.
The thing with Mumbai is that there’s this huge network of people that can potentially give work. Most of these people are not really as mobile as I am (they have houses, families, clubs etc) and thus they stay back in Mumbai. Or Delhi for that matter. Or Bangalore.
In Goa, on the other hand, is this network of people that I know can inspire me. They may not have large ideas about changing the world, but they do offer interesting conversations. It’s a real battle to pick one of the two. Let’s see what I pick up. I have been delaying the decision for last so many days 🙁
Anyhow. Morning Pages.
So, I could not manage the 48-hour fast. I broke it at around 4 yesterday. So about 36 hours. I was not really hungry but it started to play on my mind and I ate some crap. Really. I lost the will battle (and not the hunger one). Need to up the ante. Fasting is one of those things that I did to be able to become like Jason Statham. Here. This is from my vision board.
However, yesterday, I saw Chamath and I have a new goal and a new entry in my vision board for the health piece.
Next. I had promised that I would write the SoG and Guide to Working from Goa. I published the SoG. Here. Guide I shall do today. Bumped into Nihar (that runs Clay CoWork) at Nicky’s and I picked his brains on a few things that I’ve been meaning to anyway ask him. We threw around some interesting ideas and it taught me two lessons…
it helps if you can drink a beer, share a cigarette. It allows you to meet interesting people and have conversations that you’d not otherwise have.
I need to become a tad more social. I am unable to open conversations with strangers. I need to learn that.
So far, even though I have tried, I haven’t been able to do either. Oh, there’s another thing that I have realized. If you run a coworking place, or a cafe, or something of that sort, you become a people magnet. You become someone that people come to (and not the other way around). I mean people come to your facility to make a transaction and that allows you to chat with them, pick their brains. Talk to them. Know more from them. Etc etc. Especially at a place like Goa. There are so many interesting people. If you did something that attracted them to your business, imagine the kind of conversations you can have! This is what probably has attracted me to do things like TRS, PPP and more. The ability to attract conversations with interesting people!
The trouble is, I can’t do anything that doesn’t scale. So this cafe, coworking, etc. is not what I want to work on. I mean there is WeWork, 91Springboard, Awfis and so many more that have scaled in India. But they are not businesses that create “impact”. I have to create an impact with my work, even if it’s an indirect impact. I mean look at Uber. That is impact. Millions of drivers get to earn better. Millions of people get to commute better. And you make money. That!
Oh, just occurred to me. I have always been a big advocate of living at a place that has all the action. You want to be a techie – live in Bangalore. Make films – live in Mumbai. Get fit – live next to a gym. I am very sure that even with COVID and WFH and other such things, these “power centers”, these “hubs” will not get displaced. At least not in India where the value of human life is not as much. So, if I want to remain independent and push the envelope on things, I have to be a hub. Unless I can create a hub at Goa if I choose Goa. Or unless I can become such a big people magnet that wherever I go, I am the hub. I mean, look at Karan Johar for example. He can choose to move to Goa or Timbuctoo and the entire film fraternity would move there. Look at all the startups and VCs moving to Miami. I have to think about creating a start-up ecosystem in Goa, btw. Or a film’s ecosystem. Let’s see.
Chalo this is it for the time being.
I need to pack my bag, clean the house and fuck off from here.
And of course, there’s a lot of work to be done today. No, no #freewriting today either. I am being tardy with it. Need to pull socks and get going with it.
A page-full of self-talk, random updates and nothing special to report per se. Avoid if you want to.
7:28. Feel ok. Not too happy. Not too sad. Not too. confused. Not too content. One of those states where I am just being. Which is a good thing. Contentment is nice. For whatever it is worth.
And I have nothing to write about. Lol.
Really. I can’t think of a single thing to write about. Fuck fuck fuck. Lemme try. I am sitting outside Rajesh Sir’s house. Listening to Berklee’s rendition of Kun Faya Kun. Have some 25 tabs open. On the new M1. Tethered to the Vodafone connection that is surprisingly working today. The Jio Phone is not. Lol. The mysteries of the Internet and mobile phones in Goa. Reminds me I have an important call. And in Goa, that is giving me jitters. What if the Internet decides to stop working at the last minute? Lol. When did I become the kind to think so much about work? Managed a fast yesterday. The last thing I ate was at 3 AM or so yesterday (not today) before I went to sleep. So as we speak, I haven’t had a thing for more than 24 hours now. Except litres of water and more liters of lemonade. And chewing gum. I think a chewing gum is the secret ingredient you need to fast for long hours. I had told myself that I would fast for 48 hours. Let’s see if I can manage today without eating. If I can, I will gun for 72. And then 96. Kunal has challenged me to fast for 7 days. My longest has been 50 something, if I am not wrong. I tend to forget these things. Lol, king of wishful thinking I am.
Ok. What else?
I cant still think what to write.
Mumbai vs Goa? Work? Relationships?
Lemme take a stab at each. In reverse order.
Relationships – nothing home to write about. Lesser spoken the better. Like I said a few days ago, I miss the physical proximity of people that I care for (which is like 2 people and I know they don’t want me around – I mean they want me but not all the time). So, that.
Work – I seem to be un-hireable. Which is a good thing. I mean I am tempted to live an easy life with a packed calendar, fat salary and PF and company laptops and petty politics and flings with people you work with and year-end bonuses and all that. With all these, you have an option of those foreign travels, fancy cars, lavish buffets, designer clothes, and whatnot.
Mumbai vs Goa – I remain undecided. I like it here in Goa. But I miss the predictability of Mumbai. I love the opportunities that a large city like Mumbai offers for creating a large business that can have a global reach and can impact billions. And I crave connections with creative people in Goa that no other place has. This is the first time I am thinking this hard about such decisions. I think when I moved to Mumbai in 2013 (or was it 14?), I just one day announced that I am going. I slept on the floor of Satya’s bedroom and then eventually took a house. Life was easy, simple. But then I was 6 years younger. I had the time to do whatever I wanted to. People respected my ideas. I probably had some money to get thru tough times. Not any more. I am older, poorer, behind the times. I…
Lemme play this game and piece together a solution. WTF! I can not be in this limbo.
Wait and watch.
Bas ho gaya.
There’s no #freewriting for #book2 today. Rather, I will use the time to work on SoG on playing the game (subscribe here). And the Goa working guide that I have been working on for 2 months. I Will ship both today and update links here.
Let’s fucking start.
PS: Wrote these sidenotes (things that popped into my head as I wrote this piece). I can’t seem to fit these anywhere in the narrative and thus keeping them here. Yeah, it fucks the reading experience for you. But then these are my morning pages. These are what I need to save and think on and act on and all that. So ignore if you have to.
I need to accept that I am a failure – a public one at that (lol, even in this, am trying to sound like Steve Jobs! What a loser you are, Mr. G.)
I need to choose between a start-up that reaches a billion, films that reach millions, writing that reaches thousands, etc.
I need to start happening to things (and not let things happen to me). It’s funny that I give this advice to everyone around me and often fall prey to this.
Radical idea today. What if I sold a financial stake in my future? To manage my today. Would you buy? Would you “invest”?
0711. Woke up about 3 minutes ago. Eyes can’t even focus as I type this! Was up till 2:30. Had some work and thanks to McD, I had a place to sit and work out of. Of course, there was no Internet but that’s ok. I managed. So when I was coming back from McD (and a subsequent meeting with a friend) at 2 something, I realized I love roads at night. I have said this multiple times in the past but yesterday it was like written on a well-lit hoarding in big bold fonts. Must do something about that! Thing is, when in Mumbai, while I often thought about it, I couldn’t think too much about it. Life was always rushing around me. Or if it wasn’t, I was rushing around. There was no opportunity to take a pause, take a break and soak the scenery in. Here, the entire scenery is a break. And why would it not be? There is hardly any phone connections. Or internet availability ;P No no, digs apart, there is some charm in living in a small city.
Oh, Goa is reporting fantastic weather and thinning crowds. In case you want to make a trip, this is the time.
Moving on. Yesterday was a big day for the world we live in. Jeff Bezos decided to step down from running Amazon on a day to day basis. Wow! End of an era. I can’t wait for people to write (and me to read) as those pieces will start to trickle in. After Steve Jobs, Jeff has been a constant source of content, inspiration, awe, fear, respect, etc. Let’s see what reports come in.
The other big thing that happened yesterday was Rihanna (the American pop-star who I just know for this track with Eminem) spoke about the ongoing Farmer’s protest. It sucks and it’s our collective shame that the world is seeing what has become of India. Hopefully, that’d put some pressure on the government here. Maybe some sense would prevail and actions would be unturned. I hope our Indian “stars” grow some balls as well and do more than just welcoming the next Kapoor on insta.
So, I was to decide by EOD yesterday about where I wanted to live. And no, I haven’t been able to decide. I even ran a blind poll to see what “destiny” told me. Option 1 was Mumbai and 2 was Goa. Lol. The thing is, I’d love to be in Goa long-term but I can’t seem to figure out my work situation. It just sucks that life is dictated by what you’d work on. Whereas it should be the other way around.
I will give myself another day today to figure out things. I know I know, I have been delaying for no reason. But I can’t help it. I just can’t seem to think on this. Do I just toss a coin and figure what destiny has in store for me? Do I continue to drift and let life dictate terms? Arrrghh… such helplessness 🙁
Oh, I do have a radical idea that I have been thinking for a while. And yesterday on one of our calls Akshay pointed out as well. How about I sell shares in myself? You know, I am the “company” that people put money in (like they invest in stocks) and I promise a certain dividend each year (depending on my income of that year) and like other stocks, they can sell these shares.
While this sounds like an interesting idea, I am not sure if it’s workable. There are some inherent issues with this. To start with, this would be a super risky asset class (may be more volatile than BTC) but could also deliver better ROI than anything else. There is a big big risk of investment going to zero (what if I die?). Then there is performance risk (what’s the guarantee that I would make enough to fund all my side projects and yet return this money?). Plus the biggest of them all. If someone gave me a crore today, I wouldn’t know what to do with it! I mean there’s no singular idea that I have that can take all my energy and that allows me to scale things! I know that I’d never run away with anyone’s money. Or trust. I know that I’d be honest. But I don’t know when would I start to give out dividends. So that. I remember, in one of SoG’s I asked my readers if they’d support me by paying just 100 bucks, and not one person (except some comment from JKB) replied. And here I am, hoping to sell shares. Lol. Wishful thinking!
Anyhow, on with the day. I’ve been eating crap last few days. I’d try to gun for a 48-hour fast, starting now. So, the next meal is Friday morning. Let’s see how it goes. Maybe i’ll not eat till the time I know where I want to be. Wait. What about I spend a few days in Mumbai (I need to be there anyway on the 14th to meet Shravan, and on the 16th to attend Rajesh’s wedding) and see if I can create more work opportunities for myself! May be. Let’s see.
Oh, I have to note that I got rejected from a place that I had applied to. Which is ok. Not that I expected to get thru, it was out of my league. Probably need to start documenting all these rejections!
That’ about it I guess. Oh, I have a large project to work on today. I have decided that I need to be out there. I will start putting my face, at least on video (if not on photos). And to help me get going, AA has asked me to make 5 videos of 10 mins each by EoD today. Each video has to be of specific interest to people. So let’s see what I cook up. I will share links, if I get around to do it.
Apart from this have a few other things lined up. One of them is to activate this WA group (broadcast only) where I plan to share tips on better writing. Let’s see how that goes. In case you wish to join it, here.
Guess this is it. Time for #freewriting on #book2.
“We did not have these computers and phones and other fancy devices back then. We had to rely on our instincts. If we had to find information, we had to manipulate a gullible farmer and ask him about the temple. Then we’d stake it out for days. Unlike now, we did not have hotels per se. We had dharamshalas, serais and even them temples themselves. It was very normal to use these temples as resting places while you were on a journey. There was always a roof on your head and there was always food. There’s nothing else a traveler needed. And oh boy, did we use those temples.” Raunak let out a hearty laugh.
Chintan was more than intrigued. He was hooked. He thought he was the storyteller. Here was Raunak, who had better and grander stories than Chintan could ever imagine. He had to get more from him. Maybe Raunak did hold the key to Chintan’s magnum opus. He egged on, “Incredible! For someone like you who doesn’t speak at all, how did you manage all these conversations…”
Raunak broke him mid-sentence and said, “How do you think I am managing mine with you?”
Chintan could only nod and smile at himself. He knew he had found the guru, the moral compass that he was seeking all this while. He knew Raunak was going to be an important character in his story. The story of his life. And the story that he’s been chasing from all the way to Goa from his home in Uttarakhand!
That’s about it.
But this is all I have time for today. A lot to be done.
Regular updates. Nothing special. Did #freewriting on #book2 after a few days. Totally enjoyed. Read if you can and gimme feedback.
7:57 AM. Woke up a little less groggy than yesterday. I don’t know what changed. I still ate as much crap as I ate the day before. I slept around the same time. I had the same battles with the phone and the internet as I have had in the past few days. I am still thinking about the same things. I am still not moving as much as I would want to. The human body is a funny thing.
Anyhow. Time for morning pages. I am surprised that I have written these for more than 50 days now. Without missing a day. Even on the day when I was not in the mood, I came here and wrote something. Even if I felt crappy, I ensured that I poured my heart here. I felt lonely, I wrote about it. I took a loan. I recorded it here. The pages have become a companion, dear diary of sorts.
The day yesterday was ok. Went to Clay. Did some work, did some non-work things. I loved hanging out in the middle of so many people that are doing their own thing and are generally interesting to talk to. I love the place! If only my mobile phone worked better :D.
In fact, I must copy-paste their model when I get around to creating a physical space where I want creatives to hang out! I mean I can copy the model easily. The challenge would be to create a vibe. That takes more effort. Anyone can put some chairs and tables and an Internet connection. The sauce is how you run it, how you get people to bind into a community. How you ensure that they feel the same for you as you feel for them. For me, this community of people, the camaraderie between that community, the feeling of belonging, the safety in the group, the shoulders to stand on is the thing that makes life worth living. Let’s see when that happens.
I need to decide on where to live. Come hell or high-water, I will take a call by EOD. It is important that I do so. Like I keep saying, I need to happen to things, rather than things happening to me. The decision essentially depends on the work situation. There are a few things that I can do in Goa but the size of opportunity here may not be enough to feed all the expenses that I have. Of course, life here is better (no pants, no traffic, everything accessible etc) but I do miss the action of a large city.
Can I create a life like that in Mumbai? You know, get a place, do it up, create a vibe like Clay, serve food like Nicky’s, attract creative people do bind into a community? In Aaram Nagar or something. Of course, the costs are like 5X to do something like that and competition is like 10X there (with all the Starbucks, Blue Tokais, and others) but I am told a lot of things are now available for cheaper.
That’s the other thing. I was trying to explain something to Mudit yesterday when I realized that I have forgotten the names of the landmarks in Mumbai! In the para above, it took me 5 minutes to come up with the name of Blue Tokai! Guess I am growing old. Anyhow.
So today’s one of those days when I feel I have a lot to write about, a lot to think about but I don’t know how to write. The thoughts are all over the place. I am unable to make them in a coherent narrative. But then I still am trying. Arrghh.. Frustrating it is.
Guess, a writer’s block?
But then Kunal told me yesterday that these morning pages, in the way I do (daily journalish, self-talk, pouring of thoughts etc) is apparently a great mental-health hack. And since I anyway write in public, I am not scared if these are “leaked” someday. Lol!
Chalo that’s about it.
On to #freewriting for #book2. Oh, today’s prompt is something that I think I saw in my dreams last night. Not kidding. I now have faint recollections of what I saw but I did see the scene play in my dream. Let’s see how it comes out on paper. Here we go…
ABC and his flunkies settled into probably what was the most uncomfortable spot at Caravan Serai. He took the long bench, the flunkies fanned out around him. Udita spotted them and knew there was trouble. Even though she was alone this afternoon, she was not the one to get perturbed. She walked up to the group with a bunch of menu cards. She showed her irreverence by slapping the menu cards on the table in between the group. The smack made by the plastic menu cards killed the chatter in the group. The boss looked up from his phone. He realized what had happened. He remained indifferent and went back to his phone. Meanwhile, Udita did not wait for them to place an order and walked back at a leisurely pace. These guys were not used to this open display of insubordination. As it often happens in such herds, when faced with uncertainty, you look up to the alpha. Everyone looked at the boss for what to do next. He was still buried in his phone and the scene had actually escaped him. The uncomfortable silence started to escalate. Someone had to break it. One of the enthu flunkies that wanted to make his way up in the foodchain stood up and yelled at Udita, “aye bitch, bring your tiny ass here. Don’t you know who we are with?”
At this, the boss looked up. The eyes remained calm. So did his body language. He looked so composed that you could’ve imagined him to be in a temple. He was as indifferent as he could be. He merely looked on for an instant and went back to his phone. He rested the phone against the small vase on the table. The vase had a money plant curled up in it and it was just the right size to act as a makeshift stand for a phone.
Udita shot back, “what did you call me?”
The flunky was clearly not used to the insubordination. “Bitch. I called you a bitch. And you are one.”
Udita was anyway worked up to see ABC at Caravan Serai. Now this flunky and the language he used had enraged her even more. She stomped to the table, shovelled another man away who was sitting between her and the flunky, held him by his tee-shirt. The guy was easily a foot taller. She looked him into his eyes and asked again. “What did you call me?”
The flunky was lost. He hadnt been attacked like that. Singled out. Especially with his boss around. And by a tiny woman. And he had higher ambitions. He did not know what to do. The boss continued to watch on with his stoic eyes.
“Tell me, you bastard”, Udita raged on.
The flunky did not have an answer. His voice was sort of clipped. Udita clenched her fists and thus his tee tighter.
“Uh”, he made some indescript noise.
One of the other flunkies tried to get up to save his friend from the apparant misery. Udita saw that from a corner of her eye. Before the guy could stand fully erect, she pushed at his chair that sent him toppling back with a thud.
It was clearly out of hands now. The boss thundered, “stop it!”
He continued, “apologies to the young lady”
The flunky found some strength when he saw his boss intervene. But all of it was lost when he comprehended what he heard. He was being asked to apologize. Weren’t they ABC’s gang? Where they routinely roughed up people for things smaller than this. If someone had done this at some other place, at some other time, he was sure that the boss would have literally killed the guy! And this was a girl. A waitress at some random bar.
“ABC Sir?”, he was still confused.
ABC repeated. The calmness was back, “I said apologise to the young woman.”
Udita was confused herself. The stories she had heard about ABC were anything but this. He was being polite. And he was taking the right side, even though Udita was the one to have attacked. She left the collar and took a step back. She folded her hands in front of her chest, like you would do when you sensed danger.
“How can I? The bitch was out of her place. She disrespected you.” The flunky tried to make his case.
The boss merely shook his head. With the agility of a table tennis player, he picked up the vase in a shift motion and smashed it against the head of flunky. The glass shattered on his forehead and sent tiny pieces, water and even the remnants of the money plant around him. There was this messy puddle of hair, skin, glass, leaves and blood on his forehead. Some blood was his. Some was ABC’s. He had cut his hand in the process.
The flunky stumbled back, tried to support himself on a chair. He leaned on it with one hand and tried to hold his head with the other. ABC however was not done. He pounced on the flunky and sent him sprawling on the floor. He sat on his chest. Held his tee, from the same place Udita had held him and said, “next time I tell you to do something, you will listen to me. Ok?”
The flunky could merely nod.
“I did not hear you” ABC growled.
“Yes, yes, ABC. I will. I am sorry”. He said with whatever strength he could muster.
“Good boy. Now, say sorry to the young lady. And you better clean all the mess that you have created here”. ABC instructed him.
“Yes…”, the flunky could come up with just a word.
The gang was in a state of shock. They knew of ABC and his quirks. They knew it was best if they stayed shut.
ABC turned to Udita. “What’s your name ma’am? I am sorry for this boy’s behaviour. He is new and does not know how to speak to people.” He wiped his hand on his white shirt, leaving it crumped and stained.
Udita managed, “it’s alright. I am Udita. I manage the place when Mrs. Gomes is not here.”
“Ah. I have seen you here but did not know that she trusts you with the place. Whatever I know of her, she is tough to please”. ABC was back to his clam self and was now small-talking with Udita as if they were in a club.
Udita was not sure how to react. She looked around. There was this guy on the floor who was bleeding. There was this guy who was indifferent despite the scene he had created. There were other burly men who were as confused as Udita was.
ABC sensed the confusion. “Oh, dont worry about him. He’s a strong boy. He would be back in action by tomorrow. He’d help you clean the place now. Just get him some water, if that’s not too inconvinient?”
That’s it! I loved writing today’s piece! Yay! Need to have more such days 🙂 If you read this, do gimme feedback. Of course, haven’t fixed typos, edited, or checked for sanity.
Woke up tired as if I was a 90-year old. Couldn’t think of what to write. So, this one is more rant than anything nice or deep.
I woke up at 7:55 and I feel like I’ve been hit by a train. There is no energy in the body and the eyes are groggy and I don’t know what all. The good part is that I remember a couple of dreams from last night. So that means I slept ok. But I feel tired. I don’t know what to do about it. I did stay up a couple of days ago for a project. But I was ok after that. Maybe it’s all the crap that I am eating? May be it’s the weather? May be it’s something in the head? If nothing else, I probably need to start working out? I don’t know 🙁
I am so groggy that I cant even think straight, leave alone getting work done. Or putting my thoughts on paper.
Wait, Mr. Garg. This is a game. And your power is down. You need to get a power-up. What could that be? Music? Food? Sleep? Sunshine? Workout? Hugs? May be I am groggy cos I didn’t brush my teeth yesterday? Is that a punishment that my body is giving me?
Ok, a few things are clear. I need to fix the food thingy for sure. Matlab, I need to not eat. Eat less, if nothing else. And if I eat, OMAD. And fewer carbs. This should be standard.
I then need to fix the office situation. Half my ideas and thoughts and work suffer because I don’t have a “desk” per se to work on. This is contingent on the place I will live at. I still need to close on Mumbai vs Goa and then an office desk. I had decided that I would have a decision by end of January. And no, I don’t have it. There is hardly any work that you can create from Goa. You need to rely on work that can be done remote. The Internet situation can be fixed. Getting work however is a pain. I’ve struggled with that in the past. And that I think is literally impossible remotely.
I need to get into some sort of a workout routine. Lol. I remember I have been hoping to have one since I was 22. I probably need to admit that I can’t do this! No, I can’t do an online session. I have to have a physical, in-person thingy. Remember what I wrote yesterday? Reminds me. Years back, I would go all the way from Powai to Bandra to attend a 45-minute Yoga glass with Shameem Maam. I think those were the fittest days of life. May be, get back to Yoga? If I do decide to live for long in Goa, I will probably move to some secluded part and start a cafe there 😀
So yeah. These three.
Funny how when you have a stable life, with money coming in, you think of grandiose plans of changing the world. And when the going gets tough, all you think of is the basics – roti, kapda, makaan.
Anyhow. So need to fix those three.
Moving on. The other day Vivek shared this Twitter thread about some athlete that just went missing and ended up at a beach. I think I should do the same. Delete all my social media profiles, websites, accounts, etc. And go poof in thin air. And do what? I don’t know. Yet.
I’ve often thought if there was a reset button in life, that if pressed sort of took you back in time and undo all the things you have done. You can then live your life again, but since you’ve retained lessons from the life that you’ve already lived, you can avoid mistakes.
That’s about it I guess. Need to get going. Have a few things to work on today.
But before that, here’s a thing that I’ve been tripping on. A guy called Punit Pania. He doesn’t make me laugh per se but his insights are spot on. Look at this one for example. Such insight into being Indians! I think that’s a great place to be in life. The ability to see through stupidity, idiosyncrasies, opinions, and actions of people and then comment on those and then present those in a way that people can relate to and laugh at is a great great skill to have. I wish I had that. I have a few friends that are that and I can see the amount of effort you need to do even a fraction of that is tough af! Lol, yet another skill that I wish I had!
And before I go, the track of the day is this one from a film called Saathiya…
Oh, and, Day 3 on the trot when I am not writing about book2. I’ve not lost the motivation per se, I do have the ideas as well. I am just being lazy. Let’s see if I can fix this tomorrow. Or during the day.